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Personal Reassurance – State Of The Andrew

August 1, 2016 Leave a comment

I don’t feel like a writer unless I am writing. I don’t feel like an actor unless I am auditioning or acting. And if I am not actively writing or acting, I can feel like I’m not doing much of anything with my life.

So with that in mind, every once in a while I need to remind myself both of what I’ve done recently and what is set as still to come. A career-wise State Of The Andrew, if you will. So as I feel all insecure and whatnot, let’s take a look at what I’ve actually been involved with this year:

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Several months: Cassie And Friends
Puppeteered a show about Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in elementary schools (yes, with puppets) once a week for a while!

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January: The Undocumented Trial of William C. Hopkinson
A sold-out run of a socially important (and darn good) show that zero members of the theatre community saw. It was fascinating to work mostly within the Sikh community on this piece, both in creative collaborators and audience attendees. I also loved getting a chance to be in a non-musical show – only the second one I’ve had the opportunity of acting in (other than shows I’ve written myself) since I came back to Vancouver in 2011. (The other show was The Boys In The Band.)

January: OVATION! Awards
I performed a song from Carry On at the OVATION! Awards. And lost the best new musical award, alas. Three time nominee! Gotta get to Leonardo DiCaprio runner-up level status!

20160327_230122March: Richmond Arts Coalition
While not a creative exercise in itself, my part-time job at the Richmond Arts Coalition is 1000% about supporting other artists. Which is nifty.

 

March: The 2nd Annual 24-Hour Musical Theatre SMACKDOWN Competition
My team won! In the span of a day, we put together a 20 minutes+ musical with required elements such as The CN Tower, the 1930’s, a rubber horse head mask, and a song style that I can’t remember. I was the head book-writer for our group. SO MUCH FUN. And I am frankly astonished that our team took the prize, given that the stiff competition included incredibly talented and witty theatre creators like Sebastian Archibald! (I am now the only person to be on both winning teams from year one and two!)

April: The Mad Tea Party Cabaret
Performed The Unbirthday Song as The King of Hearts at a fundraiser cabaret.

May/June: VanDeca performances
I took on the challenge this year of performing in a choir (alongside my little sister!).

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May: People Like Us
A chance to sing songs I’ve always wanted to sing (Quiet from Matilda, Falling Slowly from Once, Sea of Pebbles from TITUS), and to raise money for a good cause (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia), as well as an opportunity to connect with a grassroots opera company run by friends.

June: The Solstice Arts Festival – The Hatter and William vs The WorldIMG_20160618_140119
I offered to perform two different one-man-shows in two days, which was perhaps not the best for my sanity, but it made for a solid challenge. It turns out that relearning two hours solid just-me-talking takes a lot of hard work! Especially as I hadn’t performed The Hatter in two and a half years, and had only once taken this version of William vs The World to a festival. It was lovey to get another chance to perform in Port Alberni, especially in this otherwise fringe-tour-less summer.

 

June: TITUS!: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus – Edits
Finished the words side of rewrites for TITUS, coming to The York Theatre this month! The show is my dear, dear baby, in two act form for the very first time.

June: Elkwalk
Puppeteered some giant Irish Elk skeleton puppets around downtown at 3am one night. As ya do.

July: Student Films
In July I began auditioning in earnest for student film projects in order to get more screentime under my belt. Nothing has been filmed yet. There have been complications around scheduling due to my dayjobs and other performance commitments — apparently all student films only want to record on Saturdays and Sundays!

July: La Serva Padrona
Opera Mariposa asked me back to be in an actual opera! Admittedly in a non-singing, non-speaking clownish servant character role, but I was onstage for the majority of the show. I never saw a script, and only vaguely knew what the other characters were saying (in archaic Italian). I functioned off a loose set of ‘be here when this happens, there when that happens’ choreography, and otherwise follow the specific instructions to steal focus from the singers and try to be as ridiculous as possible. SO. MUCH. FUN.

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August (to come): TITUS! The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus
Come! Please do!

August (to come): Gorepalooza IV
I am currently slated to wrestle in a kiddy pool filled with fake blood as an over-the-top pro wrestling character. Too fantastic to NOT do.

September (to come): The Mad Hatter
I will be roaming around the Richmond World Festival as The Mad Hatter for a few hours.

September (to come): Who Killed Kraft Bier?
I will be a character in a one day site-specific show that has people travelling around, drinking beer!

WilliamvsTheWorld - image 01September (to come): William vs The World at Vancouver Fringe
Come! Please do!
Here’s the blurb:

William has built for himself a perfect fortress of solitude. A dream job at a geek store and all the time he could want to watch superhero cartoons, become the ultimate Dragonborn, and avoid other people. But how will William and Chuck (his cactus) survive when their perfect world collapses?

Performing September 7th-17th at Arts Umbrella on Granville Island, as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival!

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Looking at it, I feel I would be happier now if I had devoted more time this year to writing (perhaps at the expense of a few paying-the-rent dayjob shifts) and I need to get better at making this screenacting thing happen. That said, while I haven’t worked a long contract this year, I can’t say I haven’t been active.

What do you think – Am I adequately maintaining my theatre creator credibility? Am I accomplishing anything at a rate at which future accomplishment is inevitable? Am I just spinning my wheels? Inquiring insecurities want to know! 🙂

Cheers,
Andrew

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My 2014 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers

October 4, 2014 4 comments





My 2014 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!


The numbers wherein Andrew Wade travelled to five different cities and performed in their Fringe Festivals. Last year, my first summer touring, I estimated that I spent 1671.16$ more on my tour and expenses than I earned. How about this year?




Port Alberni audience numbers (for The Hatter):
(audience numbers not provided by festival)
# of performances: 2
# of paying audience members: ??? (estimate: ~27)
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: ??? (estimate: ~13)
Average # of audience members (including comps): ??? (estimate: ~20)


The Hatter onstage in Regina - Photo by Shelby Lyn LoweRegina audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 5
Total # of audience members: 110
Average # of audience members (including comps): 22
# of comps: 9+9+7+5+2 = 32
# of paying audience members: 22+14+10+16+16 = 78
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 15.6


Saskatoon audience numbers (for The Most Honest Man In The World):
# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 219
Average # of audience members (including comps): 31

# of comps to fringe staff: 3
# of comps to fellow performers: 30
# of comps to media: 2
# of promo vouchers (?): 23
# of volunteer comps: 15

# of advance tickets sold: 20
# of paying audience members: 146
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 21


Victoria audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 14+19+29+12+9+9 = 92
Average # of audience members (including comps): 15

# of comps: 4+6+12+3+2+6 = 33

# of full price advance tickets: 2
# of discounted advance tickets: 5
# of Muncher tickets (could be advance or at door, full price): 5
# of full price tickets at door: 20
# of discounted tickets at door: 23
# of Frequent Fringer (extra discounted) tickets: 4
Total # of paying audience members: 59
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 10


Vancouver audience numbers (for The Hatter):
# of performances: 6

# of media comps: 1
# of volunteer comps: 6
# of performer rush comps: 21
# of artist comps (ones I gave out): 14
# of miscellaneous comps (?): 19
Total # of comps: 61

# of full price advance tickets: 50
# of 1/2 price advance tickets: 13
# of paying audience members: 133
# of total audience members: 194
Average # of paying ticket holders per show: 22
Average # of audience members: 32

Photo: Erin Aberle-Palm

Photo: Erin Aberle-Palm



EXPENSES:


Failed Fringe Application Fees:
Edmonton: -36.75$
Winnipeg: -20.00$
Montreal: -55.00$
Seattle: -28.42$
CAFF Lottery: -25.00$
Total: -165.17$


Port Alberni Expenses:
Application fee: Free (First come, first serve)
Festival fee mailing: -0.66$
Festival fee: -200.00$
Cost per performance = -100.00$
Tea: -3.56$
500 Handbills (business cards): -29.39$
Travel to Port Alberni (ferry): -16.90$
Travel away (ferry): -16.90$
Ride from ferry to Port Alberni: -20.00$
Total: -287.41$


The Hatter - Port Alberni newspaperRegina Expenses:
Application fee: -25.00$
Festival fee: -575.00$
Cost per performance = -120.00$
Packing tape: -13.43$
Tea/batteries: -3.20$
Styrofoam cups: -4.49$
Booze: -8.05 + -6.50 = -14.55$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -50.92$
25 posters: -22.62$
Gift to billet: -9.69$
Gift to fellow performer: -3.14$
Travel (Flights to Regina and back home to Vancouver): -388.76$
Extra flight travel cost (to and from) of taking a second suitcase full of props: -42.00$
Total: -1152.80$


Saskatoon Expenses:
Application fee: None (first come, first served)
Festival fee: -710.00$
Cost per performance = -101.43$
Prop (book ・Homeland): -8.35$
Props (Batteries) / grooming: -15.86$
Asparagus for spoof night skit: -0.40$
1000 Handbills (business cards, late getting them printed): -57.74$
25 posters: -18.67$
Gift to billet: -5.48$
Travel (Flights to Saskatoon and back home to Vancouver): -365.66$
Total: -1182.16$


Victoria Expenses:
Application fee: -28.00$
Festival fee: -572.00$
Cost per performance = -100.00$
Board game cafe day: -5.00$
Beer: -6.50$
Props (styrofoam cups): -3.74$
Bowling and pool with fellow fringers: -12.85$
Medical expenses: -38.12$
1000 Handbills (business cards): -35.93$
25 posters: -18.67$
Travel to (ferry+bus ticket): -19.25$
Travel away (ferry): -16.75$
Total: -756.81$


Vancouver Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Cost per performance = -133.33$
Styrofoam cups: ~ -6.00$
Beer: -5.00$
1000 Handbills (postcards ・so I could fit a map on them to the venue): -83.84$
My portion of venue handbill (shared with other companies): -60.00$
25 posters: -18.67$
Bus tickets to reach my venue: -19.20$
Food bank donation (a percentage of ticket sales): -39.65$
Total: -1032.36



Expenses not considered due to working shifts between festivals:
Rent back home, groceries both at home and on tour.


IMG644b

INCOME:


Port Alberni:
Ticket Price: 10$
Artist take-home of full ticket price: 10$
Full festival pass (84$ for 115$ value) = 27% off ticket price
# of full festival passes used = ???
Average amount per ticket paid to me: ???
Total payout from festival: 246.50$
Total: 246.50$

The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 02
Regina Income:
Ticket Price: 10$
Artist take-home of ticket price: 10$
Average amount per ticket paid to me: 10$
Total payout from festival: 780.00$
Donation from a lovely and beautiful friend to get me to fly rather than greyhound: 200.00$
Total: 980.00$


Saskatoon Income:
(all numbers confused by additional GST reductions)
Full Ticket Price: 14$
Frequent Fringer Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket = 2$
Artist take-home of full ticket price: 12$
Artist take-home of Frequent Fringer ticket price: 10$

Advance ticket sales (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 20 tickets = 240.00$
Frequent Fringer (12$ – 2$ = 10$ per ticket): 44 tickets = 440.00$
Ticket sales at door (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 82 tickets = 984.00$

GST awkwardly deducted: -93.13$

Progression of income per performance:
75.43 —> 73.62 —>290.76 —> 294.48 —> 298.38 —> 330.48 —> 207.72$

Average amount per ticket paid to me: 10.76$
Total payout from festival: 1570.87$
Total: 1570.87$


Victoria Income:
Full ticket price: 11$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Students/Seniors discount ticket price: 9$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Frequent Fringers discount price: 8$ (+ 6$ Fringe Button)
Artist take-home of ticket price: 11$/9$/8$
Advance ticket sales (full price): 2 tickets @ 11$ = 11.00$
Advance ticket sales (discount): 5 tickets @ 9$ = 45.00$
Ticket sales at door (full price): 20 tickets @ 11$ = 220.00$
Ticket sales at door (discount): 23 tickets @ 9$ = 207.00$
Munch card ticket sales: 5 tickets @ 11$ = 55.00$
Frequent Fringer ticket sales: 4 tickets @ 8$ = 32.00$

GST awkwardly deducted (5%): 4.81+5.90+8.14+4.05+3.29+1.48 = -27.67$

Scary Progression of income per performance:
96.19 —> 118.10 —> 162.86 —> 80.95 —> 65.71 —> 29.52$

Average amount per ticket paid to me: 9.85$
Total payout from festival: 581.00$

Total: 581.00$


Vancouver Income:
(complicated by having one half-price performance)
Ticket Price: 14$ + 5$ Membership
Admin fee per ticket = 3$ (+membership)
Artist take-home of ticket price: 11$

Advance full price ticket sales (14$ – 3$ = 11$ per ticket): 7+6+7+12+13= 45 tickets @ 11$ = 495.00$
Advance half-price ticket sales (Half of 11$ = 5.50$ per ticket): 13 tickets @ 5.50$ = 71.50$
Advance 4-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (10$ to me per ticket): 1 ticket @ 10$ = 10.00$
Advance 10-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (9$ to me per ticket): 2+1+1+3= 7 tickets @ 9$ = 63.00$

Day-of full price ticket sales (14$ – 3$ = 11$ per ticket): 9+5+5+12+18 = 49 tickets @ 11$ = 539.00$
Day-of half-price ticket sales (Half of 11$ = 5.50$ per ticket): 8 tickets @ 5.50$ = 44.00$
Day-of 4-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (10$ to me per ticket): 5 tickets @ 10$ = 50.00$
Day-of 10-pack Frequent Fringer ticket sales (9$ to me per ticket): 5 tickets @ 9$ = 45.00$

Happier Progression of income per performance:
199.00 –> 115.50 –> 167.00 –> 179.00 –> 273.00 –> 388.00$

Average amount per ticket (excluding half-price day) paid to me: 10.77$
Total ticket payout from festival: 1321.50$
Minus food bank donation: -39.65$
Total: 1281.85$

photo credit: Michelle Berg

photo credit: Michelle Berg

Total Expenses (including travel costs):
Failed Fringe application fees: -165.17$
Port Alberni expenses: -287.41$
Regina expenses: -1152.80$
Saskatoon expenses: -1182.16$
Victoria expenses: -756.81$
Vancouver expenses: -1032.36
Total: -4576.71$


Total Income:
Port Alberni income: 246.50$
Regina income: 980.00$
Saskatoon income: 1570.87$
Victoria income: 581.00$
Vancouver income: 1281.85$
Total: 4660.22$


Final financial verdict: A positive financial figure of 83.51$ !
Compared to last summer:
 1754.67$ better off.




Other numbers:


Hours spent flying or on layover in airports: 4h13m + 2h10m + 5h11m + 5h35m = 17h9min.
Hours that I would have otherwise spent on greyhound busses: 26h+26h+29h+29h = 110h
Extra money spent flying versus greyhounding: 754.42$ – 388.46$ = 365.96$
Money earned in Richmond/Vancouver on days that would have been spent greyhounding/recovering = ???


Dayjob shifts worked in the 12 days while back home between Regina and Saskatoon fringes: 5.
Dayjob shifts worked in the 8 days while back home between Saskatoon and Victoria fringes: 9.


Days away: 3 + 10 + 15 + 12 + (home during Vancouver Fringe) = 40
Homes graciously opened to me to stay in: 4.


Last year, in its first year as a festival, the Alberni Valley Fringe Festival had 929 people attend performances. This year, it had only 488 audience members.

Courtesy of Shelby Lyn Lowe

Courtesy of Shelby Lyn Lowe

Vancouver is a lot more expensive for both audience members and performers, per performance, than any other fringe festival. Most festivals opt for EITHER a membership/button fee, OR a portion of each ticket, but Vancouver is taking both. Its put-your-name-in-the-hat fee of 50$ is the second-highest in the country (Montreal has a 55$ fee). Both seem expensive  for what they are – an ‘are you serious’ fee for putting a name in the festival’s lottery. And at  least one other performing group expressed surprise to me, after the festival was done, that Vancouver was taking 3$ from each ticket. This detail was not effectively communicated to artists. All that said, Vancouver  was still one of my two profitable festivals this summer.


# of stars in the first ever (and only) review for The Most Honest Man In The World (StarPhoenix): 4 (out of five)
# of stars in a review for The Hatter that came out four days after my tour ended (The Peak): 4.5 (out of five)


Pay for directing  Clutter and Contamination  for Vancouver Fringe: 125.00$


Not sure half-price and discounted tickets are worth it. I didn’t see an appreciable-enough bump up in audience numbers. I probably won’t try them again.


Total # of times performing one-man-shows at fringe festivals: 11
(William vs The World  = 1,  The Hatter  = 9,  The Most Honest Man In The World  = 1)
Total # of fringe festivals I have been involved in: 12
(2011: Victoria, Vancouver. 2012: Victoria. 2013: London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon. 2014: Port Alberni, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver.)
Total # of fringe shows I have been involved with (acting, stage managing, or directing): 15
(includes directing  BFA: The Musical!, acting in  Henry V,  and  stage-managing  Sonnets for an Old Century)


# of awards given out, total, at the 2014 Port Alberni Fringe Festival: 2
(People’s Choice Award, and Best Quote)
# of awards won by  The Hatter  at the 2014 Port Alberni Fringe Festival (total): 2
(People’s Choice Award, and Best Quote:  ‘God Shave The Queen’)




Assorted Thoughts:


To get an accurate gauge of my anxiety meter as each fringe festival went on, look at the progression of income in each festival from performance to performance.


Compared to last year, a sizeable improvement! In the black! Huzzah!
I mean, that still means I am essentially working for free here, but still, progress! Even with adding the expense of flying!


The Hatter  is 2/9 when it comes to making a profit at fringe festivals. The Most Honest Man In The World  is 1/1 thus far!


All summer long, people were calling me a ‘Fringe Veteran’. While on my second tour ever? That makes me a veteran? I mean, perhaps if I were in the ARMY that would be true, but for fringing? Really?


Handbills and posters, and the art of how many to print:
Port Alberni – It was hard to give out 100 handbills, honestly. There just weren’t enough people there to make handbilling worthwhile. And a mere two posters, one per venue, might have been fine. (I didn’t bring any, and arrived to town too late for posters to make a difference.)
Regina – Only needed 500 handbills. If that. And 25 posters were plenty.
Saskatoon – Such a simple festival to poster… even if I DID have the business district upset with me for postering atop the top of their posterwheels. 25 posters is fine, and 1000 handbills was the right number for a busy promoter like myself.
Victoria – Postering does next to nothing here. No fringe hub, and nightclubs poster over anything fringe-related. So handbills are all you’ve got. Handed out more than 500 handbills, but not a lot more. I would print 1000 again.
Vancouver – Unfortunately, I was working shifts at my workplaces on days when I didn’t have shows, so I wasn’t able to handbill or poster very much. Difficult to put up 25 posters in/around Granville Island. Handbilling = inconclusive.


My Saskatoon numbers at least partially increased because people there actually knew who I was, from my performing there last summer! I handbilled a number of people who instantly decided to come see  The Most Honest Man In The World  once they heard that last year I was The Hatter.


That said, people knowing who I was in Victoria, didn’t seem to offer anything like a boost. I suppose three years is a very long time to be away from a university town. And most of the few people I know who still live in Victoria were performing in their own fringe shows.


I definitely felt a home-town advantage in Vancouver, though! Thank you SO SO much to every dear friend who came out to the tea party!


A career is made up of far more baby steps than large leaps. And steps in the right direction are worth celebrating!


Onto next year’s adventures!




Cheers,
Andrew Wade




The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 01

Thank you for the tea parties.

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
A few years ago, I had a crazy idea. I had cloistered myself up in British Columbia, hid away in school for twenty straight years, I was anxious and worried that I wouldn’t get the chances to perform in the real world, once I graduated… so I made a plan. A crazy plan. I decided to write myself a one man show and take it across the country.
       
Andrew Wade 011bI had no idea if I could hold anyone’s attention for an hour. I had no idea if I could write a show that’d work. I threw every theatrical idea into the show, creating a mad, patchwork quilt of ideas, and then threw most of them out. I mostly improvised a run at Vancouver Fringe in 2011. I rewrote the darn thing from the ground up. And then I took a deep breath, spent thousands of dollars, and took my little hat and kettle show on the road. First year, I went to London, Ottawa, Toronto, and Saskatoon, spent over two months away from where I lived – the longest I had ever been on the road.
       
I got stuck backstage and had to pee in a water bottle a couple of minutes before my first performance. I sold exactly zero tickets to three of my first four performances. I was on greyhound buses for forty-three straight hours. I lost money. And it was worth it.
       
The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONI also met with mentors and brilliant performers who just wanted to help me along my journey. I made friends, colleagues, and talent crushes. I was introduced to the ridiculous art of attempting to smuggle women into your billet’s place without them noticing. I discovered from my billets just how charitable people can be and how awesome retirement is for a lot of people. I traveled the country, flew for only the third time in ten years. I made a man in Saskatoon give me a great big hug, break down, and cry, then loudly whoop at everyone on the street to come see my show.
       
And then, this summer, I brought The Hatter home. ‘Previewed’ it in Port Alberni to an empty town full of good intentions, brought it to Regina and was fed fancy meats while swatting mosquitoes and having a grand ol’ time. Then came the real homecoming tour.
       
Next, I went to Saskatoon, which had welcomed me so warmly, it felt like home. There’s a reason I was able to perform the most personal work I’ve ever written, there: a new show, The Most Honest Man In The World. Me being me. And most people still called me The Hatter, anyhow.
       
Then came Victoria. The big gulp of nervous air, a city of people I had treasured for seven years, then skipped out on when my degree was up. Spent a quarter of my life there. Felt like I was awaiting their judgment, wanting the city, old friends, ex-girlfriends, to tell me I had made the right call, that I’d made something of myself, out there in that bigger ol’ world. And the people who matter, they gave me just that. And oddly, most reassuringly of all, Victoria, well, it didn’t feel like home anymore. The Hatter is a play about searching for home. In its first draft, it was muchly a play of regretting leaving someplace, some people, somewhere. Now, it’s not that.
       
Now, The Hatter is about moving on.
       
And here we are in Vancouver, at home, and The Hatter is about to hang up his hat. No future plans for him. Nothing set. Just one more celebration, tonight at 8:15pm.
       
Thank you for the tea parties.
       
       
The Hat

An interview on The Hatter and life in the real world with The Marble

September 13, 2014 Leave a comment

       
The Hatter onstage in Regina - Photo by Shelby Lyn LoweBefore The Hatter hangs up his hat later today (perhaps forever?) with a show at 8:15pm, I wanted to add here my emailed responses to a rather well thought-out email interview/preview I had with Matthew at The Marble.

The preview can be found here: http://marblevictoria.com/post/95353607472/the-hatter-preview-matts-interview
       
1. Well it’s been a while since The University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre Department. What have you been up to since then?

I have been off in the great wide world! By which I mean, in the past three years, I have moved to the mainland, performed in 26 different productions for at least 16 different companies, taken three self-written one man shows (William vs The World, The Hatter, and The Most Honest Man In The World) to fringe festivals across the country (Victoria, Vancouver, London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon (x2), Port Alberni, and Regina), directed a talent show and a new fringe musical, got nominated for an Ovation Award, was picked as one of Richmond’s ‘30 under 30’, stage managed or ASMed for five productions, had a story make it onto CBC Radio’s Definitely Not The Opera DNTO, acted in a couple of no-budget films, and learned the true meaning of Christmas. Okay, maybe not that last one. Oh, and I have a half-dozen or so part-time jobs that pay my rent and let me disappear whenever I get a theatre gig. Phew!
       
2. That Hatter’s been following your around a lot in the last few years (or at least that’s how it’s looked whenever I’ve had a chance to peak into what you’re doing.) How did the two of your first cross paths?

The Hatter and I actually first met at The Phoenix at UVic! A directing student, Rene Linares, asked myself, then a mere writing student, and Marynia Bienkowska-Gibbs (another writer), if we could write for him a play about Alice returning to Wonderland as a professional woman. This became a SATCo production. So we did! And as we wrote it, I found myself really connecting to The Mad Hatter, really enjoying writing for him.

So when it came next to write a new one man show, there was a satisfying hook there.
       
The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 023. I was tickled pink at the mention in your press release that you’ll be exploring the character’s, “serious emotional problems,” which could neatly sum up several personalities in the Alice series. Tell me, how much have you taken from the source material and what did you expand on?

When I was looking to write that new play to try and tour in Fringe festivals across the country, I also wanted to explore anger and what it means to lose control of oneself. If you’ve ever read or watched Alice in Wonderland, you know it can be succinctly summarised as ‘A whole bunch of characters yell at an innocent girl.’

In the story, Alice is rejected by many of the characters in Wonderland, and does all she can to escape it in turn. But what if someone landed in Wonderland, and never wanted to leave? And what if they were forced to go?

My writing philosophy also points me towards whatever scares me, and I remember one moment in high school where, without any thought or decision, I instinctively grabbed someone who was bullying me by the throat and shoved them into a chair. I was the most shaken up person about the whole moment, because… aye… it was like it wasn’t me, doing it. (Note: That’s the only time this has happened to me.)

But what about a character who has moments like that occurring throughout his life?
       
4. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered in your developing of the character, the most frustrating and, finally, the most fun?

The most surprising thing about the character of The Hatter, for me, is how desperately he wants everyone to be happy and jovial and delighted and wonderful. Figuring that out turned the show from a variety act into a story of a man trying his hardest to host a silly, happy party, but everything keeps going sideways.

The most frustrating part has been trying to connect this character with a wider audience. He looks like his should be a show for kids. But it’s not. Out of the first four performances I had in the London Fringe, the first time I really got the show on its feet… only one of those four performances had any purchased tickets. The tour picked up from there, but aye, a somewhat terrifying start. How can people know how good this show is, if no one comes?

The most fun part of developing this character, for me, is that he dives into everything, 100%, be that leading a singalong, telling a poem, summoning a Jabberwock, or trying to improvise a silly song on his own. Nothing quite works out the way he wants it to, but it is so much fun to give it a go. Also, I love those moments – such as when they have to step over broken plastic cutlery to get to their tea – when audience members realize that this isn’t a show like anything they’ve seen before.
       
5. The last time I saw you at the Victoria Fringe (2011) you were directing one show, acting in another and assisting in another. You looked savaged by the time it was over, but (other than the merits of organization) I’d like to hear what you took away from the experience and how you feel about your return to Vic Fringe?

I am SO looking forward to coming back! I consider this whole summer my home-coming tour in many ways; I’m returning to Saskatoon (where I had a 4.5 star review last summer), heading back to Victoria (my home for seven years), and then back to the mainland. And as for the mad experience of directing, stage managing, and writing/performing three different fringe shows at the same time, all I can say is, when I graduated, I was sorely worried that I wouldn’t get chances to work on theatre in the real world, so I made certain to say yes to every opportunity that came my way.

I still, mostly, live that way, and I don’t regret that decision in the slightest. Gotta be at the edge of your abilities to really grow and improve and evolve.
       
6. Tell me more about the actual show, what’s in store for the Mad Hatter?

After Alice left Wonderland, The Hatter found himself troubled by little sparks of memories rushing back at him, triggered by his his interactions with this small girl… and it isn’t long after that, that he wakes up one day and finds himself in the real world, in Victoria, and not in Wonderland at all. So he decides to host a Tea Party, the silliest, happiest tea party ever, a shard of Wonderland, to try and find a way back home. (And you’re invited!)
       
7. Now that’s you’re several years out of theatre school, I’d really like to hear your retrospective as well as any advice to young people starting up there or about to graduate and go into the big wide theatre world?

Be rabidly ambitious, endlessly cooperative, and calmly patient. Very few careers in this world happen right out of school, regardless of the field. Never mind in such a frivolous and amazing arena as theatre. But know that the theatre communities out there are full of people who want to help you, who want to support you, and who would love some support in turn. Find those rent-paying jobs that offer up the flexibility to let you keep pursuing what drives you, excites you, fills your boots with glee. And ask the elders… pick the brains of the theatre people around you and find out where they get their opportunities, where they want to go next.
       
8. So as a performer, is there anyone you’d say you took inspiration from more than others?

Oh, inspiration comes from all over. Sometimes, the reassuring kind, where older actors tell me how much easier it is to find work when you’re one of the four 70+-year-old actors in town, rather than one of a million 20-somethings. At other times, the blistering heat of coming across someone who is so pumped up to get to be doing what they’re doing. Or the reasonable kind, seeing how actors pay the bills and getting that calming feeling of ‘I could do that’.

Honestly, the most inspiring thing is just being able to look back at the last three years and see a slight progression towards doing more and more paying acting, writing, and other theatre work. Slowly expanding that portion of the income pie, until hopefully someday it can reach right around. (Or at least do its very best Pacman impression.)
       
9. Distilling it all down, why should folks come and see The Hatter?

Come to see a 4.5 star reviewed show that has been described as ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen before’. Come to have a free cup of tea, meet a man, have fun, and be moved. Come to help out a fellow trying madly to get home. Come because the best of Fringe Theatre is all about walking into a room, engaging in an experience, and then walking out, saying, ‘I don’t know how anyone in their right mind came up with that, but I am so glad I got to see it.’
       
10. Finally, what tea can patrons expect to be served?

It’s The Mad Hatter’s tea party! You’ll have dozens of options to choose from, and even some mustard and relish if you want to add a condiment or two.

See you at the tea party!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter
   
(Their resultant review can be found here: http://marblevictoria.com/post/95810700942/the-hatter-charming-stranger-review )
       
The Hatter in Port Alberni - photo by Cara Baldwin 01

Hey Vancouver! What people have to say about The Hatter:

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

   
   
Hey Vancouver Fringe! Here are a few things people have to say about my show, The Hatter:
   

“A frenetic explosion of a well loved literary character…This was one-man theatre as I’ve never seen it… You must buy this ticket. You must take this ride.” – The Marble Theatre Review (Victoria)

   

Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression… you’d be mad to miss this play. 4.5 / 5 stars! ” – The Saskatoon StarPhoenix

   

Wade embodies the character of the Mad Hatter perfectly.” – Apartment 613

   

People’s Choice Award! – Alberni Valley Fringe Theatre Festival

   

The effect is phenomenal… It hits the right notes: it never takes itself too seriously; it shows a clear mastery of the style and text… a fascinating, frantic, engaging character who can draw our attention by simply being in the space… the Jabberwocky alone is worth the price of admission.” – Mooney On Theatre (Toronto)

   

Wade’s performance as the jaded, lonely Hatter is a delight, convincing and poignant, not quite what one would expect, which is perfect for a Fringe festival… you quickly learn to expect the unexpected, which can only be attributed to Wade’s fine acting skills.” – London Free Press

   

Clever and funny, with a polished, lyrical style.” – The Beat Magazine

   

Wade’s charm is undeniable.” – Production Ottawa

   

 What do YOU think? Come check out the show at Studio 16 on the times in the poster below, join the tea party, and then let me know!
   
The Hatter returns home… tonight until the 13th!
   
Hatter Poster - Vancouver 2014 02 fontsoutlined
   
   

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter

Interviewed by RovingRound – Down The Rabbit Hole

Hello!

Work continues apace on getting The Most Honest Man In The World in shape for the Saskatoon/PotashCorp Fringe Festival! Here’s an interview I did with my friend, Rebecca Zimmer, for her first podcast in her Roving Round series. We talk about what it’s like to tour Fringe Festivals, about The Hatter, and about The Most Honest Man In The World.

Enjoy!

Summer in a Fringe-full World

   
   

Hello!

   
The unfortunate part about keeping a blog is that the times when I have the most to write about are also the times when I am expending all my creative energy being rather busy elsewhere!

I don’t want to leave you all in the lurch, so here’s a quick recap of all the Fringe-ful activities I am up to this summer:

   
   

Alberni Valley Fringe Theatre Festival – June 21st-22nd
The Hatter

Alberni Valley Fringe Poster - The Hatter
Right, this one already happened! In which Andrew learned the difficulty of remounting/relearning an hour-long show in a week’s time, while also acting in five performances of another show (Gay’s The Word with APPLAUSE! Musicals) and while replacing a stolen bicycle. But it happened, it was lovely, and I was awarded the only two awards the festival gave out, the People’s Choice Award and Best Quote (for ‘God Shave The Queen’)!

   
   

Regina International Fringe Theatre Festival – July 7th-13th
(these festivals have surprisingly long names!)
The Hatter
Hatter Poster - Regina 2014 textconverted
A much spiffier poster! Well done, me!
The festival in which I am actually away for more than a weekend. Also the festival in which I don’t have a stage manager… so this’ll be interesting!

   
   

Saskatoon PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival – July 30th-Aug 10th
The Most Honest Man In The
World
(okay, so I am sometimes partial to a long name, myself)
Honestly squareThe festival I was actually profitable in last year! This year… an experiment! A new show! It may succeed, it may fail. My attempt at a personal storytelling show, described as ‘A life-long love story about the pursuit of honesty over all happiness’. Expect me to tape tissue paper to my head, walk around in tap shoes, and neurotically ponder old relationships and what it means to let go.

   
   

Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival – August 21st-31st
The Hatter
The Hatter, picture 1
The first of two home-comings.

   
   

Vancouver Fringe Festival  – September 4th-14th
The Hatter

Photo Credit Lachlan McAdam

Photo Credit Lachlan McAdam

A return! The show was first birthed in a highly improvised fashion in Vancouver, three years ago. Now I’m bringing it back. (Also, now people know who I am in Vancouver! The first time, I had been off the mainland, over in Victoria, for seven years, and had moved back to Richmond a mere three days before Vancouver Fringe began.)

   

BUT WAIT! I’M NOT DONE!


   
   

Vancouver Fringe Festival  – September 4th-14th
Clutter and Contamination: An Obsessive Compulsive Disaster

DSC_0590For the third time in my life, I am a director, tackling my fellow UVic Writing alumni friend Kayla Hart‘s one woman play, Clutter and Contamination. The play will be performed by the lovely Christine Robinson. It has been a pleasure to work with them on the show so far! Directing a show while out on the road will be an interesting experience!

   

 And from there… new adventures and challenges await. Bring’er. 🙂

   
   

Some men run to feel the wind in their hair and the blood in their veins, excited muscles and pounding heart. Others run to get somewhere, or to get away from somewhere. Some run because they don’t know what else to do. Some run to inspire. Some to improve themselves. Some to prove to themselves that they can. And some run because they’re afraid of what might happen if they stood still.