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Well Cast

February 17, 2014 Leave a comment

 

FloydCollins_portraitFirst rehearsal for Floyd Collins today.

 

A number of other actors told me how perfectly cast I am for my role. “And because he doesn’t need to be any age, you can keep playing him for a long time to come.”

 

For whatever reason, that comment stuck in me. Came from a Toronto actor, and he’s right, in his world, you can stick with a show, find it wherever it resurfaces and keep with it. Find runs that go on for as long as people buy tickets. And there are unicorns and magical space robots too, I imagine. But I’m still a young BC pup – such notions don’t really occur to me. Shows last a few weeks, then they’re done, followed by a month or two of part-time low wage work until the next show comes along. I’ve only once ever returned to perform in something I’d been in before; that was a production of Henry V that took me back to Victoria for a week at Fringe. My squirmy, powerless, irish-sounding French King.

 

My own show counts too, I suppose. But that’s different – that show keeps coming back because I’m the one bringing it back. But to be hired to a new production of an old show? That some producer somewhere might want me more thanks to my prior experience?

 

What an obvious and strange concept.

 

Coming into the first rehearsal here for Floyd, I had two options for how to present myself to the group. One, I could own the fact that I was cast for this show same as all them others, and swagger about with the best of them, confident in my career as an actor and in my equal worth with anyone else in the show. Decided that we were all picked evenhandedly and excitedly by Peter, and trust that we are going to make something brilliant because we are all gen-u-ine pro-fessionals, income-tax-form Actors who know what we’re doing.

 

Or two, I could own up to my ’emerging’ actor status. Point out Science World just out the window and let them know that I worked three different day-jobs last week. Shake my head at the director apologizing at length for paying us far less than we’re worth, far less than we’re warranted, and far less than we’d be making elsewhere, when this equity scale sum is far more than I’ve ever earned before from theatre work. Tell’em how I live an hour and a river away, in an office building, sandwiched between pot fumes and an abandoned gym. Let them know how grateful I am for all of this, and tell’em how doggone hard I’m going to work to reach the level all these others are already at.

 

We’ve got impressive specimens of charisma like Daren Herbert and Michael Torontow. Krystin Pellerin from The Tudors and Republic of Doyle. The talent in the room is so impressive.

 

And I’m in there with them. One of them.

 

So, which approach did I take? Well, truth be told, as I do, I didn’t make a firm choice, so what shone through were my defaults of TOO MUCH INFORMATION, GRATITUDE, and CONFIDENCE. Because can I bring Skeets Miller to life? Heck yes! Am I just plum grateful to be in the room? You betcha! Do I earn most of my living performing on the stage or screen? Definitely not. Yet.

 

The ol’ puff up pull down ying-yang that makes me just neurotic enough for these loveable squirmy outsider little-guy roles.

 

Well cast.

 

An Actor Ponders

February 5, 2014 3 comments
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Whatcha thinking?”

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And now, a look behind Andrew’s furrowed brow.

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Why am I still looking at job postings? Why do I still have an active RSS feed section devoted to new possible job opportunities, combing and scanning through craigslist, Alliance for Arts, and others, for me to glance through every few days?

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I worked for eleven different employers last year. I am currently on the payroll for four organizations, with two others occasionally bringing me in every other month or so.

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Oh, and these are the non-theatre-companies. Those are separate. Workshopping a play with one right now, and performing with another company for the next two months.

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That’s right! I’m finally finding work as an actor! Fantastic! For two months. Then I’m back. Time to look for another job.

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Why? Don’t you have enough?

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But there are more opportunities out there! Ones you don’t know of, if you aren’t looking!

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An actor always looks for auditions. Always hunts for opportunities. Never ending. Heading to auditions while rehearsing for something else. Endless job interviews. Endless rejections and successes.

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I’ve been trained this way.

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I’ve been trained to approach my work-for-hire life this way.

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I don’t have enough time now to offer my employers.

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I’m spending too much time at work. I could take more time off.

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I could miss out on more opportunities.

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Maybe I should check my RSS feeds one more time.

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Oh. Right. I’m doing Fringe Festivals this summer. Who’s going to hire a guy who disappears for several weeks at a time, over and over again?

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Right. My lovely, current employers. Who I enjoy working for! Not as much as I enjoy working on shows and being a theatre creator and performer, of course. But I appreciate and enjoy them.

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But I could appreciate and enjoy something else!

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Or maybe I should be dropping everything for a few months and see if this whole ‘actor and writer’ career thing can sustain itself!

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That seems somewhat foolish and unnecessary. And maybe I’ll find out I don’t enjoy living only that way, very much! That could shatter me. A lot of sunken cost time into this theatre acting thing. Or maybe I’d get lazy. If I give myself too much free time, maybe I’d just squander it by hiding in books and games. Besides, my employers are happy to trade me 80$ for my day. I can’t turn that down!

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Well, I could, I suppose. Technically.

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And I guess I have! Sorta. For this and the next two months, living the life of the working actor.

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This’ll be a grand experiment. I’m thrilled. I’m just so thrilled. Really. I am. Just peached to the extreme. Don’t lose that, Andrew! That excitement! Those butterflies! Hee!

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And then it’s done, and I’m back to the dayjobs until Fringe festivals. Where I’ll likely lose money again, when considering travel costs.

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I should check those job postings. Or accept more shifts in the couple days I have off before the theatre contract.

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No! I’m not superhuman… I need some time to recharge. Groceries, laundry, as well, I suppose.

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No, Andrew, people aren’t going to laden you down unreasonably. They expect you to need some time to yourself each day. Most people only work five shifts a week.

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But I could pick up shifts on those other weeks? Or find someone willing to pay me to do something new!

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I should check those feeds again. After all, as a pay-for-hire, I’m really contracting out my time to organizations. Makes sense to continually look for new clients, right? Diversification. Allows me to stick with my favourites and perhaps others fall to the wayside. Or find you unreliable because you’re never free and always gallivanting off to to theatre stuff.

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Theatre stuff! I get to do theatre stuff this year! Yay! And maybe next year?

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I don’t think I can take on any more than I’m doing.

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But maybe there’s something better out there!

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But I can’t get trapped in single full-time job life! Right? Right? That’s where people stop pursuing crazy things like acting, isn’t it? Where people get complacent?

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I think I’m afraid of becoming complacent.

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Or is that contentment? Is that what those people have?

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I feel like I’m planning my life so that whenever I want to, I can leave everything and go pursue something else. Keeping one foot out the door. Or at least, holding the door open. Like an actor does, always on the hunt for the next opportunity.

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Do I have a problem, or am I doing this right?

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Oy.

Fringe 2014: The Rise of the Western World, or, The Settler Makes a Home

January 20, 2014 Leave a comment
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Welp, the dust appears to have settled, the lottery lines drawn, and the anticipation begun its nervous, ever-present hum. While a few elements are still up in the air, it’s sounding like this year I will be off on the road again to five different lands, two exotic and unknown, one a recent friendship, and two returns home.

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Contour flag of Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatchewan, Canada (Wikipedia)

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This summer, The Hatter shall plead his case in the Alberni Valley, out to Regina, back to my former abode of Victoria, and then return in his entirely transformed state to The Vancouver Fringe Festival, where, three years ago, a draft once saw the stage.

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But I mentioned FIVE, you say! FIVE festivals! Indeed! For in the middle of all that, I shall be bringing a new show to Saskatoon Fringe, a personal-stories-esque show (which I am still in the early processes of writing), tentatively titled ‘The Most Honest Man In The World‘. A brand new, terrifying experiment!

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And so, after spending most of last summer travelling endless greyhound bus hours through Ontario, I find myself instead touring the western reaches of Canada, and bringing my show home, while testing something new in a place that appreciated my work, last summer.

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This is going to be a radically different adventure. Last summer, I packed my bags, props, business cards, and posters, and headed off on the road for two months straight. This summer, due to not getting into Winnipeg or Edmonton, I may be travelling out to each city, then returning home, each time. Which means a few dozen more greyhound hours and transportation bills, I admit. Maybe I’ll see if I can hide out in Regina or Saskatoon for a couple of weeks. Finish writing the new show. 😛

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I’ll also be travelling with an old friend or two. Last summer, I hardly knew a soul in any of the cities. This year, I’ll have familiar faces everywhere I go, be they other travelling performers, locals (including all the Regina-ians, Regina-ites, Reginalds?, who came to Saskatoon for the festival), and other warmly welcome familiar faces. Heck, my dear old friend, Jacqueline Irvine, who sewed the giant hat backdrop, helped me put it together, half an hour before the first trial-run performance in Vancouver, and who acted in the first draft of the show as The Dormouse (before the play became more about a lonely man, as it is now), will be stepping onboard as my stage manager for Port Alberni and Victoria.

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Fringe (TV series)

(Wikipedia)

(And I’ll probably still lose money in the end. But that’s okay. Life and expression are more important than all that. 🙂 )

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I look for narratives in everything. Coming into this Fringe lottery season, I was hoping to be out on the road for at least a couple of months and try my show at the biggest fringe festivals in the country – Winnipeg and Edmonton. And perhaps show it in Victoria and see how it’d be received in my former stomping grounds.

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Instead, the emerging theme appears to be that of ‘a home base’.  Heading out into the world, and then coming home. Bringing my work to the places I hold dearest to my heart.

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In Saskatoon, it’ll be the other way around – bringing myself and my heart even more into my work, within the safety of a distant city.

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( Speaking of telling personal stories, perhaps a sneak peek this week? While I don’t expect this particular story in question to be a part of my Fringe show, this past Saturday I shared a true tale as part of CBC Radio’s DNTO (Definitely Not The Opera): Fast forward to 52 minutes to get a stylistic preview for Saskatoon:   http://www.cbc.ca/dnto/episode/2014/01/16/wanted-what-did-you-find-in-the-classifieds/ )

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And then in 2015, finally hit the big stops and see what everyone’s talking about, and hell, perhaps I’ll go international. Put that American citizenship to good use. But there is so much that is fantastic and awesome before we get there! Five cities! Workshopping a new play elsewhere! And in March and April, Floyd Collins!

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(But that’s a subject for another post. 🙂 )

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Long Live Adventure! Huzzah!

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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The year Twenty Thirteen – That’s Life

January 4, 2014 Leave a comment
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Twenty-thirteen was the year I toured a show of my own for the first time, the first time I visited any part of Canada outside of BC, the year I went out on dates and put myself out there, the year I got perhaps a little too subsumed by day-jobs, the year I accepted Richmond as a home base even as I became intoxicated by being out there performing on the road. It was the year I designed lights and called the shots for a Diversity Talent Show, gave tours of a National Historic Site, and was given the delightful  news that “we’re going to write you a song”. It was the year I performed a creepy puppet show while a guy did cocaine off a passport in the front row, had the biggest role in the opening number in a musical (in concert), became a bartender, worked for nine employers (and myself), auditioned for one show both in Vancouver AND Toronto, was nominated for an OVATION! Award, and was picked as one of Richmond’s 30 under 30.

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The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONWhen I put a chunk of it in one paragraph like that, it doesn’t sound half bad.

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My financials spreadsheet tells me I earned 21114.94$ in a combination of pre- and post-tax income, not including my Fringe tour, as I lost money on that. Of that money, just under half of it went into savings. A bit of breathing room so that I don’t feel pressured against, say, taking days off work to go to auditions, or months off to possibly lose money performing in Fringe Festivals. I keep my expenses low with good habits, luck, friends, biking and skytraining rather than driving, and the fact that I’m a bachelor without kids. I also live frugally in a single-room accommodation in a building I expect will get demolished in 2014. That’s probably the biggest reason.

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I am grateful that I have been able to find a number of employers who are content with seeing me disappear for a month or two at a time, pursuing my performing career. Hopefully those opportunities will build up enough that I can make a more complete transition at some point.

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Perhaps it’s a credit and a curse to the standards I hold for myself that I’m disappointed that I was only involved in five large-scale productions this year… even if one of those productions I wrote, self-produced, and performed in four different cities over the course of two and a half months. A far cry from the ~12 productions I was a part of in 2012. I also nearly doubled my yearly income. These two things are perhaps not unrelated. 😛

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Regardless, I now know I can earn enough to support myself as I pursue what excites me. I just need to do more pursuing!

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This year was also the year I had a couple of hits with my blog, including one article, A First Fringe Tour – By The Numbers , which has had over 480 hits and was read and shared by people I deeply respect. It was even discussed in a university classroom! Exciting! So now, after a bit of a hiatus, I think I’m about ready to get back to blogging. But first, what the heck was I up to in 2013?

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My theatre life this past year:
Revue at the Revue as Jesus, Santa, and others, if you count the first hour or two of 2013. 🙂
– Nominated for ‘Outstanding Gypsy – Male’ at the 2013 Ovation Awards
– ‘The Boss’ in Fighting Chance’s ‘Side Show‘ (in concert)
– Mr. Zapatella and chorus in APPLAUSE! Musicals’ ‘Fiorello!‘ (also in concert.)
– Singing, creeping, having an all around marvelous time as Filch (and a prisoner, and a thief, and so forth) in Seven Tyrants’ production of Beggar’s Opera. (They’re remounting in March, at the Jericho Arts Centre! Go see it! My dear friend, Chris Lam, will be putting his own marvelous spin on the role as I will be busy with Floyd Collins during the run.)
– Wolf Mountain Writing Collective, staged reading of my short ten-minute piece, What I’d Be Without You, with the lovely Mika Laulainen.

Fiorello!

(Photo: Wikipedia)

The Hatter, The Hatter, so much The Hatter! Who knew you needed to write all your publicity for a June production, way back in February! Hiring a (wonderful) photographer for publicity photos, and putting together the script, and props, and travel plans to take me (economically) from Vancouver to London to Ottawa to Toronto to Saskatoon and back home, finding stage managers in each city, finding ways to get around once I am within each city, designing and printing posters and business cards, oh, and performing the show 34 or so times, plus previews and tech runs… Looking forward to getting back to it in Regina and Vancouver this year!
– Indulging my over-the-top-creepy joys as Panduin The Puppeteer in Judge Dee’s Haunted House at the Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, also with Seven Tyrants. A twenty-minute play that starts every ten minutes, this amounted to three hours of performing (without breaks) every night, eighteen performances each night, for a week. And we sold out! Pretty much every run! Far more successful than ANYONE was expecting. Lots of leaping on bannisters and singing in RIDICULOUS pitches. Loved it. And now, back to applications for The Hatter for next year’s Fringe festivals, for which I shall update you in a couple of weeks!
– Awkward Stage fundraiser, Baby It’s Cold Outside, of which I was a chorus member with a puppet for all of a minute, so I’m not sure that one really counts. If we include that, let’s also include singing a zombie-themed Christmas song for a room full of people holding ukeleles, which, by the by, is an awesome idea for a date.

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My day-jobs this past year:
(with a whole lot of acting in them, really!)
Science Facilitator – Science World!
The occasional centre-stage show as well. I am now trained for the Grossology, Bubbles, Balloons, and Hot Stuff shows. 🙂
Heritage Interpreter – Gulf of Georgia Cannery
Leading tours and teaching school programs.
Bartender – Gateway Theatre
Unexpected and enjoyable!
Standardized Patient – Medical student exams
Pretending to be ill!
Simulations ActorJustice Institute of BC
Pretending to be a criminal, witness, or a victim!
Convention worker – BBW International
No, not THAT ‘BBW’. Though I did get to dress up in full Scottish garb (kilt and sporran and all) for a week at a Urology Congress!
Walk Leader – Creatures of the Night – Stanley Park Ecology Society
At those times when you’re so busy you can’t possibly do anything else, and then a good, old friend phones you up and offers you a job. So much fun!
Voting Officer – Elections BC
One long day, but definitely an interesting experience.
Stage Director/Manager – Culture Club Diversity Talent Show – Richmond Multicultural Community Services
Amazingly comprehensive, in that I used skills I’ve learned from so many different places. Lighting design, working with youth, directing, stage management, producing… marvelous experience.
Background Actor – A big, highly talked about film.
I was an extra in a film for the first time in a year or so!
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Actor – The Hatter and others
I may not have made money on it this year, but producing my own darn show is certainly a job, as is much of the acting work above, gosh darnit. 🙂

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And now onto 2014, where I already have workshifts scheduled with three different employers, and have  the chance-of-a-lifetime to put all that silliness aside for a couple of months and focus on a travelling production of Floyd Collins.

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Hey, now I’m excited! Yay!

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And, as I have a microphone here on the desk with me, here’s a song about hoping for the future. Don’t read into the darker suicide-y bit to it. That part isn’t relevant.

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What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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Hallow’s Ever Performing

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment
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Hello, intrepid blog-readers!

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So sorry for my extended absence. I’m afraid I have been otherwise detained. When I finished my two and a half month tour of The Hatter across the country, I found that, for the first time in at least six years, I didn’t have that desperate ‘I NEED TO BE PERFORMING IN SOMETHING THIS MONTH NOW WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY’ feeling eating away at my inner psyche. Instead I found myself somewhat disturbingly content to work day-jobs for a couple of months and earn enough money for the CAFF lottery, while living a more leisurely life. So I contacted a few places where I had considered working in the past, and figured I’d have plenty of time to get some more writing done.

… Yeah, we all know life isn’t that simple.

So what happened? Well, those employers… they all said yes. ALL of them. Right. So… in the month of October I will have had eight different employers. Most of them only a few days a month, sure, and a couple of them disappear when the month ends, but… yeah. Eight.

And the CAFF Lottery… the odds were not in my favour. Considering attempting a ‘Western’ tour this summer, Regina-Winnipeg-Saskatoon-Edmonton-Victoria-Vancouver, if I can get into them. Saskatoon, at least, will get to see a new show from me! Something that may or may not work as a show. Intimidating! Yep. Gotta see if a ‘show’ will come out of my ideas for that one… y’know, in all my free time…

Oh, and that whole ‘not acting for a bit’ thing? Well, my dear friend David Perry needed people to lead Creatures Of The Night walks in Stanley Park. I was only able to offer him a few days, but it really is a lot of fun. Interactive theatre with children is AWESOME.

My final chance to wander the moonlit trail up in the park will be on November 2nd. Here’s what that’s all about:

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And why couldn’t I give him more evenings to work with that awesome project? WELL, that’s because from the 24th to the 31st, I shall be playing the part of THE PUPPETMASTER in Seven Tyrant’s Chinatown Haunted House in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

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You may remember me playing the parts of Filch, a crazy prisoner, a thief, and more, in Beggar’s Opera with the same company, back in May. But now? I seriously get to be a guy called ‘The Puppetmaster’ in a Haunted House which is REALLY a 20-minute long play that starts every ten minutes. (Yep. Requires some logistical finesse, that one.)

Come check it out if you’re so inclined! I am inclined to wish you would be there! At least, I certainly haven’t been doing any easy reclining. Okay, that was a bit of a stretch.

Well, when it comes to finding that rest and relaxation, there’s always next month, right? ALWAYS next month. Never the month I am currently in.

Hmm… my November calendar is looking a little sparse… maybe I should look for two more employers… or learn to drive…

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Stay shiny,
Andrew Wade

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Fringe By The Numbers: My Reactions

September 7, 2013 7 comments
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My last post, A First Fringe Tour: By The Numbers, already has the second most hits of anything I’ve posted onto my blog. Thank you everyone for your responses and for sharing it around. Here are my own thoughts:

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Yes, I lost money. A fair chunk of change. 1,671.16$ , to be precise. But I’ve been spending money on learning experiences for a number of years now, beginning with seven years of university, followed by the National Voice Intensive last year, and now, this tour. Was I hoping to at least break even? Of course! But to take a wider view, I traveled to amazing cities I’d never visited, had grand adventures, even kissed a lady or two, and got to tell a story worth telling to hundreds of people (okay, 534 people + ushers + technicians) across the country.

For my own personal growth, I desperately needed to travel. It was all 100% worth it. Over the course of two and a half short months, I learned a heck of a lot about theatre, life, and myself, and I can’t wait to get back out there next summer (if the Fringe lotteries are willing to let me).

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As a former professor once told me as he suffered through the first couple of years of his own theatre company, it’s not at all uncommon for businesses to lose money for their first two or three years of operation. This was my first ever tour. Hopefully now I have a tiny base of fans in each city, who might possibly come out and see a show of mine in the future!

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In each city, to keep this numerical, I think I knew 1 (London), 3 (Ottawa), many (Toronto), and 1 (Saskatoon) people, respectively. No hometown advantage for me.

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Hey Fringe Festival volunteers! You know how you happily exclaim to audience line-ups about how lovely it is that you haven’t raised your ticket price from 10$ for the past fifteen years or so? Well, inflation exists, and what you’re telling artists is that they’ve been earning less and less per ticket for every year for the past decade and a half.

I did not once hear a single complaint on the street or in the theatre about Saskatoon’s 12$/14$ ticket prices. Just sayin’.

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Also, it’s interesting that even with a 2$ administrative fee and GST being factored in somewhere, I still came out earning 11.20$ per ticket in Saskatoon, compared to 9.94$ in London, 9.35$ in Ottawa, and a mere 8.92$ per ticket in Toronto.

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Speaking of which, that shortfall in Toronto exists almost entirely due to the five-pack and ten-pack deals in that city. While I love having frequent fringer packs exist, compare Toronto’s 7.5$ tickets to Vancouver’s frequent fringer packs, which still offer 9$ per ticket to the performer. Seriously consider raising those frequent fringer rates, Toronto. You certainly have a reputation as being a place where performers don’t make any money. I enjoyed my time in the city, but 7.5$ tickets are hurting your reputation and hurting a performer’s chances of being able to break even in your city.

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* * * * *Hatter Poster - Toronto - for printer 2

Every city is so different when trying to figure out the right number of flyers and posters. Before I set out, I pre-printed 25 posters and 500 business card flyers for each city. Rookie mistake, as I learned when I saw other performers in London editing their poster files for upcoming cities so as to include London review quotes. Come Saskatoon I finally began taping quotes onto my posters, but printing posters for each upcoming city as I go seems to be the smarter solution.

So what are the right numbers? Well, 25 posters and 500 business cards felt alright for a sleepy Fringe like London, but I could probably have put up 75 posters in Ottawa, whereas getting 25 posters up in Toronto in anywhere worth looking, proved difficult. Also in Toronto, I ran out of flyers before the fringe was half over – I could probably have handed out 1500. As an experiment, I brought 1000 flyers to Saskatoon, and despite the Fringe’s smaller size, still gave out most of them. So every city is different, and I’ve still more to learn! (It also makes a difference as to how many people you have out there, flyering – being on my lonesome can be a downside when it comes to talking up enough lines to find an audience.)

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I gotta admit, it was disappointing to be one of 36 shows in Toronto not reviewed by Now Magazine. A few ‘N’s might have helped! (For a few more numbers, there were 148 shows in the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. 112 of them received a Now Magazine blurb and set (or lack thereof) of shiny ‘N’s.)

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In London, I recall one performer saying that two or three days before the festival opened, they visited Tourism London to ask for Fringe information, and the person there had no idea the festival was even happening. At Nuit Blanche, I (in full Hatter garb) was asked by several people when the Fringe Festival was beginning. That was the second-to-last night of the festival. It seems London is a hard place to get word out about the festival, which was evidenced by my having zero advance ticket sales, compared to 9 in Ottawa, 23 in Toronto, and 15 in Saskatoon. Toronto is very much more of an advance ticket city than the others – perhaps there’s more of a traditional theatre-going habit there? Or is there less financial disincentive to buy advance tickets in Toronto (when compared to additional fees other festivals add onto advance ticket purchases)?

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The Hat* * * * *

I’m honestly impressed with myself that I was able to keep my grocery bills down to size, even while on tour. Chalk it up to a combination of kind billets, hunts for grocery stores, and restraint whenever out and about with fellow performers. You guys feel free to order your meals at the bar; I’ll just wait until I get back to the food I bought with my big grocery trips on the day before each festival began.

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I didn’t have nearly as strong a show at the beginning of June as I did come mid-August. To be honest, it took me until Toronto to figure out the core of what the show was about – a man trying to get home – and so my show pitches for line-ups weren’t great for the first 2/3rds of my tour. Please don’t take any of the above as me making excuses for perhaps not being as financially successful as I would have preferred: I fully accept my tour as it was.

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Which is to say, a brilliant, daring adventure. 🙂

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For another view into my time on the fringe, as well as my original By The Numbers post, I also put up a By The Emotions post which you might enjoy.

As with before, if you think any of this may be helpful to someone out there, please share it on! I hope these posts are worthwhile for someone else out there. And if you have any reactions of your own, please add them to the comments below!

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Happy Fringing!

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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A First Fringe Tour: By The Numbers

September 3, 2013 10 comments
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A First Fringe Tour by the Numbers: For my 2013 inaugural tour of The Hatter.

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London audience numbers:
# of performances: 10
# of comps to media in audience: 4
# of comp VIP tickets: 13
# of comp Trouper tickets recorded: 1
# of comp performer tickets: 16
# of paying audience members: 54
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 5.4
# of audience members (total): 87
Average size of audience: 8.7
# of shows without a single paying audience member: 3
# of advance tickets sold: 0
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.94$

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Ottawa audience numbers:
Number of performances: 9
# of comps to media in audience: 4
# of comp VIP tickets: 2
# of comp Promo tickets: 2
# of comp volunteer tickets: 9
# of comp performer tickets: 3
# of advance tickets sold: 9
# of paying audience members: 81
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 9
# of audience members (total): 101
Average size of audience: 11.2
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.35$

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Toronto audience numbers:
Number of performances: 7
# of comps to media in audience: 8
# of comps (poor friend): 1
# of comp volunteer tickets: 11
# of comp 10x10x10 tickets: 33
# of comp VIP tickets: 8
# of advance tickets sold: 23
# of paying audience members: 90
Average # of paying audience members: 12.86
# of audience members (total): 151
Average size of audience: 21.57
Average size of audience, not including 10x10x10: 16.71
Average ticket price paid to me: 8.92$

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Saskatoon audience numbers:
Number of performances: 7
# of comps to media in audience: 3
# of comp staff tickets: 1
# of comp company (performers with password) tickets: 27
# of comp volunteer tickets: 20
# of comp promo tickets (???): 16
# of advance tickets sold: 15
# of paying audience members: 118
Average # of paying audience members: 16.86
# of audience members (total): 195
Average size of audience: 27.86
Average ticket price paid to me: 11.20$

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EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe application fees:
Edmonton: -36.75$
CAFF lottery: -25$
Winnipeg: -20$
Vancouver: -50$
Nanaimo: -25$
Victoria: -28$
San Francisco: -35.60$
Total: -220.35$

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Pre-tour expenses:
Photographer for promo shots: ~-100$
New hat: ~-25$
Hot water urn: -68.95$
Pocketwatch: -13.44$
Total: -207.39$

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London Expenses:
Festival fee: -650$
Props/supplies: ~-11.37$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Stolen bike light (bought for use in London): -20.33$
Beer for my techie: -11.25$
Total: -748.37$

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Ottawa Expenses:
Festival fee: -632.80$
Cider: -6$
Stage Manager: -100$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Props/supplies/tea: -7.94$
New backpack (other one broke in so many ways): -58.76$
Extremely generous BYOV venue fee: -80$
Gift to billets: ~-15$
Total: -955.92$

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Toronto Expenses:
Application fee: -27.50$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Stage manager: -80$
Props/supplies/tape/tea: -20.41$
Timbits offered at last four performances: -13.56$
Beer: -14.60$
500 Handbills (business cards): -34.47$
25 posters: -20.95$
Weekly transit pass: -38.50$
Total: -999.99$

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Saskatoon Expenses:
Application fee: -30$
Festival fee: -670.00$
Stage manager: -100.00$
Props: -11.03$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -51.41$
25 posters: -20.95$
Beer: -23.50$
Gift to billet/volunteers: -7.74$
Total: -914.63$

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Travel costs to each city:
Plane ticket from Vancouver to London, through family friend: -120$
Suitcase-full-of-props as extra bag on Westjet: -21.00$
Greyhound to Ottawa: -59.33$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound to Ottawa: -16.95$
Gas money to artist for ride to Toronto: -20$
Transit tokens in Toronto while waiting for Saskatoon: -53$
Greyhound (43 hours) Toronto to Saskatoon: -139.56$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound to Saskatoon: -15$
Greyhound (25 hours) Saskatoon to Vancouver: -110.78$
Cost to take suitcase-full-of-props on greyhound back to Vancouver: -15.75$
Total: -571.37$

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Expenses back home:
Rent/storage costs in Richmond for 2.5 months = ~550$
Total: -550.00$

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INCOME:

London Income:
Donation: 5$
Ticket sales at door: 532.00$
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.94$
Total: 537.00$

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Ottawa Income:
6 two-for-one ticket sales (5$): 30$
17 five/ten show passes (7$): 119$
9 Advance ticket sales (10$): 90$
40 ticket sales at door (10$): 400$
stage managed a show twice: 30$
Average ticket price paid to me: 9.35$
Total: 787.00$

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Toronto Income:
23 advance ticket sales (9$ to me): 207$
41 ticket sales at door (10$): 410$
3 Five-pack (7.5$): 22.50$
17 ten-pack (7.5$): 127.50$
6 performer (6$): 36$
Average ticket price paid to me: 8.92$
Total: 803.00$

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Saskatoon Income:
Ticket breakdown made very complicated with 2$ deducted from each ticket for administrative fees, plus GST removed from payout on each ticket. (Saskatoon is the only Fringe Festival that does this.)
Donation: 47.75$
Paid by drunks for a photo taken with me: 3$
Payout from festival: 1322.11$
Average ticket price paid to me: 11.20$
Total: 1369.86$

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Other numbers:
Hours on greyhound buses: 8+43+25 = 76 hours.
Food not considered: Grocery/food bill, as it was kept to my usual 200$ per month.
Days away: 71
Homes graciously opened to me to stay in: 5
# of stars in London review (London Free Press): 3 (out of five)
# of stars in Saskatoon review (The StarPhoenix): 4.5 (out of five)

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Total Expenses:
Failed Fringe application fees: -220.35
Pre-tour expenses: -207.39$
London expenses: -748.37$
Ottawa expenses: -955.92$
Toronto expenses: -999.99$
Saskatoon expenses: -914.63$
Travel costs to each city: -571.37$
Expenses back home: -550.00$
Total: -5168.02$

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Total Income:
London income: 537.00$
Ottawa income: 787.00$
Toronto income: 803.00$
Saskatoon income: 1369.86$
Total: 3496.86$

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Cost/Tuition for a two and a half month cross-country adventure: 1671.16$

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The numbers are bit surprising. I’ll put my thoughts/reactions in my next post in a few days. Hope this is useful for some of you out there to see as well! Feel free to leave your feedback/advice/comments below. 🙂

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

The Emotions of Fringe

August 25, 2013 1 comment
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These are a number of little thoughts and phrases I jotted down throughout my tour. The emotions of being on tour.

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I literally collapsed within my first few days on the tour. Stress, sickness, low blood pressure, and a particularly poorly chosen hot bath.

——————

“Damn you for making me cry.”

——————

Someone in Toronto told me they loved me. In that way. They meant it, with all the power of sincerity.

——————

Two starred reviews. 3 stars in London, 4.5 stars in Saskatoon. The first, other artists apologize to you for, for some reason. The second, they cheer you on, all day long.

——————

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Wikipedia)

That giddy grin for no reason whatsoever.

That giddy grin for oh so many reasons.

——————

Laughing home on a borrowed bicycle at 3am.

——————

Performing for three people (two performers and a volunteer) in London. Performing for 45 people in Saskatoon. Getting the standing ovation.

I don’t care if standing ovations don’t mean what they used to. They still mean a lot to me.

——————

Getting teary-eyed onstage. Having your story honestly hit yourself in the feels.

——————

For the past decade, I have been asking myself, ‘where is home’? This summer, I felt kisses of it all across the country. Let me tell you stories. Lead me into your home. Let’s be together, and if it’s only for a short time, then we’ll make that time mean something. Home is a loving invitation.

——————

“If you haven’t seen The Hatter, GO SEE THE HATTER! It’s incredible.”

——————

A guy came to see my show. Throughout the week, he was staffing a street store as a favour to a merchant friend of his. After the show, this man went out of his way to track me down and get a stack of handbills from me, so he could pitch my show to people who came to buy things from him.

He later told me he used to work in a prison. The job took its toll on him, including him finding a number of suicides, which traumatized him quite severely, to the point where he didn’t leave his house for years. Eventually, slowly, with many tiny steps, he began to reintegrate with the rest of the world, a process he is still working through. The street crowds intimidated him, but to be out in the sun left him gloriously shouting joy to the heavens. He told me he could really relate to Earnest and The Hatter, to the idea of hiding down a rabbithole. That my show really touched him.

Alice——————

“Oh yeah, that actress told me she might hook up with you.”
“Why didn’t she tell ME?”

——————

“My last bus comes in twenty minutes. Am I taking the last bus home?”

——————

The Hatter is the story of a man trying to get home. Desperately, desperately trying to get back home.

In hindsight, I would’ve thought that taking such a show on tour would have made me more homesick.

——————

“You have so much talent, and it would be a shame for you to miss out on even one opportunity to hear that. You are a brilliant actor, but also a positively amazing writer. Your show made me feel something, and that’s what good theatre should do. Thank you for that. I hope you know how much your art matters.”

——————

My show gets emotional. I imagined it, I wrote it, and I’m performing it. Which means that through all of it are real emotions, which, when shared through the art of storytelling, create a sort of lopsided level of intimacy between myself and each person in the audience. Which is an odd way to kickstart a relationship.

I say kickstart, because after the show is over, these lovely audience members already now know enough about me to know whether or not they want to have a conversation with me, before I’ve even met them. I don’t need to go through the other half of ‘here’s who I am’. They’re strangers to me, while I am now someone ‘known’ to them. This means I can keep the first conversation I have with them, about them. It was really quite refreshing to jump into conversations with complete strangers with an eager curiosity, knowing that that they’ve already seen much of what makes me, me.

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They’ve already seen my heart.

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My Childhood Dirge, aka, the song I’ve kept in my head

August 15, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an audio post. I have post-Fringey posts on the way, but until then, I wanted to share a song that has been in my head for as long as I can remember. Let me know your thoughts.

The Hatter is a 4.5/5 star show! Wow!

August 5, 2013 5 comments
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I don’t really have a blog post to go along with this, other than to say that for all we artists aren’t supposed to listen to reviews, it is SO validating to see the work I’ve put into this show over the past couple of months take it from a three star show in London to 4.5/5 stars here in Saskatoon!

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Go take a read!

Actor Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression.

“Why can’t we let fantastic things be,” he asks in tears.

Perhaps because they weren’t meant to last, is the silent reply.

In short, you’d be mad to miss this play. – The StarPhoenix

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I would like to contrast this with the first review I ever received for a fringe show, back in 2011, when I performed William vs. The World at Victoria Fringe, and my only review said that “Even sympathetic narcissists should avoid this show.”  Why do I want to contrast it in this way? Because I love the feeling of progress, I suppose.

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The Hatter began as a cobbled together series of experiments in Vancouver, two years ago, and then went on to London Fringe, where for three of its first four performances, THERE WASN’T A SINGLE PAYING AUDIENCE MEMBER IN THE HOUSE. That’s right, three of my first four performances this summer went to tiny houses of strictly media/volunteers/other-performers, all of whom were watching it for free. And since then I have worked on the show, refined elements of it, added in a scene previously cut, and through Ottawa and Toronto, figured out just what its emotional core, its soul, really is. Financially, in both cities I didn’t quite break even, but the show was progressing. I could feel it. And my pitches on the street were also improving.

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Not going to lie, I am loving it here in Saskatoon right now. The street festival atmosphere is fantastic, people yell things at me left and right on the street (due to my costume), the locals are lovely, I’ve had many people ask to take photos with me, people are enjoying my show, and now a review that just blows me out of the water.

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Well played, Saskatoon. Well played. I shall certainly come here again. And I get to enjoy your company for four more performances and seven more days!

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Cheers,

Andrew Wade

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The Reunion

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

The Reunion

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I just woke up from an almost impossibly happy dream.

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It took place in my childhood backyard (albeit expanded to hold the scene), and it was simple, as simple as can be, without plot, or storyline, or framework. All it was, was a reunion of people I’ve known, an endless stream of happy, laughing, delighted people from my past, streaming in groups through the open glass doors from the living room out into the backyard. Most of them were from my high school, with Matt Kuchinsky’s laugh echoing above them all, plus a number from elementary school besides, and even a cadre of my older brother’s friends from before he moved away to England, eleven years ago. There may have been hundreds of people, many of whom I don’t even remember their names, stepping out of my house’s glass doors and into the backyard to the joyous cheers of others who knew them, sitting down in the grass and conversing, laughing, grinning from ear to ear, most people dressed their best in suits and long, colourful dresses. High school social groups (to which I didn’t think I belonged), people I entered into French Immersion with when I was twelve, people whose faces were welcome but with whom I couldn’t recall ever having a good conversation.

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Our Hedge

One of the first digital photos I ever took, back in April 2001.

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If there was any exclusivity to this reunion, it may have been that they had to be people I might now consider obscure – not individuals from my seven years at university, but all of them from times before all that. This wasn’t a gathering of the people who mean the MOST to me – indeed, were that the case, there were many conspicuous absences (though my mother WAS there, with a few remarks just undercutting enough to make me chuckle), but instead, a gathering almost entirely of people I haven’t seen in years, many in over a decade, still flaunting their personalities somehow, Kieran Watson still sheepish-but-charming, Aisha with a dazzling grin, my brother’s friends still somehow a foot taller than I, still moving together like a friendly wolf-pack. And The Reunion made no pretence of being anything other than what it was – it told me it was a dream, it shouted its dreamness to me, and just asked that I accept it and embrace it. If I looked in one direction and then turned back, the landscape of people changed. In the middle of it all, I found myself occasionally trying to think of someone obscure, then of course found them in the crowd, OF COURSE they were here, smiles all around.

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Karlee and Aisha and I.

Karlee and Aisha and I.

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The sky itself was an undulating shift of colours, though mostly blue. As it turned a beautiful, luminous wave of greens, I knew the gathering neared its end. I turned to Emily Lomas – again, someone I haven’t seen in I don’t know how long – and offered a hug, but she and a number of other ladies were now in tall, layered, green dresses fit for royalty at a ball, dressed up to leave. She mentioned something about how the dress would poke at her, and when I turned back, the rest of the backyard had emptied, and the sky was a deep, bright green, and I knew it was over. I opened my eyes.

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And more, and more, and more.

And more, and more, and more.

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I know dreams don’t necessarily have meanings, that they are often a connection of whatever we were thinking of last before we slept, synapses firing and connecting almost at random to form something the brain tries to collect and cohere, but…

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But this felt like something, The Reunion itself, perhaps, was trying to tell me something. Or show me something. Or perhaps just reassure me that for all that I’ve forgotten, there exists a monument to old tribes, an endless stream of so very many happy, lovely, wonderful echoes of individuals sitting in a grassy backyard somewhere in the back of my brain, laughing and chatting and cheering, unforgotten, delighted to be there, having the best time of their lives.

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And why were they all so happy?

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Why was it all so happy?

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The Hatter vs. The Reviews!

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Okay, not so much The Hatter VERSUS The Reviews, given how positive they have been!

Let’s look at how The Hatter has fared with more write-ups from Ottawa and Toronto!

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The HatFirst, a late review from Meaghan Flaherty at New Ottawa Critics:

The script is well written and interesting, as Wade jumps from one creative medium to the next: songs, to poetry, to monologues, to audience participation. He manages to keep the audience guessing about what exactly it is that he’ll do next.

Wade also successfully plays many of the most beloved characters from Wonderland. He gives each one just enough of its designated personality so that the audience is able to recognize each one without the Hatter having to tell us.

She admittedly does mention the limited technical side of the show, but that’s what happens when you perform in a church gymnasium without a lighting rig!

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Post-show eyes.

Post-show eyes.

Next up, the lovely Charlebois Post’s Lisa McKeown had this to say:

The Hatter is a kind of sad clown – trying to befriend the audience but clearly suffering from some kind of internal conflict that he’s attempting to avoid.

The writing is clever and Andrew Wade’s performance is comedic but containing a depth that allows the audience to identify with him despite the clownish façade.

Definitely a good one to catch, especially if you’re feeling whimsical or are in the mood for a little audience participation.

Personally, I LOVE that she called me a sad clown! I’ve never gotten to be a clown before! I mean, sure, I have played physically over-the-top characters before, but to be called a clown fills me with an illogically grand amount of glee. Been spending too much time with actual trained-as-clowns performers like Aji from Geek Life and Ask Aggie’s Christine Lesiak, clearly. 🙂

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The Visitorium didn’t write up a full review, but he sent me this kind twitter comment:

@AndrewActs ‘ HATTER is a good time indeed…great storytelling, fantasy, and a lovely cuppa tea. #ottfringe

So that was kind of him.

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Hatter Poster - Saskatoon - for printerAnd finally, Mike Anderson at Mooney on Theatre wrote me an appropriately strange and wonderful review, written as a personal letter to me:

Did you notice how, any time you got to improvise, the audience would involuntarily lean forward in their seats? I know actors who would kill their own mothers to have an audience do that for them. It’s great!

We want to ride that wave with you, Andrew. We want to share in the joy you clearly take from working with a lively audience, from the unpredictability of live theatre, from the freedom you have when you aren’t dependent on light and sound cues to convey your message. When you get out there and act freely, the effect is phenomenal.

Seriously, possibly my favourite review I have ever received. I even took it as constructive criticism and used it to improve my run in Toronto! Heresy, I know! But that’ll have to wait for another blog post (possibly in a few days time!)

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Thank you everyone for all your support; this tour has been a wild and crazy ride thus far! Only Saskatoon remains! Bring on the 43 hour long greyhound trip.

Wait, HOW LONG DID I SAY THAT WAS? Really wishing I could have afforded that train-ride or plane ticket right about now.

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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What D&D Character Am I?

I know, I know, what is this, 1998? Yes, I filled out a lengthy question sheet online and got allotted into categories as a result. Still, I liked this one. Decent insight into me, perhaps… though I am rather surprised at how very, very un-monk-like and un-paladin-esque I am! What do you think: is this an accurate assessment of me? And who are you?

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I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Cleric/Sorcerer (2nd/1st Level)

Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-12

Constitution-14

Intelligence-14

Wisdom-12

Charisma-16

Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Primary Class:
Clerics act as intermediaries between the earthly and the divine (or infernal) worlds. A good cleric helps those in need, while an evil cleric seeks to spread his patron’s vision of evil across the world. All clerics can heal wounds and bring people back from the brink of death, and powerful clerics can even raise the dead. Likewise, all clerics have authority over undead creatures, and they can turn away or even destroy these creatures. Clerics are trained in the use of simple weapons, and can use all forms of armor and shields without penalty, since armor does not interfere with the casting of divine spells. In addition to his normal complement of spells, every cleric chooses to focus on two of his deity’s domains. These domains grants the cleric special powers, and give him access to spells that he might otherwise never learn. A cleric’s Wisdom score should be high, since this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

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Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good —– XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (24)
Neutral Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (28)
Chaotic Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (17)
Lawful Neutral — XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (23)
True Neutral —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (27)
Chaotic Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Lawful Evil —– XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Neutral Evil —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Chaotic Evil —- XXX (3)

Law & Chaos:
Law —– XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Chaos — XXX (3)

Good & Evil:
Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Evil —- (0)

Race:
Human —- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Dwarf —- XXXXXX (6)
Elf —— XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Gnome —- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Halfling – XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Half-Elf – XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Half-Orc – XX (2)

Class:
Barbarian – (0)
Bard —— (-2)
Cleric —- XXXXXX (6)
Druid —– (-6)
Fighter — (-2)
Monk —— (-19)
Paladin — (-17)
Ranger —- (-4)
Rogue —– (-4)
Sorcerer — XXXXXX (6)
Wizard —- (0)

The Day it all felt Normal

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Today’s the day it all felt normal, the planning for the next step on the strip, for the next place, deciding how to say goodbyes and to whom. Who to connect with online to keep a presence in some distant corner of their heart or mind. A continuation of a cycle of coming and going, beginnings and endings held so close together so as to almost be the same thing, life a series of events instead of an ongoing flow of chapters.

Life touring alone with the Fringe is short and lovely, because you need to pounce on any love that’s available and seize it for now, because tomorrow is too close for planning.

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(This post is what happens when you combine a first fringe tour with a first read of Neuromancer by William Gibson. Apparently.)

Andrew Wade answers The Question (London+Ottawa Fringe)

This week I was asked by The Charlebois Post to answer a question. I thought I would post my response to it now, as I wrote it a few days ago, and it is already a little out of date, as Ottawa Fringe has just come to a close. Enjoy!

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The Question:
Since you’re half-way through touring The Hatter, how would you describe the overall experience of presenting it in London and Ottawa. Any differences in audience reaction or in any other way?

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It’s hard for me to separate my experiences of performing in each city from my feelings towards being on a Fringe tour overall. London Fringe, as my first stop, was all about getting my bearings. I haven’t travelled much, and I fell ill for three days right off the plane, including passing out, naked, on the floor of my billet’s bathroom. Not only that, but it was a new show! My first London performance was the first time I had ever performed The Hatter. I was memorizing lines up until showtime, with scenes jumping around and switching places for the first few performances.

Hatter Poster - Toronto - for printer 2That being the first time I had presented the material, during my time in London I was also feeling out the character of The Hatter and his personal arc. Some of the aforementioned accidental scene switch-ups, I decided I liked, so I have since implemented them. I also found a slew of other lines which I didn’t really need to say, managed to reintroduce an old scene, and occasionally enjoyed my on-the-spot paraphrasings so much that I’ve edited them into the play. So everything onstage evolved rapidly in London.

Due to being given a small venue, they also allotted me more showtimes, which meant I was performing essentially almost every single day – only one day off – so most of my time was spent in pre-show prep/flyering and post-show recovery. While I did once manage to meet up with an old friend, but there was far less downtime to this whole ‘performing in Fringe Festivals’ thing than I had previously anticipated.

Other than my lovely billets, I also didn’t interact much with the locals. A few nice conversations, but mostly I hung around with a handful of other performers who I knew or was getting to know. Quite a lot of solitary time – which I didn’t really mind, surprisingly.

By now, with only a few days left in Ottawa, I think I am finally adopting the necessary mindset towards socializing while touring – something I’d been missing in London. Ordinarily at the back of my mind with every conversation I’m having is a radar scanning along, looking for hooks, ways to continue the relationship between myself and the other person. How can this association, this friendship, this relationship, be maintained, continued into the future? But that doesn’t work so well when you know you’re leaving town in a week’s time, and aren’t sure you’re ever coming back.

Hattersquare600x600So instead, Fringe is making me be more present than before. This conversation with a local which I am having right now, this conversation is its own encapsulated moment, never to be repeated. It can only be enjoyed now for what it is, because it isn’t the precursor to something else down the road. It just is what it is, straight up, hold the ice. And it’s the same for them! I am just a travelling performer, rushing through their town, and yet they still want to talk to me. I guess that makes me interesting.

Being in a BYOV, I am still performing almost every day here in Ottawa, moving from ten performances in London to nine here, to seven in each of Toronto and Saskatoon. One big personal goal of my fringe tour was to allow myself to enjoy travelling, and while I’ve gone to the house of commons and the supreme court, I’m finding I’m more engaged by chatting with people and asking them what they think of their city. Ottawa’s winters are too long but they couldn’t imagine a life without snow. The only jobs are government jobs, but the place throws great parties and is kept young by all the universities. I’ve never seen a city with so many police cars, but I suppose that makes sense.

As to the show itself, adapting it from a tiny room to a church auditorium had its share of surprising elements. I still find myself occasionally waiting for lighting cues which existed in London, but couldn’t be done in Ottawa, and due to the resonating echoes of the room, I actually need to perform more quietly in the auditorium than I ever did in London.

The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONAs for the audiences… to be honest, I am just over-the-moon thankful that I have audiences. My first two performances in London, the only people coming to the show were volunteers, fellow performers, and media. Not a single ticket sale. Great for workshopping, not so great for not-becoming-financially-destitute. Then on the third day, fifteen paying audience members. I can’t say I kept up the third day’s numbers for the rest of the run, but until then, I admit my worries were getting the best of me. Ottawa’s audiences, hopefully due to the generally positive press I’ve been receiving, have been slightly more numerous. With BYOV venue fees, I won’t break even on this stop, but this trip was always designed as my ‘tuition’ for learning how to tour with a show. Next year I’ll earn my profits. 🙂

I love meeting people on the street in Ottawa. London-folk are lovely, but the number of times Ottawans have asked if they can have a picture with me (in full Hatter garb) really brings a smile to my face. Yet for all that gregariousness, Ottawa audiences are also far less willing to sing along with The Unbirthday Song. Interesting divide, there. (NOTE FROM FUTURE ANDREW: My final audience in Ottawa was LOVING singing that song. Go figure.)

In both cities, I have made fans of my work, and with every other performers’ shows I see, I get little glints of inspiration, ways to continue to explore this play, tweak it, refine it. Watching Nancy Kenny‘s excellent Delores reminded me to pay attention to the main relationship within The Hatter, while Kurt Fitzpatrick’s Cathedral City and Bruce Horak’s Assassinating Thomson have a new show slowly building itself in the sunshine nook of my mind.

Which I suppose means I’ll need to do this crazy Fringe Festival thing again next year. What a daunting, exciting, intimidating, and thrilling notion.

Before then, however, I have seventeen performances in two and a bit Fringe Festivals (FUTURE ANDREW: Okay, two festivals. Plus possibly Nanaimo now?), one theatresports performance on Canada Day (FUTURE ANDREW: Which was AWESOME), at least fifty-five dreaded hours on greyhounds, and whatever else crops up (Nanaimo?) before this summer ends.

Hope to see you in Toronto or Saskatoon.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter

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