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Thank you for the tea parties.

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I had cloistered myself up in British Columbia, hid away in school for twenty straight years, I was anxious and worried that I wouldn’t get the chances to perform in the real world, once I graduated… so I made a plan. A crazy plan. I decided to write myself a one man show and take it across the country.
       
Andrew Wade 011bI had no idea if I could hold anyone’s attention for an hour. I had no idea if I could write a show that’d work. I threw every theatrical idea into the show, creating a mad, patchwork quilt of ideas, and then threw most of them out. I mostly improvised a run at Vancouver Fringe in 2011. I rewrote the darn thing from the ground up. And then I took a deep breath, spent thousands of dollars, and took my little hat and kettle show on the road. First year, I went to London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Saskatoon, spent over two months away from where I lived – the longest I had ever been on the road.
       
I got stuck backstage and had to pee in a water bottle a couple of minutes before my first performance. I sold exactly zero tickets to three of my first four performances. I was on greyhound buses for forty-three straight hours. I lost money. And it was worth it.
       
The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONI also met with mentors and brilliant performers who just wanted to help me along my journey. I made friends, colleagues, and talent crushes. I was introduced to the ridiculous art of attempting to smuggle women into your billet’s place without them noticing. I discovered from my billets just how charitable people can be and how awesome retirement is for a lot of people. I traveled the country, flew for only the third time in ten years. I made a man in Saskatoon give me a great big hug, break down, and cry, then loudly whoop at everyone on the street to come see my show.
       
And then, this summer, I brought The Hatter home. ‘Previewed’ it in Port Alberni to an empty town full of good intentions, brought it to Regina and was fed fancy meats while swatting mosquitoes and having a grand ol’ time. Then came the real homecoming tour.
       
Next, I went to Saskatoon, which had welcomed me so warmly, it felt like home. There’s a reason I was able to perform the most personal work I’ve ever written, there: a new show, The Most Honest Man In The World. Me being me. And most people still called me The Hatter, anyhow.
       
Then came Victoria. The big gulp of nervous air, a city of people I had treasured for seven years, then skipped out on when my degree was up. Spent a quarter of my life there. Felt like I was awaiting their judgment, wanting the city, old friends, ex-girlfriends, to tell me I had made the right call, that I’d made something of myself, out there in that bigger ol’ world. And the people who matter, they gave me just that. And oddly, most reassuringly of all, Victoria, well, it didn’t feel like home anymore. The Hatter is a play about searching for home. In its first draft, it was muchly a play of regretting leaving someplace, some people, somewhere. Now, it’s not that.
       
Now, The Hatter is about moving on.
       
And here we are in Vancouver, at home, and The Hatter is about to hang up his hat. No future plans for him. Nothing set. Just one more celebration, tonight at 8:15pm.
       
Thank you for the tea parties.
       
       
The Hat

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State of the Person Address – December 2011

December 13, 2011 2 comments

Well, then!

Life has a way of quickly coming to a head. After the madcap rush that was Vancouver Fringe, my life held to a quieter pace afterwards. Working extremely sporadically, the only large project on my plate for a while was A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. And to be honest, in that timespan… I felt sluggish. Like I wasn’t pressing forward adequately, wasn’t being productive enough to meet my own standards. After that came to a close, I quickly stepped into rehearsals for The Metro’s Christmas Panto (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – with our preview on Thursday), but still, my plate was somewhat insubstantial.

Then in the past two weeks… how about a week of full-time training for my new part-time job at Science World, two bike flats, three auditions, two exciting job interviews (including one for voicework on a game), four Fringe Festival draws (none of which chose me, sadly), a ladyfriend event, a trip to Victoria, applications to other auditions, several job shifts after the end of training, and final Panto rehearsals.

Whew.

This has meant that other enterprises (such as signing up as an extra, finding a film/tv/commercials agent, learning how to drive) have fallen by the wayside for yet longer, at least temporarily, but I have also been pulled through a furious bout of productive and exciting living. So I’m relatively content.

If you know me, you know I prefer a busy, full, active life. πŸ™‚

Here are a few of the projects coming up for me:

Yes, I wear one. Yes, that makes me tickled pink happy.

  • Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves – A Christmas Pantomime! – I play Wakey Faker in this silly, funny, family-friendly funtimes pantomime, complete with Dame, singalongs, Oh-No-You-Don’ts, much musical choreography, and an audience encouraged to heckle the actors. Plus, with British parents, I needed to be in at least ONE Panto. Just had to happen. And I get to play a romantic lead! Sort of.

    • Venue: The Metro Theatre.
      The Metro’s Website.
    • Show Dates:
      Evening shows at 7.00 p.m. – Dec 16,17 ,22 ,23 ,26, 27 , 29 , 30 January 2,5,6,7
      Matinee shows at 2.00 p.m. – Dec 17, 18, 26, 27. January 1, 2, 7

Original poster.

  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood – My second foray as an actor with Fighting Chance Productions, and my first chance to work under director Ryan Mooney. Working in the ensemble, I’m sure I’ll grow my choreography skills with this Tony-Award-winning (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Performance of a Leading Actor in a Musical – 1985) that comes complete with multiple endings determined by audience vote.

Geodesiceriffic!

  • Science World part-timery – An incredibly flexible part-time job encouraging curiosity in children and adults in a great working environment. True, it’s minimum wage, but there are far worse ways to earn rent to allow for more theatrical endeavors. So happy to be back. πŸ™‚

    • Venue: Telus World of Science.
      http://www.scienceworld.ca/
    • Show Dates:
      Whenever I’m scheduled!

      I made a graphic for the show! Like it?

  • The Romantics @ The You Show! – The month of May will be a busy one for my script, The Romantics, a winner of the 2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights Award. On May 12th, in Victoria as part of The You Show!, a full-length, two act version will be performed/workshopped, script-in-hand (so, a staged reading, with two or three rehearsals having taken place beforehand).

  • The Romantics @ IGNITE! Youth Festival 2012 – As part of the prize for winning the 2011 Vancouver Young Playwrights’ Award, I get to see the first act performed as a one act play at IGNITE!, full costume, with mentored young actors and director. But before that, I get to be mentored on script edits by Vancouver playwright Amiel Gladstone

  • Sin City Improv – While I’m not in Victoria anymore, I’m hoping to come back and guest-act for an episode or two, if I can, because the show is fantastic, the show is challenging, the show is hilarious, and the people are simply… family.

  • 4villains.org

    4Villains.org – I’ve been recast after they decided to move their Master Malevolent scene to a better location. But no worries! They are writing me a larger, recurring role that I should do some filming for relatively soon into the new year. The dedication this crew has for this project is nothing short of inspiring. Marvelous people. The website is up now! First episode airing later this month! Check’em out!

  • Clown Doctoring? –Β  Next month I have an interview to potentially become a clown doctor? Another part-time job, and it’s unlikely I’ll get it (strong competition for limited spots), but too amazing an opportunity not to want to share with you. πŸ™‚
  • Auditions ahoy! – Aaaaand hopefully one of my recent auditions will pan out and become a paying acting opportunity – my first since graduating, outside of Fringe. Thus far, the shows I’ve been doing have been out of the kindness of my hear, for training, and just because while paid opportunities take priority, I would rather act and not be paid than not act at all. πŸ™‚

    • Venue: Vancouver? Victoria? Vancouver Island? Alberta? Toronto? Anywhere!
    • Show Dates:
      Hopefully soon!

My summer is looking rather nebulous, with a string of Fringe Festival rejections (Okay, I just wasn’t picked out of their hats, but they still sting like rejections, a bit). Thus far, I’ve only been accepted into London, Ontario’s and Regina’s Fringe Festivals. Not enough for a tour. Winnipeg chooses next.Β  Hopefully, one of those paying acting opportunities panning out will make this decision for me, but if not… I need to realistically look at whether or not I would be able to break even on this Fringey endeavor, this year.
I hope to see you at the Panto! Be loud! Be grand! Stay awesome.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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How I intend to become (more) Canadian

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Apparently I had a bright idea.

 

I am about as Canadian as a person comes; namely, I was born somewhere else (the States), my parents are immigrants from yet another country (England), I have both worked at and enjoyed many a good 2am conversation at Tim Hortons, and (if I am remembering correctly), Sarah Koury once described me as the most inoffensive person she knows. Or hardest to dislike, anyway. I listen to Stuart McLean’s CBC Radio podcasts every week, I am supposed to be French/English bilingual thanks to my entry into Late French Immersion, I once based a theatrical character on Harold from The Red Green Show, and, heck, I’ve even sung our national anthem on the ice at a hockey game.

 

And yet, despite all my innate Canadian-ness, I have a confession to make – I’ve never travelled the country. Never been anywhere east of Chiliwack for more than an hour or two, to be honest. Well, except for the dullest five hours of my life – the amount of time I spent locked in a room at the Toronto International Airport. On my way to somewhere else, of course.

 

Oh, alright, I’ll explain that one.

 

Waaaaay back when, my older brother and I went to visit my granddad in Florida, where he spent half of each year, minus a day. (Later, he would manage to get himself adopted by an couple in the 90’s – why not! His parents are dead! – in order to get American citizenship so he could stay for longer. He lives in the south of France now.) Anyway, as I was (…I believe…) only ten at the time, and my brother only twelve, we were declared ‘unaccompanied minors’ on the plane trip from Vancouver to Florida, with a transfer in Toronto. This meant that the flight staff were all very nice to us, lead us about… and locked us in a room in the Toronto airport for five hours, between flights.

 

The room contained a couch (which my brother promptly fell asleep on), a small table, a chair, and a television that would for some reason only pick up one channel, which happened to be showing – I kid you not – STAGECOACH RACING. Which sounds interesting! For about two minutes. And all I had with me was a substandard quality R. L. Stine book, The Beast, WHICH I HAD JUST FINISHED READING ON THE PLANE RIDE THERE. Not to great to start up again from the beginning. So, my impressions of Toronto have thus far been spoiled for life.

 

There wasn't even a crash.

 

But yes, in my life I have visited Seattle, New York, Florida, Paris (for a day), and England on many, many occasions, but not once have I stepped outside an airport in any other Canadian province. Not even our neighbouring Alberta, though I did go to UVic, so I’ve met thousands of (former) Calgarians.

 

Cover of "Why I Hate Canadians"

Why this burst of discovery writing? Two reasons. First, this week I began and finished reading Will Ferguson’s Why I Hate Canadians, an excellent book that managed to in Voltron-like-fashion combine a memoir, travel journal, and history book into an analysis of Canadian culture. Brother of my friend and director Ian Ferguson, Will has a keen analytical eye with just enough romance in his soul to be able to grapple with questions of patriotism, nationalism, and nature. This book WAS published in ye olden 1997, however. I would love to hear how he and his opinions on this country have shifted and changed with the collapse of the separatist movement and rise of the NDP. In the book, Will says, β€œThe question is not whether Quebec will separate, but whether she will ever finally join us.” Have we now seen the next step toward that finally happening?

 

The second reason I’m drawn to writing this introspective post is, well, I was just rejected from the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Well, okay, not rejected, per say; it’s a lottery system, and my name wasn’t drawn out of the hat. So, rejected in the same way Nicole Rempel rejected me in grade six by way of us ending up in separate school districts.

 

But yes. I feel it’s time I explored more of this country, and not just to get the foul taste of my first experience with Toronto out of my mouth, not just because I one day would like to be an elected public servant in this country, not just because to be a working actor in this country means needing to move about and work in different cities… but because I want to step into different cultures with different ideals and motivations, all while keeping that olive branch of Canadian-ness. I may be eight thousand kilometres from Newfoundlanders, but we share enough in common to sit down and have a pint. And one way for me to explore this country is through the Fringe theatre circuit, travelling from city to city, performing.

 

But I need to get into the festivals to do that. So far, in this, the Fringe-entry drawing season, I am in for Regina and London, Ontario. Out for Saskatoon, Montreal, and Ottawa. I’ll need a few more cities to make the tour not potentially financially crippling. Here’s hoping.

 

Here’s to finally meeting more of this country I call home.

 

And then... THE WORLD! MUAHAHAHAHAAAA!

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