Archive

Posts Tagged ‘William Vs The World’

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

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

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

Image via Wikipedia

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?

Image via Wikipedia

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 ...

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image via Wikipedia

Enhanced by Zemanta

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:

.

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

.

It is proving to be quite the marvelous adventure.

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

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

.

Hearts Are Thumps

Image via Wikipedia

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

Okay, so that performance was a gongshow.

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

.

Fringe (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

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

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

How could I say no? Why would I?

.

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.

.

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

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.

——————–

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

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.

———————–

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.”

——————–

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

Enhanced by Zemanta