Archive

Posts Tagged ‘scary’

Why not to do a One Man Show.

April 29, 2011 1 comment

(forenote: I wrote this on the ride into Chilliwack. I have actually had a most excellent day with all these fine people. But my comments still stand.)

(addendum: at the end of the weekend, I wrote a companion article: Why you should write a One Man Show. Oh, and the violet haired woman? Amazingly, as we didn’t even get off the bus in the same city… she was on the greyhound bus on the ride back. I asked her to be certain she was the same person. I then had a lovely chat with a middle-aged woman from Nanaimo.)

———————–

Why not to do a One Man Show.

I used to daydream about one day getting on a bus, and travelling to a new city (Portland sprang to mind, or any small rural town) where no one knew who I was. Of starting fresh, behaving and being an ideal me, untethered from all the prior instances of who I’d been. It wasn’t a positive daydream, persay. Just a recurring thought. I wanted to know if this new community of strangers would embrace me, or if it all would just be a lonely experience.

A test of who I am as a person, I suppose.

William Fights The World

Coming to UVic almost fit this bill, but a good eight or nine members of my high school’s graduating class came along with me, and for those first two years as a Writing student, outside of the Theatre department, I mostly hung out with some of those same students, or people they had introduced me to. I never really integrated with my res building’s crowd.

The Phoenix Theatre Department was another close fit to the daydream, but by then, I had enough roots elsewhere on campus (and I was still engaged in the Writing degree) that I felt firmly grounded. And the lives of theatre folk revolve around forming communities and collaborations, so some of those connections happen easier, there.

The daydream – travelling to somewhere where I knew no one, and trying to start a life – arose out of fear. Everything is transitory in this world, including elementary school, high school, university. Heck, even family members move away. I felt I needed to be prepared to be able to step out, alone, and find communities, support, friends, loved ones, wherever I ended up. Because if change happened around me and I wasn’t prepared, that might just break me. No one can live completely alone.

Well, I’m travelling now on a bus to Chilliwack, to a town where I know no one, to perform a one-man-show (William Fights The World) for a few days at the UFV Directors’ Festival. And I’m realizing that if I end up deciding to attempt the Fringe circuit, I want it to be a show with two characters, because… well… while that old worry would be a great challenge for me, it’s not one I want to face. I don’t want to travel alone, to start with a blank slate in every city I come to. I don’t want to be a faceless man in the crowd. I want someone to share in these experiences with me.

And I could have had that, but I shoved it away because I didn’t feel I cared enough about her. Digression.

One of the most courageous moments in my life – if not the most courageous – was on the first day of grade 6, where I committed to starting my life fresh, to becoming a better person. In an attempt to flee from my miserable self, I had joined Late French Immersion. So when I stepped into that grade 6 classroom, it was a new school, a new class, and I knew no one.

The most courageous thing I have ever done was to scan the classroom, see one person not talking to anyone, and to sit down next to him and say hello.

It took every fibre of my backbone to do it.

He became my best friend for two years.

And I’d like to think I’ve grown from that small boy, but sometimes, like now, I could switch seats on this bus and say hello to the young woman with violet hair, sitting across from me. I could. But I don’t.

But I’m only on this bus for another hour. When I introduced myself to Sam Fenn in that classroom, it was necessary – I was to be in that class, with those students, for two years. But if I tour the Fringe circuit, I’ll only be in town for a few short days. Each town. Every city. Is that enough time to connect with people? Is that just enough time to feel miserable about letting them go and moving on?

My time at UVic is done, and much of my community, my class, are already moving on. And I feel like I have already decided that my place isn’t here, in this city, anymore, even though I’m here for at least another four months. But that old worry of a daydream comes back and…

and perhaps because my instinct is not to say hello to the gal with violet hair…
and perhaps because the idea of really connecting with people only for a day or two, and then saying goodbye, makes me sad…
and perhaps because moments seem far more worth living when they are shared…
and perhaps because, unlike in years past, I don’t want to reinvent myself, because I’m beginning to like who I am…

I think I’ll write that Fringe show so that it has someone be there with me.

– Andrew Wade

Enhanced by Zemanta

Graduation.

April 2, 2011 1 comment

Wow.

Today was my graduation day at the Phoenix Theatre at UVic. For 4th year students, that means a whole lot of performing, a ceremony, and a celebration. For me, this meant:

  • performed a ~30 minute karaoke musical play (including singing ‘Grace Kelly’ by Mika);
  • performed in a collaboratively-written group movement piece with kerosened chickens, magical pills with potential side-effects that include kermit-the-frog-arms and the plague, and the Child Liberation Program (where, as an emaciated, liberated child, I got to be a lawnmower and a kite, before getting shot down);
  • performed a self-written/choreographed solo movement piece where I did a blindfolded roll, grew wings, and stepped off a tower to my death;
  • performed ‘I Don’t Care Much’ from Cabaret’
  • performed a monologue from Lovers, by Brian Friel, where I spoke of my love for my fiancee and hatred for my father, in an Irish accent;
  • performed a triumphant monologue as Mozart in Peter Shaeffer’s Amadeus;
  • and performed my self-written masque – a trek through my non-relationship misadventures, portraying 10 characters in eight minutes, including a riff off The Phantom of The Opera that went something like this:

It is true that, you’re a swearing smoker,
but there’s, something, there that makes me wonder,
your boyfriend’s not too smart,
though you deal drugs, you stir my heart…
is there any chance that you two may just part?
No, nothing between us will ever start…”

All that followed by a celebration ceremony with balloons falling from the catwalk and many, many hugs.

I deal with endings by launching headfirst into new beginnings, new projects, new works. This week, I also performed Theatreshorts and my second week as part of Sin City Improv, and applied for a couple of jobs, confirmed my involvement in a small theatre festival at the end of April… I’m doing that. Heck, after the graduation ceremony, I went to a rehearsal for an orchestra/choir performance I’m dancing for, tomorrow. I’ll keep moving, keep trying to get involved.

But these other engagements aren’t replacements. They’re new, but they’re not the way of life that being a student is, going to classes with the same people, day in, day out.

I’ve been at UVic for seven years. Both of my degrees end this month. SEVEN YEARS. I’m only 24. That’s almost a third of my life. That I’m letting go of.

This is going to take some time.

 

The Class, featuring Linda Hardy.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Enhanced by Zemanta

Twelfth Night – Finding the Fun

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

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.

Revenged!

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.

 

Cheers,

Andrew Wade

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why I act – reflecting on A Streetcar Named Desire

Portrait of Marlon Brando, "Streetcar Nam...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ll warn you now – this post involves some navel gazing.

I just came back from seeing Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre‘s strong production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and while I’m up in six and a half hours and really aught to get some sleep, I left the theatre with the play’s two (developed) male characters – Stanley Kowalski and Mitch – pacing about in my head, and with an uneasy feeling rippling through my bones. Stanley and Mitch are two very different people, the passionate, primal animal, and the meek momma’s boy. My reaction to Mitch wasn’t surprising – I found myself relating to him, to the quiet soul who gets his hopes torn by Blanche’s desperate lies. How I connected to Stanley, though, now that made me scratch my head a little – I envied the man.

If you know me in life, you know it’s no stretch to say that I am typically a more reserved sort of man. I can be prone to outbursts of theatricality, but catch me on any given moment, and I’m probably content in a silence with a ponderous look on my face. I am a man who does not swear, who volunteers at church, who hasn’t broken any hearts or had his own crushed much in return. I feel awkward even typing ‘I am a man’; there is a lot of Mitch in me. As for Stanley…

Well, I can only think of one moment in my life when I have been a Stanley Kowalski, and that was the most terrifying half-second I have ever experienced. Ask me in person and I’ll tell you.

Some days, some moments, I do get that urge to throw a dish across a room, to shout the truth to a liar’s face, to grab a woman by the shoulders and just kiss her, dagnammit (without asking five times for permission first). But I can’t do it. I’m trying to think of reasons why I can’t, like that I don’t want to be that kind of man or some other noble reason like that, but honestly? Allowing myself moments like that would scare me beyond what I know. It takes a great, deliberate relaxing of my safeguards just to let myself punch a pillow (on the couple of nights a year when I choose to do so). Don’t get me wrong – I’m no powderkeg fervently shouting ‘Serenity Now’ to myself just to stay sane – I just choose not to get angry when difficult situations arise.

But when I’m onstage, I can explore these other sides of the human condition. My performer’s thrill doesn’t come from a nerve-racked adrenaline of stepping onto a stage in front of hundreds of strange eyes; nowadays, if I’m nervous before a show, it’s because I don’t feel confident with my lines or I’m about to use a prop or setpiece I’ve never rehearsed with before. No, my thrill, my energy, my high, comes from seizing onto a chance to take on those characteristics I don’t let bleed into my own personality, be they the absurd flamboyances of an over-the-top gay Le Beau, the malice of an Iago, or the passionate cry of a Stanley Kowalski.

This is not the only reason why I act, but it’s the one that came to the forefront tonight.

Right, now I’m up in less than six hours, and I have 28 kids to make astronomy crafts with in the morning. Thanks for reading.
Cheers,

Andrew Wade

Enhanced by Zemanta

Building the Killdozer / Aiming my Life

EDIT: I posted my Marvin Heemeyer / Killdozer monologue here: https://adewade.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/marvin-heemeyer-my-monologue/ .

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post, thank you so much Melissa and Janet for your kind and well-thought-out comments on my last post. A full reply deserves a post of its own that I’ll deliver sometime later this month.

How does a pacifistic Christian accurately write from the viewpoint of, and portray, a man who feels compelled by God to build himself a homemade tank and destroy half a town?

This Friday, Intrepid Theatre is holding their third Bring Out Your Dead event, where I am performing a monologue as Marvin Heemeyer, builder of the 75 ton Killdozer that tore through the buildings of his enemies in the small town of Granby, Colorado, in 2004. This shall also be (as I only just realized this morning), the first time I have ever been paid to act (other than as a film extra). I have been paid for my writing, – for performances of Hullaboo and High School Noir – but never before for acting. Well, if you discount Grossology centre stage shows and running around like a supervillain at Science World. 🙂

So this milestone comes with its own pressures, including that unfortunte fear of success that seems so counter-intuitive an idea. Why a fear of success? Because actually getting paid for my crafts really does put me in a career trajectory of potentially doing acting and writing as a living… which, admittedly, is scary, as much as it is also challenging and wonderful and excellent.

To get a sense of ‘Marv the Muffler Man’ and his story, I highly recommend reading the damninteresting.com article on him, and perhaps this Syndicalist recap as well. I’ll wait for ya.

This man is who I am dramatizing – a desperate man who, when faced with corrupt authority figures and injustice in society, went on a crusade to confront the evils of the world. His name is… BATMAN.

Okay, maybe not.

But he is a compelling figure, nonetheless. His aggressors did nothing technically illegal, yet they pushed him out of business and left him without options other than to sell and get the heck out of Dodge. Out of all this (and his fiancee cheating on him and leaving him), he felt inspired by God to build a tank, equip it with guns, and destroy City Hall, the concrete plant, and other buildings (with, oddly enough, a Catholic Church near the end of his list of targets).

As a Christian believer, do I think this was a course of action God really directed him to take? Well, no. But as a Christian, I can really identify with that desire to see a pattern in the world and identify it as a God-given purpose in life. Because we do look for how the higher power may have steered our lives, for what opportunities and challenges may have been deliberately set before us by the Great Almighty.

I know, personally, some options presented before me just seem to ‘click’, like when I signed up for Students for Literacy, or when I acted with David Perry at ThePlace, or put my hat in the ring to be one of next year’s Peer Helping Coordinators. Or auditioned for UVic’s theatre department.

Challenges? Certainly. But they felt like the right stepping stones. So I suppose that I, like Marvin, do feel that sensation that my life has an ideal way it can progress, if I make the right choices, if I follow my gut instincts and trust in the Great Shepherd to take me through the fields.

And whether I agree or disagree with his actions, I feel, as I write this piece, that it’s important to find the overall certainty within Marvin that he felt what he was doing was the right way, was justice… and then introduce little glimmers of uncertainty.

Because believing is all about faith,

and faith requires the possibility of doubt.

Enhanced by Zemanta

I am… IAGO!

January 9, 2010 Leave a comment
Sir John Gilbert's 1849 painting: The Plays of...
Image via Wikipedia

I have been cast in a student production of Othello! As IAGO! Absolutely thrilling and terrifying and everything inbetween! To get to play one of the great villains of Shakespeare… a challenge to say the least.

So – how to approach the largest role of my life? Well, one step at a time. We perform on the last two days of February and the first two days of March (in the Student Union Building here at UVic), so I’m giving myself until about February 10th to try and learn my lines, so I have time to focus on just the character. This means I need to be learning, at the current script cut, around 28 lines (in the script copy we have) a day. Hefty. Wish me luck!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]