My First Play.

Me, in grade three.

My first word was ‘no’.

As a toddler, I wouldn’t let me mother hug me – I would squirm and squeal and try to get away, to the point where she could use a hug as a sort of ridiculous form of punishment. I was a difficult child.

Come elementary school, not too much had changed. I was miserable, with a childhood belief that everyone was out to get me, everyone a potential threat. I would wander around the school at recess, dreaming up scenarios of ‘if that person picks a fight with me, I can do this, and run there.’ Not that I was actually bullied much, but I believed I was, and imagined a grand social ladder with me and a couple of other people right at the bottom of it. And I felt it was better for people to know me and dislike me, than not to know me at all (my ‘rep’, as I would say).

Well, one innocent day in grade three, the opportunity came up to audition for the school play, The Littlest Christmas Tree. To this day, I still don’t know why, but I felt an urge to go audition. So I did. The audition consisted of going into a classroom where music was playing, and to dance to the music.

Apparently I had quite the moves (which I don’t), or the teachers just liked me (which they did), or I was the shortest kid there (which I was), but regardless of their reasoning, I got cast as the lead, title character. I became The Littlest Christmas Tree.

In the play, the older, larger trees taunt and tease The Littlest Christmas Tree, tell him how worthless he is, how he can’t do anything for anyone. Then, of course, the Littlest Christmas Tree gets picked. It wasn’t much of a stretch to act as though I felt persecuted. My only memory of actually performing the piece is the older trees walking in a ring around me, singing an insulting song about how mediocre I am, with me sitting in the centre of the stage, looking up at them with a mixture of grief, fear, and dejection.

What came at the end of the show was the biggest surprise of my young life. See, I hadn’t even thought about it – about how the play might be received. So I was taken aback when it ended… and the whole school, hundreds of students cramped into a small gymnasium, applauded. And cheered. All the way up to the grade sevens in my elementary school, WHO GOT TO SIT ON BENCHES AND CHAIRS. Yes, those ancient gods.

And as I stepped off the stage, they held out their hands, these BIG KIDS, like a row of welcome branches to either side of me, lining the walkway to the gym’s exit. So as I jogged out of that gym, I high-fived dozens of strangers, all so much cooler and more notable than I was. For that one moment, I was known, I was liked, I was… better than I thought I was.

Reflection? This means my theatrical ambitions grew partly from a desire for fame and recognition, which is not an ideal reason to be an actor. That said, it also came from that inexplicable urge to audition, to act.

And I am grateful.

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My full-time summer, one month in.

Previously on Andrew Wade’s blog, our intrepid adventurer set out to make this summer far more theatrical and career-useful than summers past, by sending out a plea for aid, advice, and assistance to help him on his way.

I was fortunate enough to meet up with him in his humble rented room and ask him a few questions:

So, what are the biggest realizations you’ve made, now that you’ve spent a month on the job?

Two things: Responsibility/Leadership and Balance.

I have discovered just how important it is to me, personally, to give my absolute all in whatever I’m doing. On the week I spent writing, memorizing, and rehearsing Heemeyer and the Killdozer, for example, I tried to see if I could squirrel away time at the Centre of the Universe to work on the piece, but, mentally, morally, I couldn’t. Felt like I was betraying the promise I made when I signed back on at the CU, hiding behind closed office doors, setting a bad example for the (younger) co-op students.

Andrew, Lord of the Observatory (photo: Erika Joubert.)

I am not fond of half-assing anything (pardon my English).

This isn’t to say that every work hour I have is productive – unfortunately, certainly not – but that actively trying to do non-work-related activities felt dishonest, because there really were projects (such as building clocks for the different planets) to spend time on.

So I resigned myself to the knowledge that I would be spending my few after hours researching, writing, editing, and memorizing away. Which was actually a good deal of satisfying fun. And needless to say, the performing of the piece was a downright blast, a huge ego-boost, and led to marvellous conversations afterwards.

And for balance?

Life balance, specifically. I’m in my best mental mindset when I have a mix of socializing and alone-time every day, some physical exercise, good nutrition, some performance (which, I’ll admit, includes putting on 45 minute planetarium shows and telescope tours), and some mental creation work (I’ll include both writing and book-reading in this category). On a weekly basis, some God time (typically church) and time spent with children are pretty darn necessary too.

This means that, say, going to the gym each day as I had eagerly discussed with friends, is legitimately tough, because I’m already biking for two hours. (Sorry Graeme, though I really do appreciate all your help, and I am taking your fashion advice to heart.) That said, I am now (as of yesterday) making an effort to use my free-weights every day according to a routine he showed me. Bulk up those arm muscles. GRR. MANLY.

Honestly, my life right now is surprisingly balanced! I go to church on Sundays, teach children about astronomy at my job, and have the occasional great opportunity (thanks Janet Munsil!) and Impromaniacs to tie me into the outside theatre world. Even the bike commute isn’t so tough, though I do wish it would stop raining quite so often. (For the record, busses aren’t an option – they wouldn’t get me to work on time.) (gee, I’m really loving parentheses today.)

True, I may not be honing my craft as intensely as I do during the rest of the year, but I’m not avoiding it. And I am doing some writing, be it in this blog, or hand-written letters to friends, or a monologue about a homemade tank. I should really get on editing my plays and putting them online, mind.

So life is all hunky-dory, then? Perfect and idealized?

Well, of course not – there are always ways to improve. I still spend too much time reading the internet in my few off hours, don’t write quite enough, and spend far too much time at work dithering about. But I ain’t perfect, and I don’t expect my life to be so, either.

There’s also the looming potential that I won’t be able to finish my writing degree this year, as the one course I need to graduate conflicts with my acting classes in both terms. I’ve written an email to the chair of the department to see if we can make a deal somehow, though. So the prayer of serenity will tide me over there for the next few days:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I would like to add, “God grant me clarity and self-awareness, so I can know how to create fulfilling days.”

You might want to work on your method of writing convincing fake interviews, too.

Quiet, you. 🙂

A script for ThePlaceKidz

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...
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Below is a first (and possibly only?) draft for a piece of theatre I’ve written that the children at my church are going to perform, based on Luke 8:22-56. Hee hee!


Enter NARRATOR to side of stage, and JESUS, centre-stage. Jesus mimes teaching to the congregation.

Jesus had been traveling through towns and villages, teaching the good news of the kingdom of God.

Enter PETER, JAMES, JOHN, DISCIPLES and WOMEN. Jesus mimes teaching to them.

With him were his disciples, and women who he had cured of evil spirits and diseases. One day, Jesus said to his disciples-

Let’s cross to the other side of this lake.

Jesus starts walking.

Uh… Jesus?


Walking across the water might be a little tough for the rest of us. Do you mind if we use a boat?

So they all stepped into the boat.

Disciples and Women hold the SIDE OF BOAT.

Well, goodnight.

Jesus sleeps. STORM people rub their hands together and slowly move to a semi-circle surrounding the boat. The Disciples and the Women are scared. They shake the sides of the boat back and forth.

Uh, Jesus?

Storm people rub their hands together more fiercely. Jesus continues to sleep.

Big J? We might have a problem here.

Storm people pat their thighs to simulate harder rain. The sides of the boat shake even more. Jesus continues to sleep.



Storm people pat their thighs really loudly. The sides of the boat are spinning. The Disciples and Women are terrified. Jesus continues to sleep.


Jesus wakes up, gets to his feet, yawns. He turns to one side and makes a stop sign with his hand.


The side turns quiet and wanders away. Jesus turns to the other side.

Quiet down!

The other side turns quiet and wanders away. The disciples and the women are amazed.


Where is your faith?

PETER (stammering)
Well, you see, I put it down somewhere, and thought I left it on my desk, but then I couldn’t find it, and it’s always in the last place you look, right?

That was a rhetorical question.


Jesus shakes his head disapprovingly at him.

They sailed on into the country of the Gerasenes, directly opposite Galilee.

The sides of the boat are put away and Jesus, the Disciples, and the Women exit. The actors who were the storm come on as PIGS, wearing pig noses made from old egg cartons. They oink on the stage. FARMER BETH and FARMER SUE enter.

Sure is a peaceful day to look after our pigs, eh Sue?

Sure is, Beth. I like a day where absolutely nothing of any importance happens.



A POSSESSED MAN jumps out, wearing all black, with a sign on him saying ‘naked’. He is crazy in an evil Tasmanian Devil sort of way, booga-booga-ing, frothing, and scaring Beth and Sue, who run and hide to the side. The Possessed Man spasms a lot.

What’s wrong with him? And is he… naked?

He’s been seen around this area for a long time. He’s possessed by demons – he even lives in the cemetery!

Jesus enters. The POSSESSED MAN sees him and screams at Jesus. Jesus looks at him calmly.

Come out of that man.

The Possessed Man screams again at Jesus.

I know who you are!

The POSSESSED MAN falls on his knees before Jesus.

What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Don’t torture me!!!

What is your name?

Legion. For we are a legion of demons inside this man! Don’t send us to the abyss! Anywhere but there! Anywhere! Send us instead into… these pigs!

The Possessed Man gestures to the pigs oinking onstage.


The Possessed Man screams, then falls flat to the ground. The pigs all squeal and run off the side of the stage, making lots of pig-dying noises as they fall down just offstage.

We’ve got to go tell the town!

Farmer Beth and Farmer Sue run off and bring the TOWNSPEOPLE onstage. The Formerly Possessed Man puts on a coat and sits calmly, cross-legged, at Jesus’ side.

Look! Look! I told you he was cured!

All the townspeople see the peaceful formerly possessed man. The formerly possessed man waves hello – All the townspeople shrink back, afraid.

But that… that isn’t possible! If this man did that…

The townspeople all look at Jesus, terrified. The TOWNSPERSON walks up to Jesus.

Y-y-y-y-you better go! W-w-w-w-e don’t want you here!

The townspeople, the terrified townsperson, Farmer Sue, and Farmer Beth exit.

JESUS (to the formerly possessed man)
Go home and tell everyone everything that God has done in you.

The formerly possessed man exits. The Disciples enter and follow Jesus as he walks along the stage.

A HUGE CROWD of people (including the former pigs and the former townspeople) and JAIRUS enter. JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER lies down in a very visible place to the side (on the ridge of the baptismal place?), with a SERVANT and JAIRUS’ WIFE by her side. The Daughter groans, barely moving.

When Jesus returned, a great big crowd was waiting for him, including a man named Jairus, who had a very sick daughter.

Jairus falls to Jesus’ feet.

Please, please, PLEASE come back to my home! My twelve-year-old daughter is dying. Please, help her!

Jairus was not the only person who came for Jesus’ help. A woman was there who had been bleeding for twelve years, without end.

BLEEDING WOMAN steps slightly out of the crowd, to the audience.

In an attempt to be healed when all doctors had failed her, she reached out and touched the tip of Jesus’ cloak.

BLEEDING WOMAN sneaks up behind Jesus and touches the tip of his cloak.

JESUS (seemingly angry)
Who just touched me?

The crowd (including the Bleeding Woman) all steps back, saying ‘Not me!’ and ‘I didn’t!’ and ‘I wouldn’t dare’, etcetera.

Master, the whole crowd was pressing against you. They’re rather pushy. Personal space, people, come on!

Someone touched me. I felt power go out from me.

The bleeding woman steps forward.

I did. You see, I’ve been bleeding without stop for twelve years now, and the doctors don’t know how to fix me, but when I saw you I knew that if I could just touch you, you would heal me. So I did, and now… I’m healed.

Your faith has healed you, for you trusted in me. Go in peace.

Jairus’ Daughter stops moving.

My daughter!

The SERVANT runs across the stage and pulls Jairus aside. Jesus overhears their conversation.

Sir, I’m sorry, but your daughter has died. No need now to bother the teacher.

Jesus walks over to Jairus.

Do not be afraid – just trust in me and she will be healed.

Jesus, Jairus, Peter, James, and John walk over to the daughter and her mother. The other actors exit the stage. Jairus and Jairus’ Wife cry and wail over their dead daughter.

Don’t cry; she hasn’t died. She’s sleeping.

Jairus and Jairus’ Wife look up at him and laugh, sadly.

Thank you for coming, but my daughter is dead.

Jesus holds Jairus’ Daughter’s hand.

My dear child, wake up.

Jairus’ Daughter immediately sits up.

Prince Charming?

Jairus and his wife hug their daughter.

Her parents were ecstatic, but Jesus warned them to keep quiet.

Don’t tell a soul what happened in this room.

Uh… question. If we were to, say, hypothetically, later on down the road write a book about you and what you’re doing, a sort of biography, good news, yadda yadda, do you think we could write about this, then? Because it’s a pretty cool story.

The end.


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