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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Ubiquitous End of Year Post... My Year in Review

2011 Here it goes. For more detail, of course, you can flip through the whole Blog, but I know that I wrote more sparsely at different times of the year and sometimes my writing was motivated more by the emotional state of my life than the actual events. So a look back seems to bring out the significance in what happened this year.

Theatrical Events:
It was busy in 2011. The first half of the year I wrapped up my tenure as AD of Walterdale. I started the season knee-deep in Rabbit Hole and I think that will always be one of the most satisfying directorial experiences of my life. I had challenges that fed my personal needs. I had a terrific cast, production team and crew. I had to make some tough decisions. I had a script that I really wanted to serve and I think I did that. I also complicated my life by overlapping rehearsals for that show with The Threepenny Opera. I enjoyed doing that show. It too had elements that really made me work. The music in that show was some of the most challenging I have ever sung. Like G & S, Weill is not in my wheelhouse, meaning I had to work. So many fabulous people and it was great to be onstage in the season. I confess, I was trying to find a way to do as much as I could before the end of my tenure. So that led into my first 'real' set design for Village of Idiots. I was more nervous about that than any acting or directing job I have ever done. I worked with the wonderful Linette Smith in a kind of full-circle sort of way (she directed Steel Magnolias which was my second show at Walterdale, but the one where I really knew I was home). The summer meant Fringe and this year I was so happy to re-visit and re-draft Pieces. I was thrilled with the response form both critics and audiences. I can tell you quite honestly that the sounds of sniffling audiences makes me very happy. I also really enjoyed working with my cast and Team. The luxury of doing your own Fringe show is picking the people you want to work with. I was happy with our picks. I was also happy with the new draft as I felt that it was so much closer to the story I wanted to tell. Fall rolled into A Little Night Music at Festival Place. Another wonderful new family and the joy of singing Sondheim. And then I wrapped up the year as Master Painter for Wyrd Sisters at Walterdale. This was a fun challenge as I did not have my mentor, Joan, on hand so I had to solve the painting mystery myself and I also brought my kids on board to be my crew. Someday I see Gibson as having the potential to be an excellent set painter. Oliver might be too, if he gets paid, but I doubt he has the patience for detail work.

Educational Events:
I did Drama 209 first semester and Drama 257 second semester. Drama 209 is the second theatre history course at the U of A and you travel from just after Shakespeare to Ibsen. I really enjoyed it and find that aside from the essays I really love theatre history. Good thing I kick major butt on the exams! Drama 257 is scene study and while I really enjoyed the class, particularly my classmates, it really made me ask questions about what I was doing at University. I haven't fully answered this question but I was frustrated because although I enjoyed the course I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. It did remind me that I was lazy about some of the character prep work that I could be doing. It also shook up my approach to objectives and tactics because I think I do them a lot more instinctively and less formally and really they are so useful, but it was more like a refresher course than an eye-opener. It is making me re-think my second semester choice. Outside of University I went to Playworks Ink in the Fall and for one very short weekend I was reminded of how much I love writing and how little time I put into it. I have so many plays I need to write. I need to make time for that writing. I don't. I need to.

Personal/Family/All the Rest:
* This year we said goodbye to Smeep, our beloved cat. This was very hard for me. She was a wonderful member of our family. I still expect her to greet me when I come home and the bumps and thumps in the night have no explanation any more. We had her longer than Oliver.
* Oliver and Gibson started basketball and for half a year it took over our lives. Well, mine anyhow. I have a better idea of how it works now and know that it means the Fall will be challenging for scheduling in other activities, but it has been very cool to watch Oliver grow as a player and start to think like a team player and an athlete.
*My cousin Margaret got married and I got to travel on my own to San Francisco/Berkley for a great family reunion - too short, as always.
* I taught my first (hopefully of many) Workshop By Request in Calmar. It was on Giving and Receiving Direction and I had so much fun with this wonderful group who have a fabulous attitude towards what they do.
* I did not gain weight, but I haven't really significantly lost any. This has to change. I am working on trying to streamline my life so that I am doing only the projects I want to do and therefore can have enough to be happy and not too much so that I can't work more on my physical shape. I just don't want that whole diet and fitness thing to take over my life. I think that would depress me and make me want to eat... I did lose 10 lbs in the last 10 weeks of 2011 and have a great support group online with my extended family. So hopefully I can continue this momentum into the new year. I am comfortable with 10 lbs in 10 weeks. It's not crazy. It's realistic.
* I did not write as much as I would have liked. This is also about time. I need to make the time for it. Pieces was a lovely opportunity and I do have a half a draft I was supposed to finish for December 15th to send to Daniel MacIvor. I need to finish that and do more. I must.

It's been a good year.

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