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My 2016 Fringe: By The Numbers – Vancouver Edition

October 6, 2016 Leave a comment


My 2016 Fringe: By The Numbers – Vancouver Edition

Hello!williamvstheworld-image-01

Every (2013) single (2014) year (2015), I put out a blog post with financial breakdowns of my fringe festival experiences. This summer, however, I took a break from the tour as a whole and only performed in Vancouver.

Before I get started, I just want to give Vancouver Fringe kudos for making the ticket costs more transparent this year, at least online, clearly separating the amount of each ticket price that is given to the performer versus the fringe festival fee attached to each ticket.

This year (2016), Vancouver Fringe had 100 shows – more than ever before, but fewer than the advertised number of 110 due to ‘Generation HOT’ and special event shows – and gave $260,213.00 in revenues to artists.

Divide that number by the number of shows, and the average revenue per company would be 2,602.13$ . Given how successful many companies are, it’s safe to peg the median revenue figure somewhere lower than that.

(thanks to Shantini Klaassen for getting these numbers to me.)

So let’s take a look at how I did compared to the average!:

Vancouver audience numbers (for William vs The World):
# of performances: 9
BYOV Venue capacity (Arts Umbrella): 31
Total # of audience members: 10 + 30 + 23 + 24 + 23 + 13 + 15 + 30 + 29 = 197.
Average # of audience members per show: 21.8
Total # of paying audience members: 4 + 17 + 15 + 20 + 13 + 10 + 8 + 18 + 19 = 124.
Average # of paying audience members per show: 13.78

Comp ticket breakdown:
# of Kids Up Front ticket donation: 12
(I gave four comp tickets to each of my first three shows to https://www.kidsupfrontvancouver.com/ , a charity that Vancouver Fringe partners with.)
# of Super Pass comps (given to those who billet artists – let artists stay with them): 1
# of Exchange Vouchers (another option for those who billet artists): 1
# of Kick Ass Pass comps (free fringing given out by the festival to staff and big donors): 3
# of Artist Request comps: 5
(I had a few friends arrive late to one show so I booked them comps for another, and I traded show tickets with another friend.)
# of ‘Comp-Advance’ (any comps booked in advance): 17
# of volunteer/artist rush comps (Vancouver Fringe has an awesome rush line system where volunteers and other artists can see non-sold-out shows for free): 34

 

williamvstheworld-image-02

 

EXPENSES:

Failed Fringe Application fees:
Saskatoon: -50.00$ (actually got in, but had to drop out.)
Orlando: -33.43$
Winnipeg: -25.00$
CAFF (Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals lottery): -25.00$
San Diego: -56.99$ (got in, but dropped due to potential border issues due to citizenship problems)
Nanaimo: -25.00$
TOTAL: -215.42$

Vancouver Fringe fees:
Lottery draw (did not get in): -50.00$
Vancouver Fringe BYOV fee: -450.00$
Arts Umbrella venue fee: -500.00$
Arts Umbrella-required extra venue insurance: -43.75$ (+time to find insurance broker)
TOTAL: -1043.75$

Other:

Photoshoot: 0$ (reused content from previous year.)
Packing tape for posters: -3.55$
25 Posters from Clubcard: -12.26$
1000 postcard handbills from ePrintFast: -75.28$
Chuck the Third (cactus prop/character): -8.95$
TOTAL: -100.04$

TOTAL EXPENSES:
-1359.21$

Expenses not included:
Fringe bar beers (5?): Roughly -27.50$
– Rent paid (as I live here)
– Food eaten
– Lost income from not working dayjobs (although during the festival I DID admittedly work one standardized patient shift, one Science World shift, one SFU-Woodwards front of house shift, and put in a few hours on Richmond Arts Coalition items in my role there as Administrative Assistant.)

 

INCOME:20160906_135729_west-11th-avenue

Vancouver Fringe:
Frequent Fringer 4: 10$ per ticket = 0$ to the festival, 10$ to the artist.
Frequent Fringer 10 or 30: 9$ per ticket = 0$ to the festival, 9$ to the artist.
Full ticket price: 14$ = 3$ to the festival, 11$ to the artist.

# of Frequent Fringer 4 tickets sold: 5 tickets :: at 10$ per ticket = 50.00$
# of Frequent Fringer 10 + 30 tickets sold: 29 tickets :: at 9$ per ticket = 261.00$
# of full tickets sold: 90 tickets sold = 990.00$
Average amount per ticket, paid to the artist: 10.49$

Total: +1301.00$

 

FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: 1301.00$ – 1359.21$ = -58.21


Compare to 2015’s +897.63$ (due to fee for writing TITUS)
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$

 


Conclusion:

William vs The World is a harder show to sell than The Most Honest Man In The World, and I didn’t have any other festivals this year to build any sort of momentum or media push, so I expected a smaller turnout, and that happened. All the same, the only reason the number was negative this year was due to festival fees for festivals I ended up not getting into or dropping out of, so I’m content. It was a lot of fun to get to be a part of at least one fringe this year.

Felt like home.


williamvstheworld-image-03-cropped-700x350

And a final image of how I transported my set to and from Granville Island. 🙂

20160918_023855_west-11th-avenue

 

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:

****************

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!).

AndrewWade_Diamond'sEdgePhotography_WEB

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.

Fakespeare-Festival-Photo-3-768x548

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!

****************

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

My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!

March 24, 2016 5 comments

 
 
My 2015 Fringe Tour: By The Numbers!
 
As it is tax season, I am finally getting to my fringe receipts for last summer.
 
These are the numbers with which Andrew Wade traveled to five different cities and performed in their Fringe Festivals.
In 2013, I estimated that I SPENT 1671.16$ more on my tour in expenses than I earned.
In 2014 I figured that I earned a grand total of 83.51$ after travelling through five festivals.
 
So how did I do on my summer tour of 2015?
 
 

Toronto audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

The Most Honest Man In The World - option 2b - Copy# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 156
(this number is actually lower — skewed by artist comps not used by people for 1st and 2nd performances)
Average # of audience members per performance: 22 (without 1st comps: 17)
# of comps given away to 1st show to try and build word of mouth: 30
# of comps given away to 2nd show to try and build word of mouth: 10
# of comps to media: 3
# of artist comps (it is SUPER awkward to get other artists comps in Toronto): 5
# of comps to outreach (including to a group of new immigrants): 21
# of comps to VIPS (like artistic directors): 9
# of comps to volunteers: 11
Total # of paying audience members: 11 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 4 + 15 + 15 = 66
Average @ of paying audience members per performance: 9
 

Saskatoon audience numbers
(for William vs The World):

WilliamvsTheWorld - image 01# of performances: 7
Total # of audience members: 120
Average # of audience members per performance: 17
# of comps to fringe staff: 0
# of comps to fellow performers: 37

# of comps to media: 1
# of volunteer comps: 20
Total # of paying audience members: 6+11+8+11+8+6+11 = 61
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9

(last year’s average of paying ticket holders for Honest Man in Saskatoon was 21.)
 
Nanaimo audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 82
Average # of audience members per performance: 14
# of comps to VIPs: 13
# of comps to ‘Buck’ (volunteer bucks?): 6
# of comps to artists via password: 9
Total # of paying audience members: 0 + 14 + 11 + 12 + 6 + 9 = 54
(yes, I had zero paying ticket holders to my first performance. Seven comps, though.)
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 9
 
Victoria audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

# of performances: 6
Total # of audience members: 26 + 19 + 34 + 25 + 18 + 47 = 169
Average # of audience members per performance: 28
# of comps: 11 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 6 + 10 = 45
Total # of paying audience members: 124
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 21
 
Vancouver audience numbers
(for The Most Honest Man In The World):

(Note: the venue could only hold between 30-39 people. The capacity expanded mid-run.)
# of performances: 8 (due to being a BYOV)
Total # of audience members: 238
Average # of audience members: 30
Smallest house: 9
Second smallest house: 25. No one comes out to a 1pm Saturday show apparently.)
# of advance comps: 15
# of artist’s choice comps (videographer): 1
# of comps plus membership purchase: 10 (no income to me on these.)
# of comps to media: 2
# of comps to Rush Passes: 38
# of comps to Super Passes: 5
# of comps to Kick Ass Passes: 6
# of comps to Golden Ass Passes: 3

# of Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 packs: 11
# of Frequent Fringer 4 packs: 11
# of regular tickets sold (with or without memberships): 13 + 12 + 2 + 12 + 22 + 19 + 31 + 25 = 136
Average # of paying audience members per performance: 17

(Vancouver has a LOT of ticket categories!)
 
 
Honest Man advertisement for TITUS program
 
 
EXPENSES:
 
 
Failed Fringe Application Fees:
Winnipeg: -20.00$
Edmonton: -26.25$
CAFF: -25.00$
Total: -71.25$

Toronto Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -27.50$
Festival fee: -750.00$
Flight to Toronto: -334.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -50.55$
Weekly transit pass: -40.75$
Gift of pillow for billet: -10.00$
Booze = -10.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Total: -1374.30$
 
Saskatoon Fringe Expenses:
11780505_10153160690958155_1082156576_n
Festival Fee: -730.00$
1/2 of cost of flight to Saskatoon: -121.65$
1/2 of Baggage fee of flight to Saskatoon: ~-16.58$
Photoshoot cactus prop: -5.59$
Chuck the Cactus in Saskatoon: -11.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -53.94$
Bottle of Fireball Whiskey for my spoof on Spoof Night: -15.95$
Booze = -6.00$
Flight home from Saskatoon: -185.98$
Baggage fee from Saskatoon: -26.25$
Total: -1186.21$

 
Nanaimo Fringe Expenses:
Application Fee: -25.00$
Festival Fee: -175.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (500) from ePrintFast: -39.98$
Booze: -9.26$ + -5.70$ + -6.30$ + -20.00$ = -41.26$
Ferry to Nanaimo (with bike): -18.85$
Ferry from Nanaimo (with bike): -16.85$
Total: -330.21$

 
Victoria Fringe Expenses:
Festival application fee: -28.00$
Festival fee: -572.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Rechargeable batteries for blood pressure monitor: ~-19.00$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: -44.07$
Booze from the store: -25.37$
Other booze: -7.40$ + -10.00$ = -17.40$
Ferry to Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Victoria: -16.70$
Ferry from Nanaimo (had to head down to Victoria via the mainland mid-Nanaimo-festival for a promo): -16.70$
Bus tickets to/from the Showdown Preview: -6.00$
Bus from ferry: -2.50$
Bus to ferry: -2.50$
Ferry back to Nanaimo: -16.85$
Total: -813.76$


 
Vancouver Fringe Expenses:
Application fee: -50.00$
BYOV Festival fee to the Fringe: -450.00$
BYOV Festival fee to Arts Umbrella: -400.00$
Poster printing (25) from Clubcard: -13.27$
Handbills (1000) from ePrintFast: 44.07$
Booze: -11.00$
Total: -968.34$

 
Other Expenses:
Travel insurance (admittedly including a two week visit to the States) = -91.98$
Professional photoshoot with Dominic Chan for both shows: -140.00$
Foamcore Posterboards (for all Honest Man shows): -22.29$
Index Cards (for all Honest Man shows): -7.04$
Total: -261.31$
 
Expenses not considered:
Rent paid back home
– Groceries while on tour and between festivals, at home
– Lost income from not working my dayjobs
 
TITUS-banner2-1-980x380
 
 
INCOME:
 
Toronto Fringe:
Advance Ticket Price: 12$ with 2$ Admin fee = 10$ to artist
Full Ticket Price: 10$
(which they thankfully didn’t advertise so much this year as in years past as being amazing because it has never gone up in 20 years, to which all artists respond with ‘inflation is a real thing, you guys’…)
5-Play Ticket Price: 8$
Advance Pass Ticket Price: 7.5$
10-Play Ticket Price: 7.5$

Advance Pass (’10SP85′ and ’10SPOF’ on paysheet) ticket sales: 9 = 67.50$
10-Play ticket sales: 1 = 7.50$
5-Play ticket sales: 1 = 8.00$
At Door and FP (??) ticket sales: 7 + 4 + 4 + 8 + 4 + 14 + 14 = 55 = 550.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.60$
Total: 633.00$
 
Saskatoon Fringe:
(all numbers confused by the festival removing GST from payout)
Full Ticket Price: 14$
5 Pack Ticket Price: 13$
10 Pack Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket: -2$
Artist take-home of ticket price: 10$-12$
Advance ticket sales (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 10 tickets = 120.00$
5 Pack ticket sales (13$ – 2$ = 11$ per ticket): 2 tickets = 22.00$
10 Pack ticket sales (12$ – 2$ = 10$ per ticket): 6 tickets = 60.00$
Ticket sales at door (14$ – 2$ = 12$ per ticket): 43 tickets = 516.00$

GST awkwardly deducted (the only festival to do so): -39.99$
Audience donation!: 10.00$
Found a 20$ bill in a gutter one night: 20.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 11.77$
Total: 708.01$

 
Nanaimo Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 12$
Festival Pass Ticket Price: 8$
Advance ticket sales (12$): 7 = 84.00$
Regular ticket sales (12$): 15 = 180.00$
Festival pass ticket sales (8$): 32 = 256.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 9.29$
Total: 520.00$

 
Victoria Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 11$
‘Munch’ Ticket Price: 11$
Frequent Fringer Ticket Price: 8$
(I did not elect to use discounted tickets for students/seniors, which was an option.)

Total Frequent Fringer ticket sales: 9 = 72.00$
Total Full + Munch ticket sales (advance and at the door): 115 = 1265.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.79$
Total: 1337.00$


 
Vancouver Fringe:
Full Ticket Price: 14$
Frequent Fringer 4 Ticket Price: 13$
Frequent Fringer 10/30 Ticket Price: 12$
Admin fee per ticket on all tickets: -3$
Artist take-home of ticket prices: 9$-11$

Total Frequent Fringer 10 or 30 pack ticket sales (9$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 99.00$
Total Frequent Fringer 4 pack ticket sales (10$ per ticket to artist): 11 = 110.00$
Regular ticket sales (11$ per ticket to artist): 136 = 1496.00$
Total Vancouver ticket sales to artist: 1705.00$

Average amount per bought ticket, paid to the artist: 10.80$
 
Income for writing TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus: 1000.00$
Total: 2705.00$

 
 
Honest Man - wide arms 700x350
 
 
Total Expenses (including travel costs):
Failed Fringe application fees: -71.25$
Toronto expenses: -1374.30$
Saskatoon expenses: -1186.21$
Nanaimo expenses: -330.21$
Victoria expenses: -813.76$
Vancouver expenses: -968.34$
Other expenses: -261.31$
 
Total: -5005.38$
 
 
Total Income:
Toronto income: 633.00$
Saskatoon income: 708.01$
Nanaimo income: 520.00$
Victoria income: 1337.00$
Vancouver income: 2705.00$
Total: 5903.01$

 
 
FINAL FINANCIAL VERDICT: +897.63$
(due entirely to the 1000$ fee paid for writing TITUS.)

 
Compare to 2014’s +83.51$
Compare to 2013’s -1671.16$
 
 
Conclusion:
It seems that as a producer/performer, I am still only a roughly break-even fringe artist. Plane tickets are expensive, Toronto is a hard nut to crack, and Saskatoon doesn’t want a show-in-progress.
 
As a writer, well, it seems I need to get commissioned to write shows more often.
 
 
WilliamvsTheWorld - image 02
 
 
Other numbers:
 
According to Toronto Fringe…
Total # of ticket sales at Toronto Fringe, according to them: 64,000.
Total # of dollars returned to Fringe artists, according to them: 467,000$.
Therefore, average ticket price return for an artist for Toronto Fringe: 7.30$ per ticket ‘sold’.
Note: this is below the supposed minimum of 8.5$ that an artist should be receiving from 10-play-pass purchasers, which implies that the festival heralds comp/free tickets as ‘sold’ tickets in its marketing.
 
5: TITUS: The Light and Delightful Musical Comedy of Titus Andronicus received a FIVE STAR REVIEW from The Vancouver Sun! It was also Picked as a Pick Of The Fringe!
 
3.5: The number of stars this iteration of William vs The World received from the StarPhoenix in Saskatoon.
 
17: I have been a part of 17 different fringe festivals since 2011. (2011: Victoria, Vancouver. 2012: Victoria. 2013: London, Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon. 2014: Port Alberni, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria, Vancouver. 2015: Toronto, Saskatoon, Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver. )
 
22: I have been a part of 22 different Fringe festival shows since 2011. (Directed BFA: The Musical! and Clutter and Contamination, Acted in Henry V, Stage-managed Sonnets For An Old Century, Wrote TITUS.)
 
 
Assorted Thoughts:
 
This summer began AWFUL and ended wonderfully. I was super worried after Toronto and Saskatoon, though. Ooof.
 
I can’t get my footing at Toronto Fringe. I just don’t know how to reach an audience there. I felt I had a good show, I had an amazing reception from audience members who came, but never found traction. Not sure I’ll go back unless I’m working with a local Torontonian.
 
Also, the Tarragon Theatre is ridiculously stingy with their furniture. I needed two chairs and a surface to put things on. I had to go wandering on garbage day to find chairs people were throwing out, because the theatre was unwilling to lend me a couple of their own. And then carry those back to my billet on my back to be hosed down/cleaned. Boooo.
 
Toronto Fringe is still THE WORST for trying to get other artists to see your show… they essentially don’t allow any artist comps unless you give them a specific name of a specific person hours before your show begins. Which just isn’t practical. And they wouldn’t let us artists all use a given name as a password of sorts, either. We tried.
 
I had one AMAZING experience at Toronto Fringe, though… a man came up to me after the show, in tears. He actually fell to his knees, then cried into my shoulder a bit. He was a new immigrant from Bolivia who really connected to a moment in the middle of my show when I talk about being the new person to French Immersion, knowing no one, and what courage it takes to do something as simple as start a conversation. It’s moments like that that are why I perform.
 
Okay, and moments like the night in Nanaimo when a pretty lady kissed me on the cheek after a night of karaoke. I’m a sucker for things like that.
 
And the dozen-deep cuddle-puddle of fringe artists by the bridge in Saskatoon at 3am.
 
My Saskatoon show was a rushed job. I fully admit it. I ended up with a good show, but I spent my first while in town finishing and memorizing the script… it’s a good show now, and it’ll be great when I revise it further for Vancouver Fringe this upcoming summer, but aye… I was inside learning lines instead of outside handing out flyers, and the numbers show this. I’m still not sure how to best market the show.
 
This year’s Saskatoon Fringe had the potential to be much the same, so I dropped out. I’ve done the last-minute-build challenge. The idea I’m percolating… I want to give it a year to workshop at home and improve and grow.
Saskatoon’s Spoof Night is still the best part of the entire Fringe tour.
 
Nanaimo Fringe had a steep discount for festival passes, lowering the actual ticket price considerably from the 12$ sticker price.
 
500 Handbills is about 350 handbills too many for Nanaimo.
 
Handbill cost variation is due to where they were being shipped (Saskatoon vs Toronto vs Vancouver) and due to whether they were being shipped together with other orders or separately.
 
The gamer in me loves that my final payout in Victoria was 1337.00$ (1337 = LEET = Elite)
 
Colin Thomas, the big Vancouver reviewer, saw Honest Man in Victoria, and liked it! Well, his review was essentially ‘This was much better than his last show.’ Which I guess is a compliment. He didn’t much care for The Hatter.
 
Vancouver Fringe was my first time ever selling out a house. Granted, it was a house of fewer than 40 seats, but still. Thank you.
 
Also, thank you to the tiny Vancouver Fringe audience of other performers who were willing to catch a Saturday afternoon performance just so that I wasn’t doing the show for two people. I put out a message on the fringe facebook thread and a half-dozen kind souls came over to see the show with them. I love this community.
 
It’ll be hard to see everyone else’s adventures on the tour this summer as I mostly take a backseat.
 
I am trying to get a venue lined up for a couple more performances of The Most Honest Man In The World here in town. Let me know if you have any leads (or can get the Dusty Flowerpot to get back to me)!
 
If you missed TITUS, it’s being remounted at The York this August! And a re-invigorated and refocused William vs The World will be at the Arts Umbrella once more for Vancouver Fringe.
 
 
Nanaimo Fringe wall of love 06crop
 
 

The Hatter is a 4.5/5 star show! Wow!

August 5, 2013 5 comments
INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

I don’t really have a blog post to go along with this, other than to say that for all we artists aren’t supposed to listen to reviews, it is SO validating to see the work I’ve put into this show over the past couple of months take it from a three star show in London to 4.5/5 stars here in Saskatoon!

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Go take a read!

Actor Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression.

“Why can’t we let fantastic things be,” he asks in tears.

Perhaps because they weren’t meant to last, is the silent reply.

In short, you’d be mad to miss this play. – The StarPhoenix

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

I would like to contrast this with the first review I ever received for a fringe show, back in 2011, when I performed William vs. The World at Victoria Fringe, and my only review said that “Even sympathetic narcissists should avoid this show.”  Why do I want to contrast it in this way? Because I love the feeling of progress, I suppose.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

The Hatter began as a cobbled together series of experiments in Vancouver, two years ago, and then went on to London Fringe, where for three of its first four performances, THERE WASN’T A SINGLE PAYING AUDIENCE MEMBER IN THE HOUSE. That’s right, three of my first four performances this summer went to tiny houses of strictly media/volunteers/other-performers, all of whom were watching it for free. And since then I have worked on the show, refined elements of it, added in a scene previously cut, and through Ottawa and Toronto, figured out just what its emotional core, its soul, really is. Financially, in both cities I didn’t quite break even, but the show was progressing. I could feel it. And my pitches on the street were also improving.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Not going to lie, I am loving it here in Saskatoon right now. The street festival atmosphere is fantastic, people yell things at me left and right on the street (due to my costume), the locals are lovely, I’ve had many people ask to take photos with me, people are enjoying my show, and now a review that just blows me out of the water.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Well played, Saskatoon. Well played. I shall certainly come here again. And I get to enjoy your company for four more performances and seven more days!

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Cheers,

Andrew Wade

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

795806371

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Life as Seasons of Television

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment

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

***************

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

The Lie of ‘Never change who you are.’

July 23, 2012 2 comments

The Lie of ‘Never change who you are.’

Protean Personality

Protean Personality (Photo: FeatheredTar)

One of the core, central beliefs by which I live is this: that all human beings are malleable. That I, and all of us, are capable of change, of growth, and of discovery, of making fundamental shifts in our worldview and in how we relate to others and ourselves. I’m a junkie for self-help books, websites, and audioguides ranging from C. S. Lewis’s Christian conundrums to Marc and Angel’s motivational posts to Morty Lefkoe’s limiting beliefs to Steve Pavlina‘s open discussions on everything from worklife to domination-submission. To anyone with an eye for how a person can improve.

In my own, personal story (elaborated on more substantially here), the single most important moment in my life was a time when I was in church, ten years old, with tear-filled eyes, my head down at my knees. At that time, I said to God, ‘I don’t like who I am. Help me become someone else, someone better.’ After that day, I looked to the people around me and observed what I admired about them, then sought to instill those values within myself. Courage. Humour. Honesty. Openness. Community-mindedness. Counsel. Extroverted exuberance.

When I tell this story to people – my origin story, essentially – the most common reaction I receive is this:

Well, you shouldn’t ever have to change who you are.’

Bullshit.

(If you know me in person, you know it’s exceedingly unusual for me to use such strong language. If you don’t know me and don’t consider this word as ‘strong language’, please replace it with a suitably surprisingly bold word of your choosing.)

Don’t change? Bullshit. I say, change who you are. Constantly. Discover the very core qualities that make you, you, and on a deep, gut level, grok them, understand them, and then decide whether or not you want them as a foundation for who you are. Reevaluate. Over and over again. Everything from how often you smile and laugh, to how you spend your time waiting in grocery line-ups, to what you believe is fundamentally true about human beings, to how you interact with strangers, to what makes you afraid, to how honest you are, to whether or not you’re as good a friend, lover or acquaintance as you could be… constantly identify ways to grow, prune, build, and level. Then do it. Change.

Be the Change

It’s not surprising I entered the world of theatre. Here, I can wear the skins of people with different intentions, worldviews, tempos, and rhythms to my own. Sometimes while exploring a character I’ll find an aspect of them that satiates me on a deep, gut-level – a whole-body grokking – and decide to try to hold onto that aspect for myself. Iago (see here, here, here, and here) helped me explore the intensely gratifying thrill of untethered ambition. As Donald (The Boys In The Band), I discovered the honest love behind unconditional loyalty. As William (William vs The World), I spelunked into the dark world of how a person can use self-delusion to shield oneself from loneliness, and into the desperation that kicks in when those illusions disappear. Malvolio (see here, here, here, and here) taught me how to use heartbreak as a powerful driving force, and performing improv taught me to trust not only my own gut instincts, but also those of whomever with whom I am sharing a moment. Over and over again theatre has helped me continue to shape and mold the very nature of who I am, cutting into the marble, adding slops of wet clay, drilling and firing and smelting and blooming.

One of my other core beliefs is this: I respect anyone who is trying to better themselves, be they an addict, my mother or even a former serial killer. We can all be better than who we are; we are all works in progress, always. That doesn’t mean we are not good, honest, eager, excellent people in the here and now. What it means is that we’re human. Malleable. Full of hope and opportunity.

Whether you want to or not, we all change. It happens. No one remains the exact same person throughout the course of their life, or heck, throughout the course of a year, or a month. What we can do, however, by admitting our protean possibilities, is direct that change for the better, be that through eliminating beliefs that are hindering, through shifting your perspective of yourself and of the world, through adopting new practices and personality goals such as honesty and openness, or through pursuing an innumerable other opportunities to grow, weed, cut, feed, nurture, and breathe.

There are many reasons someone might tell you to never change who you are. Perhaps they’re worried you don’t feel self-worth in who you currently are. Perhaps they worry you’ll trip up somewhere along your personal journey and get lost. Perhaps they’re afraid you’ll become someone other than their expectations of you. Perhaps they worry you’ll leave them behind. Perhaps it’s just their way of saying ‘I love you for who you are now.’ But I would add to each of these that anyone who tells you to never change who you are, refuses to see how amazing-brilliant-marvelous your future self will be.

Keep consciously changing,
Andrew Wade

My Theatrical 2011 in Pictures

January 19, 2012 1 comment

So, most end of year wrap-ups happen… at the end of the year. But with my Christmas Panto not ending until last Saturday and my next show (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) starting rehearsals last last Monday, on top of work and auditions… let’s just say that 2012 is hopefully proving to be just as busy. 🙂

So! Onto the performances, in approximate order. (I don’t have a photo for all of them.)

Improviser, The Impromaniacs, Theatresports/Theatreshorts (Jonathan Argue for The Impromaniacs, and Dave Morris for Theatresports/Theatreshorts) (VEC) – With the advent of Sin City Improv, small audiences, and Jonathan Argue finally stepping away from the helm after perhaps twenty years, The Impromaniacs disappeared into the aether. But the revived Theatreshorts provided a good place for improvisers to get their feet wet and grow as performers. (still on every 4th Sunday of every month at the VEC!)

Photo by David Lowes

Malvolio, Twelfth Night (Phoenix Theatre)

Wow. What a role. What a cast. What a production. What pants. A perfect storm of awesome.

Workshop Leader, UVic Improv. – I received four separate requests from four different people, asking me to bring back UVic Improv (which hadn’t been around for over a year). How could I say no? Thank you to Amy Culliford and Blair Moro for keeping it alive this year.

Playwright, Mannequin Men (Phoenix Theatre directing project directed by Christine Johnson, and also directed by Sarah Crowell as part of the Acadia Theatre Company’s Minifest 2011 in Nova Scotia)

Playwright, What I’d Be Without You (Acadia Theatre Company, Minifest 2011). – I really, REALLY wish they had filmed this so I could have seen how it was performed. It’s a short piece I would love to see up on its feet some day. As you can see, the pictures they sent over look amazing.

Willy Beach, the poor boy, Sin City Improv, Season One (ten episodes of a weekly improvised soap opera) – Possibly the most fun I have ever had onstage. And I have A LOT of fun onstage. 🙂

Pischin/Gaev, The Cherry Orchard (directing scene) (UVic – directed by Joelle Haney)

Improv Actor/Dancer, Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons) (UVic Chorus and Orchestra) – possibly the strangest opportunity I’ve ever had. Improvise dance-ish stuff next to opera singers and an orchestra for the third quarter of a performance? Sure, why not! (Thanks to Hayley Feigs for sharing in the experience with me.)

Mark, When We Were Awesome: A Karaoke Musical (UVic Directing Auteur Project – directed by Jesse Cooper)

Presentation Day – Movement Pieces

Presentation Day – Acting/Vocal Masque

Rowan, How Socrates Bought The Farm (Dan Hogg / Jeremy Lutter / UVic)

Stephen Harper at 8 and 18 years old, Wrecking Ball 2 (VEC)

William, William vs The World (UFV Director’s Festival)

Improviser, Good Night Harold! (Intrepid Theatre Club) – arranged by the lovely Kirsten Van Ritzen for some Sin City alumni to play for a night. A reunion of sorts. 🙂

Zacchaeus, (youth event), Adam, Elijah, Peter, Pandamania (Lambrick Park Church)

Monologuist, Monobrow IV (Intrepid Theatre Club)

Bilge Rat, Pirate Adventures (Victoria Harbour)

The King of France, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Soldier, Henry V (KeepItSimple Productions)

Vincent Scott (lawyer), Unsound Innocence (Hungarian TV of BC Foundation)

Stage Manager, Sonnets for an Old Century (Victoria Fringe – Langham Court Theatre)

Director, BFA: The Musical! (Victoria Fringe – Langham Court Theatre)

William, William vs The World (Victoria Fringe – CCPA)

Alvin, Please Print Clearly (short film by Liam Sherriff) (yes, that’s me living in a filing cabinet.)

Photo Credit Lachlan McAdam

The Mad Hatter, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (Vancouver Fringe – Studio 1398, Granville Island)

Erronius, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Fighting Chance Productions, Jericho Arts Centre)

Green Gear, 4Villains.org

Wakey Faker, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves (Metro Theatre)

 

And for fun, here’s a list of the day jobs I worked over the course of 2011 (in rough order):

  • Lab Supervisor – Studios for Integrated Media, University of Victoria
  • Peer Helping Student Coordinator -Counseling Services, University of Victoria
  • Student Caller – Student Marketing and Communications, University of Victoria
  • Compost and Recycling Supervisor – at a convention once.
  • SAT/LSAT Exam Proctor
  • Playwright – The Romantics, Vancouver Young Playwright’s Competition (1st place came with a financial prize)
  • Actor/Playwright – William vs The World, at the UFV Director’s Festival
  • Actor – Slixer Entertainment (murder mystery dinner and a corporate event – both thanks to the lovely Kirsten Van Ritzen)
  • Pirate (Actor/Improviser) – www.pirateadventures.ca
  • Director – BFA: The Musical! (hey, I earned money on it. I’ll count it. Thanks to the marvelous Meghan Bell.)
  • Background Performer/Extra – Big Time Movie
  • Improv Workshop Leader – for a birthday party.
  • Assistant – Ursa Technologies Ltd.
  • Science Facilitator – Telus World of Science

If you’re curious about any of these projects, don’t hesitate to ask!

See you all this year. 🙂

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

September 10, 2011 3 comments

Photo by Sarah Koury.

Wow!

This show was a wild ride to finally put together. I had the original idea five years ago, after working on a separate show, Alice From Wonderland, as a SATCo performance (Student Alternative Theatre Company at UVic). A director asked myself and another writer to put together a show with multiple endings and music, based on Alice returning to Wonderland as a professional woman.

Not THAT kind of professional woman.

Anyway, after working on that, I saw how much fun the Mad Hatter could be, as a character. As evidently Johnny Depp agrees. That said, for such a long genesis, I can’t say I had much of a script until… three days ago?

Yeah, this show was put together slowly and quickly. Props, costume pieces, and ideas accumulated over the past few months, but the actual words and depth, I hadn’t had time for during the Victoria Fringe crunch of performing William vs The World, directing BFA: The Musical!, and stage managing Sonnets for an Old Century.

So, we came to tonight, to the first ever performance of The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. A show designed to be an experiment with everything I’ve ever wanted to put into a show – audience interaction, a fight sequence, sing-along songs, an improvised song, friendly semi-forcing-the-audience-to-be-involved-in-the-show… silliness abounds! And all with a heart to it. A core.

A core I discovered at about noon today. The show went up at 10:15pm. Yeah, it was tight. Oh, and we finished making the large hat timeline backdrop prop half an hour before the show began. Wow.

Admittedly, the show is highly improvised and includes a lot of audience interaction, so I can’t guarantee all performances will go as swimmingly as tonight’s did. But it was well attended, the audience dove in and got involved without resentment, and I had two strangers make a point of seeking me out on facebook afterwards to say how much they liked it, saying:

I saw “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, this evening and just wanted to say thank-you for the great show, and that you’re an incredible performer.

and

Wicked show – loved it from start to finish. And I had two cups and they were delicious.

Well, doesn’t that just make me all peachy inside!

If you would like to come, I have five more performances! Free tea and a chance to BE the Jabberwocky!

Fri, Sept 09 – 10:15pm – Portion of ticket sales go to the Food Bank
Sat, Sept 10 – 4:30pm
Sun, Sept 11 – 1:00pm – Half Price Show
Mon, Sept 12 – 6:45pm
Thu, Sept 15 – 8:30pm
Sat, Sept 17 – 8:00pm

At Studio 1398 on Granville Island!
https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119844848114618

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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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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State of the Person Address – August 2011

August 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Life keeps rolling forward!

With a future move to Vancouver on the horizon (without a job or a place to stay yet in place), my needing to leave the house I’m currently living in right in the middle of Victoria Fringe, my pushing to spend valuable time with people in Victoria before my soft exit, and all my many theatrical ventures, life is full and busy and excellent.

Here’s what I have on my plate:

BFA: The Musical!

    • BFA: The Musical! – I am directing this show as part of the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival. It is a fun, silly musical surrounding graduates with shiny new Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees coming to terms with the fact that having a degree does not make you immediately a ‘local celebrity’. The show comes complete with a brilliant seven person cast, a fine tech crew, original and local music, dancing, large props, and much silliness. It is a blast to work on.

William vs. The World

William vs. The World – A few new venues opened up, which has let me sneak in my one man show into The Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival!

  • William vs. The World is a hilarious, geeky adventure surrounding that narcissistic guy at the hobbies store who knows the world revolves around him. With Chuck, his trusty cactus, at his side, William is happy… until – to his horror – a woman falls for him, the All-Spark fails him, his life falls apart, and William loses himself in Bat Country. Through it all, he may become a better person. Maybe.
  • Previously work-shopped through UVic‘s Festival for Innovative and New Drama (FIND) and performed at this year’s UFV Director’s Festival, William vs. The World layers references to He-Man, Transformers, Spider-man, Serenity, The Ghost-busters, and pop culture with a frantic, manic character study of a man desperately clinging on to a life that may not be as grand as he suggests it is.
  • Venue:Venue 12 – Canadian College of Performing Arts (CCPA) – 1701 Elgin Road, Victoria, BC
  • Show times:
    Thu, Aug 25 – 8:30pm
    Fri, Aug 26 – 7:45pm
    Sat, Aug 27 – 6:00pm
    Thu, Sept 1 – 5:30pm
    Sat, Sept 3 – Noon
    Sun, Sept 4 – 5:30pm
  • Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=249348868426429

Sonnets for an Old Century

Sonnets for an Old Century – Completing my triumvirate of Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival shows, as of a few days ago, I am Stage Managing this show, written by José Rivera, a two-time Obie Award-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenplay writer. Which is pretty darn sweet.

  • I am delighted to get to work again with so many great people in Victoria’s acting community, from Holly Jonson, to Mily Mumford, to Shaan Rahman, to Bill Nance, to Alan Penty (who also features in BFA: The Musical!).
  • Venue:Venue 8 – Langham Court Theatre – 805 Langham Crt, Victoria, BC
  • Show times:
    Fri., Aug 26, 5:45
    Sat., Aug 27, 7:45
    Sun., Aug 28, 9:45
    Wed., Aug 31, 9:00
    Fri., Sept 2, 5:30
    Sun., Sept 4, 12:45 pm
  • Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=139905722760543

Photo by Sarah Koury

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – Come drink tea with the Mad Hatter!

  • Share his journey into Wonderland – and his descent into madness – in an overly, underly, and aroundly eager show full of storytelling, songs, audience participation, improv, silliness, gravitas, and grins. Whether it’s your unbirthday or your actual one, this is one show it would be mad to miss!
    Tea is provided, but if you can, please bring your own cup.
  • Venue: Studio 1398 on Granville Island!
  • Show times:
    Fri Sep 09 = 22:15 to 23:05
    Sat Sep 10 = 16:30 to 17:20
    Sun Sep 11 = 13:00 to 13:50
    Mon Sep 12 = 18:45 to 19:35
    Thu Sep 15 = 20:30 to 21:20
    Sat Sep 17 = 20:00 to 20:50
  • Good Night Harold! – A night of long-form improv from some of the cast of Sin City Improv!
  • Theatreshorts – Possibly my last Victoria Theatreshorts!
  • 4Villains.orgActing in roles for the 4Villains webseries/organization. Thus far, I have played Master Malevolent and The Green Gear for them.

    • Venue: www.4villains.org
    • Show Dates: The first episode should go up by the end of the year.
  • PirateAdventures.ca – Acting and improvising as a pirate, leading children and adults on a pirate adventure based out of Fisherman’s Wharf. Currently only for one or two days per week.
    • Venue: Fisherman’s Wharf
    • Show Dates: Intermittent shifts until I leave town in early September.
  • Unsound Innocence – Acting as a lawyer in a shortish film by HTVBC– excellent and crazy Hungarians who run a non-profit film company in their spare time. We wrap shooting on Saturday, hopefully.
    • Venue: Film Festivals
    • Show Dates: Unknown!
  • Steinway Grand – Also with HTVBC, this one will be a huge and exciting acting challenge for me – acting in a two-hander film.
    • Venue: Film Festivals
    • Show Dates: Should start filming whenever I can jump back to Victoria in Sept/October, I assume!
  • Vancouver Young Playwrights Competiton / IGNITE! 2012, for The Romantics – I won 1st prize with my play, The Romantics. The prize comes with mentorship by a Vancouver playwright from November through March, and a performance in the festival come May.

    • Venue: Probably The Cultch.
    • Show Dates: Performs in May of 2012.
  • Auditions, auditions, auditions! – Auditioning throughout Vancouver and Victoria. Many ferry rides, trying to secure something, acting-wise, for beyond September. No luck thus far. Which is to be expected. I need to work more on my auditioning prowess.

    • Venue: Mostly Vancouver.
    • Show Dates: Never ends. NEVER, EVER, EVER.

The future beyond September is a blank slate, but the next month and a half will be a wild, exciting adventure! Writing, acting, directing, and stage managing for Victoria Fringe (spread over three shows)! Performing a DIFFERENT show for Vancouver Fringe (why, Andrew, why?)! Looking for work and a place to live in Vancouver!

Life is joyous, hectic fun.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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Predicting Future Careers

Arabic Question mark

Image via Wikipedia

Predicting Future Careers

It is said that people of my generation will have more careers than ever before – the world moves too quickly, too insecurely, too excitingly, for many of us latch on to one profession and hold it for 40 years before retiring. That in mind, I thought it might be a good thought exercise to try some long term planning/predicting on my own career threads as they weave through my life.

Essentially, I have just highlighted certain areas that excite me, and am extrapolating somewhat from there to guess at when each thread might assume some degree of prominence.

Note: The year I designate as the year the career starts suggests that it becomes more of a focus in that year – not that the new career eliminates prior careers (I take them as cumulative). For example, I plan on acting all my life – the subsequent careers don’t exclude doing so.

This is far from an exhaustive list.

PAST:

1986 – Born in Lansing, Michigan, USA
1987 (eight months old?) – Moved to Richmond, BC, Canada
1990 (age 4) – FIRST CAREER – STUDENT – entered kindergarten.
1993 (age 8) – First acting role as the title character in The Littlest Christmas Tree.
1996 (age 10) – Entered Late French Immersion.
1998 (age 12) – Entered Hugh McRoberts Secondary School. Performed in over a dozen theatrical productions while in high school.
2004 (age 17) – Directed Opening Night.
2004 (age 17) – Awarded the Outstanding Theatre Performance Award from Hugh McRoberts Secondary.
2004 (age 17) – My first venture as a playwright – Teenspeak performed Pinecone Wars, an exaggerated, autobiographical story from my elementary school days. Brilliant to experience.
2004 (age 17) – Entered the University of Victoria, in the Writing program.
2006 (age 19) – Missed acting too much. Joined the theatre department as well.
2006 (age 19) – Auditioned for the acting stream. Did not get in.
2007 (age 19) – Assistant stage managed (props) for Wind In The Willows. 31 actors and almost 400 props in the show.
2007 (age 20) – Auditioned for the acting stream. Got in.
2007 (age 20) – SECOND CAREER – SCIENCE FACILITATOR – Second summer co-op work term, as a Science Facilitator at the Telus World of Science. Included designing a puppet show book.

Question mark in Armenian

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2008 (age 21) – THIRD CAREER – WRITER – Won second place and honourable mention in the Vancouver Young Playwrights Competition – Hullaboo and High School Noir were performed the next summer at IGNITE! 2009. Had script chosen for the CineVic Film Slam – “The Just The Facts Ma’am Show”; the subsequent (really well done) video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN0ZEJmpIJM .
2008 (age 21) – Acclaimed to UVic Senate as the Fine Arts Student Senator.
2008 (age 21) – Third summer co-op work term, as an Outreach / Tour Assistant at TRIUMF, Canada’s National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics. Included designing tour signs.
2008 (age 21) – Awarded the Keith Provost Memorial Scholarship in Theatre for possessing Keith’s special qualities such as dedication, a love for acting and playwriting, a humble gratefulness for opportunities, a positive and upbeat nature, a free−spirited and somewhat rebellious side, and an unselfish and modest attitude.
2008 (age 22) – Joined the Impromaniacs.
2009 (age 22) – Elected to UVic Senate as the Fine Arts Student Senator (had to defeat someone else in the election this time).
2009 (age 22) – Fourth summer co-op work term, as an Astronomy Interpreter at the Centre of the Universe / Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics (HIA-NRC). Included making posters.
2010 (age 23) – Acclaimed to UVic Senate as Fine Arts Student Senator.
2010 (age 23) – Fifth summer co-op work term, again as an Astronomy Interpreter at the Centre of the Universe / Herzberg Institute for Astrophysics (HIA-NRC). Included making posters for guest speaker events.
2010 (age 23) – Won the Martlet Short Fiction Competition for A Journey of Barren Landscapes.
2010 (age 23) – Won the Keith and Shirley Wagner Prize for Writing – Most outstanding achievement in the field of dramatic writing, stage play, radio play, or script.
2011 (age 24) – Won 1
st Prize in the Vancouver Young Playwright’s Competition for The Romantics, to be workshopped, then performed in May 2012.
2011 (age 24) – Performed with Sin City Improv. Huge highlight.
2011 (age 24) – Won UVic’s Humanities, Fine Arts, and Professional Writing Co-op Student of the Year award.
2011 (age 24) – Graduation from the University of Victoria with a BA in Writing.
2011 (age 24) – Graduation from the University of Victoria with a BFA in Acting.
2011 (age 24) – Performed self-written William vs. The World (then William Fights The World) at the UFV Director’s Festival in Chilliwack. First time ever performing a longer piece of my own writing.
2011 (age 24) – Act in the film Unsound Innocence with Hungarian Television – my second project with them.

 

The Question Is What Is the Question?

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POSSIBLE FUTURE:

2011 (age 24) – FOURTH CAREER – ACTOR
2011 (age 24) – Audition for Bard on the Beach.
2011 (age 24) – Directing BFA: The Musical! for the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival.
2011 (age 24) – Performing self-written William vs. The World at the Victoria Fringe Theatre Festival.
2011 (age 24) – Learn how to drive.
2011 (age 24) – Move to Vancouver area.
2011 (age 24) – Performing self-written The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival.
2011 (age 24) – Return to the Telus World of Science? (Hopefully? I need to contact them this week about seeing if that’s a possibility).
2011 (age 24) – Otherwise, work to pay my rent partly through extra / background performer work.
2011 (age 25) – I make my plays easily accessible online for cheaply licensing performances.
2011 (age 25) – Act in film Steinway Grand with Hungarian Television, in Victoria.
2011 (age 25) – Physically strengthen myself, so I can better remind people somewhat of a young Marlon Brando. 🙂
2012 (age 25) – Find a film and TV agent.
2012 (age 25) – Audition for Stratford.
2012 (age 25) – Take singing lessons.
2012 (age 25) – Perform at additional Fringe Festivals. Perhaps for several years.
2012 (age 25) – The Romantics is performed as part of IGNITE! 2012.
2012 (age 25) – National Voice Intensive in Vancouver
2012 (age 25) – Perform with Bard on the Beach (Hey, I can dream! And I have performed in six productions of Shakepeare’s plays in the past three years).
2013 (age 26) – Either joins a long-form improv group, or creates one.
2013 (age 26) – Get a short story printed in a well-respected literary journal.
2014 (age 27) – Go down to the States for the TV pilot season.

Opening (inverted) and closing question marks ...

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2014 (age 27) – FIFTH CAREER – STAGE MANAGEMENT – I would love to do more of this. So long as I can act and write elsewhere as well. 🙂
2015 (age 28) – become financially self-sustaining off theatre, film, TV,internet, and writing work.
2017 (age 30) – either get my masters (in acting? Playwriting? Directing?), or enter a conservatory?
2018 (age 31) – First published novel.
2025 (age 38) – If unmarried, may choose to adopt.
2029 (age 42) – SIXTH CAREER – DIRECTOR
2035 (age 48) – SEVENTH CAREER – POLITICIAN – Run for some form of elected office.
2048 (age 61) – EIGHTH CAREER – VISUAL ARTIST
2052 (age 65) – I defeat cancer in hand-to-hand combat.
2063 (age 76) – Canada secedes from Quebec. I have little to do with this.
2084 (age 97) – Final stage appearance.
2085 (age 98) – Witty and wise, die a serene death.

 

Any thoughts? Do you think this is a valuable exercise?

Question mark

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The Director’s Epiphany

July 11, 2011 1 comment

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:

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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!

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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.

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Hearts Are Thumps

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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.)

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Fringe (TV series)

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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?

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Director

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.

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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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Why you should write a One Man Show

Posters, with cactus underneath.

This is a rebuttal to a prior post I made a few days ago, named “Why Not to Do a One Man Show”, which I wrote as I heading in to the UFV Directors’ Festival. Well, it’s sort of a rebuttal, anyway.

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Why you should write a One Man Show.

This past weekend (well, four days) has been incredible. Inspiring. I have learned so much from these people, not just about theatre, but about life off the coast, about why people are drawn to the stage.

The UFV theatre department is a strange creature. Students can’t get a degree in the subject – which leads to more than a few ‘English’ students (quotation marks highly emphasized by those involved). Even for a major in theatre requires traversing the two UFV campuses in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, as Abbotsford holds the theatre history courses, while Chilliwack attempts to contain the theatre itself. There is so much talent, desire, and drive here.

Erica

From the other schools as well. My second-hand thoughts about SFU’s theatre department must be sorely out of date, because they put on amazing performances. Same with Capilano. Same with the the lone alumni from VIU. Same with the marvelous people from TRU. Everyone put their hearts and souls into these performances.

Me and my doppleganger, Adam Kozlick

It’s amazing the difference between chatting with someone in the lobby before a show, and chatting with them after you’ve seen them act. We see so much of a person’s soul onstage, it seems.

Once I’ve seen you perform, and you’ve seen me perform, there’s no need to work for a connection – it’s already there. A mutual respect. A view into each other. These festivals weave us together far better than simple conversations ever could.

With a one man show, I don’t travel with a blank slate. Well, not after the first performance. Because after that performance, you’ve seen enough of me to feel comfortable saying hello, perhaps establishing a conversation with a compliment.

And once I’ve seen you perform, I’m not that fellow sitting across from the woman with violet hair on the bus – that first step of a connection has already been made. I already have respect for you and the passion you bring to your art.

Tila

I am so… proud… of the connections I have made this weekend, be they the married woman I held deeply enjoyable conversations with, the married couple (Christine and Sharkie) who remind me of all the best elements of PAX, the reflected kudos with countless fellow theatre practitioners (including the somewhat intimidating tall man from the opening ceremony), the possibility of a collaboration with my talented doppleganger (Adam), the producer who is setting up a festival in Nanaimo (Jeremy), the excited blossoming young actor who has just decided this is what he wants to pursue in his life (Ben), and the charming and eager people who promised me they’d get in touch if they happened to be in the same town I was in the future (and vis-versa).

Ali Shewan and I'm-bad-with-names

I don’t regret coming at all – instead, I regret leaving. I want to play with these amazing people for years to come. But I can’t. From rise to (far too little) sleep, for four days, I have lived and breathed theatre in this city. And now I go. There is a twinge of tragedy to it all.

Is this what Fringe is like, in every city? So many beginnings, so quick to die out unless facebook and travel plans feed them?

But I don’t want to mope like Charlie Brown about this experience. (Oh, and by the way? UFV’s Dog Sees God – second best show of the festival, and the capstone of my weekend. I’ll give top marks to UFV’s completely self-created ‘The Play’s The Thing’, which begins as a fake technical rehearsal for an awful Hamlet production, then splits the audience into two separate groups that tour around the whole building, listening in on interweaving subplots between the actors and crew during a ‘break’… subplots that resemble Othello and Romeo and Juliet for one group, and As You Like It (or Twelfth Night?) and Macbeth for the half of the audience (the side I missed, sadly)… brilliant stuff. Even the actors were amazed they pulled it off, with side-characters quietly conversing on cellphones to keep everyone cued up and on target to ‘happen’ to walk past each group at the right moments in time.)

That was far too many words to go into tangential parentheses.

The Lobby!

As for my show? I don’t know if I have ever had to wait on so many laughs in a performance I’ve done. And with so many people asking me where I’m taking this show next… that’s something I should seriously consider.

The Talented Dylan Coulter

Frisbee Golfing between shows

I originally chose to bring William Fights The World here because it was what I had in my back pocket, and it was a show I was excited to put together. Well, I love this show now, more than ever, and I want to perform it again. And again. And again.

And that is why you should create a one man show. Because with most shows, there is a bittersweet closing night when you know you and your cast of a dozen other actors, or perhaps only four… will never be able to put this show on again.

But I don’t need to say goodbye to William. Hell, I could put the show on right now, in this room, if I had a drizzle of coffee and an energy drink (the consumable props). Twelfth Night will never happen again, but William can rant and rave for years to come.

(Hrmm… I said ‘Hell’ there, instead of ‘Heck’. William is causing my language to falter somewhat when it comes to swear words.)

Well, I can’t make exactly the same show. I’ll never have quite this audience (incredibly supportive as they were), and I’ll need to use a new Chuck the cactus.

Sadly, in our third and final performance at the Festival, his shake-fall to the ground became fatal. Rest in peace, Chuck.

R.I.P. Chuck.

Fortunately, I bought an understudy. And epoxy, in case Chuck broke apart every show. I like to be prepared.

Chuck's Understudy, at his post on a chair at my lobby display

So yes, write a one man show, so you can travel to festivals and build mutual respect for all these amazing artists and audience members. Write a one man show so that the show never needs to die due to cast members moving away.

But know that travelling to a city for a few scant days means creating a whole lot of beginnings, and hoping, wishing, praying that perhaps one or two of those beginnings will grow and prosper. It means planting a whole field of seeds in every city, and hoping for one – even just one – tree to emerge. But the soil is rich, and if I could stick around to water those seeds, who knows what would come of all of them.

Graeme Thompson as Hullaboo @ IGNITE! 2009

As I alluded to in an earlier post, I ran into Graeme Thompson at this weekend – he was filling in for an ill actor from Capilano University. Well, he found me. A few years ago, he had performed as Hullaboo, and found it a difficult task, to try and act a show with so much direct address to the audience. Well, he saw my show, and came up to me afterwards, with kind words: “So that’s how it’s supposed to be done. All your words, everything, just flowed so naturally, like you were really just talking with the audience.” I really appreciated that. An old seed, an old beginning that happened to grow into a meeting this weekend.

Someone compared me to my doppleganger by saying we were “both a level above with our talent.”

When I performed tonight, I was sure I had missed something somewhere, because the 45 minutes between me and my audience flew by so fast.

This post is me celebrating my time at this wonderful festival.

But tomorrow morning I have to leave town, and hope God is a good gardener in my absence, hope that some local farmer will take pity on my field and water it in my stead. And there’s always facebook.

I’ll miss you, Chilliwack.

I hope to see you again next year. If Ian lets me back in. 🙂

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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Welcome to Chilliwack – UFV Directors’ Festival, Friday

April 30, 2011 2 comments

This is not a rebuttal of my prior post, but… take it as another view on my time here at the UFV Directors’ Festival thus far.

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Stuart McLean. Happy, as per usual.

Welcome to Chilliwack!

As someone who has not travelled much myself, and rarely ever been involved in anything that might remotely be considered a road trip, I have often wondered just how CBC Radio‘s Stuart McLean could find such wonderful things to say about every city he visited. Surely some places just aren’t too memorable or interesting, right?

Well, I’m happy to say that Chilliwack is not one of them. Welcome to Chilliwack, where the local pub cheekily advertises “washrooms complimentary with the beer”, where the local university has a parking lot exclusively for female drivers after hours, and where the apparently only surviving club in town (the Echo Room) plays dance-ified Mario Bros and Zelda tunes. Yes, this is a city where every after-hours gathering takes place on the same short stretch of one main road, all of which happen to fortunately be a mere five minutes walk from my hostel.

Then there is my hostel, the delightful Song of Ruth House, so named, I’m sure, because every inch of it certainly sings the soul of the owner, Ruth. It is a house (perhaps acting illegally has a hostel * edit: see Ruth’s comment below) crowded to the brim with an endless assortment of interesting, intriguing, and overwhelming stuff, ranging from a delightful infestation of faeries and dolphins in the bathroom, to a retro CD player, at least a dozen lamps, a half-dozen electric heaters, and false walls cobbled together from spare wood, plastic sheeting, chicken wire, and whatever else was available, to create the different rooms for tenants to stay in. Every room, of course, is given a Hawaiian name. It all fits. And the whole house maintains a strict shoes-on policy, aside from the fenced off ‘private’ rooms, as the half-dozen cats are known to pee around the house – particularly the blind one. (But the floors are mopped every day.)

Poster for the Song of Ruth House

But be it the impressive and wild garden blocking the way to the front door, or the perhaps five dozen mugs in the house, it is a place with soul. While it may cost a mere 30$ a night to rent a room, Ruth – a self-confessed ‘vampire’ when I mentioned not being able to check in, on the first night, until midnight – made this place far superior to the fanciest hotel room I could have booked, when she greeted me with a hug and an assured “Welcome home.”

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The festival itelf today was also a delight. Yesterday, we were given the opportunity in the opening ceremonies for the festival to do a one minute promo of the show. I bounded down to the stage area, and said something like this:

“If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s running over a puppy with my bike. If there’s a second thing I can’t stand, it’s previews that give away the show.

Seriously, when I go to a movie theatre, when the previews are playing I’m going like this (sticks fingers in ears, closes eyes): LALALALALALALALA. So I’m not going to do that. So here’s something that isn’t in the show.

Ladies and gentlemen, standing in the… erm… green corner (the curtain was green), weighing in at 140 poun- okay, 155 pounds… WILLIAM! YAAAAAAAHHHHH! And in the, erm… other corner with a tall and somewhat intimidating man (one of the opening ceremony hosts, who must be close to seven feet tall), with a gravitational force of 9.83 Gs…. THE WORLD! BOOOOOOOOOO. (the audience joined in.) William Fights The World is a show about a narcissistic jerk of a man who thinks he lives an ideal life… and how that life gets torn apart.”

Okay, so I stumbled on the first line and said “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s running over a puppy with my dog. Bike. Running over a puppy with my bike.” But other than that, it went well.

William ___s the World? (No, not that word.)

Today, I performed William Fights The World (formerly William Vs. The World, as many people still entirely unrelatedly mistakenly called it, and probably soon to be retitled ‘William wrestles the World’ as one festivaler recommended for alliteration) for the first time. My first time carrying a one-man-show, speaking to an audience and holding their attention for 45 minutes, all the while figuring out better blocking on the fly, coming up with new and awesome jokes mid-show (none of which, tragically, I was able to remember, post-show), reacting with the audience, sharing in a story and a character with them, growing, and living, dagnammit, living in the space. The additions (a cactus, a few lines here and there), felt a necessary partof the show (and not just grafted on). The fantastic techies helped me build the lighting and sound cues hours before the first performance, and intelligently covered when I missed one of their cue lines.

And the audience laughed! And they laughed their hardest at the parts I wasn’t sure would be understood, at obscure-ish references and tragic lines, at William’s lack of self-awareness. I’m quickly learning that the more obscure or niche the reference, the more an audience adores you for putting it in a show (if they get it). Builds such a sense of connection with the performer.

I don’t know if the ending was understood, but I hope it sparked a few conversations.

And the other shows in the festival, mostly professionally written, but with a fully student conceived creations, were inspiring, with fantastic performances. In particular, so far, The Russian Play, by Hannah Moscovitch and performed by SFU students, an original piece called ‘What Daggers Before Me’ by Darcy J. Knopp and Tinman Productions at UFV, and ‘Afterglow’, a well-written two-hander by Peter Boychuk whose name I can’t remember about a meteor, a dead mother, and a failed attempt at romance from Thompson Rivers University.

A lot of the plays seem to focus on sex, coarse language, sex, and more sex, but these are university students, after all. It’s a significant subject to approach. (besides, goodness knows my own show features at least two-dozen f-bombs.)

Good day. Good day indeed.

A teacup on a saucer.

Image via Wikipedia

Oh, and I also had a tea party with British accents in the green room (in honour of the royal wedding), played dutch blitz, and last night, in the pub, had an indepth discussion of Doctor Who, Neil Gaiman, and DC superheroes. Sure, these may have been even better times with a fellow UVic compatriot travelling beside me (though I did run into Graeme Thompson here, who performed as Hullaboo in a show I wrote (of the same name) for the IGNITE! Theatre Festival in Vancouver, and, briefly, a UVic first year named Frankie), but even still, even while known by most people here as ‘the only guy from UVic’ (with inflections indicating they are either impressed, worried, or wondering if I’m a control freak), this has been a great day.

Thank you, Chilliwack, and thank you, UFV Directors’ Festival.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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