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Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscar update... 8/10

So I have seen the following Oscar nominated films:

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit

Leaving the following as unseen:

127 Hours
Winter's Bone

I do not know if I will get to see either of those. I am not sure I can handle the amputation in 127 Hours and to be honest I hadn't even heard of Winter's Bone before reading the list of nominees. I read the synopsis and it doesn't draw me in (even though it is supposed to be really good).

Today I thought about which of these would have been the 5 nominees if there were only 5. I think it would be a combination of the following:

The Social Network
The King's Speech
True Grit
The Fighter
The Black Swan

I do not know which of those would have been kicked from the list... Maybe Inception, because of timing of release, but I actually think it was the most innovative movie up there. Black Swan is really about Natalie Portman's performance (as a film it is compelling, don't get me wrong, but there are narrative details not fleshed out that make this more about the performance). She can win Best Actress and it will be the requisite acclaim for the film. The Social Network and The King's Speech are the 2 that I hear the most about as possible winners. I read one article today citing The Social Network as the 'smartest film' in the list as it's reason for potentially winning. Hmmmmm, backlash for Avatar being so 'not smart'? I wonder. I found it snappy dialogue wise, but really the idea that a guy created facebook to impress a girl because he didn't know how else to... well... I will watch it again later and perhaps have a different reaction to it. The King's Speech was also really anchored by Colin Firth, he should win Best Actor, but it seemed to be more of an ensemble and a fabulous one at that. I am biased by my obsession with royalty through the ages. I loved The Fighter. It totally surprised me, but I will be happy if Christian Bale wins for Best Supporting Actor - incredible performance, really. And today I saw True Grit. It was really the most artful of all the ones I saw. If the Oscars are a measure of ART, it was conceptually the most complete and beautiful.

I still haven't decided how I will vote - probably for The King's Speech... or The Social Network. I do want to win the prize...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oscar Prep - 2011

Every year I go to an Oscar party (okay, maybe we skipped one year because AM was in Mexico - but we have been pretty consistent). My friend AM started it a few years ago (I am thinking over 10 because I know the first one was before Oliver was born). Anyhow, we have twizzlers, and 2 bite brownies and we watch the Oscars. Early on we made an effort to see as many of the nominated films and performances that we could. That got harder with kids in the picture. In recent years there have been years where I have only seen one of the nominated films. Sigh. It got even harder with the expansion to 10 films in Best Picture, but I made a real effort this year. So far I have seen 7/10 of them and I hope to see my 8th tomorrow (True Grit). I will not get to Winter's Bone or 127 Hours - I can't make it. No matter. I do not think either of them will win Best Picture (not that they aren't good - I am following the odds makers...).

So I am right now trying to figure out who to vote for. The ones I thought were best, or the ones the Odds makers are calling. The reviewers are all pretty much saying The Social Network. I watched it last night. It was very, very good, but didn't blow me away as a film. I watched The Fighter and The King's Speech this week. The Fighter is punching it's way into my number one spot (see what I did there?). I thought it was going to be a predictable sports movie, but it wasn't. Defnitely want Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor and Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress. Hmmmm. The King's Speech was so, so, so good. I really liked it. I would say without a doubt that Colin Firth should win Best Actor, but was the movie the best? I don't know... And then there is Inception. I think that was the coolest film - and the one I think will resonate the longest. I saw it a month ago and it's still there in my brain and I might just watch it again... So hard. I am pretty much down with Natalie Portman in Black Swan for Best Actress. It's the Best Picture I cannot call. Sigh. At least I think they all deserve to be nominated... That's good, right?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Endings and Beginnings...

Last night Rabbit Hole closed. It was a lovely show, different and yet the same. I did appreciate that my cast kept it active and alive and never exactly the same, but yet preserved the story. I know that sounds like director babble, but whatevs... Anyhow, we struck the set and props (I have a crap load of stuff to put away and Mark took two big bags of toys to Goodwill) and tidied the building and sat around in a bit of a shock. This show was such a lovely family that it was sad to see it end. Now, I didn't personally have to travel the emotional journey that the actors did, so it is easy for me to say I wish it could've run longer, but I was very happy with it. I was blessed on this project. I had so many great people who helped make it as wonderful as it was - not just the actors, but the rest of the artistic staff and the crew. They really took care of it and I think it showed. I was also blessed to have so many friends come and see it. I know how busy we all are, because I make it to only about 50% of the shows I want to get to, so every time someone makes the time to come and see my shows I feel very special. Last night was wonderful for me - to see so many people there that I know.

Today I enjoyed sleeping in. Then I enjoyed only having one thing to do - A Threepenny Opera rehearsal. And then I enjoyed going for dinner at Outback and having a terrific steak and a nice dinner with Mark and the boys. Everyone was in good spirits, silly, but cheerful.

Threepenny is the major thing on the horizon and I now need to sit down with myself and figure out what I want to fill my life with for the foreseeable future. I have a Fringe script to re-work and develop and finishing casting. I have a few auditions to consider. I have T4s to fill out. I also have a paper to write and many, many plays to read. I am not at a loss for things to do.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Gibson, my little guy, lost his first tooth yesterday. He really lost it too. In school somewhere... so he wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy explaining the situation. Luckily, she still came through for him. Then, this morning at breakfast he worked at wiggling the other loose tooth right next door and it to popped out. He seemed so excited about this simple little thing. Maybe it is the money from the tooth fairy, but he really couldn't stop grinning and it was so much fun to see.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Importance of Good Writing....

Why I think you should always go for the best...

In a recent review of Rabbit Hole, one paper said that Walterdale demonstrated it's fearlessness by even attempting the script. I found this interesting. A compliment, yes, I do not contest that, but I do think the choice of the script made perfect sense to me. I chose it because the writing was so good. I always start with the writing. I will discard a choice if the writing is simple or transparent or clunky. I do not understand why you wouldn't want to start with the absolute best - no matter who you are. In my mind, strong writing makes your job easier, not harder. You have to be so much better to overcome a flawed script. It is why so many companies do Shakespeare even today - because the writing is good. It's why you do Tennessee Williams, and Arthur Miller, and Daniel MacIvor. Because the writing is good. So I didn't see it as fearlessness, I simply thought it made good sense. I read it and understood it very clearly... the rest was just the work.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Opening Night

I am excited, as I usually am for Opening Night. This show has truly been a labour of love for me and it is wonderful to see it come to fruition. I am proud of what it is and I think it is pretty darn good. The Previews were a wonderful experience. The first one with the generous audience setting us off on a good foot and the smaller, quieter second audience who went along for the ride in tension and who went out of their way to shower us with compliments. Everyone who has done theatre knows that the positive feedback of absolute strangers is so very gratifying. You like it when your friends and family say nice things, too, but a complete stranger who seeks you out to say 'well done' is so unexpected and since there is nothing vested for them in terms of love for you, you trust the objectiveness of the comments. One women made a point of tracking me down to tell me the show was better than a show she saw at a professional theatre this week - not that the show she saw was bad, in fact she sad it was very good, but that Rabbit Hole was better. Wow! Considering the talent in the city and the show to which she referred I was so very honoured.

Now is Opening Night. I know it will go well. It is an audience of friendly people who love me and/or the cast and/or Walterdale. I just feel like I have worked so hard for so long and it is so great to be here on this day finally. Feels good, in spite of some of the difficult decisions I had to make during the process to ensure the best possible production.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Right Fit

Last night was the first Tech Dress for Rabbit Hole. It is coming together beautifully. We have some tweaks to do yet, but it is in fine shape. It has been a nice journey, despite hiccups. One actors has suffered unpredictable illness and we had to move quickly to incorporate an understudy into the production. Fortunately that has been smoother than you might think. Last night's run proved that. We have a nice team right now, one that seems to fit together well and understand how they fit into the show as a whole. The actors have to be fairly vulnerable, so the have the freedom to be that way when they do not have to worry about all the other details. Thankfully we have a cohesive team working to make that happen.

Last night I got to see my show again after almost a week. My notes were few, and all were fixable. I felt comfortable with everyone in the space and really, that is what makes volunteering so much more than just volunteering - working with friends that you trust to be able to do their job and like being around.