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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ups and Downs... Last week in Edmonton Theatre

It's weird to look back to the last week.  It was such an up and down in Edmonton Theatre and for me personally.  The weekend saw the close of SHOUT! and I was riding a high that comes from performing for audiences that are laughing and enjoying the show you are doing.  So many strangers smiling and complimenting me after the show.  Your friends will always love it (or at least tell you they do), but when strangers stick around to say nice things you tend to believe them. A quick Strike (like, amazingly quick) and the show was packed up until the summer when we remount it for the Edmonton International Fringe.  We left ebullient with plans for a cast get together in a couple of weeks.

Then the week started.  I planned my theatre week.  It was to be Cheerleader on Wednesday, Circle Mirror Transformation on Thursday and dress rehearsal of Venus in Fur on Friday - what a fabulous line-up.  When I woke up Tuesday morning to my radio alarm I heard people reminiscing about the Roxy Theatre.  I thought, "What a cool way to promote the theatre for their 40th season!", then I woke up for real.  A fire.  The Roxy Theatre was on fire and completely destroyed.  I was in shock. Having just produced a show, I knew exactly what went in to that and where the artists involved in Cheerleader would be at emotionally.  I couldn't fully imagine what it would have been like to have woken up to the news.  And Theatre Network had a tremendous amount of programming to complete.  What would happen to that?  What would happen to Nextfest? What about the city as a whole?  We are in dire need of more mid-size and smaller theatre spaces and here was another one lost. I could offer my condolences to Theatre Network, but all I really wanted to know was, "How can I help?"

And that is what it seems everyone else was seeking.  The tremendous show of support of the greater Edmonton theatre community was and continues to be inspiring.  Freewill Players, still recovering from their challenges last season, offered a portion of the proceeds from their upcoming fundraiser to aid Theatre Network.  Rapid Fire Theatre offered up proceeds from one of their upcoming shows. The Artistic Directors and Executive Directors of Edmonton's theatre community got on the phones and started looking at the calenders to try and figure out how to help Theatre Network keep their programming for the rest of the season.  People shared and shared and shared the Canada Helps Donation page and people donated and are continuing to do so. I heard today that the U of A is hosting a reading of Cheerleader on the Timm's Centre Mainstage on Sunday evening.

So from high, to low to high again... it's been a very interesting week. Tonight I will be attending Circle Mirror Transformation at Shadow Theatre because the other thing I know we have to do is to keep going to local theatre. And I remain ready to help in any way I can should Theatre Network put out the call.

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