We open "The Tin Drum", an original adaptation of the novel by Gunter Grass, TOMORROW! Wow! Hard to believe we've put this epic story on stage with just three weeks of rehearsal. Chris Hanratty and Shira Leuchter have worked so hard adapting this novel into a strange, moving, funny, crazy play. I play about six characters and we all have SO many props and costume bits and cues. Madcap and amazing.
Only five more performances of the Flood Thereafter at Canadian Stage! We've had great houses and very thoughtful responses for this mysterious Greek-myth Fairy-tale poetic mash-up.
Here's an interview I did with NOW Magazine's Jon Kaplan about the show (read it online here)
It has been a very satisfying and challenging process, putting this piece together under the excellent direction of Ker Wells. We workshopped the show for three weeks last March, and then returned to it at the end of August, so in a sense it has been on my mind almost all year. Definitely a special project--and not only because it's the first show where I've performed in the nude!
I've been having such a blast in my first ever Summerworks show. The whole festival has a great vibe, everybody is working together to put up great shows on a shoestring. Teamwork is huge - under the leadership of our stage manager Andrea Schurman, our Director Jennifer Brewin and our designed Glenn Davidson, we managed to tech in our allotted 6 hours of prep time in our venue, (Theatre Passe-Muraille) complete with a stumbly run-through and then we opened the next day. To make it happen, everybody has their jobs placing set pieces or dealing with costumes, and of course we're all doing as much promotion as we can! We've had four shows (and three more to come) with great houses. Seems like that John Millard-Peter Anderson toe-tapping music really gets under the skin in the best kind of way.
We've had some nice press too:
I was also really honoured to be named one of 10 "Artists to Watch" in NOW Magazine's Summerworks Preview:
Fingers crossed for three final sell-out performances!
I've seen a number of other great shows at Summerworks, including the riviting iShow, featuring Sarah Berthiaume who is the playwright behind the Flood Thereafter, which is the next show I'll be involved in.
I also loved the heartbreaking shows Late Company and Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains. And with a formidable title for a formidable show, THE ART OF BUILDING A BUNKER OR PADDLING THE CANOE OF MY SELF DOWN THE RIVER OF INCLUSIVITY AND INTO THE ASS OF THE WORLD is a beast of a one man show, totally gripping, hilarious and horrifying...it left me reeling and I loved it.
I'm looking forward to seeing more great theatre before the week is out!
After a great run of The Barber of Seville, I'm thrillied to continue working with John Millard (whose adaptations of Rossini were so fun and challenging to sing) on a second project, his original show with Peter Anderson, "The Ballad of Weedy Peetstraw". We've just started rehearsals with director Jennifer Brewin, and it's glorious. "Deep and strange", the show tells the tale of Weedy Peetstraw and the Faustian bargain he makes for the love of a banjo. We'll be playing in Summerworks, running from August 8th to 17th, 2013. After that, I'm heading home for a week to visit the family (including my very new baby niece!), before starting rehearsals for "The Flood Thereafter" at Canadian Stage.
I'm thrilled to announce that I will be playing the role of Rosina under the direction of Leah Cherniak in Soulpepper's upcoming production of "The Barber of Seville", a new and hilarious adaptation by Michael O'Brien with music by John Millard (adapted from Rossini). I'm honoured that Soulpepper is having me back this season - after the great gift of last year's training with the Soulpepper Academy, my cup runneth over!
I'll have more info on this exciting production in the New Year!
I'm looking forward to workshopping a very cool project in development at Canadian Stage in the new year (more on that soon). Lots of lines to learn over the holidays!
This past weekend I participated in Lynne Cormack's on-camera audition class, and I HIGHLY recommend it, I had a great time and learned lots. Check out The Audition Lab!
I also recently recorded voice-over for some TV ads, so don't be alarmed if you hear me coming from your TV set (especially if you're a curling fan...).
We made it! Last week we opened both The Crucible and the Royal Comedians at Soulpepper. We had already performed several previews in front of audiences, but it does feel different to finally be open! For one, it frees up my days to start rehearsing the third show I'll be in this summer - the remount of Death of a Salesman! Tickets and details at Soulpepper.ca, and discounts for under 30s at Stageplay.ca We've had great audiences for The Crucible so far...I'm really enjoying playing the part of Mary Warren. It is such a good play!
PS: And the reviews are in!
It was a beautiful event, and very emotional...it has been an amazing year, and I'm so grateful for all of it, the great teachers we've had, the cultural experiences we've shared, the opportunity to work together in such a nurturing environment...it has all been the most wonderful gift. Fortunately no goodbyes were necessary, because we're all still rehearsing together, in "The Crucible" and "The Royal Comedians". But we're now members of the company - and the Soulpepper Academy 2011/12 is officially over!
"Dirt", the Soulpepper Academy collective creation opens May 22nd! We've been developing this piece over 6 weeks under the guidance of director Leah Cherniak, and it's been a wild ride from start to finish. We've been making all kinds of things and throwing them against the wall to see what sticks. And we're having a lot of fun, mucking about in the dirt.
Click HERE for more details!
The Soulpepper website recently updated their artist bios, and I'm honoured to now have a bio/photo of my very own. Soulpepper has a photographer take all their artist pics in a standard style. The shoot was a lot of fun - a lot of jumping and posing. Some of my Academy classmates managed to pull off fun 'Action' shots - but I can't seem to jump in the air without pulling a face. I'm very pleased to be included on the site, and I'm thrilled that I'll be performing in three shows this season, "The Crucible", "The Royal Comedians" and "Death of a Salesman". Click here to see my new bio!
Macbeth: Nach Shakespeare opened last night to a full house. Directed by Quinn Harris and starring Michael Scholar Jr. as Macbeth and Jennifer Mawhinney as Lady Macbeth, it's a bloody show and a daring adaptation of Shakespeare by Heiner Muller (translated for this production by Carl Weber).
The Tyee has a great article about how this production came to be: "Found In Translation: One Bloody, Funny, German Macbeth"
Come see me get bloody with the rest of the cast - until May 29th!
Just got back from a whirlwind trip - first to Halifax to see my brother get married to his wonderful bride - a beautiful relaxed wedding with lots of family, great food and dancing. Then a few days in Antigonish with my family - Turkey, Lobster, Television, Sleeping in - all great stuff. So good to be home - my last trip to NS was in 2009, so I was definitely overdue. Afterward, I spent a couple days in Toronto. It was a treat to belatedly celebrate my friend Cecile's birthday, with food (weird patés on bread at a new restaurant - tasty, but we both agreed, not something we often crave) and drink and chocolate cake.
On Saturday I had the privilege of watching the dress rehearsal of Double Bill: (re)Birth: ee cummings in Song & Window on Toronto at Soulpepper. (re)Birth is a lovely show, containing all my favourite kinds of theatre magic - woven collaborative whimsical orchestral music, using traditional instruments, children's toys, suitcases, neat use of fabric, light, an overhead projector...each poem is presented in a different way, and the transitions between them are smooth and fascinating. The performers are so specific. And the whole cast is intimidatingly talented, playing multiple instruments, and many of them singing with beautiful resonant voices. The sound is also really cool - they seem to be using just one microphone on stage which sometimes serves to highlight just one voice or instrument, and sometimes picks up the ambient sound with an eerie, slight reverb.
Window on Toronto is a lesson in hilarious clowning. We meet tons of nutty characters (the backstage area must be an impressive example of organized chaos), speedily passing by the window of a hot dog vendor. It's fast and furious, but every now and then, just when the shtick of it all is about to get old, the pace slows, dancing, masks, puppets come out, beautiful songs, and a baby is born or a violin comes to life...a moment of magic happens...and then back to the madness. Great.
I then went into a meeting with the other Soulpepper Academy members (that's my big news, which I'm told I can share - I've been accepted into the 2011/12 Academy), and AD Albert Schultz and Producer Claire Sakaki, and -- WOW. They told us a bit about what our year is going to look like and...I can't believe the gift they're giving us, the people we're going to get to learn from, work with, the care they have taken in putting this together. I feel like I've won the lottery. I think all of us felt like that...a constant state of 'pinch me!'
Ms. Sakaki was kind enough to squeeze me into a sold out 'Our Town' that evening. I'd never seen Our Town before, a show about the great drama that is every day life, the details that we so often miss in the day-to-day. And the magic of small towns, of family, and the heartbreak too, of the everyday. Having just come from home, from my brother's wedding, from my small little Nova Scotia town that I left, and see too infrequently, from the old rattling farmhouse I grew up in, and my parents... The show is gentle, elegant, and works on you slowly. The actors beautifully weave together the simple stories of these lives, but by the end I felt absolutely heartbroken. In a bittersweet sense, because it was also a reminder that life, growing up, growing old is tragic, and beautiful, and it happens to all of us, right under our noses. It was like a goodbye hug - warm and wonderful, but painful, because someone's leaving. I was a weepy mess at the end. Mr. Schultz was kind enough to come out and introduce me to some of the actors, and I said something like. "That was great. Loved it. Can't talk about it, will cry." Fortunately, I think he understood.
Anyway. Can't end this post without including the definite highlight of my trip, discovering: The House of Lancaster. Guess I know where I can find employment if this acting thing doesn't work out. No, I didn't go inside!
Today I picked up my script for an episode of the anime series Tara Duncan - I'm going into the studio on Monday to record ADR for a villain (of course). My very first animation gig! Also excited to announce that Two Apple Tobacco will be playing at the Penthouse on May 15th - it's gonna be a pretty eventful evening.
Phew. I've just had a great, inspiring weekend of auditioning in Toronto - I'd say more, but I don't want to jinx it! [Update April 9th., 2011 -- I got the gig! More on that soon!] Meanwhile, I'm excited to announce that I will next be seen in the English-language premier of Macbeth: Nach Shakespeare, a co-production between Theatre Conspiracy and Gasheart, directed by an amazingly talented woman, Quinn Harris. Very excited! The show will be going up in mid-May at Performance Works.
Recorded a couple of lines for the Fringe episode today - it was cool, I've never done ADR before - I watched the footage on a big screen in the studio, and added a couple of new lines to accommodate the editing. In other news, Two Apple Tobacco is playing at the Princeton Pub this Thursday, for St. Patricks day! More details at www.twoappletobacco.com.