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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Opening Tonight: 35MM A Musical Exhibition


Impossible Mongoose Productions present 35 MM, a multimedia exhibition where photography inspires music & lyrics, while the songs inversely inspire the photographs. They say a picture is worth a thousand words... but is it worthy of a song? 

This Off-Broadway hit is presented by Impossible Mongoose Productions in its Canadian Premiere, and the fourth production. With a local cast and crew 35MM is entirely produced by Edmonton actors and MacEwan Graduates. Directed by Corben Kushneryk (Avenue Q - Two One Way Tickets to Broadway) it's a play based in photography, rock music, poetry slam and art exhibition.  It premieres tonight at the PCL Studio in the FTA-Arts Barns. The production also features Rebecca Merkley (Babes in Toyland - Promise Productions), Chris Scott (Songs for a New World - Threeform Theatre), Naythan Berteotti, and Kayla Gorman (The Fourth Graders Present and Unnamed Love-Suicide - NLT; bare - Patient Mango).  

The show 35MM is made up of 17 songs and nearly 35 images. A full developmental production was presented in 2010 at Urban Stage and it made it's Off-Broadway debut in March 2012.  Due to popular demand the show was extended and sold out its run. 

For more information on where to get tickets - go here

Monday, February 25, 2013

Where the Blood Mixes at Theatre Network - Humanizing the Issue

Saturday night I took in Where the Blood Mixes at Theatre Network.  I needed to take a little time before I wrote about it though, because I was challenged by the piece. Overall it was a very thought provoking night of theatre, but I had to balance my reaction as a theatre goer with my reaction as a human being.

As a theatre goer, It was challenging for me because there are many beautiful artistic things about this production that I appreciated, but it was also flawed so I was frustrated by it dramatically.  The images of the skeletal creatures floating above Cory Sicennes' gorgeous set were magic and combined with Dave Clarke's sound design conceptually the production was exceptionally strong.  Lorne Cardinal, as the angry and frequently drunk Floyd, is brilliant.  He is such a  phenomenal talent - a true Canadian treasure.  His moments of realness in both anger and shame were heart-breaking and so very, very real.   My major issue, however, is with the script. Individually, the scenes are well-written and poetic, sometimes funny, sometimes angry and often sad, but as a whole, the structure of the piece was confusing.  To me it felt like it was and should have been Floyd's story, but the trailing bits of the other characters diminished the whole of that.  A song in the middle, though beautiful, felt misplaced and kind of stopped the flow of momentum.  Many emotional reveals were just yelled, despite them being things that the characters have been unable to talk about for years.  I wanted more layers, more levels, more interesting choices.  I don't know... it confused me as a whole. I know... because I write, I get caught up in things like arc and character journeys and "who's story is it?" - perhaps it wouldn't bother someone else as much.  The rest of the audience did not seem to mind as there was a healthy 2/3 standing ovation. But I really had to sit there to think about what it was trying to say.

Now that I have had a few days to think, as a human being I appreciated what this play tries to do - put a human face on those that suffered and continue to suffer from the effects of residential schooling and also point out a direction for moving forward from it.  Floyd becomes much more than just a drunken, broken man.  His breakdown at the reunion with his long lost daughter is grounded in emotions of shame, fear, and loss that everyone could understand.  It has been a hard year for me trying to understand and learn about a lot of the topics touched on in the play, but I felt that this is where the play succeeds.  Floyd's greatest pain is that he feels that he has failed his child, and it is the forgiveness granted that allows him to move forward.  It made me realize how important forgiveness is in being able to heal and move forward from the past.

At least that is what I got from it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ride the Cyclone - A Loop-de-loop of a Show! WOW!

When the Citadel announced their season last spring and Ride the Cyclone was on the list, I have to admit I over-looked it.  It's description referenced the tragic deaths of 6 teens at an amusement park in a small town in Saskatchewan and I thought it was probably a sad piece about the loss of young lives.  However, in January, I started to read things in my twitter and FB feed from friends in Calgary about the show.  Few specific details were mentioned, but the overwhelming response was WOW.  So I reread the description:

"Ride the Cyclone spotlights a teenage chamber choir from Uranium, Saskatchewan who died in a roller coaster accident at a traveling fair. Karnack, a mechanized fortune-telling machine, feels responsible for the young choir’s demise, and gives the teens a chance to express themselves to the world after death. Ride the Cyclone is their final recital, where they celebrate their individuality while coming to terms with their untimely demise."

Hmmmm... Maybe there was something more there? Well, tonight I was lucky enough to see the first Preview of the show at The Citadel Theatre and was blown away.  This is no sad recollection.  This was a riotous, irreverent, musically wow-filled show.  I totally understand the description.  I don't even want to say too much in this post, because I think it is better to just experience it, but it was outstanding.  The music, performed excellently by the six member cast and band, demonstrates a wide variety of musical influences, from Rocky Horror Show, to Spring Awakening, to traditional Broadway belt, Rap, a touch of David Bowie, classical and even the recorder.  I am missing more - but even with all these styles it is wonderfully cohesive.  Each song has it's own surprises.  You can tell they have been touring with this show for a little while because it is sharp and tight.  Like a real roller-coaster it swings you from side to side and up and down and is full of twists and turns.  Nothing is predictable and it's magic comes from it's low-tech simplicity with a hint of nostalgia.  It is truly laugh out loud and yet it has these moments of real sadness and quiet emotion. It's also irreverent and saucy.  I am happy to be going back to see it a second time. I was not alone in my appreciation.  The audience gave it one of the fastest standing ovations I have ever seen.  A truly magical Canadian musical!

SEE IT!




Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Want to Be in A Play... Where Can I find Auditions?

A little over a week ago I was listening to my messages on the phone when the caller says something pretty close to the following:

Hi, I'm ________.  I got your name from a friend of mine.  I just moved back to 
Edmonton from ______ and I live in the Whyte Avenue area and I really want to 
get into acting again.  My friend said that you know everything about auditions and 
stuff, so I was hoping you could help me out. 


I probably don't know everything, but I do like to keep my ear to the ground so to speak, so I called back and left a message but haven't heard back from him. This is not the first time I have gotten a request for this kind of information and while I don't think I know everything, I do think that I am pretty good at getting back to people with useful tips and point them in the right direction.   Since I get these questions, it got me thinking.  I do know where to look for auditions and maybe some people don't know the resources that are out there so I thought I would provide some useful links and tips for finding auditions at a variety of levels.

The first place I would go for general audition information is the Theatre Alberta Classifieds.  These not only have auditions information, but also information on jobs, submissions, workshops, etc... It can be searched by type of ad and by location.  I go there a couple of times a month minimum to see what is new.  You can also like Theatre Alberta's FB page and you will get new notices from classifieds in your feed. Now, I am not just saying this because I am on the theatre Alberta Board - i was using these resources long before I joined the Board, in fact, it is because of these kinds of services that I was drawn to Theatre Alberta to begin with.  I personally don't know how you can do theatre n Alberta (professional, community, education) and not be a member - I know that it has provided me with many resources over the years.

Another place you can check out is the FB Group Edmonton Auditions.  It's manager collates auditions notices from the area and you might not have to search as much if you go there. If you join, you can also post your own auditions in the group to share with it's members.

Next you can go directly to theatres to check out what they have coming up.  People who know me know that I have a major connection with Walterdale Playhouse.  Currently they are booking people for Anything Goes, which goes up in July. They have auditions six times a year for a variety of different shows and they update their current auditions page to feature whatever is coming up next. Walterdale is a community theatre but has a very high quality of production and welcomes new and returning members.

There are many other community and independent theatres that you can check out in the Edmonton Area: ELOPE, Two One Way Tickets to Broadway, Sherard Musical Theatre Association, Festival Players, Horizon Players, and many more.  Most of these groups have FB Pages and will also advertise in Theatre Alberta's Classifieds. A note - Two One Way is currently booking auditions for The Full Monty so click that link if you want to check that out.

If you want to check out the professional theatre opportunities in town, many of them will start having generals in the spring.  What I find best is to find the theatres in town you are interested in and follow thems on FB or Twitter and watch the feeds.  Check out their websites.  There are many theatres in town and each has their own aesthetic and feel.  I encourage you to sample widely to see what you connect to most strongly and then investigate those for their generals.  Currently The Citadel is accepting submissions for their Generals, but you might have to act fast on those.

There are many other ways - this is just a starting point - the best thing to do is just start looking.  I generally find there are more things I want to go out for than I am able to and once you get involved you will make connections for the next project.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Write a Play - APN Playwriting Circles

I don't know about you, but one of the things that I find most challenging about playwriting is the solitude - the being alone in it.  You have to do that part when you are actually writing, but I have found in the past that there are a few things that help me write better (or even at all).  The first is a deadline.  I write to deadlines and they help me considerably.  There's an important one coming up in a week and that has me motivated to get to work on a couple of my scripts.  That's the APC (Alberta Playwriting Competition) which has a March 1st, 2013 deadline.

The second is what produced The Easy Road - a 24 hour Playwriting Competition.  I have written two plays this way.  Ideas that noodled around in my head for months suddenly took shape and made their way onto the page.  I am glad that there are plans to repeat last year's Play in a Day so that I might get another play out of that.

The third is a Playwriting Circle.  APN hosts these on a yearly basis with one starting in Edmonton on February 25th.  I got a great deal of work done on Little Monsters last year and if I had the time this year I would be back for more (the challenges of directing one show at the same time as producing another make this impossible). What is great about the Circles is that there are built in deadlines to motivate you, and you get to meet with a group of playwrights, who just like you, are struggling to complete their work. And the topper is that you get a fabulous facilitator (Conni Massing in Edmonton) to help you.  Finally, at the end of the circle, you pick a section of your play and 'real' actors come in and there is a public reading where you can share the work you have done.  There is nothing more thrilling than hearing your words read well!


EDMONTON Playwrights’ Circle
February 25 to April 22, 2013 (Reading: May 6)Workshop West, Third Space
Staff Contact: Tracy CarrollCost: $300.00
CALGARY Playwrights’ Circle
March 6, 2013 to April 24, 2013Currie Barracks, Evergreen Rehearsal Studio
Wednesdays, 7-930pm
Staff Contact: Michelle KnealeCost: $300.00


For more information or to register in an upcoming playwriting circle, contact Michelle (Calgary) or Tracy (Edmonton) or call (403) 269-8564 or toll-free 1-800-268-8564.

There are other things that I use to motivate me to write, but these are my top three! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Excited to be a Part of Skirts AFire! Peep Show!

I found out this last week that one of the two scripts I submitted to Skirts AFire - Peep Show was selected.  The Easy Road, which I wrote during the Play in a Day competition during the 2012 Edmonton Fringe was selected, and an excerpt of it will be presented along with three other scripts at Peep Show on March 10th as part of the first ever Skirts AFire Festival.  I am thrilled as this is providing the necessary motivation for me to spend more time on my writing.  Too many other things in my life have caused me to shove my writing to the back-burner so my plans to write more this year have not come to fruition.  I will also get to hear a section of my play read by some of Edmonton's top actresses.  It is always so thrilling to hear your work interpreted by other people.  I find that is when I discover the most about where the play must go.  The filter of collaboration tends to clarify the direction of the piece. So, stay tuned and I will provide more information about this event as it comes to me!

Date Night! Trunk Theatre presents Days of Wine and Roses at the Varscona

I am out and about most evenings.  I consider myself lucky that I get to see so much theatre, but because of the kids and the need for someone to be home with them, my husband does not get to see nearly as much as I do.  I wangled a nice exchange with my Mother, taking her to Private Lives on Thursday night in exchange for her babysitting the boys so that Mark and I could go out together on Friday.  To be fair, she probably would have babysat on Friday without the bribe, but this way I could say thank you in advance!

So in a rare night out for both of us we took in Trunk Theatre's Days of Wine and Roses at the Varscona.  It was a new version of the teleplay by J.P. Miller by Irish playwright Owen McCafferty (Mojo Mickybo) - Donal (Cody Porter) and Mona (Elena Porter) are a young Irish couple new to the adventure of their lives in London.  They meet on the journey from Belfast and fall in love and marry and drink and their mutual inability to handle alcohol leads to the destruction and rebuilding of their lives.  I was quite impressed with the simplicity of the production.  Director Amy DeFelice has constructed a production which is based foremost in building the shifting relationship of the two characters.  Their descent is tracked by the increasing number of bottles caging them on the stage.  Her transitions from scene to scene help support the overall arc as they move from joyful celebration and dancing to stumbling and angry striding. Cody and Elena (I usually refer to the actors by their last names, but that gets confusing here) have a true chemistry onstage.  Each are present and it is not hard to imagine the attraction and the sadness at the ultimate failure of the relationship. I particularly loved Elena's shifting from a wistful hopefulness at the top of the show - her voice soft and full of expectation for her future - to the hardened acceptance and resignation of where she ends up.  The characters are real and as is the dialogue and although doomed, so is the relationship.  For two nights in a row I have witnessed two drunken and battling couples onstage.  This one also gave the audience permission to be horrified by the violence between the lovers and allowed them to feel the shame of what they were becoming.

I was pleased that Mark also enjoyed his night out, since he doesn't get them as often.  In a few years when the kids are older, I hope to be dragging him along to more of my theatrical adventures!

Photo Credit: Sarah Van Tassel

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Two Show Day - Am I Crazy? The Missionary Position and Private Lives...

If you try hard enough, you can do this.  I managed to see two shows today by hitting the matinee of The Missionary Position at the University of Alberta Timm's Centre and then going to the evening performance of Private Lives at The Citadel.  They are two very different pieces of theatre so separating thought about them was not that difficult.

The Missionary Position is a new work by Lee Playwright in Residence, Greg MacArthur, written specifically for the 2013 graduating BFA Class.  I found it a thought provoking cautionary tale supported by strong acting and a creative set and lighting design. It deals with a fictional group of Christian missionaries who travel to an unnamed South American country that has been struck by devastation in the form of an earthquake and tsunami.  The missionaries are there to bring God to the orphans and save them both physically and spiritually.  Unfortunately their journey takes a terrible turn and they are imprisoned and charged - what will happen to them, and what exactly did they do are the chief questions to be answered.  There's plenty to engage us, perhaps too much, as the playwright had to write compelling characters for the class of 12, so that some of the sub-stories seem almost distracting.  Central is the idea those who think that faith in God will guide them to do good works are often misguided and naive. Unfortunately most of those who say they are going to do God's work are revealed to be quite shallow and certainly not as selfless as they initially proclaim.  It is this aspect that bothered me most about the play.  There are no truly likable people, with the exception of Angie (Angelique Panther), the translator girlfriend of the investigating Canadian Embassy worker (Ben Gorodetsky) who is the only one who really seems invested in true giving of self.  This is not to say that the performances are not entertaining, as I laughed heartily at the trio of Daniel Fernandes, Cayley Thomas  and Patricia Cerda who play a trio of Christian Television performers and Edmund Stapleton as the Tae-bo obsessed non-Christian adventurer.  But the collective group didn't really feel like real people which made it hard to empathize with them when it all goes wrong. I have friends who are very active and engaged Christians who have done missionary work and although I do not share their faith, I never saw them as shallow and narcissistic or so incredibly naive and stupid.  I just wished for one person in the group that I could feel was truly there for the right reasons and there wasn't.  Outside that group, Gorodetsky's journey is perhaps the most interesting to watch as he shifts from unquestioning support, to fascination and obsession and then finally to condemnation.  He does have, however, a strange unnecessary shower scene that I think is there to show off the fantastic water effects - but I would have been totally cool if that was a surprise for the end. Strangely, it is the slick talking Nacho (Mat Simpson) who feels the most consistently real of all the characters.  It is not hard to see how he might swindle this gang of naive chumps, nor are we surprised when he turns out to be much worse than he appears on the surface.  It made for a thought-filled afternoon of theatre (and after) and I recommend despite my criticisms.  It is more the wish that some of those character's stories could be more fleshed out to make them more real, but the constraints of show length and the question of what story it wants to tell does not allow for that.

It was a major shift to the evening's performance of Private Lives. This is not a deep piece - but a hilarious romp in the world of Noel Coward.  I have never seen the play before, despite it's popularity, and had a good time laughing at the dry wit of Coward as delivered by divorced couple Elyot (John Ullyatt) and Amanda (Diana Donnelly).  Ullyatt and Donnelly have a true chemistry and their verbal and physical sparring is note-perfect.  The script is a little dated, but in keeping the period so sharp right down to the Picasso on the wall, the production overcomes the inherent dangers.  There was a gasp of shock at the first slap, but the fight quickly turns so comical that that 2013 sensibility of what it means when there is physical violence between a man and a women can be diffused. I was blown away (as was my mother) with the outstanding effects in the Second Act.  It leaves you in a bit of a gasping shock and I give kudos to the production team and stage management for creating true magic. Although a traditional piece, it's a great show that I think anyone would be hard pressed not to laugh at, and it looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous so special mention to Leslie Frankish for her Set and Costume design and Joel Crichton for the Sound design.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Building a Fabulous Festival - Audition Time!

Just a quick mention about what I am up to these next few days.  Auditions for From Cradle to Stage 2013 are being held tonight and tomorrow at Walterdale Playhouse.  More information about these can be found here on my other Blog. I am Coordinating and Production Managing this festival and we have created an enthusiastic and talented team to bring the two new works to life on our stage. There is a trickiness to coordinating multiple productions within a festival but having been involved in 5 of the past 7 of them in a variety of roles (actor, playwright, director, etc...) I feel like I understand what is required. Edmonton also does Theatre Festivals well and this is a feature of the Walterdale Season that I am especially proud of. There are still spots open tonight (later in the evening) so feel free to contact me to book one or walk-in and we will fit you in.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Your Home is the Place Where your Heart is - Summer and Smoke at Walterdale

Tonight I was at Walterdale to work FOH for Summer and Smoke and to see the show.  I try to work FOH at least once for each of the shows and because my time this month is so full I did Coffee Bar because I could see the show at the same time.  I am not sure what I will do when my Proserve expires as I actually do not love doing Coffee Bar but that's for the future so I am not thinking about it much now. I worked with Joan Hawkins who co-designed and painted the gorgeous set and I always love a good visit with her so all was good.  It always feels kind of weird to be there working for a show that you didn't work on, but Walterdale has been my theatre home for a few years now so there is also a feeling of home when I am there.

The show was sold out, actually it oversold, so that was great for the theatre and the show.  It's the 6-Pack show and it's Tennessee Williams so it is hard to argue with the extreme saleability of the piece. In that light, I recommend getting your tickets in advance if you plan on going. Otherwise you might be disappointed.

I was quite impressed with Erika Conway who played the lead, Alma - the repressed minister's daughter in love with the wild boy next door.  She was outstanding a few seasons ago as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and this show proves that her talents are not limited to Shakespeare.  She has a vulnerability and an electric quality that is mesmerizing and she handily kept the audience engaged for the entire 3 hours.  She was offset nicely by Justin Deveau as John Buchanan.  Justin is able to play the cad and still make him lovable and sincere. The two of them played their juxtaposed arcs nicely against each other and it was quite easy to believe in their spiritual connection.  The show is also gorgeous to see.  Geri Dittrich's costumes and Joan Hawkins' and Alli Ross' Set are pitch perfect.  I am intent on finding a place to keep the Angel Statue that watches over all. It's amazing.

I was a wee bit disappointed not to hear Oliver in the prologue recording.  He had been asked to come in and record a piece and I guess they tried a few different things and he wasn't in the one they decided to use in the end.  I understand that as a director.  You make choices based on what works and what doesn't work.  As a mom, I was just disappointed not to hear him because I hadn't heard that they'd made a change. I was also a little disappointed that he wasn't in the program as I had planned to bring one home to him, but perhaps because he was cut from the track they decided to use they had felt it might be confusing to acknowledge him. He won't know the difference, it's just the Mama Rose in me that was sad.

#10 in my 2013 Theatre Goal

A Ticket to RIDE - NLT Delivers Another Thought-Provoking Piece

Last night I caught RIDE at the PCL Theatre in the Fringe Theatre Adventure Arts Barns.  The production is the latest from Northern Light Theatre and I was looking forward to it.  When you see as much theatre as I do, you want to see not only good work but also work that challenges you expectations.  I can usually depend on NLT to shake things up - at least in the kinds of scripts they choose. RIDE was no exception.  The story begins simply - two people wake up together, naked in bed, after an evening which neither can remember - what follows is not predictable or anticipated.  In fact there is a strange but cool surreal quality that slides in and out of the realism created by Director Trevor Schmidt.  Schmidt, by the way, is the only person I know in town who can stand by the door to the theatre saying to everyone who goes in: "Read this sign, the whole thing, and do what it says or I will lose my Sh%t." and have everyone laugh and do what he says with good humour.  (Based on the sign in question: I think some shows have been plagued with ringing phones and people needing to leave to go pee - which would no doubt ruin the extreme intimate quality of the show). Anyhow, I digress... The Show... It's sad, and real and Cole Humeny and Sereana Malani do a great job zigzagging through the emotions of the awkward situation as they try to reconstruct the forgotten evening.  As a whole, the show is more of a commentary on both the emptiness of the casual encounter and the layers of real need and want underneath as people search for closeness with other human beings.  It's not about either glorifying or condemning the one-night-stand - it instead seeks to deconstruct it.  It does so in a fascinating way.  You hope for a happy ending, but although there are many laughs, it is not a romantic comedy - it is exactly those hopes that fuel it.

Friday, February 08, 2013

A Few of My Favourite Things... Days of Wine and Roses...

Next week, Trunk Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of  JP Miller’s Days of Wine and Roses in a new version by Owen McCafferty at the Varscona Theatre from February 14th-23rd, 2013.  

A young Belfast couple moves to 1960s London, where they fall love with life, each other and drink.  Their exciting new life spirals out of control as alcohol takes its grip.  Why am I excited to see this? Well, because  Days of Wine and Roses stars two of my favourite local actors - Cody Porter (The Weir, This Lime Tree Bower) and Elena Porter (The Tudor Queen: A Burlesque, Lend Me a Tenor, Hamlet) and is directed by multiple Sterling Award nominee Amy DeFelice (Dying City, A Number) who directed This Lime Tree Bower  at the 2010 Fringe, which I loved.  Trunk Theatre is also the company that produced one of my 2012 Fringe Highlight shows - Mojo Mickybo

“In Days of Wine and Roses, McCafferty shows us, with beauty and skill, the dark heart that beats within failed love, the twisted pathology of the alcoholic and the sorrow of the Irish immigrant experience.” (Culture Northern Ireland).  It is the story of two young people who like to drink and fall in love with the bottle even more than each other.  As someone who has never been one for big mushy Valentines Days, this seems like a perfect little piece for me to see!

Days of Wine and Roses runs at the Varscona Theatre from February 14th (preview) - 23rd, performances Tuesday-Sunday 7:30pm and Saturdays 2:00pm.   Tickets are available at the door (10329-83 Ave), the Varscona Box Office (780-433-3399) or through Tix on the Square 780-420-1757 tix@tixonthesquare.ca

It's Coming - the First SkirtsAFire, herArts Festival! Want to help?



So I got this information today!  Knowing so many talented women in the Edmonton Theatre community I was excited to see this come to my in-box.  I love the idea of this festival and look forward to seeing what's on the ticket!  They are looking for people to help out - so check it out if you are interested in lending a hand!


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Until March 7, 2013
Volunteers Needed to Help Ignite the Spark!

Edmonton’s newest festival, SkirtsAFire, herArts festival is in need of helping hands to launch its first season! FromMarch 7 to 10, Alberta Avenue (118th avenue) hosts a celebration and showcase of women’s stories and the female voice in art.

SkirtsAFire is looking for help leading up to and during the festival. Whether you can volunteer your time at the festival, a few hours stuffing envelopes, or one of your many valuable skills … as a wise woman once said, many hands make light work.

SkirtsAFire creates a platform for women writing, directing, designing, choreographing, painting and putting music to their own stories. SkirtsAFire aims to bring women together from all artistic disciplines, as well as mothers, leaders, philanthropists, workers and students to share in our vision and stories.

For more information about volunteering, or for information about the festival itself, please visit skirtsafire.wordpress.com.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Great Meeting - Great People to Work With!

Today I had a great meeting with Tracy Carroll from APN.  I am working with Tracy in a variety of capacities.  She and Brian Dooley are dramaturges for Walterdale Playhouse's From Cradle to Stage Festival so I have been lucky to work with her for 3 of the past four years - primarily coordinating, but pleased none the less with getting to know her and having her work with the playwrights. I am also working with Tracy to coordinate a Partnership with APN and Walterdale.  Exciting stuff and I am really looking forward to the kinds of things we can bring to the membership.

Of course, we talked of many things.  These kinds of meetings are what I love about Edmonton and it's Arts Scene.  There are so many talented and skilled people who are so willing to share information and feedback and just talk about things going on.  Tracy is working with Skirts Afire on their upcoming festival, as well as with the ADFA (Alberta Drama Festival Association).  She was a great resource to hear information from and beyond the meat and potatoes of our meeting I left feeling inspired and grateful for the conversation. 

I have had this feeling in many places in the Edmonton Arts Scene.  The recent Edmonton Theatre Meet-Up during Canoe festival had that same spirit of sharing and community.  At the meet-up were people of a variety of different levels but everyone was welcome and everyone shared.  It made for a great discussion. I find this same spirit with the discussions we have on the Theatre Alberta and APN Boards.  I am so glad to be able to have these sharing and learning opportunities.

I wrote this because so often I feel very insecure and isolated when I am working on things and it is meetings like the one today that remind me that there are people that are very willing to talk to me about things.  That these people are also so incredibly positive and knowledgeable and talented makes it all the better. So I guess this post is just a reflection on gratitude for all the fabulous people I have met in the Edmonton Arts Community.  I hope that I can be the same sounding board and cheerleader and resource for other people.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Shots Go Wild... Evie's Waltz at Shadow Theatre

Yesterday I took in Evie's Waltz at Shadow Theatre.  It's a difficult play about a challenging topic and left me with much to think about - too much really.  The script (by Carter Lewis) is rhetoric filled with comments on parenting (good and bad), judgement, bullying, gun control, kids with guns, school shootings, dancing, vegetarianism, infidelity and a few other things.  I think it did a lot in terms of leaving you things to think about, but by focusing so much on the 'issues' it also had a lot of unbelievable dialogue which challenged the actors. They rose to the occasion, with Coralie Cairns (Gloria) being the most successful at consistently making the jargon sound like something a real person might say.  She also has the biggest journey and she is worth the price of admission as she moves from frustrated, angry and disengaged to regretful and desperate.  Doug Mertz (Clay) and Karen Mott (Evie) do their best with it, but are not as successful.  Clay is written as a bit of a one-note character and Evie seems so contradictory so that they just don't work as well.  Still, it was an interesting show and my date Kara and I talked a great deal about it afterwards. It would have been better to rely more on more basic wants and needs than on the philosophical arguments.  If that were the case it would have been easier for them to sustain the tension required under the circumstances.  As it is, the imminent threat ebbs and flows with the rhetoric which I think lets the audience off too easy. I would have far preferred to leave with my abs aching from the tension of what will happen?  instead of my brain aching from sorting through the points it was trying to make.