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Posts Tagged ‘Stage management’

Life as Seasons of Television

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

The old season is ending. Long live the new season.

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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

My Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival Experience

August 2, 2012 Leave a comment

I was asked to answer a few questions on my experience with the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival, and thought I’d share my responses here.

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Rockin' out to Tiger Woods1. What do you think of the opportunity to perform here?
This has been an amazing opportunity and a fantastic experience – it really does feel like a ‘next step’ opportunity for me, to have a chance to step out from the community theatre world / Fringe theatre world and be paid to hone my craft not only as an actor, but as an assistant stage manager as well. I have invested a lot of time and money into this career (including a degree at UVic, and recently, some time with The National Voice Intensive), and to be chosen for this festival was honestly a relief – to know that I had the ability to be paid to do what I love.
Another reason this has felt like a ‘next step’ opportunity is the amount of support we actors have received, through billeting, introductions to the city, and other means. Working here has given me the confidence to, say, try to take another show on the road (such as perhaps aiming for a tour of Fringe Festivals).
I like the idea of outdoor venues, and I think we’ve got a great set up here. That said we did cancel two shows due to rain, and as an almost-Vancouverite, I’d be tempted to let the show go on, even when conditions are even a bit dicey. We had a great show that one performance where we went ‘unplugged’ because the audio equipment was too wet! Or shows can take a ten minute hiatus until weather improves. Or we can offer umbrellas or something. Take a risk. Make it an experience. Half of the joy of performing outside is that… well… it’s outside! Weather exists! We can work with that and create something unique.
Building the Theatre
2. What sort of impact does this opportunity/experience had on you? Your career? Finances?
I am hesitant to keep coming back to the financial angle, but I am approaching performing as a professional career, and part of that equation requires earning at least a decent chunk of one’s income within that profession. Prior to the Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival, I had broken even on a couple of Fringe shows, made a small amount of money in a playwriting competition, and earned 300$ performing at the UFV Director’s Festival, but other than these small successes, I had not yet found that elusive ‘paid theatre contract’. So this opportunity was like blessed manna from the heavens. And while the company may consider the rates to be humble, any paycheque I can earn doing theatre means I have more time in the future to devote to creating and pursuing more theatre, rather than needing to find my rent through a Joe job.
That ‘first opportunity’ is so important for an artist’s confidence. After I won a playwriting competition, I knew I had the ability in that field to create something worthwhile. But acting? Stage management? While I’ve earned a degree in the former and taken on a handful of jobs in the latter, I couldn’t until now point to them and say ‘yes, I have the chops to earn a living here.’
And to be honest? Perhaps the greatest benefit of the whole situation is now I have an amazing experience that I can point to whenever my mother says, ’I know this is something you enjoy, but how are you going to support yourself?’
 
3. How do feel about the whole experience?
I am over-the-moon grateful for this experience. I’ve now been in Kelowna for over a month – the longest I’ve ever traveled away from my homebases of Richmond and Victoria – and it has been a grand adventure, with two more weeks to go! A terrific growth experience to be sure, and one that I will always cherish.
 

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Cast: Simon Mizera, Katey Hoffman, Alen Dominguez, Andrew Wade, and Jaclyn Nestman

How to be labeled a Renaissance Man by your University

April 8, 2012 1 comment

How to be labeled a Renaissance Man? Follow every opportunity, and then agree to be profiled for University publicity, apparently.

Let’s pick up a copy of the University of Victoria’s 2012-2013 Canadian Viewbook and see what’s inside!

No, those aren't my feet.

 

 

Aaand… head over to page 10…

In the infamous open-all-the-way-down-the-sides Twelfth Night yellow leather pants.

Or for a closer look…

Well, gee.

Here’s the text (based on my responses to their questions):

A Renaissance man in the purest sense, Andrew is a little bit of everything. He’s an actor, writer, director, student senator, peer helper, faux physicist, editor, study group leader, part-time lab supervisor and rare sleeper. And he’s been to enough cast parties to fill up three memory cards with photos. Spy him volunteering in every nook and cranny of campus when he’s not churning out yet another five-star performance on the main stage of UVic’s Phoenix Theatre.

“Go join clubs, get into politics, volunteer, audition if that’s your thing; make an effort to connect in every way you can. When I became engaged with everything happening around me, that’s when campus came alive.”

They even included a link to this blog! How kind.

And now that I have graduated, and have since been an actor, science facilitator, playwright, stage manager, tutor, director, pirate, extra, web assistant, improv workshop leader and more (as can be seen on my photographic wrap-up of 2011, found here), I’m happy to not be proving them wrong.

Life is full and rich and fine indeed.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

How to be A Really Useful Engine

March 23, 2012 Leave a comment

A Really Useful Engine



To Thomas the Tank Engine, the greatest compliment in the world is to be declared a ‘really useful engine’, which is to say, an engine that not only performs their job efficiently and effectively, but employs problem solving skills and smarts to seek out difficulties and resolve them.

And while I do love the creative spark of acting and writing, there is a very different, and very real, satisfaction in being a really useful engine. Which is what draws me to stage management.
Stage managing, particularly when there aren’t any ASMs, is all about supporting the production in any way. Primarily, stage managers provide a concrete, stable foundation for a production to stand on, through scheduling, through open communication between all the various departments, and through discipline. Spreadsheets of props, set pieces, and costume items. Entrances and exits, movement patterns written down. Lighting and sound cues noted. In a world full of creative actors, directors, artists, and designers, someone needs to be there with a calm, steady hand and a mindset that looks immediately to finding solutions, to helping foster everyone else’s visions (while being mindful of the budget). Essentially, stage management do everything they can to get these great lumbering beasts on their feet.

And all that can be so very, very satisfying.

Tonight is opening night for The Great American Trailerpark Musical, which I was brought in to stage manage midway through the rehearsal process. The last project I stage managed, Sonnets For An Old Century, also brought me in midway through their process. Hopefully, one of these days, I’ll be able to enter a project right from the first design meetings. Because if there is anything I have learned from this process, it is how key and crucial pre-planning and prep work is for this position. I did a lot of things right (such as having a conversation with the director on how he wanted me to act within the rehearsal process, particularly when it came to giving line notes and the like), but I also have a lot to build on, including building a proper stage management kit. Perhaps not as grandiose as Lois’s kit, but then, I’m not the professional she is. Yet.

Right, almost time for the opening curtain. The audience is pouring in. The adventure awaits.

Wish us broken legs!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Victoria Fringeamania!

August 27, 2011 Leave a comment

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!

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=249348868426429

“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…

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=221027037942418

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

 https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=139905722760543

 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!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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