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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

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Is it Career Death to Act in a Panto?

December 22, 2011 3 comments

Is it Career Death to Act in a Panto?

I was speaking with a friend yesterday about the Christmas Panto I am performing in, and she replied,

“I have never seen or done Panto because people say where I am from that it is the death of your acting career.”

 

Photo by Ariel Diaz.

I found that an odd statement.

I still feel like a fresh, naive face in the landscape, only graduating a short six months ago, so I don’t speak with any experience. Now, granted, I admit that the vast majority of Christmas Pantos out there are community theatre productions and there can be a stigma toward actors who partake in unpaid community theatre as perhaps being less than professional. Technically, this is absolutely true – that actors who aren’t getting paid aren’t doing professional work. If we define ‘professional’ as ‘getting paid for it’.

That an actor whose resume is filled with Arts Club shows will get a closer look than one topped with Fighting Chance and Panto performances is a given. That said, I would much rather work three community theatre shows (as I am midway through doing) than not act at all in that time frame. I hope that consistent performing work counts for something.

But whether or not a Panto on the resume helps me… it’s a very different situation to suggest that having such a show on my record would count against me.

I won’t deny that acting in a panto is stars apart from Chekhov, but every script has its own style. For Pantos, that happens to be in the vein of TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) shows – big, broad, out to the audience, sharing every moment with the audience. And let’s not forget the best part of Pantos – the improvising between cast and audience when a child pipes up with something adorable, or when something goes wrong onstage. There is a skill in making those side comments while still keeping the show moving; talented performers have a lot to work with in Pantos.

 

Peter Sellers

Heck, Pantos never hurt Peter Sellers, and Mickey Rooney  seems to get a kick out of them. Alright, yes, this is me cherry-picking celebrities – doesn’t prove a thing. But they make me feel better. 🙂

Again, I have no experience in this area; since graduating in June, I’m still looking for my first paying run in a theatre (outside of Fringe). No time at all in the scheme of things. But I do hope this show isn’t a mark against me, because Ali Baba is genuinely a fun show that delights hundreds and hundreds of children and adults, and while it is in some ways a long step away from how to act in a serious drama, this opportunity to play with an audience in such a direct fashion has been invaluable, the choreography a helpful challenge, and the experience thus far, a pleasure.

 

What do you think? (leave a comment!)

 

We run until January 7th if you want to check us out. Here’s the information again:

Photo by Ariel Diaz

  • 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 22 ,23 ,26, 27 , 29 , 30 January 2,5,6,7
    Matinee shows at 2.00 p.m. – Dec 26, 27. January 1, 2, 7

Don’t be a stranger,
Andrew Wade

 

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

    • 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? –  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. 🙂
  • 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. 🙂

    • 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.  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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