Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The "To See" List: April

I'm finding that I'm seeing an average of seven shows a month. That's almost two a week and when I have my own shows usually running four days a week it can get pretty crazy to try to schedule it all in. So I start early. Usually I start tracking what I plan to see each month a week before the month starts. Here's my list of shows I want to see in April. April is a bit of an anomoly in my world for two reasons. The first reason is that I am on in performances for seven nights out of the whole month - the rest of the month is rehearsals for the upcoming production of You Still Can't at Pacific Theatre. The second reason is that I'm going away for a week to visit my parents, so I won't be able to see anything during that time (there is nothing playing at their local community theatre!).

That said, here is my list of shows I want to and/or am planning to see in April. The list will likely evolve as I hear of additional shows and/or run into scheduling conflicts:

Studies In Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge
(Electric Theatre Co at Vancouver Playhouse)
The Secret World of Og (Carousel Theatre)
Stop Kiss (Secretly Women)
Ernestine Shushwap Gets Her Trout (Firehall Arts Center)
Invention of Love (United Players)
LifeSavers (Ruby Slippers)
The Zoo Story (Itsazoo)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

World Theatre Day Live Tweet of A Time To Dance

Last night, in honor of World Theatre Day, I did a live tweet of my current show, A Time to Dance.

SMLois: Half Hour Call #ATTD #wtd

SMLois: Just checked in with Box Office - have quite a full house tonight, many are taking advantage of #wtd 2-for-1 special! #ATTD

SMLois: Five minute call everyone #WTD #ATTD

SMLois: Places everyone! #ATTD #wtd

SMLois: Curtain is up - first dance/monologue is underway #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Stand-by LX7 #ATTD #WTD


SMLois: "It was a nuisence child because you wouldn't die" The audience loves that line. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: The interesting thing about this show is that all of the sound cues are manual - usually the shows are programmed into a computer #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We have a very special audience member tonight. There is a guide dog in training sitting in his trainers lap. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Such a great audience tonight! Must be the #WTD spirit wearing off on them! #ATTD

SMLois: "Attraction isn't necessarily because you love somebody. Attraction can be because somebody loves YOU." #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: I love that the audience gets the show - it's set in WWII Austria but has a lot of lightness to it. I love their laughter #WTD #ATTD

SMLois: We're into my favorite lx cue of the show (LX 23). It's very low light with saturated blue break up. I'm a sucker for saturation #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Crazy Maracca dance! & jumping jacks! & stretching! & sit ups! This play is very fun. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We have a talk back after the show tonight. I'm now taking bets on what the first question will be. #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: We're about 7 min to the end of the play. It's a short, sweet piece. Then I get to go collect money for theatre cares week! #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Stand by black out & sound fade out #ATTD #WTD

SMLois: Black out and music fade go! Back after I collect money! #ATTD #WTD

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Arts Quotes: World Theatre Day Edition

"The survival of the art of theatre depends on its capacity to reinvent itself by embracing new tools and new languages. For how could the theatre continue to bear witness to the great issues of its epoch and promote understanding between peoples without having, itself, a spirit of openness? How could it pride itself on offering solutions to the problems of intolerance, exclusion and racism if, in its own practice, it resisted any fusion and integration?"- Robert LePage, 2008 International Message

"The world has never before had as much drama as today. Radio, films, television and video inundate us with drama. But while these forms can engage or even enrage the audience, in none of them can the viewer’s response alter the artistic event itself...That is why theatre is signing its own death warrant when it tries to play too safe. On the other hand, that is also the reason why, although its future often seems bleak, theatre will continue to live and to provoke." - Girish Karnad, 2002 International Message

"The imagination cannot lie. It reveals our psychology, our abidding or passing anxieties, the concerns of man in every age and of the present time, the depths of the human soul. A person who does not dream is a sick person. Dreams perform an essential function and the function of the imagination is no less essential. An artist whose freedom of imagination is threatened becomes alienated. The great revolutionaries and their precursors were dreamers." - Eugene Ionesco, 1974 International Message

"Lastly, I believe that theatre is the light that illuminates the path of mankind. A light that ensures an organic link with the spectator by creating warmth between us — be that communication through the written text or through the performance on stage." - Fathia El Assal, 2004 International Message

Thursday, March 26, 2009

World Theatre Day is Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Friday, March 27th) is World Theatre Day. Incase you have somehow not yet heard about World Theatre Day, here's a little background:

World Theatre Day takes place every year on March 27, and is the brainchild of the International Theatre Institute. It’s aim is to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts (drama, dance, music, theatre) in order to consolidate peace and solidarity between peoples, to deepen mutual understanding and increase creative co-operation between all people in the theatre arts.

Here in Vancouver there are a lot of events happening, but I'd like to extend an invitation to the offical World Theatre Day after party.

Where: The Other Space (Former Queen Elizabeth Theatre Restaurant)

When: Friday, March 27, 10:30pm - ??

Why: Because celebrating theatre is good for everyone.

If you want more information about World Theatre Day click on over to www.worldtheatreday.org. You will find international events listings, the official world theatre day speech, and many other suggestions for how you can take part in celebrating Theatre this year.

I hope to see you all at the party!

Monday, March 23, 2009

What I'm Working on - A Time To Dance

My current show opened at Pacific Theatre last Thursday, but in the midst of getting it up and running I didn't have a chance to get anything on my blog about it. Because it was already an established show, we rehearsed it for our space, teched it, and opened all in one week. It's been a busy week.

So better late than never, right?

The show is A Time To Dance, written and performed by Libby Skala. Based on the life of Libby's great-aunt Lisl, the play mixes theatre with modern dance against the backdrop of the rise of the Nazis in Austria.

People who have seen the show are saying lovely things about it.

"Her dance was as varied as her vocalizations and the story rich and captivating from beginning to end. Touchingly telling the tale of this remarkable pioneer of 1930's modern dance and innovator of dance therapy, Libby followed Lisl life from Vienna across Europe escaping Nazis to poverty then fame in New York City. Libby was beautiful throughout bringing the heart, sadness and promise of an era to the little theatre with her remarkable art." - William Hay

"Chriswalts: Saw "A Time to Dance" at Pacific Theatre last night. Great one woman show-highly recommend you catch it if you get a chance!"

The show runs until April 4th & more information can be found at www.pacifictheatre.org.

If you are still looking for ways to celebrate World Theatre Day this Friday, why not come down, see the show, & join us for a post show talk-back! Tickets are 2-for-1 and afterwards you can join me in heading down to The Other Space for the official World Theatre Day afterparty. If you can't join us at the theate, follow me on twitter and watch the live tweet of the show!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Arts Quotes

"Fringe theatre, playing in small and unlikely places, happens all over the country. It is fitful, but then it should be. Wonderful things occur alongside terrible things. But the vitality exists because of the support of the actors. They are the subsidy. They often put up with the humiliation of working for no money - or just for bus fares, becuase they believe." - Peter Hall, The Necessary Theatre

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things. - Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dancing, Planning, & Irish (Oh my!)

Monday was a very theatrical day. I spent most of my day in rehearsal for A Time To Dance which opens at Pacific Theatre on Thursday night. It's a one-woman show about one of the pioneers of dance therapy and is quite lovely. I'll post some pictures up here as soon as the photo shoot happens.

After rehearsal I ran off to the Vancouver World Theatre Day meeting where Simon, Rebecca, Trilby and I began to plan our attack on the World Theatre Day events in Vancouver. Some highlights: Rebecca and I will be hitting a local panel event this Sunday (March 22nd) that kicks off Vancouver's full week of events. On Friday, the actual World Theatre Day, I'll be in the booth at A Time To Dance, where we are offering buy 1, get 1 free tickets & are hosting a talkback after the show. After my show I'm headed down to The Other Space for the World Theatre Day Club where I'll meet up with Simon and we'll celebrate with everyone present. Finally, on Sunday the 29th Trilby, Rebecca and I will be heading to "My First Time: The Tour" which is an evening of anecdotes and scenes as well as a reception and silent auction.

When I left that meeting, I hopped a bus over to the Havana Theatre to assist with front of house for Under The Hawthorne Tree (see facebook event here). This brand-new Irish musical was the perfect St. Paddy's Day fit. In it's first production (a co-op) which runs until this Saturday, March 21st, Under the Hawthorne Tree has both strong & weaker moments. It runs about two and a half hours and could probably do with loosing about 15 or 20 minutes, but the music is lovely & the adaptor/director Mary Clark has done a good job with the show for a first production. I would be quite interested in seeing a production again after another round of edits and with a fully professional cast.

I will say that I was very impressed by the graduates of the CapU Musical Theatre program. I have never seen a show at Cap, but judging from this production which had a large number of grads in its cast, the school is doing a great job of training them in singing, movement & acting. I've put it on my list to head up there and catch one of their shows this year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Arts Quotes

Whether I'm painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I'm not working, I'm still analyzing people - Alice Neel

There's no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there's no end to it. - Henry Moore

What works for acting works for life. To act brilliantly, to live fully, requires nothing less than the complete investment of your entire soul! What we do is holy! - Alice Saltzman

Monday, March 9, 2009

Be The Audience

Lately my inbox has been innundated with e-mails telling me about shows that aquaintences of mine are doing. I've sent my share of those e-mails too - hoping that one or two people will come to see the hard work you have put into a show. Even moreso when it's a co-op and the only income you'll be getting is a cut of the box office. But I've noticed an interesting trend. For all these people sending invites to see shows, I don't very often see them at shows.

Last week a friend was complaining about what she saw as the cliquiness of Vancouver theatre. Her complaint was that there are all of these little groups doing theatre and they were ridiculously hard to break into. When I said that I hadn't had that problem, she suggested that it was becuase I am not an actor & therefore not the competition. But I'm not certain she has ever gone up to anyone in one of these companies and said, "Hey, I like what you're doing - how can I be a part of it?"

What strikes me about all of this is how entitled we as artists tend to seem. We want people to come to our work without us going to see theirs, we want companies to seek us out rather than taking the first step on our own.

In my experience, the theatre community in this city is very open. I've been invited to opening night parties for shows that I haven't been involved in simply becuase I struck up a conversation with someone who was involved about how much I enjoyed the show. But it requires me to take a step. I have to be at the play to be invited out after it. I have to be willing to step out in order to see things happen.

Instead I often see people (and at times myself) so caught up in what I am creating that I forget to engage with those around me and the art that they are creating. That's why my new years resolution this year was to see three shows a month. Last year I averaged two, and I figured I wanted and in fact needed to see more than that if I wanted to be a part of the community and I needed to be the audience if I wanted to talk about theatre in this city in any sort of responsible way.

I'd put this forward as a challenge to other artists: See a show this week that doesn't have anyone you know in it. Approach an artist whose work you admire & let them know. Ask someone for a tour - the worst they can say is no. Ask questions. And take some time to create something new - a character, a poem, a script, a set design idea - just sit town and do something.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Arts Quotes: Theatre Textbook Edition

If you went through any sort of post secondary theatre training as I did, you probably have a pile of text books kicking around. Of various sizes, shapes, & colors they sit on shelves waiting for their turns to be taken off & consulted as I run into various problems.

For today's edition of Arts Quotes I have turned to that pile & have picked out a few quotes that spoke to me as a student. Some of them I don't find particularly enlightinging today, but when I took the class 5 or so years ago, I seemed to think it was pretty worthwhile.

"We are makers of belief. The director is the one who believes first....He has to believe that he could stand on the corner and sell it, that he could market it, that he could convince people of the beauty, that he could stop passersby and say, "Did you ever wonder about the possibility of this? Isn't this beautiful? Doesn't this strike you as peculiar and wonderful?"
- William Ball, A Sense of Direction

"Playwrights, like all artists, create their works becuase they have something they feel compelled to communicate. Remember that what you come up with should be something you feel passionately about, something you believe in and can get emotional over."
- Buzz McLaughlin, The Playwright's Process

"People tend to dance around the most potent possibilities becuase they fear the monsters that might be lurking there."
- Buzz McLaughlin, The Playwright's Process

"If a performance is truly a collaborative effort, then all the artists and workers in the theatre can be considered performers."
- Oren Parker, Craig Wolf & Dick Block in Scene Design & Stage Lighting

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Job Hunting is not for Wuss's

Above: Surrounded by my mountain of mailouts.

A month ago I got the news: my incredibly stable stage management gig that I'd had for the past two seasons wasn't going to be quite so stable next year. In fact, I'm going down to only two shows at Pacific Theatre. It's partly my choice & partly due to a slightly scaled back season. I'd been lucky. I've only been out of university for two years, and I've had steady theatre work since before I graduated. All of a sudden I found myself in the position that everyone in the world hates: needing to find a job.

So I spent this whole week preparing for that. Updating my resume, researching theatre companies throughout BC & Alberta, writing cover letters, getting references & finally addressing envelopes. It took all week. But it's done.

The envelopes are in the mail now & it's finally all out of my hands...Or at least until I start follow up in two weeks.

Tonight's Live Tweet of Holy Mo

I live tweeted tonight's performance of Holy Mo. To read everything in Chronological order you need to start at the bottom.

atomicfez: RT: @SMLois} Show's over - time to go wipe the paintballs off the set and close down the theatre for another night. #holymo #theatre

shamelesshussy: RT @SMLois Shows over - time to go wipe the paintballs off the set and close down the theatre for another night. #holymo

SMLois: Shows over - time to go wipe the paintballs off the set and close down the theatre for another night. #holymo

SMLois: @travisbedard That's the joke. God is referred to as either Yamma or Yam all show. #holymo

travisbedard: @SMLois I Yam who I Yam #holymo

SMLois: One more chorus of "Love you Yam" and the show is over. #holymo

SMLois: Only about 7 min left in Act 2. Tonight's show has flown by. #holymo

SMLois: When we got to this point Saturday, where no one talks for a couple mins, audience member shouted out "We paid good money for this." #holymo

SMLois: "There is no money in the profession [of acting]." "Then why do we do it?" "The story. The story needs to be told" #holymo

SMLois: We're almost at my favorite lighting cue: LX 77. It's just after this YouTube reference. #holymo

SMLois: Time for our one operatic song of the night, titled "Piece of Turd" #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez I'm guessing you're not going to make it for this production? #holymo

SMLois: Oh - a little Braveheart in here as well. #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } I vote brilliant as well. Been a fan of hers from some time. #Frangione #holymo #theatre

SMLois: Now we have our first sword fight of the show. The swords are wooden baseboard pieces stapled together. SQ = Flight of Valkyrie #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez Don't forget Celine Dion, Mission Impossible, Lassie, & Louis Reil. Lucia is either brilliant or crazy (I vote brilliant) #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } so… Scots Tragedy, Evita, Jaws, Good / Bad / Ugly, Hockey, asparagus (and SJR), and a paintball gun. Oh Lucia… #holymo #theatre

SMLois: Now we'll mix in a little MacBeth. Because why not? #holymo

SMLois: Don't cry 4 me little Spew Boy/My heart will never leave u/I know u will wait for me/& soon will return to me/because I am gorgeous #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez No complaints from folks expecting Sunday School here. Most of them like it. And yes. There's a paintball gun. #holymo

SMLois: Only in #holymo are aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, & reflexology threats underscored by the Jaws theme. #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } anyone expecting trad Sunday School Bible interpretations ought to adjust their expectations before attending #holymo #theatre

SMLois: I'll be right back - gotta go grab the paintball gun and pump it full of air pressure #holymo

SMLois: Throwing an asparagus boquest slow mo into the audience. Caught tonight by Miss Sarah Jane Redmond. #holymo

SMLois: Goliath just hit a lighting instrument with her sword. The audience loved it. And the light is well locked so it won't move #holymo

SMLois: Okay, it's everyone's favorite part of the show: Goliath. (S)he's up a ladder with a hockey helmet on. With a broom brush on that. #holymo

SMLois: "I'm the princess and men only want me for my great big...........kingdom" #holymo (it always gets the audience laughing)

SMLois: @atomicfez Actually, the lighting designer is @bryson. He's swell. #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez The lighting designer and I have worked together a number of times. He knows I'm not a fan, but sometimes its unavoidable #holymo

SMLois: The entire prophet character is defined by a staff with a bell on the end that rings whenever she moved. And its funny. #holymo

SMLois: @travisbedard The bandana is out there. Though I fear that the sign is in the wrong place. OOP. #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez Sorry I couldn't give you the go for that one - I had to actually push the button. I'm now at LX 58.5. #holymo

SMLois: In Act 2 we move from the story of Moses (Mo) to David (Spew Boy) #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } I"ve still got LX 512 standing by, you know… #theatre #holymo

SMLois: Enter the Kit Kat bar. I have a whole case of them in the booth and am going to end up with left overs. #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez The drape is on a track and moves throughout the show #holymo

SMLois: Act 2 is up! #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } LX 51 standing by… #holymo #theatre

SMLois: Last song before Intermssion. Standby LX 51. #holymo

travisbedard: @SMLois BANDANA #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } I'm always amazed at what PT is able to shoe-horn in that space merely by tilting a deck and careful use of drape #holymo #theatre

SMLois: Buffoona (one of my lovely clowns) is blessing the 12 tribes...also known as the audience. #holymo

SMLois: The first act is flying by. We are now about 5 min to intermission. Intermission is also known as those 10 minutes where I run. #holymo

SMLois: I love it when the audience laughs as Mo is given the 10 commandments. #holymo

SMLois: For those who are wondering what kind of set we're working with http://smlois.tumblr.com/ #holymo

SMLois: Lassie, Chariots of Fire & the parting of the Ocean all in a matter of seconds! #holymo

SMLois: 12 days of Christmas meets the 10 plagues upon the Egyptians. "Flies floating freeeeeeeee." #holymo

SMLois: Oh dear. An actress just ran into a set piece. Looks like everyone is alright, but i jumped! #holymo

SMLois: What a great audience tonight: They're banging away on their pots and pans at all the right moments. #holymo

travisbedard: @SMLois After I properly weighted it and everything? #holymo

SMLois: Ever heard a rap featuring "Aunt Jemima" "Betty Crocker" & "Mr. Christie"? I'm listening to one right now. #holymo

SMLois: LX28.5 GO #holymo

SMLois: First Elvis joke of the night. Complete with radioactive jukebox. #holymo (Sorry @travisbedard I didn't tweet the flying palm tree for you)

SMLois: Country music for y'all. "To forget about my blues, I tune into the news. It's the only way that I can take a little mental snooze" #holymo

SMLois: Ooooh! It's my favourite secret Horatio cane moment. I never know if anyone sees it, but I love it. #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } never use "Celine Dion" and "good" in the same sentence without also employing a negative modifier. #Frangione #holymo #theatre

SMLois: There seems to be a large group of high school students in the audience tonight. Wonder what they think of it all? #holymo

SMLois: And a little Celine Dion for good measure.... #holymo

SMLois: @atomicfez True enough :) #holymo

SMLois: Straight from Mission Impossible to The Good The Bad and the Ugly. This show is full of pop culture references #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } THEY'RE CLOWNS! Don't go demanding the Dali Lama! #Frangione #holymo #theatre

SMLois: "Can't I just go kick his head? Why's he got to die?" - That's what I call wisdom. #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } let's watch the master working at speed, folks… quietly now, no distractions… #Frangione #holymo #theatre

SMLois: @atomicfez Unfortunately #Frangione won't be able to see it - she's in a show of her own at the moment. #holymo

SMLois: It's almost at my busiest cue section in the show: a little Mission Impossible inspired chase scene. #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } clowns is the funnnerest! Plus is a #Frangione script, so all is well there. #holymo #theatre

SMLois: @atomicfez You'd have fun in this cast though. Come on, it's a clown show! #holymo #theatre

SMLois: I like to call this part the send up of "2001:A Space odyssey" #holymo

atomicfez: @SMLois } this is almost like sitting in the booth… which is possibly better than being in the cast, depending. #holymo #theatre #Frangione

SMLois: First song of the night "Holy Mo" - Guitar, Mandolin, and a homemade Washtub Bass. #holymo #theatre

SMLois: First sound cue of the show and I don't push the button - it's run from an onstage CD player. #holymo

SMLois: My innovative FOH speech: there is no speech, just a clown with a cell phone threatening death #holymo

The next live tweet of a show will be A Time to Dance on Friday, March 27 as a part of the World Theatre Day 2009 celebrations.