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My Definition of Self-Respect

December 5, 2012 Leave a comment
BeardedAndrew

In Flora, I looked like Lenin.

 

Two days ago I shaved off my facial hair. It’s amazing what seeing a different face in the mirror can do.

A couple of weeks ago, I was telling someone my criteria for respect: I respect anyone who actively tries to better themselves. We talked about different ‘ages’ people go through, eras of the self, where we can say ‘I was different then’.

To some people, the idea of such eras is a terrifying thought, for who are we if we are not who we were? But I wear my ages as badges of pride, blazoned on me as reminders that perhaps, just possibly, I am making forward progress into becoming a better me, a quest which I know only ends with my death. Possibly.

But as we discussed, I could feel a weight of stagnation. Or worse. I looked at the now-me and who I was a couple of years ago, and saw a man whose greatest changes were semi-independence and a pool of guilt for a selfish act which I refuse to believe was wrong.

In grade five, in that church, I looked at myself and didn’t like what I saw. I decided on the kind of person I wanted to be, and made a firm commitment to continually change who I was into someone better. My definition of self-respect denies anything less.

This past while, I haven’t had any focus on the man I wanted to be. Or I’ve been too anxious to search him out. Or I have cast judgement and sentenced myself to floating in the pool, just deep and flat enough.

So I am making a concerted effort to discover who that next-me should be. What beliefs I need to discard, and which ones I need to build. What I need to do to improve. My definition of self-respect denies anything less.

My self-respect requires nothing less.

I haven’t been a baby-face in perhaps two years. And now, when I look at myself in the mirror, it doesn’t quite look like me. I am staring at someone slightly different. A new face.

Someone I might aspire to become.

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Babyface Andrew

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

A Request for Dreams

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

I am good at taking advantage of opportunities.

Every day I go through a dozen craigslist RSS feeds and seek out new posts from currently 97 subscribed theatre website feeds, I check my email looking for audition listings, and I look for chances to connect to the theatre communities I want to engage with. I have attended AGMs for companies I have never worked with.

If a possibility presents itself in front of me, I am skilled at recognizing it, saying ‘yes’ (as we improvisers do), and going for it. I do what I can to ensure that those possibilities DO get to me (see: above paragraph). I have honed this radar to a decent level of precision. BUT…

(and there is always a BUT)

…But I have never been great at the bigger picture stuff. At the developing a dream and pursuing it relentlessly stuff. At the choosing a distant point and doing all in my power to reach it stuff. So I haven’t thrust myself into screen-acting. So I haven’t focused on a single career path. So I haven’t had many romantic relationships.

Even as a kid, I remember the questions of ‘who is your hero’ and ‘what is your dream’. I never had admired heroes who I aspired to become, and I never had an end goal for what I wanted to accomplish in life.

If a Fantastic flaps its wings right before my face, I will follow it to the moon. But I never look at the moon and decide, “I will go there”. I will follow and fly with the sylph, but I won’t laboriously build the rocket ship.

It’s a muscle I’m not toned at using, this business of ‘dreaming’. But I want to learn. I want to become better at it. So I am asking you, my friends, both ones I know and one I haven’t met, to help me in this. Show me the castles in the distance and lead me on the first few steps to get there. Ask me on that date and make me flutter at the idea of more. Show me glimpses of distant possibilities, and help me focus on more than what is merely at my fingertips.

Train me how to pursue dreams.

English: Cover of Summer 1952 issue of Fantast...

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Wade

One Reason Why Pet Stores Stay in Business

September 29, 2012 2 comments

One Reason Why Pet Stores Stay in Business

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, ...

Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph, “His Master’s Voice” (Photo credit: Beverly & Pack)

I can’t say I’ve ever really connected with animals. I grew up in townhome suburbia where our family wasn’t allowed a dog, I may have accidentally been indirectly responsible for the death of my best friend’s pet rat, I was run over by a dog when I was eight, I certainly DID accidentally kill a pet beetle I had for all of a day (left his hand-made terrarium on the windowsill; he baked under the sun), and I worked for several years as a paperboy, alternately terrified of the larger dogs/cats or just annoyed by the tiny yippers.

(Okay, I’ll explain the rat story. I was tasked to look after the rat while their family was away on vacation. Every third day, I would show up at their place, clean out the cage, play with the rat, and give him new food and water. And that’s what I did. Then, right at the end of their vacation, there was one day when I looked after the rat (and he was fine), then a day’s break, and then the family came home. And the rat was dead. The darn thing WAS over three years old, after all. But yeah, my best friend and I didn’t really ever speak after that.)

English: Pet Chinchilla Русский: Домашняя Шиншилла

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The only pet my family ever had was a lovebird. Think budgie, but he chirps a third as much, three times as loud. Really hard to get any work done while the bird’s awake.

So yes, animal empathy is something I’m working on. Something I need to work on. Living with four cats and a Pomeranian for seven weeks this past summer in Kelowna has certainly helped. But I have a lot further to go.

So one day I walked into a pet store to try to connect with all the little critters held within. To see if I could spark that ‘Awww, how cute!’ reflex upon seeing kittens pounce around the storefront window as an old man teases them with a red laser pointer, or the flock of rainbow-coated birds as they spread their sharp wings and let off shrill cries while climbing from wall to wall to wall of their cages. Or the spotted fishes in a tank marked ‘quarantine’. The old chinchilla warmly standing sentry under thick ruffles of hair.

I have a hard-nosed friend who approaches life in a rough and gruff manner, but whenever she comes across a dog being walked, she immediately melts into a crouch with a loud ‘Aww, puppy!’, regardless of the actual age of the animal. That was the emotion I was searching for. But try as I might, I couldn’t muster that irresistible pull toward baby talk and family bonds that others indulge in.

Cockatiel yawning

Cockatiel yawning (Photo: Wikipedia)

That said, I was struck by an impulse all the same – a desire to buy them. Not because I wanted to take these critters with me, but just to take them away from all the layered cages and loud noises, no matter how well lit or fed. Not that these animals would have better lives out in the wild (or the wild of the city), per say, but in this moment, those cockatiels were absolutely doing their darndest – in vain – to try to find enough space to flap about. And I suddenly understood perhaps half of all pet store transactions – a compassionate desire to help.

I am still emotionally detached from them; I take care not to attach human emotion to them, so I wouldn’t say the old chinchilla is lonely, for example, but I did find it hard to watch these trapped animals, such as four cockatiels in a tiny cage, and to not want to give them a home with open space to soar in. Found it hard not to want to set them free.

Even for analytical ol’ me.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Nymphensittichpaar links= wildfarbig gescheckt...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Five Ways to Stop Having So Much Stuff

September 25, 2012 2 comments

Five Ways to Stop Having So Much Stuff

After five weeks essentially away at the National Voice Intensive, then seven weeks with Viva Musica in Kelowna, then three weeks in Victoria, when I finally returned home, I was struck by just how much stuff I have. After living out of my bike panniers for so long, when I returned to the single room office I live in, it seemed palatial. Opulent. Over the top. Even a little overwhelming. So many clothes! Books! Utensils! Supplies! Toys! So much… everything!

Time spent away from home offers a great new perspective on what you actually find valuable, and on what you are attached to because it once held value, or on what has just accumulated over time. This makes the time when you return home, the best time to clean house and better enjoy what you have.

Wrong kind of hoarding.

As any screenwriter or playwright will tell you, whitespace on the page is important. A page packed from margin to margin with text is imposing for a reader; they are more likely to just put the page down without reading it.

It’s the same with us and our homes. The more the clutter, the less likely we are to actually pick up one of those old projects and complete it. It’s in the whitespace that we can breathe, consider, and take action. Every grocery bag’s worth of stuff removed is like a breath of fresh air.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating us all Buddhist monks or permanently living out of our backpacks (as an old friend of mine has done for several years now). I truly do appreciate having and using my stuff: my array of clothes, games, books, music and DVDs. But when half of these possessions remain buried in boxes for 364 days of the year, that’s a clear sign that what I own and don’t need is getting in the way of what I own and could be enjoying.

So, all that preamble out of the way, here are five (perhaps unusual) ways to reduce:

(1) Take out your garbage and recycling!

Seems silly and obvious, but I know I had six bags of soft plastics, a broken breadmaker, and other dead electronics waiting to be recycled. Finally getting around to sending these to pasture really made a difference to the whole mood of my room.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

(Photo: Wikipedia)

(2) Distinguish between treasured items and memory aids.

There is a difference between your grandfather’s old watch which he gave you a month before he passed away, and a small plastic Eiffel Tower souvenir from that trip you made to France. Ask yourself: Do you need the souvenir in order to remember your grand adventure? Or would your digital photos do? If so, then lose the bulky mementos. It’s the memory that’s important.

(3) Learn that you don’t need to possess everything you enjoy.

In our North American consumer culture, it is far too easy to take that mental step of ‘I enjoy this, so I should own it.’ This applies to books, music, DVDs, games, artwork, clothes, you name it, as though the experience of enjoying it is lessened somewhat if you can’t put a physical (or digital) copy of it up on your shelf afterwards. Nonsense!

DVD collection

(Photo credit: nickstone333)

When I sort through my books, CDs, and DVDs (or when I finish one for the first time), I ask myself, “Do I honestly believe I will read, listen to, or watch this again, rather than go for something new?”, and if I have any hesitation, off it goes to the charitable donation bin.

To further incentivize myself, I have decided to consider donations of items to charity to be an act of tithing (as I have previously written about here), assigning an arbitrary value to each item (~50₵ for a shirt, ~1$ for a book for example). I then take that value off my monthly tithing figure.

And then I finally get through all the books I have accumulated but not read, and DVDs I own but have not watched, I intend on going through my treasured classics and on becoming a library person, searching their website with a wishlist and coming home with a bag full of goodies, a miniature Christmas, every month, all without cluttering up my home. John August has written up his own reasons for giving away most of his books here.

(4) Develop a Feeling of Abundance.
Freedom Android

Freedom Android (Tiago A. Pereira)

Much of this dragon-hoard-of-gold mentality comes from a feeling of scarcity – that we need to hold onto all these things because we may, perhaps, want them later and not be able to find them! But in most cases, especially with the advent of bittorrents and the internet, that’s just not true. Even books currently out of print may see the light of day again if Google has their way. From libraries, to ebooks, to wikipedia, to Netflix, the more we have access to, the less we need to own. And to be honest, it’s just a much healthier and happier mindset to live by – to trust that what you might want will be out there for you if you want it.

Along with old books, CDs, costume items and DVDs, I recently gave to a nearby charity bin a number of kitchen utensils I haven’t used for over a year, knowing that, if I need one of them again, I can always go to a dollar store to pick one up.

(5) Foster a Joy for Discovery.

When sorting through old items begins to feel like a chore, stop and enjoy some of the items you have unearthed. That is the best reason to be doing this, after all – to enjoy what you have.

Stay classy and live eagerly,
Andrew Wade

How to Forgive a Thief

August 24, 2012 2 comments

How to Forgive a Thief

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

As an unexpected follow-up to my post earlier this week, while I was chatting with an old friend at a coffeehouse in Victoria, my bike’s odometer – which I had forgotten to remove from my bike in the midst of hello-hug-greetings – was stolen.

(sidenote: Always in Victoria! I’ve had bike lights stolen three times, a helmet once, and now an odometer. Never lost anything in Vancouver or Kelowna – bigger crime capitals – oddly enough.)

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!
Stone rubbing of an ancient Chinese Han Dynast...

Stone rubbing of an ancient Chinese Han Dynasty odometer horse cart (Wikipedia)

That moment when I realize something of mine has been stolen, sucks. No way around it. It frustrates and angers me. It makes me suspicious and mistrustful of the people immediately around me.

Fortunately, as I mentioned before, I have a coping mechanism in the way of tithing. I can’t get rid of the frustration so easily, but the last thing I want to do is compound these frustrations by adding the financial replacement cost of buying a NEW odometer. I also need to find a way to forgive the thief. So here’s what I’ll do.

Right now, due to my blessed time working the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival, I have in my budget an August tithing balance of -150.58$. That’s money strictly earmarked towards tithing actions – using the money for a good cause, for gifts, and the like.

First I need to decide upon a replacement cost. The odometer that I purchased cost about 25$, but that was due to a dramatic sale at a Zellers going out of business. I was unable to find a similar odometer at the Zellers here in Victoria, so I can’t expect that amount to cover a new odometer. So I’ll put my replacement cost at the amount for a similar odometer from MECC, which, including taxes, comes to about 45$.

So, emotionally, I offer my odometer as a gift, so I can get over the feeling of being a victim, and be willing to forgive. Financially, I subtract 45$ from my tithing budget, reducing it to -105.58$, and the only hassle for me is the act of going out and buying another odometer, and the time I am currently without one. It could even make sense to put a dollar figure to that time cost, if I found it overly frustrating.

All that said, every incident has its own personality. Today is particularly frustrating because they took the odometer, but not the sensors attached to the wheel… which means that rather than a homeless person taking a bike-light that can be used as a flashlight… today’s voleur has walked away with a piece of useless electronic junk. Which makes forgiveness harder. But without my tithing system it’d be so much worse.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Thanks for reading.


Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Six Secular Reasons to Tithe

August 22, 2012 4 comments

Six Secular Reasons to Tithe

For me, tithing consists of setting aside 1/10th of what I earn, to be given away for the benefit of others. While I am a Christian, the benefits of accepting a tithing mindset and habit are huge for anyone – regardless of spirituality – who chooses to take on this challenge.

Note: My definition of tithing includes using this 10% of earnings for non-reciprocal gifts, donations to charities, help for friends and strangers in need… whatever you feel is appropriate, which may include giving to religious institutions, but doesn’t need to.

Hunky-dory? Great. Onto the reasons:

Tithe Tenth Mormon

(Credit: More Good Foundation)

(1) Good Deeds

Let’s get the obvious one off the bat. By giving money to worthy causes and actions, you help make the world a better place than it was yesterday, and that is huge. Whether you’re helping education and health by deworming the world (http://www.dewormtheworld.org/), giving to a local shelter, or encouraging mentorship (http://www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca), you’re making an impact.

(2) Budgeting

While the actual 10% figure isn’t too important, taking on this challenge requires taking note of your income and figuring out just what it is you’re actually earning. Also, it’s unlikely you’ll give exactly 10% of what you’re earning each month, or some opportunities might come up that require you to give a little more, so some numbers may carry over into the next month. Spreadsheets may be scary to some, but I personally find it a lot of fun (yes, fun) seeing one adjustment affect my next year’s worth of numbers. A skill well worth learning in case the public school system didn’t help you in this regard.

"Have you seen this man? He is Ant Hill H...

(Credit: Wikipedia)

(3) A Way to Forgive Thieves

If you’re like me, there is nothing that gets in your craw, that rankles you, that makes you downright peeved and pissed off so much as having something be stolen. The worst part of it all is that feeling of powerlessness, which can often devolve into a fear for one’s own security. It’s not hard to go from having a possession be stolen to adopting a mindset of distrust toward anyone you don’t know (or perhaps even toward people you do know). Which, as I’ve discussed before, is not a good way to live. But with a set tithing plan in place, I’m able to stick a mental trick on myself and choose to let the object that was stolen instead be a gift. If they’re resorting to pilfery, they probably need it more than I.

With this method, I then take the replacement cost off my tithing amount, so I’m not even short any money in my budget. It still sucks to have stuff get stolen, but I am now able to consider it a gift, forgive, replace, and move on, without my finances taking a hit.

Cover of "Pay it Forward"

Cover of Pay it Forward

(4) Karma / Pay It Forward

Alright, perhaps not an entirely non-spiritual reason, but plenty of people believe in a worldview where doing a good deed will come back around in the end. I don’t necessarily believe this concept, but I have respect for people who do.

(5) Encourages a Positive Perception of Money

It’s too easy in our society to become obsessed with the goal of obtaining money for security, or even hoarding money for money’s sake. Intentionally giving away money each month instead reminds us that money is just a tool to help us pursue other goals – not a goal in and of itself. Doing so also reminds us of what we hold to be more important in life. Don’t get me wrong – money is a fantastic tool, but that’s all it is.

(6) Encourages a Generous Mindset
Giving encourages more giving – a positive reinforcement loop that creates more generous individuals. Before I started tithing, I would often spend time debating the pros and cons of any behaviour or action before (possibly) making a decision. Since I’ve begun tithing, however, I find I am far more likely to freely offer aid to someone in need, without hesitation. It’s a far more fulfilling way to live.

I also find I am far more willing to accept and ask for aid from others, now that I know just how good it feels to be a giver. Generous minds build communities, neighbourhoods, friendships. Optimism. Happiness.

I encourage you to at least give tithing a trial for a few months, and open your eyes to all the opportunities to give and support the people around you, and around the world.

——————————

Passive Income Update:

As previously stated, I am on a plan to produce a monthly passive income of 80$ per month by the 1st of December. I have decided that I will let this goal include any passive income stream I create in that span, rather than have it need to come all from one source.

GOAL: 80$ per month.

PROGRESS: 7.16$ more in passive income per month due to moving cash from a low-earnings savings account to a higher earnings situation.

STILL TO GO: 72.84$ per month.

——————————

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Life as Seasons of Television

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The old season is ending. Long live the new season.

***************

English: Icon of television that is off

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I often consider my life in the metaphor of a television series. (I like structure.)

Lately I’ve been looking at each year as a season. And since I’m not yet too far removed from 20 years of education, each year begins in September. Now, with any good episodic television show, there are individual stories and arcs that last over a few episodes, two-parters and the like, but there are also season arcs, overarching stories and themes that have their feet in every minor story that year. An arc could be a career path, a relationship status, a focus, a series of coincidences, health, friendships, projects… anything, really. What makes a season arc what it is is that pervasive nature with which they are progressed (or obviously stagnate) throughout the whole season. It’s these arcs I’d like to pontificate over.

THIS SEASON’S ARCS

This past year (September 2011 to September 2012), significant arcs I can identify that have made their way into almost every day of my life are (A) my career goal to connect with the Vancouver theatre scene and find paying work doing theatre, (B) reconnecting with my family (as last September included a move close to home), and (C) Being single without letting myself be single. (Like I said, stagnation can be an arc as well.)

English: TV icon

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As for (A), as with good TV, it started with a BANG (four days to write and learn and build a Fringe show for Vancouver Fringe?), then fell into a rhythm of better paced growth experiences throughout (A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, The Great American Trailerpark Musical, The Boys In The Band, IGNITE!  and The You Show with The Romantics, Shpadoinkle Day, and the National Voice Intensive), and showed a strong arc build, with my recent paid work at the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival. This arc emerged from last year’s season finale (Stage manage, direct, and write/act in three different shows for Victoria Fringe?), and this year’s finale features an echo of last season with a return to Henry V with KeepItSimple, and an unexpected call from Bard on the Beach, asking if I could audition for them – a call I did not receive last year. The finale of this month also helpfully points toward plotpoints for next year, with auditions for paid work and opening hints of Dracula: The Musical.

For (B), seeing my parents and siblings every few days has been a blessing, giving me a sense of roots and the resolve to stay on the mainland and follow my path, rather than find somewhere to hide. An anchor.

television

(Photo credit: Walt Jabsco)

And with (C), well… all I’ll say is I went on a total of three dates all year, and that while this year’s season finale won’t be what I’d hoped for, it might be what I need. As with many real television shows, this season will end with a meeting at a party. (Part of the reason I think in arcs is an act of hope and will that there will indeed be a great shift ahead.)

NEXT YEAR’S ARCS?

While I’m no clairevoyant, here are my predictions for possible arcs:

(A) Film and TV. I want to make a big career push in film and TV. I expect a slow build-up with student films, extra-work and the like, but I’ll happily accept a break if it comes. 🙂

(B) The Move Into The City, Proper. Not only does my family look like they may finally move out of Richmond after many years of pondering doing so, but the building I am currently living in is due to be demolished at some undetermined point – most likely in a year’s time. Just in time for the big finale. 😛

Television

(Photo credit: davydubbit)

(C) Breaking The Social Isolation. Tied to the former arc, perhaps living with other people again, but more importantly, cultivating strong friendships and accepting new beginnings on the relationship front. More evenings spent with people, and not just for the purpose of rehearsing.

(D) Income Boost. Be it a successful passive income project, a lucky opportunity to act in a commercial, or something else, I expect growth from last season’s 10k income figure.

Other possible arcs include: Writing regularly / getting published (though I’m not sure I have the discipline for this in me, quite yet – through perhaps writing/running a D20 game could be a step), bouts of depression, a brilliant romance (apparently there’s still a hopeful romantic in me), connecting to political spheres, and connecting to nature (a highly rare experience throughout all of my life).

NOW.

Now I head off to Victoria for the season finale – a step into my old world to see what experiences, which people, I’ll get to take from it into next season’s arcs, and what will get left behind.

I don’t know what will happen, but I plan on following the metaphor through. I want a big finale, with this season’s arcs resolved or transformed into something new. Next year’s arcs set-up. Surprises. A cliff-hanger. When I return to the mainland, I want my life to have been inexorably changed.

So if you want to help write the next season of me, or become a regular, now’s the best time to make a guest-starring appearance.

I need something big to happen so I can begin next year feeling renewed.


(yes, I ended this on a pun.)

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Homewards Bound

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Note: I wrote this on the Greyhound back from Kelowna. I seem to pontificate on such rides.

Homewards Bound

After six and a half weeks away, traveling home from Kelowna. The hills, mountains, and other sights are clouded in a grey fog. “Must be a forest fire somewhere,” my billeter told me before dropping me off at the terminal. Apparently smoke from fires blow into Kelowna all the way from Colorado, Alberta, and even Alaska. Wouldn’t have even occurred to me. My still-city-mind thought smog instead.

My legs feel weak, like I’m tired of standing, or haven’t done so in a long time. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed my Kelowna adventure and had some great times with my collaborators which I doubt I’ll forget. They say the best way to hold onto a memory is to make sure you learn something in it, and I did, whether from going wine-tasting to learning how not to use a barbeque (and accidentally flooding the stage with smoke in the process). But with five weeks at the Voice Intensive and then near seven weeks out here, feels like my homes have moved out from under me, be they my new home in Vancouver or the one I was hoping still existed in Victoria.

I’m heading there next. A few days of hard work in Vancouver, then off to the Victoria Fringe Festival on Saturday, off to a city that was home for seven years, a home I feel I’ll need to rediscover. Make new memories on old streets.

I am grateful for all the wonderful people I knew in all of these spaces. I’ve heard it said that gratitude is the way to get out of the satisfaction trap – that trap where satisfaction never lasts because we get used to the blessings around us, and then want more. Gratitude reminds us of the blessings we have. But it is also typically a somewhat backwards-facing emotion. Being grateful for times past.

What would it be like to be grateful for the unknown which is to come? Is that part of hope? Is that satisfying?

Another journey to explore, I suppose.

An Emerging Artist’s Finances – passive income project part 1

August 4, 2012 1 comment

I am striving to be a financially literate artist.

I want to be able to devote as much of my time and energy as I can toward creating great theatre and penning strong writing. Pesky things like groceries and rent, however, do tend to get in the way. And while I am able to keep my expenses low, and I am currently on my first paying theatre contract, I will still be returning to my part-time Joe job in Vancouver as I search for more performing work. (I admit, I do have an awesome, flexible, Joe job, but it’s still not my end career desire.)

Since graduating last April, I have been able to perform in/stage-manage/direct/write at least 21 different plays or short films, working with brilliant companies ranging from Fighting Chance to the Metro Theatre, and with Festivals ranging from Victoria and Vancouver Fringe festivals to the UFV’s Director’s Festival, to (currently) the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival. Almost all of these were unpaid opportunities (or break-even ones) that I’ve used to grow as a performer and introduce myself to the Vancouver theatre community. I’ve been able to use my time in this way because I currently live off less than a thousand dollars a month through a mix of careful budgeting and control of expenses. Here’s a sample month’s expenses for me:

  • 200$ : Groceries
  • 300$ : Rent (to live in officespace at the most southern tip of Richmond)
  • 70$ : Professional development (theatre tickets, headshots, etc.)
  • 80$ : Spending money
  • 60$ : Transit
  • ~20$ : Cellphones (pay-as-you-go plans in Vancouver and Victoria)
  • + a portion of yearly budgeted costs for things like bike repair, clothing, dentistry, medical
  • + 10% of earnings to Tithing

Adding it all together, I come up with something called my ‘freedom wage’, which is to say, the amount I need to earn per month, after which I can spend the rest of my time that month doing what I wish (which could include more active-work-for-pay, but doesn’t need to). Let’s somewhat pessimistically put it at 900$. At my current part-time minimum wage job, that amounts to about 12 full-day shifts, or three work days per week.

Cover of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Ri...Earlier this week I picked up and read a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. While the latter part of the book seems out of date, what with its insistence on the stable nature of the American real estate market (yeah, that worked out well…), but most of the book focuses on the differences between income, expenses, assets and liabilities. As a quick rundown, income is the money you take in, expenses are what you spend each month, assets are things you own that earn you money (i.e. money that makes you more money, such as stocks, bonds, possibly real estate), and liabilities are things you own that cost you money (mortgage, car and boat payments, credit card debt). In the book, Kiyosaki suggests rather simplistically that there are money habits that separate individuals stuck in poverty vs. middle class vs. the rich. Essentially, the poor only have income and expenses – they buy food and shelter and whatnot and that’s all they can do. The middle class, he says, take their income, pay their expenses, and then purchase liabilities with what’s left over, such as a larger house, or a car, or that big screen TV. By contrast, he says the rich pay themselves first, BEFORE even paying expenses (to the point of creditors calling), and put that money in assets – in items that earn them more money.

Polls show distrust of public opinion

(Photo credit: jukebox909)

That then creates a positive feedback loop as the passive or portfolio income from those assets provides more income, which allows for more money to be devoted to purchasing assets, until true wealth (not needing to work anymore based on income from assets) is attained. Which isn’t so radical, really, considering how many advisors suggest putting money into savings FIRST, before paying your bills.

Before I get angry comments, yes, I think he’s being rather arrogant about how easy he thinks it is to reach out of poverty. But I’m still earning more than much of the world, so I’ll consider myself rich enough. Besides, for Kiyosaki, rich is a mindset, not a current financial statement.

At the same time as I opened up this book, I started reading through Steve Pavlina‘s passive income series (which began here), where he’s coaching his readers on how to create a passive income stream. To Pavlina, passive income is NOT about being lazy and not needing to work… it’s about being generous. In ordinary employee work-for-hire situations, you create value once for your employer and/or customer, and that’s it. When earning passive income (income that continues to accrue even when you’re not actively working), you are instead sharing value with many people (say, from royalties from something written or recorded), or with the same person many times (say, with real estate rent).

Okay, long-winded but hopefully informative intro, over. What I’m saying is, I want to try to build that asset column and earn some passive income so I can devote more of my time to creating what excites me.

So I am accepting Pavlina’s challenge, and will be slowly reading through his series, following along, and sharing my journey with you.

I also have a side-goal with this series of blog posts, which is to encourage more conversation about finances and money. For whatever reason, while we live in one of the most affluent countries in the world, there is often a stigma against discussing such things in our society. I’m not sure why. Are we afraid of looking weak when poor? Of bragging when doing well? Are we insecure when compared to the Joneses? Worried about looking like we care too much about money?

Money is a tool to help us achieve our goals and to grant us freedom to pursue what excites us. Let’s talk about what we’re doing to make that happen.

Here is my goal:

I will successfully build a new stream of passive income by December 1st, 2012, that generates at least 80$ per month on average, and endures for a minimum of five years, and I will do this in a way that inspires hope and gives value to people anywhere in the world.

What is 80$? Almost 10% of what I earn each month. One day less I need to work my Joe job each month. Feels doable, but difficult. What’s your goal? Let’s make it happen.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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The Lie of ‘Never change who you are.’

July 23, 2012 2 comments

The Lie of ‘Never change who you are.’

Protean Personality

Protean Personality (Photo: FeatheredTar)

One of the core, central beliefs by which I live is this: that all human beings are malleable. That I, and all of us, are capable of change, of growth, and of discovery, of making fundamental shifts in our worldview and in how we relate to others and ourselves. I’m a junkie for self-help books, websites, and audioguides ranging from C. S. Lewis’s Christian conundrums to Marc and Angel’s motivational posts to Morty Lefkoe’s limiting beliefs to Steve Pavlina‘s open discussions on everything from worklife to domination-submission. To anyone with an eye for how a person can improve.

In my own, personal story (elaborated on more substantially here), the single most important moment in my life was a time when I was in church, ten years old, with tear-filled eyes, my head down at my knees. At that time, I said to God, ‘I don’t like who I am. Help me become someone else, someone better.’ After that day, I looked to the people around me and observed what I admired about them, then sought to instill those values within myself. Courage. Humour. Honesty. Openness. Community-mindedness. Counsel. Extroverted exuberance.

When I tell this story to people – my origin story, essentially – the most common reaction I receive is this:

Well, you shouldn’t ever have to change who you are.’

Bullshit.

(If you know me in person, you know it’s exceedingly unusual for me to use such strong language. If you don’t know me and don’t consider this word as ‘strong language’, please replace it with a suitably surprisingly bold word of your choosing.)

Don’t change? Bullshit. I say, change who you are. Constantly. Discover the very core qualities that make you, you, and on a deep, gut level, grok them, understand them, and then decide whether or not you want them as a foundation for who you are. Reevaluate. Over and over again. Everything from how often you smile and laugh, to how you spend your time waiting in grocery line-ups, to what you believe is fundamentally true about human beings, to how you interact with strangers, to what makes you afraid, to how honest you are, to whether or not you’re as good a friend, lover or acquaintance as you could be… constantly identify ways to grow, prune, build, and level. Then do it. Change.

Be the Change

It’s not surprising I entered the world of theatre. Here, I can wear the skins of people with different intentions, worldviews, tempos, and rhythms to my own. Sometimes while exploring a character I’ll find an aspect of them that satiates me on a deep, gut-level – a whole-body grokking – and decide to try to hold onto that aspect for myself. Iago (see here, here, here, and here) helped me explore the intensely gratifying thrill of untethered ambition. As Donald (The Boys In The Band), I discovered the honest love behind unconditional loyalty. As William (William vs The World), I spelunked into the dark world of how a person can use self-delusion to shield oneself from loneliness, and into the desperation that kicks in when those illusions disappear. Malvolio (see here, here, here, and here) taught me how to use heartbreak as a powerful driving force, and performing improv taught me to trust not only my own gut instincts, but also those of whomever with whom I am sharing a moment. Over and over again theatre has helped me continue to shape and mold the very nature of who I am, cutting into the marble, adding slops of wet clay, drilling and firing and smelting and blooming.

One of my other core beliefs is this: I respect anyone who is trying to better themselves, be they an addict, my mother or even a former serial killer. We can all be better than who we are; we are all works in progress, always. That doesn’t mean we are not good, honest, eager, excellent people in the here and now. What it means is that we’re human. Malleable. Full of hope and opportunity.

Whether you want to or not, we all change. It happens. No one remains the exact same person throughout the course of their life, or heck, throughout the course of a year, or a month. What we can do, however, by admitting our protean possibilities, is direct that change for the better, be that through eliminating beliefs that are hindering, through shifting your perspective of yourself and of the world, through adopting new practices and personality goals such as honesty and openness, or through pursuing an innumerable other opportunities to grow, weed, cut, feed, nurture, and breathe.

There are many reasons someone might tell you to never change who you are. Perhaps they’re worried you don’t feel self-worth in who you currently are. Perhaps they worry you’ll trip up somewhere along your personal journey and get lost. Perhaps they’re afraid you’ll become someone other than their expectations of you. Perhaps they worry you’ll leave them behind. Perhaps it’s just their way of saying ‘I love you for who you are now.’ But I would add to each of these that anyone who tells you to never change who you are, refuses to see how amazing-brilliant-marvelous your future self will be.

Keep consciously changing,
Andrew Wade

More outsider observations in Kelowna

The Summerhill Pyramid, (image: johnschreiner.blogspot.com )

Some more ponderances from my time here in Kelowna:

  • When you hang up towels here, the towels actually get dry before the next morning comes, rather than staying damp all week until you put them in a machine!
  • Further on that note, while the temperature got up to  36 degrees last weekend, I find I’ve not been waking up in a puddle of sweat as can happen in Richmond. Humidity is an odd beast.


  • Inside the pyramid. (image: freestonespirit.ca )

    The Summerhill Winery’s bizarre concrete pyramid is, well, rather unique. (See photos.) (Also, my first wine tasting!)

  • Kelowna has more golf courses per capita than any other city in North America. Makes our show, Golf: The Musical, rather fitting.
  • A silly but awesome store: Milkcrate, a combination vinyl records / pie shop.
     
  • It is disconcerting, trying to, erm, use the facilities, when there is a cat on the counter, leaning its face within two inches of your own, staring right into your eyes.
  • Pretty much every event (such as the Canada Day fireworks) is made better by having an excited five year old boy behind you. ” WOWWW!” “YIPPEEEEE!!!” “COOL!”
  • While bikes are not a threatened species here, and there are even bike lanes, the city is built for cars and trucks. The bike lane between my billeters and our rehearsal hall passes by two ICBC buildings and a couple of offices for driving instructors. I’ve felt a whiff of an air of defensiveness among bikers, as though they need to justify their existence. As I biked home from the Canada Day festivities, a cheery female biker in front of me, upon noticing my presence on the road, shouted out “BEST WAY TO GET AROUND!”. Yes, it is. But there was just something about the way she said it. (She later, while biking past a woman opening the door to her car, smacked said woman on the butt and kept on riding. I don’t know if they knew each other or not.)

    Not too far off from chainsawsuit.com .

  • Across from our rehearsal hall is a store named ‘Knifewear’. I’m imagining pants made of quick-edged blades and it just seems like a bad idea.
  • Where I’m staying, I share the house with four cats and a VERY eager dog (as well as a family). This means that, even when I’m ostensibly ‘home alone’, there is usually somethingstaring at me. I mean, I’m an actor, but having this constant an audience is still somewhat disconcerting.
  • This is the first time I’ve ever lived with dogs or cats (as my observations make pretty clear). And I’m finding that they remind me of those Skinnerian conditioning models. Take the action of stepping near the dog, and it will, every time, give you affection and attention. With cats, however, the reward mechanism of a muzzle snuggle is chaotic, seemingly random, which can make the reward itself feel more potent. So, different strategies.
  • Also, scratching cat skulls is weird.
  • Before I arrived here, a friend of mine described Kelowna as ‘a small town trying too hard to be a big city.’ Just feels like a well-stocked, lived-in city to me. Admittedly, it does have a slower pace than an urban megatropolis (though quicker than, say, the Fernwood area in Victoria). And I mean, literally, a slower pace. The speed at which people walk. Which makes sense, given the population size. (See: Radiolab’s amazing piece on the pace of cities: http://www.radiolab.org/2010/oct/08/).

The cast of Golf: The Musical, Jaclyn Nestman, Andrew Wade, Šimon Mizera, Alen Dominguez, and Katey Hoffman.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Observations in Kelowna

June 30, 2012 2 comments

Observations in Kelowna

  • Thunderstorms! Awesome!
  • Fattest rainbow I have ever seen.
  • I suddenly see the aeration benefits of screen doors.
  • Being a gospel singer is still astonishingly fun.
  • Was passed by a pick-up truck with two hollerin’ guys in it, a confederate flag in the back, and two decals: one of a hand giving the middle finger, and another mocking the stick-figure family decals by showing two people… erm… engaged in coitus, with the words ‘makin’ family’. So, stereotypes still exist.
  • I can sing all day long and my voice is fine! Thank you, UVic voice training and the National Voice Intensive!
  • When the weather stays warm all night, it’s amazing how quickly evening time passes.
  • Got home from rehearsal. My billeters weren’t home. Went straight to my room… and all three cats followed. Okaaaaaaay…
  • Dogs make my analytical brain break. Dog approaches, looks expectantly. “Hello, fella! What do you want? Hmm? What, you’re happy now? You just want me to… talk to you? Really? That’s all? Sure you don’t want me to… no, you seem good. Alright then. Erm… hello.”
  • Surrounded by hills, some tree-covered, some not – makes me feel like I’m surrounded by giant tiles from Settlers of Catan, somehow.
  • Apparently it costs 500$ to rent a bike for a month. Five Hundred Dollars. Seriously? Wow.
  • “BURNCo Landscape”. I feel like I already disagree with your business practices.
  • Thunder is SO awesome.

The Road To Kelowna (or, Merritt Musings)

June 28, 2012 2 comments

The Road To Kelowna (or, Merritt Musings)

(Note: this was written while en route to Kelowna, where I’ll be performing and assistant stage-managing for the next six weeks on my first paid-weekly theatre opportunity.)

Greyhound racing Français : Lévrier durant une...

Greyhound racing (Wikipedia)

I am currently traveling by Greyhound to the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival. That’s traveling by Greyhound, not be greyhound, though if you attached enough of them to a sled with wheels, I suppose that would work, though perhaps not safe for highway sledding. Or maybe they’d all run in a big loop and I’d never make it out of the first city block.

Merritt qualifies as the furthest into BC I’ve ever been. (Which means that a lot of the award-winning short story I wrote here was based entirely off google and wiki searches). About half an hour before we pulled into this place, I noticed a shift in the landscape, with the earth looking more and more parched, littered with shrubgrass rather than with, well, grass, and the mountains looking less of a uniform wash of pine-green trees and more of a patchy, motley mix, like old socks thinning to the point where holes might break out at any moment. I dub thee, The Lintless Mountain Range. It’s odd to think of such waves of grass having their length kept in check by nature, and not by an over-funded university, city, or townhouse maintenance crew.

English: Dryer screen containing accumulated lint.

Dryer screen containing accumulated lint. (Wikipedia)

On the bus ride there, I was peached to receive possibly the greatest accomplishment a person can ever receive: a young woman asked if she could sit next to me. Now, granted, this was partly because an older woman had stolen her seat while the young woman stepped out to stretch her legs, and I happened to be sitting just one row back of her former seat, but still, she chose to travel alongside me and not next to the twitchy fellows who were searched over twice by security.

I also happened to be on a bus with not one, but four beautiful women, which has made me immediately reconsider my utility approach of wearing comfortable but scrubby clothes on a bus: in this case, my Phoenix Theatre t-shirt publically misquoting our theatre manager with the line “Please do not remove this shirt” on the back. The lack of gel in my thin hair, doesn’t help. I look like I’m balding or suffering from some form of mange.

Next time I travel by bus, I’m wearing a three piece suit.

When we stopped in Merritt for a fifteen minute sketch, I found myself taken aback by the sheer viewing distance from the bus depot. I’ve lived in coastal cities all my life, so the farthest vistas I’ve ever seen are from hiking up a mountain on an island somewhere, or from staring out at the ocean (other than the odd plane ride). Either way, to stand on firm ground and see nothing but land for such a distance is somehow shocking to my senses, like when you’re looking at an optical illusion of an elephant with an impossible number of legs and your eyes tell you one thing but your brain is going ‘”Hold on, woah there eyes, now I know you’re doing your best, and I appreciate all your hard work, but maybe you aught to let ol’ wrinkle-ridges here take over from now on”, followed by giving the eyes a patronizing pat on their retinas.

I think if I ever visit the prairies, I might go insane: an endless vista that will either induce a seizure or turn me into a timelord.

Staring into the Untempered Schism.

Bus depot rest points are odd locations in and of themselves. I know how my fellow greyhounders (sorry, Greyhounders) arrived, finally dragging themselves into this cigarette oasis in the desert of long distance public transportation, or unnecessarily forcing themselves into using the washrooms as part of a clever stratagem to avoid the potential rollercoaster waterpark fun that is using a toilet in the rear of a moving bus as it navigates its way over great potholes and around screeching traffic.

But the others… There is a man cradling a backpack a little too close to his chest. He sits alone in a field of empty chairs and stares blankly out the window, the window that stares out toward the side of our bus, and not, were he to turn, at the vista of rolling mountains and hills. It feels like a sort of purgatory for those not awaiting heaven, but perhaps sitting around in lack of anticipation for another place just like this one. Bleak.

The foodstuffs they sell here are as stale and processed as the motor oil and carparts they are shelved with. The prices on everything have been hiked up because, hey, people pay more for antiques, right?

No fruit, no vegetables, and the only meats are those kinds that last so long they make you wonder why there aren’t any 200-year-old pigs waddling about the world.

On the doors to the few refrigerated, pre-made items is a sign reading, “Pay for food at the counter BEFORE heating.” Reasonable enough. But the sign reading “Pay for magazines at the counter BEFORE reading” is just being snarky.

When I think about it, though, maybe that’s what these places need. Purgatory is purgatory because it is formless, shapeless, endless, full and empty of nothing. Maybe some personality would a good first step to reviving that man with his backpack, the man who has given up on waiting and entered a state of dejected mere existence.

Though I’m sure Merritt is a lovely town.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Addicts and Isolations

June 20, 2012 4 comments

ADDICTS AND ISOLATIONS

Warning: This post gets a little personal. Just so you know. But I think it’s valuable to work things out in a public setting, and perhaps you’ll find something you relate to.

*********************

My whole life I have been afraid of my body taking control of me. It’s time I focus on being whole, instead.

The body is a scary place, not the least bit because it’s where we feel our fear, in the rising of our hair as goosebumps send our follicles reaching to the heavens as though at gunpoint, or that sudden, sickening, nauseous, heavy thud at the back of the stomach, or up and down shivering legs and quaking knees. No, it’s scary because there’s such a lack of self-control and awareness.

Right now, blood is coursing all throughout my body, and I can’t even feel it. If an air bubble were to build in one of those channels, I could be dead in a minute’s time. Or that loving embrace shared with a sweetheart that I know is causing chemical reactions in my brain that are in some ways equivalent to a heroin addiction, so that without my control or, possibly, desire, I might be chemically pulled toward that person for who knows how long. Perhaps forever. The fat cells that actually secrete somethings that cause a person to be even hungrier. The thousand dangerous points where a misplaced punch could end my life.

There is the flipside of this, of course. The lack of a need to actively coordinate and control my breathing and pulse, for example, is much appreciated. Just taking care of that would take up rather a lot of my time. And though we are fragile, we are also incredibly resilient.

English: Human body external features

Human body external features (Wikipedia)

Still, for most of my life I have detached myself from my body, from that moment in grade four when we went over anatomy for the first time. A graphic chart of tendons and muscles and ligaments and organs, of danger and secret rivers. A queasy attempt to feel them inside me. Shudders.

The day I stopped running with abandon and scraping my knees. Never felt all that safe running on wet concrete ever since.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household where I was allowed sips of wine or beer at special family gatherings like Christmas and Thanksgiving, which demystified alcohol for me, and allowed me to know that I wasn’t the type to become an alcoholic. I trusted myself on that front. But I did not trust my own willpower (or my body) enough to try marijuana until I was 24. And even that was with one of those, oh, not bongs, but whatever they’re called. And I’ve only tried that perhaps three times, in very safe situations. Because I didn’t want the chance of something triggering, and then being controlled by my body. And while this next fact is to many of you probably TMI (too much information), in order to explore the topic fully I should admit that the first time I masturbated wasn’t until I was 17. Because I didn’t want to become some horndog boy controlled by his body. I wanted to be me.

Honestly, there is a lot to be said for detachment, to feel like one’s head is a conquering crab atop an inert granite slab of a body. Puzzle solving and analytical solutions. An ability to calmly enter situations, debates, and problems that cause others to yell, scream, run and hide. I’ll pick up the spiders. I’ll put on that harness and scale the wall. No superstititions. Stability. Intelligence.

So yes, a lot to be said for detachment. But not a lot to be felt. For some people, this isn’t such a problem. But me, I’m an actor. I’m someone who wants to be in loving, romantic relationships. I’m someone who, now, at least, wants to be fully human. Not some clever floating head, but a grounded, emotional, grokking individual.

Malvolio and the Countess

Malvolio and the Countess (Wikipedia)

This is part of the reason why I was drawn to acting in the first place. Here, on the stage, in the script, are all these characters who deeply feel and yearn and reach. This is why Shakespeare is so fantastic, because his characters speak and feel honestly and openly. The jealous ambition in Iago, the crushing betrayal in Malvolio, the naive love of Lysander. I’ve always wanted to play the role of the lover onstage, because, well, it’s lovely to love someone. But to a typically detached person, it is also so very satisfying to rage injustice, to hate someone, to scorn someone, to grieve for someone. In the twinned poles of acting, where one side is sheer and incredible imitation without sensation, and the other an out of control trainwreck of overwhelming, cascading emotions, I have spent most of my life in the former’s camp, while envying those rolling about the floor in tears.

Not envying too much, mind. That would require too much connection to my body. I’ve described myself before as sometimes feeling like a stuck pickle jar that just won’t open. Which can sound tragic, but when you are that stuck pickle jar, it is an annoying but not at all overwhelming sensation. It’s more of a feeling that something is missing, like you’ve left the house and you’re on the bus, but you know you’ve forgotten something at home.

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. (Wikipedia)

Then, a year or three back, I made a conscious and vocal decision to find a way to more deeply access my emotions. Partly, I worried if that depth was really there. I did research on sociopaths and autistic tendencies. Someone loved me more than I loved them, and I didn’t know if I was even capable of equally caring about them as they did, me. I was concerned. But not distraught. That would require too much connection to my body.

I recall breaking up with someone and being overwhelmed with sadness in that moment, one of only three times in my life that I can recall being so taken with grief, and even as I was breaking two hearts, a fair chunk of my brain was cheering because that moment showed that there was indeed potential for me to be an emotional individual. To be swept away by the tide of a moment.

I’ve recently spent five weeks at Canada’s National Voice Intensive, run in part by the brilliant David Smukler. When we begin the program, we put into words what we believe our ‘dragon’ to be. I said I was afraid that there was a ceiling to my growth as a person, some barrier I would never be able to cross, blocking the world of pow’rful love.

One activity had me shouting out a line to ever increasing distances. After getting the placement in my mouth just right, and feeling the breath, I found I could technically boom it out there, but… but I knew there was so much more within me, like I was only using two of the eight cylinders to my engine. So much more potential for my voice. When Smukler told me that the other cylinders would come with (and forgive me if I’ve misunderstood) real emotional intent, my first instinct was utter surprise. Apparently my first reaction to great emotion is to cringe inwards, to hide it, rather than to communicate it out to the heavens.

In university, I tried to access emotions like a man at the gym tried to access muscles – with isolations. Need to be panicky? Alright, I’ll focus my breath at the base of my spine. Need to be all lovey-dovey? I’ll try to place my breath and concentration at my heart. Intellectual? The back of my neck. All very specific, and for the rest of the time, my breath would sit up at the top of my lungs, assured that there was always an ocean of breath below, which was never actually being accessed.

Possibly the biggest technical thing I learned at the intensive was that breathing out fully is the only way to fully allow the new breath to enter. I can be confident that even at the vacuum point, there will still be air enough in there.

But even though that’s a technical statement, it’s the first step in feeling as a full-bodied person. I am not a head attached to a body. I AM a body, with a head brain, a gut brain, a heart, and yes, even a libido.

To grok something (a verb out of Heinlein), means to me, to understand something with one’s whole body. To feel it as well as grasp it intellectually, so that the feeling and the knowing come together to be this one felt, active knowledge, this… grokking. I want to grok life. To grok love. To grok my characters and their situations. To grok myself and my situations. And that won’t happen unless I allow myself to be a physical, intellectual, emotional, whole-bodied person who breathes from the lake within me and allows every new breath to be a wonderful, gutfelt discovery.

Hopefully some of these sentiments resonate with you on your own journey. Thank you for reading.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

The Boys In The Band

April 28, 2012 2 comments

It seems to always be when I have the most to say, that I have the least amount of time to say it.

Right now, my life is on a crazy tear, as I am partway through an incredible run of 17 performances of The Boys In The Band with Ghost Light Projects, and it has been an absolute privilege to work with such a diverse, talented group to put on a stunningly scripted, two-act power-of-a-piece on two weeks of rehearsals and a lot of gumption. Our cast ranges from a Film and TV veteran up on stage for the first time to a new VFS grad, from a working actor who earns a good living off his profession to the ’emerging artist’ (me). Decades between the oldest and youngest cast members. Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy working with teenagers (such as on the Panto) and actors in their early twenties, but I am also SO very grateful for the opportunity to work with men (and woman) who have a lot more experience in theatre and in life than I do. One of our fine actors works at the Make A Wish Foundation, and this show has been a wish come true indeed.

When I first graduated, I was worried I would leave school and promptly not do any theatre, fall into a dayjob and not get back out. So to counter this fear I took on every project that came along (and still do – let’s be honest). And so, since I graduated, I haven’t had more than three or four days away from a rehearsal or performance hall. Include school projects beforehand, and that run stretches probably longer than a year. But, being who I am (a new actor who can sing), most of my theatre work in the real world thus far has been in musicals, so to have the opportunity to sink myself into such a marvelous, serious, funny script as The Boys In The Band has been a great leveler. It has pointed out all the habits I own that I’ve let loose in musical-land, which don’t work so well in the realm of realism. My enunciation and lapses into over-articulation and sounding slightly British. My breathing habits. Finding the right level of energy with which to enter a scene and hit cues. Keeping up the pace.

And with last night’s performance, I feel we really hit our stride. Please, check us out – it is a fantastic show, and a landmark piece of queer theatre. (Sidenote: I take far too much pleasure in being a straight man playing a gay character, such an opposite to the usual circumstance.)

Tickets can be bought at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/217822 , and when the questionnaire asks who sent you, tell’em you bought tickets to see me. So I can get a bit of a commission on them to subsidize my bus tickets. Thanks; I appreciate it. And you’ll appreciate our fine show.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade