The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! – Postmortem

The Recap

Reading poetry from a journal of Adlerian Psychology at SAY WHA?! - right before getting upstaged by a skunk.

It has been close to a month since I served my last cup of tea as The Mad Hatter. Feels like yesterday. When it comes to continuing creative work, I follow John August’s advice, that a piece isn’t finished until you cease to be excited by it. I’m still excited by the Hatter.

The soul of the play is in his fight with forgiveness, with guilt; a battle I hadn’t found until the day of the first performance (and thus improvised into the script, from thereon in). I want to take this script and imbue it with more heartfelt pain, fear, grasping, gaining, hope. Take a page or two from Little Orange Man, performed by my friend Ingrid Hansen, which combined audience interaction, humour, character, and story in a poetic and beautiful way. For all the silly set-pieces like the epic fight with the (audience-filled) Jabberwocky, most people told me at the end of the day that their favourite moment was that frantic final five minutes where I worked in the Hatter’s emotional collapse (occasionally at frenetic speed to fit within my time limit). The soul of the show should pervade the whole script throughout. So, that’s my next step.

Only one review emerged, but a positive one:

“Playwright and actor Andrew Wade manages to assemble components of the original story into a cohesive tale of the Mad Hatter, whose personal demons drive him to take refuge in the rabbit hole… I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy that he brought to his performance.”

Okay, not me.

I have applied for the CAFF lottery, which, if I win it (about a 10% chance), would automatically place me in eight different fringe festivals across Canada for next summer, with the next iteration of this show. If that falls through, I’ll apply to each one individually. This character still has so much farther to fly. 🙂

A few things I learned at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival:

Me in 24h.

– Volunteers LOVED the show, but audiences were small, otherwise. I need to up my advertising/flyering, especially in the first few days of the festival.
– Take a day to go over the blurb before submitting it! At the last minute, I panicked about thinking about how I was going to wash all those teacups, and included ‘please, bring your own cup’ in the blurb. Then I just bought a bunch of disposable styrofoam cups from Zellers when I came to my senses. Who knows how many people decided not to see the show because of that little tag.
– While I’d much rather have a Dormouse help serve tea, when I take the show on the road, it won’t be a backbreaker to need to serve the tea myself as the audience comes in.
– I now have near total confidence that if I really want to create something, I will be able to find the resources to bring it all together in time. Feels like God giving me a leg-up, sometimes.
– It’s okay to get upstaged by a skunk when performing outside.
– For Jacqueline Irvine to tell me right at the right time that she wanted to get involved in theatre stuff again… for her to be willing to commit her time to sewing together the gigantic hat timeline backdrop, for all her last minute work (we finished that hat in the half-hour before the first performance), I am SO GRATEFUL for her help. Why try fight through it all alone with so many wonderful friends and collaborators around?

So much fun.

– I’m a decent judge of who in audiences is willing to play along and take a part in the show.
– Theatre tech people are just generally awesome, awesome, awesome.
– It IS possible to make friends with fellow theatre practitioners, even if you only see them after hours every day for a week or so. Especially if you see each other’s performances. You learn so much about a person from seeing them perform a piece they wrote themselves. So very revealing.
– Warming up a crowd, improv style, is a lot of fun.
– While I certainly can improvise my way through a play with a bare-bones script, finding the right physicality and voices for each character within that piece take a lot longer to figure out. Wasn’t happy with my Cheshire Cat or Flowers. Something to work on.
– Vocal warm-ups are NECESSARY when doing a 50 minute long show by yourself with three songs and much shouting and screaming. And some hidden water (or tea!) is not a bad idea as a safety net for if the voice goes.
– People want to help. I had a hot water urn donated by a church, tea from friends, Jacqueline’s amazing contributions… fantastic.
– Fight music and dramatic flashing red lighting make ANYTHING awesome.
– Every audience is different. I already knew this, but it’s even more evident when said audience is pretending to be a giant monster attacking you in an epic battle scene.
– Plug your fellow actors and their shows (especially if you liked them)!
– Let the audience see the real you at the end of the show. Build a relationship that way. Thank them as they leave. Every little moment to make them want to see you again, or make them connect with you and want you to do well.
– I can do this.

Andrew Wade

Victoria Fringeamania!

It’s 1am on a Friday night. Well, okay, 1am on a Saturday, I suppose. In the past five days, I have had four rehearsals, three tech rehearsals, one short film rehearsal, and four performances. Up tomorrow to film a short film, perform my one-man-show, stage manage another, and then watch the show I directed.

Phew. How awesome is this!

“Andrew Wade is not just a terrific actor, he’s written one heckuva’ script.” – Ian Ferguson
“An incredible and honestly portrayed one man riot!” – James McDougall
“Very talented young man who will have your inner nerd out and showing.” – TheAnne, an audience member
“His rash emotions buckle you in and loop you around on an intense roller coaster ride.” – Garth, an audience member
“If you are looking to fall in love with an actor, here is the place. But maybe that is just me being girly… the writing will have you on the edge of your seat to laughing your arse off.” – Wilbur, an audience member

William vs The World lives again! Formerly workshopped at UVic with Jeff Leard and Jane Sanden, I performed it at the UFV Director’s Festival in May, and it has been good to put it back on its feet. Small crowds, but the people who have come have quite enjoyed it – lots of laughs! Even some ‘awwwww’s! Well, one reviewer didn’t care for it, but hey, it’s the first time I’ve ever performed in Fringe! Doesn’t faze me! The theatre cannot hurt me, because the theatre’s in my heeeeeeeeart! (sorry, that’s a lyric from the next show…

I am SO impressed with everyone I’ve had the great fortune to collaborate with through directing this show, from Meghan’s fun script to Natalie’s fantastic prop-making skills to Jess’s inspired choreography to the cast’s amazing performances to the audiences’  loud reactions, I am just peached all around. Hee!

Sonnets for an Old Century

 And finally, the show I am stage managing! Thank you again to Holly Jonson for allowing me the opportunity to step back into stage management shoes. I officially called my first show earlier today! (well, technically yesterday. As we’ve discussed.)

Thank you to everyone who has come out to support these shows, and for everyone else, I hope to see you later this week! Huzzah!

Andrew Wade

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Top 10 things you DON’T want to hear from your pilot:


The top 10 things you don’t want to hear from your airplane pilot:

(1) Good afternoon, everyone. This is the pilot speaking, and I’ve just found the intercom button. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about that.

(2) Zoooooooooooooooooooooooooom!

(3) Has anyone else seen Snakes On A Plane?

(4) Testing, one two three. Testing…

(5) I can so land the plane on my own. Wanna bet?

(6) We have now arrived at our final destination in New Jersey.

(7) For our in-flight films this evening we have a marvelous selection of White Girls followed by something starring Pauly Shore.

(8) As part of our landing procedure, I would now like to ask everyone to lower their feet through the floor as our pterodactyl approaches the runway.

(9) Right, so according to google maps, we now turn right for 200 kilometres, then…

(10)  And please help yourselves to the duty-free alcohol – It’s really really really really really really good. Trust me.

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The Director’s Epiphany

BFA: The Musical!

I am feeling the appeal of being a director.

This summer, I have been blessed with the opportunity to direct a show for the Victoria Fringe. And not just any show. A seven-person show. And not just that – it’s a musical. An original musical. What. A. Treat.

I am, of course, talking about BFA: The Musical! Cue blurb:


Phil has the tools to become a novelist; he has a freshly awarded Bachelor of Fine Arts from UVic, an artist girlfriend, and a penchant for boxed wine. Under family pressures to attend law school, he questions what BFA really stands for – through the majesty of song. Features music by local artists, including The Chris Ho Show and Immaculate Machine!


It is proving to be quite the marvelous adventure.

First, some background: I was not a directing student at UVic. I wanted to take the class, but I couldn’t fit it in with the two degrees I was already pursuing (and just this April, finished – a BFA in Acting and a BA in Writing).

The last show I directed happened two years ago, at my church. 30+ children from age 3 to 14 or so in a self-written play based on stories from the book of Luke. With that play, I learned the importance of identifying and highlighting what parts of the script the actors will really enjoy: Ten year old boys love to yell at their parents while pretending to be possessed by demons. Five year olds have great fun pretending to be pigs, then squealing, running offstage, and making whatever adorable noises they think drowning pigs would make. Oh, and everyone can enjoy the meditative edge of a good group storm-making scene with claps and slaps and snapping fingers. I learned I could manage a large group by trusting my instincts, which in this case meant dealing with large groups of children as though they were individual characters (so that a group of actors became a ‘crowd’ character for several scenes, as well as the storm, and so forth). Blocking them as a single character meant visualizing them like they were a school of fish.


Hearts Are Thumps
Image via Wikipedia

Before that, my last directorial stint came in grade 12 when I directed a show called ‘Opening Night’. In retrospect, casting a nervous, uncertain-of-her-own-abilities actor as the starring role character, who happened to be a nervous, uncertain-of-her-own-abilities actor, was perhaps compounding problems upon problems, but I thought the end result went well enough for high school theatre. Well, for one performance, anyway. And we only had two. For the second, well… our high school theatre shared a wall with the gym, and there happened to be a basketball game that evening. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I don’t know how so many basketballs can bounce off one wall throughout a single game, and the buzzer was none too friendly. And the sound kid used the wrong CD, so we had birds chirping in the living room instead of a doorbell. Several times. Oh, and part of the set fell down. A large part. And I believe a prop broke. And people came in rather late, through doors very visible (and blinding) to the audience.

Okay, so that performance was a gongshow.

But I learned more than a few things from that rehearsal process. First, I learned how crucial it is for actors to have confidence in their work. Or at least in the production. And I learned how dear and darling and valuable it is to cast actors who put their all into making a show work. I also learned the importance of casting wisely, and with some caution – I like to give an actor a challenge, but I need to make sure it’s one I know I can help them conquer. And my wonderful drama teacher, Ms. JudyAnn McCarthy, showed me how to read a comedic text and find the physical comedy that may not be immediately apparent on the stage. (The show had a bumbling maid.)


Fringe (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

Then, this January, came the day of submissions for the Victoria Fringe Festival. The Vic Fringe, while mostly sticking to a lottery draw as all Fringe Festivals do (where the performing companies are chosen, essentially, out of a hat from all the submitters), also features an early bird draw, where the first 10 people to show up at their door on the final day of submissions get in automatically.

I wanted to perform a one man show of my own, for the first time ever. So I planned. I set an early, early alarm clock so I could get on my bike and ride over there, to arrive at around 5:30am. Their doors open at 10am. I figured that would be early enough. But as I slept, it snowed. One of the three snowfalls Victoria experienced all winter. My bike isn’t equipped for snow, and I don’t have another vehicle, so I was stuck waiting for the first bus of the morning, and when I arrived at 6:30am… there were at least 15 people already in line. My hopes were seemingly dashed. But hey, it’s a line of dedicated theatre practitioners, so I decided to network, to say hello to old friends, and to meet new ones, and as I was doing so, two fellow writing students, Meghan Bell and Natalie North, shouted out to me. They were seventh in line. They had an idea for an as-of-yet unwritten show. A musical. Built around characters newly graduating with potentially useless BFA degrees (as we were). They knew I was in the theatre department. They needed a director. They asked.

How could I say no? Why would I?


Image by MightyBoyBrian via Flickr

So from one closed door (not arriving early enough), another opened, and I was given the opportunity to cast, co-design, and direct a bright, fun, silly, vibrant musical. Heck, and even that other door opened up, when new Fringe spots became available, so I now have a one-man-show, William Vs The World, performing in Fringe at CCPA. 🙂

But back to BFA. This is the first opportunity I have had to direct trained actors (from both CCPA and from UVic’s theatre program). My first chance to really work with a production team, including Jess Shead, who is an excellent choreographer and actress. And the experience has been SO intellectually rewarding, figuring out how to use my repertoire of acting tricks and improv games to help my cast understand and build their characters, how to use my own prior acting experiences as fodder for successfully staging certain scenes and for keeping the audience’s attention trained in the right locations… and I love it. I truly do. It is a truly collaborative atmosphere, and I treasure it dearly. But what I’ve enjoyed most, are the epiphanies.

The epiphanies.

The moments where the right idea seems to just happen, to conjure itself in the mind. I can see where I’ve learned this or that from prior experiences, and it’s rewarding and satisfying in its own way to put my training and gained knowledge into practice, but that satisfaction grows to a new level when those sparks of inspiration just seem to happen of their own accord.

It can be as simple as adding a character into a scene or switching a prop, to as grand as demanding a specific scene be added, that seem to make all the difference. Why I’m so struck by these moments is because I can’t identify why I thought to try these things. And THAT is what is so exhilarating, because if I can help build this play with inspired thoughts whose roots I can’t determine, then that gives me a renewed confidence in myself, that I can trust I WILL have the right solution to whatever hiccup we come across.

I believe in this show. It will be funny, fantastic, marvelous, and unlike anything I have ever been a part of. And though my directing resume may be slight, I know I can be up for the task.

And that kind of confidence is priceless.


BFA: The Musical has six performances throughout the Victoria Fringe Festival, and an upcoming music-filled fundraiser on July 23rd at Logan’ Pub.

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Twelfth Night – The Art of Comedy

Twelfth Night @ UVic
Still a beautiful poster.

What makes a comedy click?

Here we are, half-way through our delightful run of Twelfth Night at UVic – my final university mainstage – with seven shows in six days to go. With a positive review, almost entirely sold-out shows (ignoring a snowed-out preview with a boistrous half-filled house), and with audiences who are honestly laughing louder and harder at the end of the two and a half hour play than they were at the beginning, I’d call it a grand success!

I am told that a good way to judge how well an audience is enjoying a show is to see how much coffee they buy at intermission; if they purchase gallons of the stuff, it’s a sign the play isn’t holding their attention. If they abstain, and stick to the treats, then they’re engaged in the action. Well, for our show, I am delighted to say that coffee has not been popular at all, though our wonderful patrons have certainly bought a lot of snacks. Huzzah for measurable, causal effects!

coffee addict
Image by bess grant via Flickr

I should admit that I have a guilty pleasure in going out into the lobby after the show and talking to patrons and friends. I like to hear what they enjoyed about it, what they thought of it, who stood out for them, which scenes. Even the backhanded compliments (“It was a lot better than I thought it would be”) are intriguing. I like having that extra connection to the people paying to see us act.

Well, for this show, the number one comment I’ve heard, night in, night out, is, “It seems like you’re all having a lot of fun with this show.” I would say eighty percent of the comments I receive are to that effect. And we are! Absolutely!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible for an actor to pretend they are really enjoying himself onstage, and then step off and be a dreary wreck of a person (as I admit I’ve had one or two moments of doing so, just for a moment, after a scene if I have flubbed a significant line). We’re actors. We can pretend to be happy. But a comedy is intended to lift people’s spirits, to give’em grins and laughs and knowing chuckles. What better way to do that, than to really enjoy the show you’re in?

Olivia, character in Twelfth Night by William ...
Image via Wikipedia

Through the run, while waiting in the wings, I’ve experimented with a couple of different mindsets. For one trial, some nights, as a very serious character, I have kept fully within the confines of Malvolio’s personality and sneered in disgust at, well, mostly everything. In an admittedly still rather silly manner. For my other trial, on other nights, I have allowed myself to just enjoy the show as myself, up until ten to fifteen seconds before my entrance (enough time to connect to my given circumstances/emotions). Until that point, however, I am backstage, dramatically (and silently) playing the scene currently going on (typically as Viola or Olivia, for added humour), or (again, silently) tittering at silly castmember antics, or just generally (silently) giggling to myself. Then when it’s almost time for my entrance, I take a few breaths, and storm onstage to lambaste that insufferable Sir Toby for being so loud at the late hours of the night.

Die Gartenlaube (1863) b 453
Image via Wikipedia

Thus far, by all accounts, my better performances have come from the second trial, from taking as much delight as possible in our putting on this fine, dandy show.  In this comedy, I’m a better performer when I allow myself to be thrilled and excited and silly backstage, especially about what’s currently going on, onstage. When I’m connected to the show and having fun.

Note, this is not to say I am being unprofessional. I hold the upmost respect for actors who want a minute or two to get into the headspace of their next scene, and I certainly wouldn’t aim to distract the actors onstage, or any nonsense like that. But I am enjoying my nights with this show.

There is, of course, a danger in playing up the comedy, the humour of the lines, while onstage, rather than playing the honesty of the scene and of the character (which is crucial for the comedy to succeed), but in this post, I am referring to my backstage mentality, and indeed, the mentality of our cast in general. We adore putting on this play, and, for us graduating students, we are delighted to end our time at UVic and at the Phoenix Theatre with such a joyous celebration.

Andrew Wade

(p.s. I hope to see you in the lobby this week!)

Previous blog entries on Twelfth Night:
Twelfth Night – Losing the Stage Business

Twelfth Night – Finding the Fun

Twelfth Night – Finding the Fun

In theatre, it’s always a good idea to let go of your fears. Heck, in life too.

Twelfth Night @ UVic
Beautiful poster.

Malvolio is a bold, emotionally honest role to play. When he tries to grasp control over a situation, his commands are direct and terse. When he luxuriates in his own pompous sense of self-worth, he luxuriates. When he loves, BY GUM, DOES HE LOVE. When he is persecuted, his anguish resonates throughout the theatre, and when his heart is broken, he shatters. He is not a character for the wishy-washy actor.

(The rather-open yellow costume makes quite a statement as well. Come see the show for a rather visual explanation on THAT.)

When we last left our intrepid hero, he was discussing the difficulty of working through uncomfortable stage business in an important scene, and how honesty was lost. After a couple more weeks of rehearsal, both have been regained.

This past Saturday, we had our 11am-10pm Tech/Dress day for Twelfth Night. We worked scenes and ran the show twice – once in full costume and tech, and once without our amazing garb (well, okay, we wore our street clothes), so that our lovely dressers could have a break from laundry. A good, long day, and a real confidence booster.

I admit, I’d been a little worried over the past week, over my own performance. I’d never quite found a quick enough pacing in the letter scene (which is pretty much a lengthy monologue / read-a-letter-onstage), my advances toward Olivia weren’t quite reaching the bawdy levels they needed to, and I would get distracted by these directory things, which caused me to call line a couple of times in each rehearsal. At this stage in the game, that shouldn’t happen. And at the heart of it, I was worried because I didn’t want to let down all the fantastic cast and crew and design team and everyone else who are putting together this incredible show. It really is quite something.

I don’t get nightmares very often – typically, only when I’m feverish. I remember one from, oh, ten years ago, where I was playing hockey, and I missed an easy shot at the end of a game, and everyone, my team, my family, the fans, were all so very, very disappointed in me. So letting people down is a fear that is ingrained in me, and something I need to continue to conquer.


Anyway, our first run was much like this. I didn’t need to call line, but I flubbed the first part of when I pick up the letter (as my mind was on stage business soon to come), and had a few distracting issues with my costume items (which was to be expected, admittedly, as this was our first run wearing them). I didn’t feel on top of things, and left the run feeling like it was good enough, but I wasn’t overjoyed.

Our second run that day, however, was primarily for the tech crew, so they could get their lighting, audio, and revolve (we have a revolve) cues right, make sure props were where they should be, and so forth. Great for the actors to get another run in, sure, but to do a run in street clothes after just performing it in all our wonderful costumes… there was a… lack of weight of importance to it. And it was a long day. We were getting fairly silly.

Silly putty face
Silly Putty Face. Image by Nathan Rein.

This run, I decided to just have fun. As a worthy experiment, partially, but also, just because I wanted to, and if I was going to misbehave, this was the run to do it. So I was silently singing and dancing along in the wings to whatever was going on onstage, pretending to be a Hari Krishna alongside the others (but just offstage, so as not to be seen by anyone but them)… and it wasn’t just me who was being a bit daffy.

There’s one scene where Sir Toby and his company are convincing Viola, disguised as Cesario, that a knight has sworn to fight her. Viola exits the scene, and the conspirators giggle over their little prank, before leaving in turn. In the next scene, Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, is being pursued by the fool, in the street. Well, in our second run, Sebastian accidentally stepped onstage, stage left, to start his scene a bit early… right after Viola had gone off, stage right, so that the effect (as they are identically dressed twins), was that of Cesario walking offstage one way, and then immediately coming on the other side. Sebastian quickly realized his error and walked right through, but myself in the Vomitorium and the actors onstage couldn’t stop laughing. I am still surprised it wasn’t on purpose – such great timing. (in his defence, it had been a loooong day.)

Well, I, thinking this was intentional funny business, became even more set in my goofy mood. I still played the part, but I made the decision to deeply enjoy every moment of it, both on and offstage. In a scene where I’m locked in a cellar, with only my hand poking out, I even flipped someone the bird – which the director missed seeing, perhaps fortunately.

Daffy Duck
Daffy. Image via Wikipedia

And with all that energy and vivacity, you know what? It was my best run so far. I really hit the pacing in that difficult letter scene. I went all-in on the silly riding-crop enticements. I nailed every line. Because there was no pressure.

I didn’t need to get it right, so long as I hit my cues for the tech crew, and that gave me so much freedom to go all out, bold, extravagant, while my enjoyment of it all kept my performance honest. Heck, one of our two directors even then asked me, in notes afterwards, to flip the other character the English bird in the very scene I had done it in, unaware of what I had done in the run! Hah!

When I stopped worrying about not doing the best I could for my fellow cast members… my best came through.

Please, do come and share in this great show with me, my final mainstage at the Phoenix Theatre at UVic. We have 6$ previews on Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 22 and 23), and then the run from Feb.24th to March 5th. Click here for tickets.



Andrew Wade

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My first painting in 15 years.

The Guggenheim (photo from Wikipedia)

In grade 12, I visited New York for a week with some classmates, and one of our stops was the Guggenheim museum. Now, while most of the floorspace was taken up with large rooms filled with dead bees glued onto canvas or a stack of paper and a sign saying ‘take one’, we hunted around just long enough for me to come across a small hallway in the back where some of Picasso’s paintings were hidden. And as I looked at them, I was struck by the same feeling most people have when seeing great dancers:

I can see that this is good work, but I know I’m not appreciating this fully. I should be stunned. I should be shocked. This should grasp hold of my creative juices and beg attention. Instead, all I can do is tell myself that this is quality stuff.

And it was right about then that I got the urge to try paint something myself, under the theory that the more you know about an art, the better you can appreciate the masters of that given area. The more you act, the more impressive the great actors. The more you know about drawing comics, the easier it is to be floored by someone who really knows what they’re doing. That’s the theory, anyway.

But I didn’t pursue that impulse in any way.

Years later, I had a couple of opportunities to tour VanCity’s own art gallery, and then again at The National Art Gallery in London, and again found myself wishing I knew more hands-on knowledge of putting paint to canvas so that I could really delve into these works.

Then I had a friend start up some paintings of her own, and I offhandedly mentioned how I would love to try paint something someday. She said I should. I didn’t. But I put it on my to-do list.


Then last week, I found my tired self in downtown Victoria with 20 minutes to spare, loitering in a dollar store, and I saw the Acrylics. Canvases. El cheapo paintbrushes. Impulse. Spent 13.25$. White. Black. Navy Blue. Tuscan Red. Leaf Green. Pine Green. 7×9″ of canvas on cheap wood. Imaginings.

A couple of old friends had been over earlier that week, and the pizza boxes were still stacked on top of my television, so I ripped off the clean halves for use as palates to mix the paints on, and waited for today. My day off. Painting day.

I’m not kidding when I say 15 years; my last painting was in grade 3, at eight years old, of Bartman, Bart’s alter ego. I KNOW. This painting would be up on my wall right now, if it hadn’t mysteriously disappeared (i.e. I probably gave it to my mum as a gift and she silently recycled it a year later or something). So my talents aren’t quite up to Picasso’s standards yet.

I am a visual learner, yet I haven’t painted for fifteen years, and the only working camera I have is one I used back in grade six (seriously), and my scanner’s being grumpy. So bear with me. First, my hand-sketch:

The Sweeper
My source sketch for what I wanted to paint.

Next, the best photo of my painting that I was able to get out of my eccentric, steam-powered cameratic contraption:

Ye Olden Cameratic's photo of The Sweeper.
The Sweeper. (accidentally fattened out from the sketch. Learning process, right?)

And for a view of the brushstroke detail, my scanner’s odd view of what was on the canvas. I have no idea why it looks like this:

The Sweeper - Scanned Oddly
The Sweeper – (scanned oddly – it is much greener than this)

All in all, I call the whole adventure a success – acrylics are a lot of fun to use, always being on a clock to mix and remix the colours on the canvas before they dry, frantically attempting to correct mistakes on one end while waiting for other areas to dry so the foreground figures can be painted overtop….

I’ll make my next painting a little lighter-hearted – buy some yellow and a new canvas when I get the chance, maybe find something other than an el cheapo paintbrush to allow some actual detailwork. Try take less than 15 years to do it. 🙂    And I’m looking forward to the next chance I get to take a gander around an art museum, to see how they used their strokes to piece together their works.

So what about you? Been on any odd art excursions lately? Got any tips for a fledgling painter like myself?

Andrew Wade

Why I do Improv – My History with the Impromaniacs

Why did I join The Impromaniacs and why do I do Improv?

For selfish reasons, initially, I suppose. As a developing actor, I wanted more time in front of audiences to help myself be as comfortable as possible on stage. I wanted the opportunity to have fun playing a wide variety of characters. I wanted the challenge of being ingenious and imaginative on the spot – to better not just my acting ability but my conversational skills, my charisma. I wanted the chance to take part in the theatre community of Victoria, pushing beyond the walls of UVic. And I feel I’ve found these things. So there’s the selfish side out of the way.

I love our little logo character so much.
I love our little logo character so much.

But what I’ve found most enjoyable about performing improv is how we share a sense of fun, and a sense of power, not just with fellow scene partners, but with the audience as well. I know we haven’t had too many people in the crowd lately, but there is such a delight in making someone laugh, in making a person go “Awwww…”, in collaboratively creating characters on stage and between the stage and the audience.

How's it going, BUDDY?
Jordan and I, best of friends.

That kind of communal creation is very difficult to achieve in a proscenium arch with a set script, set blocking, and an opaque fourth wall.

Our shows will never be perfect. Scenes will go on too long, characters will lose their way or stop being interesting, lines can be phrased better, a prop can be sorely needed… but that’s okay. The audience doesn’t expect perfection from improv – it expects to be surprised, to be shocked, to care, to see actors struggle but somehow manage to pull a strong moment out of a scene.

An improv audience is not looking to be cultured, to analyze the English language’s foremost pieces of work, or to wow at the production design.

They want to be impressed. To laugh! To have fun!

And that’s an atmosphere I really care about.

Andrew Wade

Selfish reasons, I suppose. As a developing actor, I wanted more time in front of audiences to help myself be as comfortable as possible on stage. I wanted the opportunity to have fun playing a wide variety of characters. I wanted the challenge of being ingenious and imaginative on the spot – to better not just my acting ability but my conversational skills, my charisma. I wanted the chance to take part in the theatre community of Victoria, pushing beyond the walls of UVic. And I feel I’ve found these things. So there’s the selfish side out of the way.

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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