Friday, May 28, 2010

Review & Refreshment

I met with Monika, my artist coach, last week, she is helping me to keep on track with all the various moving parts involved in producing, promoting and managing the show. After reviewing my press materials (she liked them, huzzah!) she gave me more homework to do, in particular: Make a VIP guest list and a media list. (Getting the word out is important!)

As a little break over the holiday weekend, I visited New York City again. (I did review my lines on the bus, though! :)) Upon arrival, of course, I sought out some plays. The first was Collected Stories, a two-hander with Linda Lavin and Sarah Paulson. It's a rather nifty little piece about a writer and her protege.

Following that, I saw Stuffed and Unstrung, a puppet improv show from Henson Alternative. It incorporated the wacky fun of puppets with the spontaneous thrills of improv - These puppeteers could not only do scenes, but make up songs on the fly! Lots of fun - Definitely not for kids!

I indulged in my musical theatre habit with La Cage Aux Folles, a tasty confection starring Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge that looks great, sounds great and even has a little romance.

The most singular show I was was actually in Duffy Square, behind the TKTS booth: Theatre for One. It puts a whole new meaning into the term "solo show": One performer performs in a box for one audience member. There was a rotating roster of performers, from actors, to musicians to magicians. Each would perform for five minutes or so. To make it as accessible as possible, admission was by donation.

I was privileged to see a young woman deliver an interactive monologue. She was welcoming me back to the city after a long absence, it was quite an intriguing little piece. She even gave me a little map as a souvenir.

Feeling refreshed an energized by my trip, I returned home. Now, we are back in heavy-duty rehearsals. The Montreal Fringe is opening soon!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Preparation and Publicity

Bruce and I took the advantage of today's charming weather to rehearse on his back deck. It's a lovely location, and quite appropriate as we were rehearsing some scenes involving gardens.

I took most of my mid-way break outside to soak up a little more sunshine and recalled Fanny Price's line in Mansfield Park: “to sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.”

Among other preparations, we've been finalizing the show's promotional materials (press releases, bios, etc.) over the past week. I am also pleased to unveil the show's publicity photo. (Many thanks to photographer Chris J. Hing.)

Next on the agenda, we are finalizing our plans for the Montreal Fringe For All Preview Night. (On May 31, all interested Fringe companies get two minutes to plug their show in any way they choose.) I shan't reveal what we're cooking up - I'd like it to be a surprise!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Afternoon With Jane Austen...And Beer

Of course, today was Mother’s Day. Aside from my daughterly duties, I had the privilege of attending “An Afternoon with Jane Austen” organized by the Montreal JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) chapter and held at the Centre St. Ambroise (next to the McAuslan Brewery in St. Henri.)

We had a full afternoon of lectures. One covered the similarity of Jane Austen’s themes with those of the Dutch painter Vermeer. The second was on brotherly, sisterly (and, appropriately enough, motherly) dedications in Jane Austen’s Juvenilia (humourous and satirical works written when she was a teenager.) And, to conclude, a look at Northanger Abbey, and particularly, it heroine, Catherine Morland.

The presentations went smoothly (aside from a few PowerPoint gremlins) and were spiced up with some truly enjoyable – and laughter-inducing – readings of extracts from some of the novels and Juvenilia.

Following this edification, we were treated a beer tasting of five McAuslan beers, a couple of cheeses and dark chocolate. We toasted Jane Austen with our beverages, enjoyed the snacks and conversed on subjects Austen (favourite parts of the novels and upcoming JASNA events) and not (the proper serving of Guinness and the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.)

I also noticed that there were more gentlemen at this event that at any of the others I have attended so far. Might the beverages have something to do with it, I wonder?

Feeling smarter and fuller than when I arrived, I headed for dinner with my mother. (After my generous snack, I hoped there would be no cheese or chocolate on the menu – Thankfully, there wasn’t.) I also received a little booklet on beer in Austen’s works, as well as in other works during the regency period, to take home.

I quite enjoyed the afternoon; I felt the combination of lectures, treats and company a real delight and a fun change from my usual routine. I am eager to hear about the next JASNA event!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Big Welcome to Bruce and Show Dates!

Good Day, Gentle Readers,

I am delighted to inform you about the following:

Welcome, Bruce!
A big welcome to Bruce Lambie, who has signed on to be my director. He won an award for his work on Speak Truth to Power: Voices From Beyond the Dark. Fringe-wise he has directed Genesis, or The Art of Writing and played Xamot in Cobra: The Musical Part III. He also has excellent taste in hats.

He has been a great help in helping me focus the script as well as all those other important bits of Fringe business: press releases, promotional materials, etc.

Show Dates!
We have venues and dates. Please mark your calendars now, if the spirit moves you.

Montreal Fringe Festival (June 2010)

Location: Venue #7 Portuguese Association of Canada
4170 St-Urbain (corner Rachel)

The Portuguese Association is a fun, cozy-but-not-too-tiny place and quite close to the Beer Tent. (Location is important!) I appeared in a show there last year (Three Ways to Handle a Telemarketer) and I enjoyed playing in the space and I am looking forward to being there again.

Dates and Times:
Saturday, June 12 @ 5:15 p.m.
Sunday, June 13 @ 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 15 @ 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 16 @ 11:15 p.m.
Saturday, June 19 @ 3 p.m.
Sunday, June 20 @ 7:45 p.m.

Toronto Fringe Festival (July 2010)

Location: Theatre Passe Muraille, Backspace
16 Ryerson Avenue (North of Queen West, East of Bathurst)

I have not been to this space, nor have I seen any pictures of the interior. However, the floor plan looks charming! It promises to be another intimate-but-not-too-intimate space.

Dates and Times:
Friday, July 2 @ 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 3 @ 5 p.m.
Sunday, July 4 @ 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6 @ 3:15 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7 @ 1:15 p.m.
Thursday, July 8 @ 8 p.m.
Friday, July 9 @ 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 10 @ 2:45 p.m.