Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Help me return to the world of the living, by showing me how to begin.

Instead of just complaining, because that's the kind of mood I'm in, the kind of mood where you just open your mouth and spew forth inane garbage which only proves:

a) how self centered you are
b) how you have no actual problems and are a twat
c) how you have too much time on your hands to invent all these problems
and d) how you have a gigantic fat mouth

INSTEAD of that

because I'm trying to NOT do that

even though I really WANT to do that....

so no, let's just think that there are lots of things to be happy about. Like these guys.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Piece by Piece, Only Way to Make a Work of Art

So I did not post the day I meant to, but I went to the Shaw Festival instead, which means I have more things to blog about in future. Which is good. No one reads this, but I still feel devoted to updating it semi-quasi-a bit-regularly. In part because it makes me write, and also because it makes me think about theatre, about the line of work that I'm trying to do and wanting to do, and I can't do it all the time. So thinking and writing about it make me feel somewhat more connected when I don't have a gig. Which is far too often.



I saw something inspiring when I was in New York. I'm inspired easily, I think, by things that aren't theatre, and rarely in the theatre. This was trancendent.

Ridiculous, real, whimsical, everyday, superb, physical, funny, self-referential, smart, and beyond beyond beyond.

I mean, look at this.

It's from a Cornwall company called Kneehigh Theatre. Their blurb about themselves says they 'tell stories'. I'm sold.

It's a staged version of David Lean's film 'Brief Encounter', which is a film version of Noel Coward's novel 'Still Life'. The movie, which I need to see, is apparently a testament to stiff upper lip British civility and under-acting. The stage version explodes this, and finds ways to manifest the inner world of everyone on stage. Really, its a manifestation of what being in love and doing things you shouldn't feels like.

It's technically very proficient. Fast, clean, great. Everyone onstage plays instruments, is physical, is talented, can sing. All the elements are perfectly in place.

It's incredibly creative. They use music, dance, film, puppets, circus, toys everything at their disposal to tell the story. It is profoundly theatrical, a true celebration of the medium and the possibilities therein.

It's deeply funny and incredibly sad.

And then there are two things that I think make it really special. One is the focus on watching. It takes place in a coffee shop below a train station, where lots of love stories take place and everyone watches them. There are often other actors watching the action, sometimes shyly, sometimes boldly, sometimes participating by making sound effects or contributing music, and sometimes just watching. But the genius of this is that it makes them one of us, one of the audience. This is literally represented by having the characters often sit in the audience, and jump in and out of it. It also incriminates us. We, as much as the other characters, allow everything to happen. We're a part of it.

And then, to further that, they somehow manage to create an amazingly community-like feel. At the end, the actors run to the back of the theatre and play songs for half an hour. They dance with the audience, and ask us if we liked the show. They wink at us during the show, never too much, it never destroys the alternate reality they are creating onstage, but it is a sly joke that lets us in. At the end, an enormous 'Good Night' quilt comes down. I felt like I had been kissed and put to bed. They took care of us. They held our hand and showed us something completely new. They took risks but never took advantage of us.

It's beautiful amazing theatre and I'm furious I didn't create it.

I want to be in it. Its going to Vancouver Playhouse, which is wonderful, and I hope someone who has power in Toronto theatre has the brilliant idea to get the rights to it and DO IT HERE. And then lets me be in it.

Because its beautiful. And it reminded me of why I want to be in theatre.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

There's the bold, brave spring of the tiger that quickens your walk.

I went to New York.

I love New York.

I feel that city feeds me in a way that is probably mostly in my head, created through too many tv shows and movie musicals that mythologized the place.

I thought a lot about commitment and how important it is in the work.

There was an amazing installation at the MoMA. Created by Yoko Ono, it is a microphone (which is not on) in a pretty empty gallery room. There are instructions on the wall that tell you to scream against the wind, against the world...whatever. I watched this for a long time. It was fascinating. It was a fascinating reminder that it is interesting to watch people be COMMITTED. People who actually screamed, who went up, and knew what they were going to do and did it, were wonderful to watch. Everything else was a disappointment. The people who got up and made a joke of it, the people who got up and expected the mic to carry them, the people who only kind of did it, this is not interesting. What is interesting is the people who commit. When someone goes up and really did it, everyone would applaud, and it would start a rush of people going up and screaming themselves. It invigorated the entire space and everyone in it. When someone made a joke of it, the momentum died.

So important to remember.


And on that note, I saw 'La Cage Aux Folles' on Broadway, and while there was amazing work from the Cagelles and Douglas Hodge had lots of good moments as Albin, Kelsey Grammar as Georges was a reminder that commitment is what I want to see.

He seemed so uncomfortable, didn't finish his movements...ugh. He didn't seem to want to be there. How could he not be? Come on, Frasier! You're on Broadway! BE on Broadway!

Maybe he needed some tossed salads and scrambled eggs.

And tomorrow I will talk about one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in a theatre.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Am My Own Best Friend

So I likely won't have a project before I get to go here to do this.

Which is great, so I am great-ful, and that is ok to go so long without acting, right? RIGHT??

BUT I have come to a conclusion which perfectly combines my loves of both madness and sanity.

I'm not going to be given an opportunity, but, as I learned because the Global Reality Channel has been reshowing seasons 1 and 2 of The Apprentice and I have been watching because I love The Apprentice and, as we have learned, I have no projects, I CAN SEIZE OPPORTUNITY.

I have to do my own shit.

Doing my own shit seems fantastic at 10:42 on a Tuesday evening when I lie in bed and have lots of energy. It never seems so good at all other times of the day.

I have lots of skills I want to learn to be a more marketable actor, and I have lots of things I want to write so that I can become a more diversified artist, and also things I want to write so that I can show everyone how great an actor I am and how they should cast me all the time, all the time, all the time. But its hard to motivate myself to do those things.

I like the structure of an external project. Then I have rehearsals, and that gives my whole week structure. Even having just one kind of busy day makes the whole week seem useful to me. But that's not coming right now. It would be nice, but it's not.

So it's on me.

I don't know how to get disciplined about this kind of thing. Left to my own devices, I routinely get really depressed and watch entire seasons of The Apprentice on the Global Reality Channel. I want to write, and learn the ukulele, and to juggle, and all that, but then The Office comes on and, the best laid plans of mice and men....



Monday, September 6, 2010

In daylights, In sunsets, In midnights, In cups of coffee...

Summer's over, by one measure (NO MORE WHITE SHOES!).

And by the somewhat more accurate measure of the leaves turning.

Let's take stock, shall we?

Shows I was in this summer: 2
Performances Given: 31 (23 of one, 8 of another)
Performances Cancelled Due to Weather: 1 completely, 3 somewhere in between intermission and the end.
Performances Cancelled Due to Violin-Related Mishaps: 1
Number of parks performed in: 15
Drum Circles Caught in the Middle Of: 1
Injuries: 1 sprained ankle, 2 sprained fingers
Scrapes and Bruises: Innumerable
Mosquito Bites: Infinite
Sunburns: Two, but very minor and confined to small, although inconvenient areas. This was cause for great joy, for me and my Irish heritage.
Jewellery Lost: 1 earring (damn), 1 barrette.
Times Urinated Outdoors: 3
Times Urinated in very Questionable Bathrooms, where the outdoors probably would have been a better place to pee: 20 (approx.)
Scariest thing seen in public bathroom: 'Finger', scrawled in child-like printing with what was certainly some form of bodily liquid.
Costume changes: 3 between 2 shows.
Times changed in open air: 3 times a night for WITCH of edmonton
Bags that a Dog Peed On: 1 that I know of
Dogs Befriended: Countless
Favorite Dog: Troilus from Montgomery's Inn
Favorite Audience Member: Annabelle from Mississauga
Jobs maintained while doing all this: 1, plus occasional babysitting


Let's find a new project, shall we? Come on, fall. You're not my favorite season for nothing, are you?