Showing posts from 2012

Looking Back/Looking Forward

Last post of the year... A good year.  Sometimes I was busier than I would have liked and sometimes I was less busy than I would have liked.  It all evens out in the end.  I leave 2012 excited for what is on the horizon in 2013 and knowing that with my two major projects that the first five months will be very busy.  I am working hard this week to schedule, schedule, schedule so that Spelling Bee and From Cradle to Stage are organized ahead of time and not on the fly.  After those are done, I am not sure.  Finally Sauces is investigating BYOVs for Fringe, but if we don't get those then we will move to Plan B.  Just have to figure out what Plan B is... I have some ideas. The other Fringe project definitely has a Plan B that we just need to decide on details for. So, you see... busy. The country is in a weird place right now.  Idle No More has replaced Occupy as the latest rallying movement.  It seems to be more organized and have more focus, but like Occupy, I still have tr

In Retrospect... What I loved this year onstage...

So I took a little walk through my blog this morning to reflect on what I saw and what really stuck with me.  I saw a lot so it's hard to narrow down, but that's a good thing.  It's a testament to what we have onstage in Edmonton. So, in no particular order but with a little classification, here were some of my favorite moments from the year: My children's theatre favorites: The Gooble Portrait   produced at the Fringe by Surreal SoReal Theatre. I wished I had brought my kids to this one but I went on the Me-Day.  The concept, script, acting and direction was outstanding.  No skimping on the elements and a really high quality production.  It also found a way to say something in a subtle and engaging way (not the usual 'hit them over the head with a hammer' way). Robin Hood   at The Snow Globe Festival .  A real great piece created with low-tech magic and a three stooges approach to story-telling.  It grabbed my kids and was so fun to watch. Mary Pop

Food! Glorious Food! And that was just my Christmas...

Well, I am stuffed! As for most people the last few days have been about culinary indulgence.  Christmas Eve I do okay because our family's tradition of Oyster Stew is not one I over indulge in (I eat my bowlful - it is not Christmas without the taste of it).  I did do some damage to many a cookie, however.  On Christmas Day I am the meal preparer and we have whoever is in town over for the big turkey dinner.  Mark asked me about making 'extra' stuffing - to which I replied - "It doesn't matter how much you make, there is never any 'extra' stuffing".  And I was right.  I made a tonne of it and it was all gone. So I told him I would make him more a few days afterwards to compensate - the bread is currently drying right now. We had a group of 11 this year.  Gibson had probably the best time this year.  He had so much fun with all the cousins and before they came on Tuesday, he kept asking "When are the people coming?!?!" The meal turned out ve

What if The Three Stooges told the story of Robin Hood?

Well, that's basically what I saw today at The Snow Globe Festival.  The four person cast of Evan Hall, Caley Suliak, Paul Sutherland and Brendan Thompson In Robin Hood deliver a fast paced, physical and very, very silly rendition of the classic story of the archery expert who stole from the rich to give to the poor in the England of Prince John and the absent King Richard the Lion-Hearted.  The boys loved it.  They are suckers for slapstick and extreme silliness. The ensemble is tight and the action fast paced.  They incorporate audience participation and Oliver even got to go up on stage to compete in the archery contest (he hammed it up his own way).  Highlights included a very funny chase sequence to Gibson's favorite Yakety Sax and I would tell you who both boys' favorite character was, but then there would be a major spoiler, so I can't.  For those who have seen the show, it was the character with the most hair... I loved Caley Suliak as the somewhat Jewish Fri

Getting in the Spirit of the Season With Bells and Snow Globes and a couple of School Concerts!

You would think I would take a rest after a 2 week run, but no, not me.  I had a brief pause on Monday night (which I used to start some baking) and then dived into two nights of School Concerts (my kids are three years apart so I always get to go twice), then I caught With Bells On at The Roxy (Guys in Disguise) and last night I took the boys to Babes in Toyland at C103 (formerly The Catalyst Theatre) as part of The Snow Globe Festival . I wrote about Snow Globe last year when Impresario Extraordinaire Ellen Chorley created it. I took the boys last year and once the commitments of the season wrapped up we headed off to see what was happening onstage this year. We bundled up and headed out to catch Babes in Toyland and had a great time.  The boys are the target audience so I will translate their responses.  My kids are 8 and 11 so that can give you an idea of the source.  From the first moment the lights when down Gibson (8) was mesmerized and sitting on the edge of his seat.  H


Well, we wrapped up the show this weekend.  It was a great experience overall, with some crunchy bits on the production side.  That came through at the Post Mortem and I am trying to put that crappy night behind me. It's too bad that it had to play out like that. It made me think a lot about my commitment to Walterdale ( which is sad ) but it is hard to work so hard and feel unappreciated and ( worse ) resented for the work that you do. I luckily have a little video of a snippet of the show to watch to cheer me up and make me remember what I loved so much about the experience of doing this show.  I made some great connections and have plans to work with some of the cast and team again in the future. I am chairing the From Cradle to Stage One Act Festival , but I am more tentative about it now. And now, onto the next adventure!  This week is jam packed with Christmas fun!  Two times two Christmas concerts at the boy's school (2 dress rehearsals and 2 evening performances), Wit

The Misanthrope Makes Me a Philanthrope!

Reflections on The Misanthrope Experience.  I have had such a wonderful time working with this cast and crew.  I have met so many wonderful people and been inspired by their dedication to do good work on the stage and with each other.  I regained a sense of silliness and joy with them that I haven't had in a while (at least as an actor).  The newer actors in the cast made me revisit my early days on the stage.  The one who bailed us out when we lost a cast member made me appreciate the spirit of the show must go on and there are no small roles . Working with Afton made me realize how lazy I can be and because of her phenomenal hard work I pushed myself to be more present. It is hard to express how much I value that. It can be too easy to go through the motions and thanks to her example, I never felt like I was. It was also so lovely to share the stage with some fabulous emerging artists like Zachary, Brennan and Amanda and I hope to see them in lots more stuff and (cross finge

A Couple of Nice Reviews of the Show... First week recap...

The first five shows (plus two previews) are done and tonight we head into the final stretch.  We had a nice opening week and I am excited to get back onstage this evening.  When you spend so much time with people you like you really miss them on the dark day.  But it was a much needed dark day as there was a lot of laundry to do! Opening Night was tonnes of fun with an audience who seemed primed to laugh. It's always interesting to see how different audiences react - some are laughers and some are listeners.  This is a play that requires heavy duty listening skills, but it's worth it.  Best night for me was Saturday night because my sister was in town all the way from Toronto and she and a friend came and saw it.  It has been a long time since she has seen me onstage so I was very happy that she made it out for this one. Plus, she is sharp and a loud laugher so she got a lot of the funny stuff and we were rewarded. There have been a few reviews so far, and all are (yay!) p

The Misanthrope Loves Everyone Who Came to the Show Last Night!

See what I did there? Anyhow, we had a fabulous Opening Night for The Misanthrope at Walterdale Theatre last night.  We had enjoyed Previews, but the audience last night was HOT! It was thrilling to hear all the laughter and feel such gratitude to the generous audience.  I always say that a show is nothing until there is an audience to perform for so it is nice to be finally open and sharing this new twist on an old classic with people.  I love the character I get to play and the people I get to play with.  We celebrated the opening with a lovely after show reception (mmmm, lobster tarts...) and  Tonight is 2 for 1 Night so hopefully we get a nice sized audience from that to continue with the journey!

Citadel Theatre's A Christmas Carol - A Storybook Brought to Life

This was another jam-packed weekend for me.  Filled with basketball, a dress rehearsal and theatre clean, and two tries at seeing A Christmas Carol at The Citadel Theatre (one successful!).  I had never seen the production before and this was greeted with astonishment by most people I told that to, but the show itself actually replaced a different Christmas tradition of our family so when it first started I wasn't really into it.  I have seen or been in 5 different productions of the story so didn't figure I needed to see it.  I always heard from people 'Oh! You must go! It's really something wonderful! ' - and it was. You may note I said two attempts to see the show.  I had tickets for the Saturday night performance and an unfortunate power outage took out the lighting board and I have to get my tickets re booked for Sunday.  The Citadel was outstanding in dealing with the re-booking.  I did notice that they have also added another matinee to deal with the de

Totally not Typecast... and I have the pictures to prove it... Media Call for The Misanthrope...

Just take a look.  These pictures tell a story.  They also tell you that I am gifted in the art of facial expressions... no really, they do... Can you guess what my character is like? Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.. Making a move (see my hand?)... No over-acting here... I think this is my favorite 'face'... Stirring up trouble! * all photos by Douglas Dollars Stewart.  For the full set check out this link .

Media Call Tonight...

Media Call tonight!  Yikes! It's not even noon and I have already started on the hair and make-up... I hope it survives the afternoon. Since I am in a show, I get hard pressed to make it to everything so I wanted to comment on some shows that I have been hearing about that I wish I could get to.  I haven't seen them and unfortunately I am unlikely to be able to because I shall be on stage myself for the next 3 weeks, but I wish I could: Attempts on Her Life MacEwan University Theatre Arts - Nov 28-Dec 2 Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo U of A Studio Theatre - Nov 29-Dec 9 The List FTA (Theatre Yes and Theatre of the New Heart) - Nov 29-Dec 9 There is also A Christmas Carol at The Citadel starting in previews on November 30th and running to December 23rd, but I will be able to get to that.  I am hoping to catch one of the above on my dark day, but I might need my sleep so we shall see. Have a great few weeks.  Hopefully you can get to some of thes

Fringe ReBoot/Felt Like a Show Tonight

So this week has been mixed. I went to the Fringe Lottery last night and had a fun time live tweeting it and listening for our name to be called, but alas, the call came rather late.  Finally Sauces was called at #26 and Round Barn at #31 on the waiting list.  Those are pretty far down on the wait list.  If we were under #20 I might hold out hope, but now we are looking at alternatives.  I don't really want to go the BYOV route, but I also don't want wait too much longer before I get these scripts on a deck.  So.... stay tuned.  When I know better I'll let you know. We are disappointed, but that is the way of the lottery. It's how it works.  To those who were drawn I saw - please be excellent! Today I feel good about a lot of things.  I finished the very last of the painting - Yay!  Now I can just think about acting and being in the world of the play. Tonight we had a run that felt really good for me.  It felt like we had a SHOW.  That was nice.  I am only in two

Commencing Tech Week! The Misanthrope at Walterdale!

We are entering the last week before opening for The Misanthrope .  This week tends to have it's ups and downs.  It is exciting to add all the bells and whistles, lights, sounds and costumes and real props, but each new addition can also mean adjustment and take you out of the world of the play.  One of the ways that we are spoiled at Walterdale is that we get a whole week to adjust and settle into the finished world. Today we have costume parade before a tech run. I love my costumes! I cannot share a picture of my final costume as it is to be a surprise, but we have the best costume designers and builders at Walterdale and I certainly feel spoiled every time I do a show there!  So nice to have a costume built especially for me! I have a couple touch ups to do on the paint this week, but not a lot. Probably only a couple of hours.  It is nice to feel like that job is done so I can focus on the world of my character in the play. This is my week to gather show gifts.  I am a big pr

Kristen hits a Wall... and Bounces... This Too Shall Pass...

Yesterday I hit a wall.  Suffice it to say I have taken on too much, and then overreacted because all my filters shut off due to system collapse.  I am a little embarrassed in retrospect, but I cannot do anything but apologise, so there you go.  I think it's all good. I hope so. How did this happen?  Well, I think there is a reason why Walterdale frowns on people doing more than one big job on a show.  It can stretch you too thin and in combination with my other life jobs (mother, store-owner, and all the rest...) I simply stretched too far. There are other factors stressing me out - some challenging dynamics on the team, coming off another show so quickly, planning for the next two (which overlap), anxious about Fringe - so it was really a perfect storm situation.  I should have known.  On the way to the theatre to paint in the morning I was on the verge of tears the whole way and didn't know why.  I was yelling at the radio, other drivers, my gloves... I was clearly not in

Heap and Pebble... Magic on Ice...

I caught Northern Light Theatre's 6.0 How Heap and Pebble Took on the World and Won last night at the Westbury Theatre.  I always like it when I can catch a NLT show because you never know what you are going to get.  There is nothing truly predictable and this show was no exception.  It's hard to describe, but it is a lot of sequined fun with two excellent performers (indeed, I cannot think of any two others in Edmonton than Jesse Gervais and Amber Borotsik to pull this off) and a serious undertone. It's well directed, surprising, athletic and artistic - really, everything a good original ice dance routine should be - and a good theatre adventure. I am still trying to figure out exactly what it means.  The show tackles a few different things - global warming, pursuing a dream, achieving excellence, moving on when your world changes - but it gives no easy answers.  For some this show would be totally about the environmental implications.  For me, it was more about the dea

Dinner and a Show - Packrat Louie and Jack Goes Boating at Shadow Theatre

Went for dinner with AM tonight saw Jack Goes Boating at Shadow Theatre (Varscona). We started with our wonderful meal at Packrat Louie where we shared wine and talked of many things. We ended the meal with yummy desserts (we don't always have dessert, but it seemed impossible to resist). I had the Lime and Lemon Meringue and AM had the Chocolate Pistachio Tart.  So, so, so good. After supper we walked down to the Varscona and settled in for Jack Goes Boating .  It was a quirky little comedy which we both quite liked.  I really, really enjoyed Garrett Ross as Jack.  I have seen him onstage three times in the last few months in three very different roles and I am very impressed with his ability to create complete and convincing characters.  There is something that he does internally that really makes you believe that he is these different people.  He has a subtlety to his work that I have quite enjoyed. The whole cast (Shawna Burnett, Frank Zotter, and Mab

First Day of Painting - The Misanthrope at Walterdale

So I started painting The Misanthrope today.  It was primer day and the walls are high.  When I got to the theatre, the set looked like this: A few hours (read: 5 hours) passed and a lot of painting was done with two fabulous helpers and when I left the set looked like this: I have a lot to do.  More wall treatment on Thursday and Friday and hopefully I start the floors by the weekend.  There is also furniture.  I am recording the progress so that I can see all the steps involved! It is going to mean a lot of hours at the theatre for me - since I am in the show, too - but it's home!

Looking for a Few Good Plays - Stage Struck! 2013

CALL FOR ENTRANTS Stage Struck! 2013 Edmonton’s winter drama festival What: A regional adult one-act play festival When: February 22 & 23, 2013 Where: Walterdale Playhouse Is there a one-act play you always wanted to produce? Need an outlet for your own new play? Would you like a first run of your Fringe show? We’ll provide the venue, the audience and the adjudication, you provide the talent! Winning play goes to the provincials in High River May 17,18,19, 2013. * Entrants must be based in the City of Edmonton. * Any scripted play, previously published or new, between 10 to 60 minutes in length, is eligible for production. * Entry fee $50 For more information or to request a registration package, contact Mary-Ellen Perley at 780-481-3716 or email at . Entries being accepted now. Only 9 spaces available! Submission deadline is December 17, 2012

A Broadway Weekend at Home!

Since the snow came, I have taken the chicken's approach to the world and have stayed inside.  I figured out exactly when I HAD to leave the house and it doesn't happen until today at 2:45 p.m. when I go get the boys from school and take Gibson to swimming. It has been a good week for laundry and it is a good thing that Tuesday was Cheap Tuesday at Safeway so I didn't need to go out for anything. Please don't hate me... Anyhow, tonight I venture out for the first of my two Broadway shows! I am revisiting Next to Normal at The Citadel tonight with a bunch of friends.  After seeing it two weeks ago it has haunted me.  I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes and listened a lot to it.  I am looking forward to seeing it live again and sharing it with my friends. Tomorrow night I will be seeing the Broadway Across Canada show Rock of Ages at the Jubilee Auditorium.  I am expecting a fun rock based show with many recognizable tunes and a lot of big eighties hair. I

AUDITION! I'm Directing for ELOPE - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

AUDITION NOTICE - ELOPE 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Music and Lyrics by William Finn; Book by Rachel Sheinkin Conceived by Rebecca Feldman Production* dates: May 12 – June 1, 2013 Director: Kristen M. Finlay Music Director: Sally Hunt ; Choreographer: Jake Hastey Auditions: Sunday, January 6th – 1 to 6 p.m. Wed, January 9th – 7 – 10 p.m. Callbacks: Sunday, January 13th – 1 – 6 p.m. Location: La Cite Francophonel; Suzanne Lamy Thibaudeau Room; 8627 - 91 Street Description of the Show: The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups. Casting Requirements: Please note: because adults play the kids in this show, no ages are posted because it just doesn’t matter! All characters are played by adults (16+). Chip Tolentino - C3 - B4 (Tenor).Former champion, going through puberty. Logainne Schwartandgrub

Fabulous Weekend in Jasper - Christmas in November at the JPL to celebrate AM's Significant Birthday!

This was a legendary weekend! I spent it in beautiful Jasper at the Jasper Park Lodge during Christmas in November.  I was there with 7 other wonderful women and we were all there to celebrate a significant birthday of my friend AM. I am still in recovery.  So much good food and drink, dancing, cooking and baking tips, mixology and make-up, shopping, silliness and great conversation.  Here are some highlights: First, the women I was with were great people to be around! Here is a picture of some of them and one of the bears we had a lot of fun with.  I am going to scan our fancy photo with Santa, but I don't have it yet. Second, the food was amazing! Third, great sessions! My favorite was mixology with Micah Dew as he was very entertaining and we got samples of all the drinks he made and I found a few new favorites! Fourth, JASPER - the Lodge itself is all about luxury, and the views are spectacu

Endings and Beginnings and Judy! Just another weekend...

Another jam packed weekend for me and I didn't even get to a Halloween Party!  On Friday, I took Janine to see Typhoon Judy at Theatre Network.  It was a Guys in Disguise production and a ton of fun.  I learned how to sing by listening and singing along to Judy Garland as a child. I also read several of her biographies and next to Marilyn Monroe, she is celebrity I know the most about due to some strange fan fixations I had in my teens so it was great fun to take the ride through Judy's life in this show.  The script is not complex but it is certainly delivered with a great sense of tribute and homage to Judy!  I was impressed with the vocals (live) and the quality, particularly in the big belt notes where you could hear the work that Christopher Peterson had put in to create the sound of the icon. The only thing I wished was that we were sitting at little round tables with candles in red glass holders and a nice glass of wine.  It seemed to be far more suitable a show for a

Next to Normal at The Citadel: More Extraordinary Than Normal

Last night, after a lot of anticipation, I went to Next to Normal at The Citadel .  It was their final night of previews (they open tonight - Thursday, October 25) and it was all I hoped it would be and maybe a bit more.  I am going to avoid giving too many details about the actual plot because I do not want to give away spoilers.  I think the show is good even if you know about it, but I imagine it is even more spectacular when you don't know all the details. This is a ground-breaking Pulitzer Prize winning musical.  It is in no way traditional, being that it is about 95-99% sung and the music itself is rock influenced and incredibly challenging.  All six performers onstage handle the challenge of the vocals well.  None of them have an easy job, but they all seem to make it look that way. Robert Markus as the son, Gabe, is a stand-out vocally hitting unbelievable high note after high note with an ease that suggests he finds singing as easy as breathing. Kathryn Akin is also

Relaxed... for now...

This weekend was wonderful!  Mom and I drove down to Calgary, picked up Annemarie at the airport, and then headed to Banff for our Spa Weekend to celebrate Mom's 70th Birthday!  While in Calgary, Mom called Steven and it turned out Sara was down for family week or something and since it was on the way, we swung by his apartment for a quick visit.  Then on to Banff! It's nice to have a weekend with very little on the agenda.  The Banff Springs Hotel is wonderful and we explored a little bit that first night and had a yummy bite to eat.  Saturday was the big spa day and we all had a relaxation massage, a facial and a manicure and pedicure.  I feel so good right now. I had never had a massage before and I can tell you they are now my favorite thing in the whole world! That evening we went for dinner, went in search of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce for the birthday girl and then did a little shopping. It was a great night of eating and drinking and talking with two

An Evening of Atmosphere - The Weir

Opening Night for The Weir was a wonderful success.  The house was very full, especially for such a small cast show, but perhaps the play helped as it seemed to be the perfect piece for this time of year.  It's a little spooky but cozy as well and by the end of the play you really get to know the five characters on stage.  My mother commented on how wonderfully defined each of them was and how they seemed to move around the space so naturally, as though they really were in their favorite pub. The weather in Edmonton this week seems to echo the weather in the play and it really felt like we were all gathered in the comforting space of this neighborhood pub, keeping warm from the biting wind outside. I was very impressed with the performances onstage.  Cody Porter, always a favorite, was at his tip-top best.  He's the kind of actor who can convey so much with a single raise of his eye brow or expression.  He doesn't need to talk but when he does, like in his final story

Another Opening! The Weir at Walterdale

I am off tonight to see The Weir at Walterdale.  It is my first official show of the season in terms on ones I have worked on.  I am quite pleased with how it looks and it feels worth all the time I put into it.  You can get a good look at it in the photo in this Gateway Preview Article and you catch a few nice glimpses in the media photos . I caught a rehearsal (Q2Q) but I am really looking forward to seeing the completed show tonight.  I love the atmosphere of Opening Nights.  I am taking Mom along and I think we shall have a lovely time!  Last night I worked a casino for my sons' school so I am a bit tired. I tried to sleep in but a half dozen phone calls really interfered with the quality of that sleep. The Weir , though, is pretty engaging and only 100 minutes long so I think I will be fine tonight! I look forward to raising a glass with everyone after the show!