Tag Archives: Theater

Final Week (Reboot365-7)

We are fast coming up to opening night… and that means rehearsals come rain or shine.

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Given we will be performing in the park, we can’t be put off by a sudden drop in temperature, howling winds and bucket-loads of precipitation.

We are in the mountains, so wait a few minutes and the weather changes.

The sun came out for a bit and it was every man, woman and child for him/herself… So many great brawls! My admiration for our fight choreographer, Anastasia St. Amand knows no bounds… I want to write a play full of ugly fights just so I can have an excuse to work with her again!

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Plenty of people in town have wandered past and enjoyed watching bits and pieces of rehearsals, but there’s just as much going on behind the scenes. The mask-making project is racing along (suddenly the first show seems really, really close), costumes are being stitched, props made, sets built… It is always so cool and so nerve-wracking to see shows come together. Just when it seems an impossible feat to pull off – yikes! There’s an audience out there and somehow the show happens!!

Check out the Pine Tree Players website for details and if you are anywhere near here… come see The Apple Kingdom (matiné) and Romeo and Juliet (evening) performance starting July 4…

 

Red Cedar and Perilous Prickles! (33/365)

What a wild and crazy day today! Up early to work on a freelance writing assignment, then off to rehearsal for the Canmore Summer Theatre Festival (bonus – it’s a SUMMER festival, so rehearsals are outside!!!!)

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Ran home mid-dance choreography to take part (virtually) in the Red Cedar gala hosted by the Vancouver Public Library (Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet was a nominated title this year!!! Woot! Woot!). Thanks to Skype, I was able to deliver a super-quick talk and say hello to everyone… shared a story about my favourite tree, the one that saved my life in the BVI a few years back when I climbed the boulder on the right…

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only to discover that once I’d made it to the top I couldn’t get back down again! A tree growing up beside the rock over on the back side saved my bacon, as they say… though it was a perilous descent through prickly branches and over a massive termite nest before I was back on sandy land once again…

Then, raced back over to rehearsals and more dancing… and then home again for more writing! Head. Exploding.

I’m almost done now… still need to do a bit more writing (after the blog, that is), then have a quick peek at the Canmore Ghost Walks scripts (stay tuned for more on that project!) before crashing hard into bed!

Wherever you are, hug a tree when you next see one… That special tree which saved my life? I was hoping for a reunion and a quick snuggle when I was back in the BVI recently, but the tree (along with many others in the islands) was gone, ripped out by the roots when hurricane Irma blasted through last year.

 

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The Tree of Life by Marc Chagall, 1948

 

Sorry to leave you on a saddish note, but never forget that nothing lasts forever. Appreciate those special connections you have today – with trees, your cat, your folks, your kids… They matter.

 

All My World’s a Stage (27/365)

A looooong day today of rehearsals, set design meeting, mask design meeting, choreography, and then pulling together the first section of Romeo and Juliet.

 

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Masks, masks, and more masks… Who is dancing with whom at the Capulets’ party?

I’m doing a few things – assistant director (mostly soaking up information and working with super-talented people with waaaaay more experience than I have… Yes, Amanda Cutting, I do mean you…), understudy for Nurse (oh, what a juicy, juicy role!) and possibly playing Lady Montague – final decision on that front will be made in the next few days). I’m just trying to learn as much as I can and not get too confused at this point!

 

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Romeo and Juliet by Konstantin Makovsky, 1890

 

Because part of our cast comes out from Calgary, rehearsals have mostly been consolidated into two very long days each week, which is why my Sundays and Mondays have pretty much been swallowed up until after the Canmore Summer Theatre Festival is over July 8.

We are setting our version of the classic in the early 1970s… very colourful and most excellent music!

 

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Here’s where Salvador Dali went with his idea for set design for Romeo and Juliet in 1942

 

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Here is Christoper Wood’s set design for Diaghilev’s ballet of Romeo and Juliet in 1925

I don’t have a drawing to share with you to show you what we will be doing (maybe I’ll try to do something in the next few days…), but what I can say is that there will be a treehouse!! For anyone who knows me at all, you will know how happy treehouses make me! (and for those who don’t, just let me say that I lived in a treehouse for a while… when I was a teenager… fond memories, indeed!)

 

 

 

 

 

T is for Theatre (AtoZChallenge2018)

Well, I was going to write a lengthy post today about the theatre and travelling and how both are acts of transformation, but I have been utterly bogged down with work and have been staring at the screen for most of the day. So, this will be quick as I am ready to fall over.

Instead, here are a few photos from recent theatrical experiences…

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This little theatre in Paris is where I went to see How to Be Parisian in One Hour by Olivier Giraud. The show was lots of fun to be sure, but I was just as delighted by the theatre itself (Théâtre des Nouveautés). One of the oddities was the numbering system of the seats (which is perhaps why there were actual ushers taking showing audience members to their designated places). In the center of each row the two middle seats were 1 and 2. Then, moving out toward the aisles were 3 and 4 (3 beside 1 and 4 beside 2).  It would be lovely to have a place like this in Canmore (though perhaps not with the wacky numbering system)!

 

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At the Theater by Mary Cassatt, 1879. Sitting in my plush velvet seat, I could almost imagine a child like this watching from the balcony at the little theatre in Paris. 

 

Not that there is anything wrong with Black Box Theatre at Artsplace (that’s where we did Sex With Strangers earlier this year).

 

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Beginning to dress the set for Theatre Canmore’s production of Laura Eason’s play, Sex With Strangers

 

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But neither the theatre at ArtsPlace or the Opera House has quite the same vibe.

 

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Working with Deborah Ariss on Strong as an Ox for the 10-Minute Play Festivus was a ton of fun. Can’t wait for next year! (Photo by Toomas Meema)

One of the things I like best about the theatre is the way one can transform yourself into completely different characters.

 

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Here, Allegra of the usually-transluscent skin and perfect makeup transformed herself into a homeless heroin addict and I had a go at being a grumpy old woman (and Ally’s silent bus-stop companion in the play My Higher Power by Melissa Klein). This was also performed at the 10-minute Festivus at the Canmore Opera House.  

This passion for acting goes back for as far as I can remember – here’s a photo of me when I was not much older than Ally is now, getting ready for my role as Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream… 

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I’m not quite sure how I feel about this next one…

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Monochrome red (theater) by Yves Klein, 1954

 

My version…

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Yah This is Red (Except for the Curtains)

 

And that, dear readers, is what happens when I sit down to write a post when I should be placing my weary head upon my pillow…

 

 

 

 

Sex With Strangers (the play by Laura Eason)

 

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At the moment I’m flipping back and forth between working on the Camino manuscript and learning my lines… OMG, there are a lot of lines! And, OMG, the Camino book is turning out to be a long one!

In a most unexpected plot twist, I seem to have been cast as the female lead in Laura Eason’s smart, timely and, yes – sexy play, Sex With Strangers being produced here in Canmore by Theatre Canmore (@theatrecanmore on Instagram). 

I can’t decide which emotion is strongest at the moment – delight, excitement, disbelief, or sheer terror!

Here’s how it all came about… Last week Pine Tree Players (a local theatre group here in Canmore) hosted an acting workshop. It was free, all day long with the amazing Valerie Campbell and included a free lunch! I had been wanting to get back into community theatre so I signed up thinking that would be a good way to ease back into acting (something I’ve always loved) and meet some local people who aren’t necessarily involved in the climbing world.

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Well, one of the other attendees was Maxine Bennett, an actor, director and generally cool person. Maxine, turns out, was in the middle of holding auditions for Sex With Strangers, a show she is directing, and suggested some of us come and try out. So, what the heck, right? I figured I was a bit on the old side for the role but that it would be good for me to go through the audition process. And, given the next set of auditions was on Monday (the workshop on Saturday) I hardly had time to chicken out.

I bought a copy of the play online and LOVED it. It’s a full-length play for two actors – one man, one woman – and the female lead is a deliciously complicated role. And, weirdly enough, Olivia in the play is a writer, struggling with issues all writers deal with at some point. Some of her lines I have actually said in my real life! The play is also about the juggling act we all deal with as we navigate the public demands of the online world and the private demands of what should be private. Though, what is ever truly private these days? Laura Eason does a terrific job of exploring the generation gap that exists between digital natives and those of us who are… not so much.

Of course, given the title, you know this is going to be a bit on the racy side… and, when I googled the sizzle reels from some of the other productions (Sex With Strangers is currently one of the most frequently produced plays in North America) they were, yeah… sizzly. Pretty much every scene in the script ends with something like this, “They kiss passionately. Clothes come off. Sex is imminent.”

Gulp.

I have never played a role where, um… intimacy is so central to the storyline, but it all makes a lot of sense in context (i.e. it’s not gratuitous…) and, of course, there’s always a certain amount of danger involved with intimacy and the vulnerability that goes along with it – particularly when one doesn’t know one’s partner as well as one perhaps should. Which gives rise to some wonderful dark twists and turns as the play goes to places one doesn’t expect in the opening scenes.

It’s been a nail-biter of a week waiting to see who would be cast.

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Max Landi will be playing Ethan in Theatre Canmore’s production of Sex With Strangers

I’m delighted to introduce you to Max Landi, who will play the role of Ethan… I can’t wait to get going with rehearsals and will post some updates here. Right now, though, the full reality of how many lines I have to learn has kicked in! A LOT!! Between the kissing, there are, like, a million lines of dialogue and, you know, I’m not working with a sharp-as-a-tack 20-something brain any more! So, there’s a challenge!

If you are local in the Bow Valley, tickets will go on sale in January, but mark your calendars if you think you might be interested in catching a show. Dates are February 2, 3, 4 in Canmore (at Artsplace) and an additional performance (or two?) in Banff the following weekend. Check the Theatre Canmore website for details or follow Theatre Canmore on Facebook. Hopefully, I won’t get too snowed under here and will remember to update the blog and let you know how things are going…