Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In Venice!!!

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

We're in Toronto now, with one week to go. Six shows. It's encouraging to think that I can do this long a run. Back to Montgomery's Inn, where we started rehearsing so long ago.

I'm grateful to be in Summerworks, grateful that my 'I'm in a show' haze can continue a few days longer, but in a way it's difficult because one project doesn't get to die before another starts up. It's great in terms of putting off post-show-depression (although it will be all the worse when I have nothing to do and must turn to crime and hard liquor), but bad because I don't have a chance to let something end, and be myself without that particular show.

One of the best things about doing these two shows at the same time is how different the processes are. 'Shrew' is so organized, both onstage and in our rehearsal show. 'Witch' has a lot of madness. More madcap. I love the organization, I love feeling protected and treated like a professional, but I also love the touch of insanity, the idea of throwing something together, that it will likely fail but we'll do it anyway. In my extremist tendencies, I want to find a way to have both, intensely: a show where everyone feels safe and no one's time is wasted, but where simultaneously anything can happen and we're all on very dangerous ground. Controlled madness? Kept safe by each other, but teetering on the edge. I don't know how to combine those two things, but I think for me, that would be the ideal situation.

I'm breaking down now, though. I have lost the upper notes of my register, have two sprained fingers, one on each hand, a sprained ankle, and knee pain. So I guess I am no longer 'surviving' this marathon summer. Or maybe I am just barely surviving. It has been hard. I am so not suited to a freelancer's lifestyle! Feast to famine. Not good for me. Ayeeee. I am sure I have forgotten how to audition.

I don't know how to talk about the work that I'm doing anymore. Sometimes it feels ok. Sometimes I need the audience to let me know that it's ok, and I don't think that's how it should be. Sometimes I have lots of fun and sometimes I am confused. I know that if I were a good actor, all the aches and pains (especially the lost voice), would not be troubling me right now. I still find new things, and that is wonderful and also frustrating, because I think I should have found them ages ago. I still like parts of the show. I still love parts of the show. There are still problems. The work is the work and that's all there is. Right now I don't think I'll miss playing Grumio, although I have had fun. I am so contrary. I wanted to do Shakespeare and comedy this summer, and that's totally what I got, and so now I am hungry for new work, and drama. Oh, I am ridiculous. What a joy I must be to be near.

I have to take pictures of scenes that I'm not in, which means they are always kind of the same, but with DIFFERENT BACKDROPS. I wish I was better at taking pictures.

Maybe I'll focus on that and get really good at it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Then we Open Again, WHERE???????

I have no pictures of Etienne Brule park, which was one of the venues I was most excited for (mostly because it is closest to my house), because I am lazy. And also because both nights it threatened to rain, and the second night, it did, and we did not have a show. At all. Too bad. It would have been really nice.

Both days I spent the rest of the time rehearsing my SummerWorks show. And then I sprained my ankle. I'm tired.

I'm always tired.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Then Padua....

As a Torontonian, in addition to being an asshole, I am also someone who disparages mightily the suburbs of Toronto. Yes, Scarberia and Miserysauga are places not worth my time, and while I could easily get to them within three hours of hellish public transport, I choose not to.

Apparently, I've been missing out, because performing outdoor Shakespeare in Miserysauga is awesome.

This place definitely wins the cutest kids award. Oh man. Oh man. A little girl called Annabelle yesterday was totally into the show. She liked it because 'I could see how you felt on the inside by what you were doing on the outside'. Genius child. Today there were all these chubby babies. I love me some chubby babies. And lots of people! Both nights. I think our biggest houses, but I am not good at either counting or estimating the number of people in a given area, so that is a ridiculous statement coming from me, Mr. Magoo.

But unfortunately, tonight we got rained out. Boo. So close to the end. Such a bummer. It's weird losing the show like that. Leaves a weird taste in my mouth.

Kaleb didn't seem to mind, though.

This is what a rainy audience looks like.

I think I'm very tired and starting to fade. I don't want to show it, but there it is. I start to wonder if I don't love acting the way that I'm supposed to, and that scares me, because I do not have the talent or the looks required for this industry, but I do have a ferocity and a desire to be in the industry so badly that I keep tearing away at it like a wolf on a deer carcass (Note to self: improve metaphors). Sometimes. Sometimes I think I should bake pies for a living and watch The View every single day. I don't know if it's normal on a project this long to start getting tired. I still feel like I'm finding things, there are parts of the show that I enjoy doing and watching, but it's definitely more of a job. It goes back and forth between being a job and being a passion.

I'm terrified to say that because I feel someone will come down, Deus Ex Machina, and say, 'Well, you don't love it enough, so you're out'. But lots of people who don't love it very much are very successful. And I think I love it, most of the time. I think? Once again, I don't know what I want. Not all the time.

I take things very personally which means it's hard for me not to get demoralized in this business. When the work is not about achieving perfection, but continually reaching for it in different ways, which is the way I want to work, then you get notes and thoughts and reactions that indicate someways are better than others. One of the more delightful contradictions about me is that though I love to work this way, I am an absolutist and also want things to just be flat out good or bad. And I tend to look at things that way: if I get notes, I'm doing a bad job.

I've started feeling for some reason that I'm doing a bad job, and when that happens, I lose my heart. I don't know where it goes. It falls out the bottom of my feet and it is all I can do to just plow forward. That's when I piss people off, that's when I'm called 'difficult', and 'moody' and 'snobbish'. I am all of those things and none of those things. Oh man, I am impossible.

So my heart is the slightest bit gone and I don't know what that means. Maybe it will come back to me. That's nice. When I love theatre, I love it in a way that I fear I'm incapable of loving or being loved by a human being. I love it in a way that feels more like a relationship than any relationship I've ever had. It is so impossibly good there is nothing else.

But the rest of the time? I don't know.

I do know that we have 9 more shows. So we'll see if I find my heart tomorrow. Like a finding machine finds things in a finding lot (Note to self: nice).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Then Mantua...

Holy gong-show, Batman.

There are some times when I just realize I am not a very good actor at all. That I am really just the 15 year old who started acting to meet boys and receive some attention and all I do is get up and run around and yell and make faces. Tonight was one of those times.

Confidence is such a fragile thing. It breaks more easily than my heart. AWWWWW!!!!!! I am precious and clever.

We did the show tonight in an indoor venue about 1/4 the size of our normal playing space. Awesome. An hour and a half later than we normally do. Wicked. At a Raspberry Social. Bring it.

The best part about a Raspberry Social are the Raspberries.

Judging by the motto of the place we performed, I will likely never be asked back.

I had, by far, my worst show. So far. Jesus H. Christ, I was a bad actor tonight. I was trying so desperately to figure out how to work in the new space that just absolutely nothing worked for me. I lost everything. I don't know what happened. I was like a 4 year old up there. How embarrassing.

Weird timing tonight, so many different things. Quiet audience. Blargh. I'm frustrated that I wasn't able to cope better. I don't know why.

I will have to recover from this horrific show and I'm not sure how to, other than just to go and do something tomorrow night. Something like tonight, but not quite. Better, except I don't know how to be better, it is not a quality I can define. How can I become a better actor when I don't even know what a good actor is? Half of the time I don't know what I like, in myself or others. And then when I know, I don't always know why, or even know if I really know that I like things. Oi.

I've been having lots of conversations about what I want right now, and while I do think, for the most part, I know what it is, I don't have any confidence that what I want is right. I'm such a little girl sometimes. I guess the fact that I don't really know who I am, or, more accurately, that who I am changes every ten minutes, means that it's hard to know what's right for me in the long run. I have images of what I want and they are so strong, but maybe I'm chasing something that isn't even in line with the person I really am. Because I don't know if I've even met that chick yet.

I'm confused and tired, and thank the Lord that I have another morning off tomorrow because otherwise I would collapse in tears, except it will go ever so quickly and then it will be gone forever.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

That dingy, stingy menace....

So much for blogging every day. Although with the amount I have on my plate, I think the fact that I am still standing is pretty impressive. Not really. But I have low standards when it comes to being pleased with myself. Or not. Maybe that whole sentence is a total lie. Let's just move on.

Week two went, week three comes apace. This week was lots of great, lots of not so great. It's hard, touring. I love it very deeply but I've had a lot of mini-meltdowns this week. I don't think I'm bringing it onstage, but it's hard not to show my stress, and my sadness, and all the horrible beasts I have inside me when you're crammed in a van with people every day, and changing next to them in a tent.

So we were in Schomberg. Now, Schomberg might sound like a boring place, but it is awesome.

I am such a city mouse, but I want to live in Schomberg a bit (although I would most likely murder someone within twenty minutes). Mostly because of the things you can eat in Schomberg.

Oh such things!

I love this. Hard.

And the show was ok. Two nights there. The first one was a really great audience and I was so happy. The second one got rained out halfway through and then I was cold and miserable. Mood swing Moss strikes again!

Rain out tent!!

Then Kettleby. Do these place names have any significance? No. All I know is that we drive in some direction for an indeterminate amount of time, and, when they tell me to, I get out and say my lines.

Yeah, this was ok. Oh, actually, this was a good show for me. I felt like total crap but I think because of this I was able to just do new stuff. I just let it fly, and that was great. Ann-Marie Kerr used to say the best stuff is when the actor surprises him or herself, and is visibly shocked by what you do. I love those moments. I think I had them in this show. New details. New moments. Man, acting is weird. Does the fact that I have an acting blog make me more or less hateful? Does this make me a douchebag actor, or does it relieve me of douchebag actor status?

Aw, this picture is cute! There was a party after the Kettleby show. Wow, free alcohol is so not my friend. Holy red-face, Batman. It sure is nice to be plied with booze after doing a show. Don't I look like a normal person in this picture? You would think I am a human being. Instead of a troll, which is the sad truth.

Then Alton Mill. This was interesting. Lots of people really liked this venue, and while I didn't, I guess because I have really come to like performing in parks, it was pretty cool. It's this kind of stone enclosure, and there are windows, that we took to climbing in and out of. That was kind of fun. One thing I do love about this project is how every show you have to adapt to so much. There is no room to be precious about the work, because when you aren't being rained on or eaten by bugs, you have to exit through the audience, or project louder than ever because they're so far, or deal with any of the other million things around you. It's such a good exercise as an actor to learn to cope and to tell the story no matter what is happening. I love that shit, because, in my reluctance to set anything and keep everything as alive as possible, I try to just accept what's going on, and i love when stuff is different, even when it falls apart. And Hugh, who plays Petruchio, turned into Errol Flynn in this show, so that was exciting.

For me, though, I thought this was a weak show. Other cast members thought it was our best overall. I guess I am contrary: I never agree with that kind of stuff. I felt that the audience didn't like me. I have to accept the fact that I make big loud choices. I am a big loud actor. I think I do subtle stuff a lot, and I like it, but I'm playing a clown character in a park: I am a big loud actor in this one. And some people aren't going to like that. It's a reflection that I made choices, because there is room to disagree. It still throws me into a spiral of self loathing, though. Because I'm fun like that.

It's so hard to keep doing the work you're doing when you think people don't like the work you're doing. What's up with that?


Man, this is a lot of shows. We are halfway down, though, and that scares me. I'm enjoying it so much and already starting to fear the post-show depression.

Kevin looks like Huck Finn in this outfit. This is a hard look to pull off.

But, yes, it is really cool for acting to be a job. Maybe that will happen again!

Show me your duck face.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Next Jump is Parma...

Dear King:
I thought you would be a nice little stop. We had a nice little venue with a nice little willow tree behind it. A nice little audience showed up to watch our nice little play. There was even a nice little sunset behind us, which meant I did not do most of my scenes with my eyes either squinted or closed, so that I could not see anyone onstage and had to grope inappropriately to know where they are.

Boys took a nice little nap.

We took some nice little pictures.

It was a nice little night!



I thought Caledon, first night, was bad. While there were likely more mosquitoes there, these ones were wilier. These ones were not giving up without a fight. The bats that we saw flying around clearly do not do enough population control on the little bloodsuckers, as I, again, got eaten alive.

I really try to be a dedicated actor and scene partner. I have worked through very great internal pain, outside distractions, cell phones going off, sets falling down, forgotten cues, forgotten entire scenes, but, man, when a bug lands on my eye, I am not thinking about the fricking play. I am thinking about the bug in my eye. The last scene of the play, supposed to be a happy wedding/celebration scene, tempered with Kate's big long speech, has become something of a fish slapping dance, in which I try to, as discreetly as possible, kill insects. So much for Shakespeare.

Ah well. Until then, it was a good show! I think. I don't know anymore. Like, really, do I know the first thing about acting? Nope.

Lotsa Laughs in Cremona....

Kleinberg... I'm going to run out of lyrics to 'We Open in Venice' before I run out of touring places. Hm. Good things my knowledge of musicals has yet to be exhausted by anything.

A really super fun show on Saturday night. Big house, responsive house, nice evening, one of those times where I remember how much fun this is. The whole acting she-bang, I mean. As opposed to most of the rest of the time where I think I should have pursued a career as human cannon-ball or alligator wrestler.

Sara and Hugh practice musical styles.

There were some of the cutest children I ever saw in my life in the audience, and, instead of screaming in horror whenever I appear onstage (as notably happened during my stellar run of The Big Bad Wolf), one of them would wave on me when I was in the middle of scenes! I would, of course, wave back, as this is my grade four Christmas concert and my mum is in the audience. I am nothing if not a consummate professional. And the kids seemed to like it. They were paying attention, they were sitting up, laughing...Yes, I liked Kleinberg a lot.

Sunday matinee in Kleinberg....RAIN OUT!

First, it was the World Cup final (once again, in the constant battle of arts vs. sports, sports has come out victorious. I guess what with our dislike of the outdoors and homosexual leanings, we arts-types don't stand much of a chance. Although if we ever settle things in a Neuroses or Trying to Psychologically Damage your Competition contest, arts will surely win), so our house was on the smallish side. It started out so so hot that I thought I would faint halfway through my scene in Act One. And then, out of nowhere, the sky just got darkity dark dark and I started hearing some pretty angry thunder. Then it just opened up and started raining. About three minutes to intermission, we called it. Goodbye. Oh well.

I actually loved that we got rained out. It was by far our smallest house, so it was the best one to lose, and it was so exciting! I'm only in theatre for the potential for disaster, and so the gods raining down upon you is something that thrills me. Too bad to lose a show, but so it goes. Outdoor touring. Woot.

Krump lesson!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Then On To Cremona....

I've never done a run this long before that wasn't TYA, and I'm already realizing how demanding it is. I've also never toured like this, and that's taking it's toll. But it's pretty great. Touring combines my love of acting with my love of practical things (such as moving shit and putting shit up). There's a DIY attitude which I just love. I love that our show fits in three cars and it just goes where we go. It's a challenge, but such a good one.

And while I'm still a bit hesitant about how I feel about the show after four weeks of it, I'm seeing how great it is to get to inhabit a character for that length of time. The ability to rehearse for months (or years, as they always say the Russians do) is so amazing. I have to push myself to find new things, but they're there, and they're surprising me. Again, a challenge that I think I"m up to.

Another day in Bolton, where it threatened to rain.

But didn't! It was super nice and there were lots of people and not so hot. I didn't have a great show, it was a difficult one for me.

And then tonight we were at Cedar Glen. Where we performed for a whole bunch of kids at some kind of leadership camps. YOUTHS. I hate youths. I fear youths! When they come to my job and I have to deal with them I try to switch with someone, because they scare me, what with their coolness and new fangled popular music.
It felt like they didn't understand or like the show. And then it felt like we, the actors, perceived that, and got demoralized, and slowed down, and all kind of lost interest. That was how it seemed to me. And then, of course, being the contrary asshole that I am, decide that I have to save the play in the second act, so come out with guns blazing. I'm not sure if I did a good scene: it felt really good, it felt new and different, and I was finding things all over the place tonight. But it might have just looked like me charging at some invisible wall with all my might.

That's hard for me. I have so much energy, I have a big voice, I have emotions that I struggle to keep inside of my body, and I'm a pretty physical actor who wants to move around: I need to find containers for all these things so that I don't just get up onstage and bleed and cry and dance. Then it would be the Shapes and Feelings show, and we don't need that, do we? Not sure if tonight was too much, or if I was able to find enough moments of sublety that it was ok. I definitely found more shades, and while it was bigger, or, more accurately, more cartoon-y, which I like but is becoming a default type of characterization for me, because I love love love Looney tunes this sentence is so long no one will ever read it, I still felt that the madness of the big moments were freeing me up to be quieter in quieter moments. But maybe not. I don't know. I was in it, dammit, I couldn't watch the damn thing.

Ahh, I love Shakespeare and touring.



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We next play Verona...



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Open in Venice....

...or we preview in Caledon.

Whatever, it feels like an opening. There are humans! Coming to see the show! We are not in the same space as we were! That's an opening.

(Dumb sexual joke: I will show you an opening. That's what she said!)

The daunting task of performing in the open air has finally hit me. We had some hot days at rehearsal, but this was like the fiery pits of Hades. However, boys, as they do, will still insist on playing sports.But if the sun doesn't scald you to a lovely melanoma brown, the wind will surely blow you in to another province. It threatened to take our set and tent today.

Apparently, the tent functions just as a sail!Somehow, I have the task of helping to put the tent up and take it down every night. Clearly, this is a job intended for someone with half a brain and a scrap of co-ordination. Fail on both counts. Honestly, we are lucky it stands.

And then, just when you think it is safe, THE BUGS COME OUT OF NOWHERE TO EAT YOU ALIVE.

I swear to God, they were everywhere. Horrifying. My upper arms are like moon craters, I am so covered in bugs. I don't know what they want: at one point, they had clearly won! Go back to your mosquito overlords and tell them the humans are no longer a problem! You clearly won! At another point I almost lost it. I don't consider myself a wimpy girl (FALSE: I am one of the wimpiest people in the world, but what I mean is that when there is work to be done, I am good at coming through and pushing through the most ridiculous of obstacles, usually my contrary nature compels me to want to succeed when everyone else wants to give up, and being attacked by mosquitoes would be the kind of obstacle I just love to surmoung), but I was quite distressed to be a smorgasbord for a swarm of flesh eaters.

This is me distressed. It's not pretty. I'm not pretty even when calm and reflective, which is approximately never. Actually, this is pretty much my constant state of general agitation and screaming.

But, all in all, it was a good show. Great audience, good response.

I'm not really happy with the work I'm doing, I feel that now that the show has come together, looking at the whole thing I don't really fit in. I worry about being a weak link in the cast, and I think Grumio is a bit of a missing link in the show. He has these very funny lines, these 'wise fool' moments, but like Lear's fool, he kind of disappears, and has no plot function at all to ground him in the show. I'm struggling with not being sure how to play it anymore. I felt like I had made sense of it, and then costume changed things for me and I haven't really had time to figure it out. So I feel a bit lost right now, and I"m not sure what I'm going to be able to put together in the run. Something, hopefully. Eep.

One down, 23 to go!