Showing posts from March, 2013

"Real" Children's Theatre... AKA Drama Camp

Gibson's Class - Attention for their Teacher! The boys both took part in Drama Camp at The Foote Theatre School this past week.  I have had them in The Foote for various classes over the years and have always been very pleased with the curriculum and delivery, but this was one of the best yet.  I really appreciated the work as demonstrated in the final presentations on the final day and because it was Good Friday it meant that Mark also got to see the shows.  This time they split up the presentations so it was just the friends and families of the presenting class so the audience groups were smaller and everyone had a nice close seat where we could see and hear everything.  The shows were also great fun.  Oliver was in the 11-14 Comedy and Laughter Class and he had a great time.  I wasn't sure how it would go for him because he was definitely one of the younger kids in the group, but the great thing about drama kids is that they are so accommodating so you don't have to

Holy Cow! That Kid Can Dance! Billy Elliot at the Jube...

On Saturday Night we saw Billy Elliot at the Jubilee as part of the Broadway Across Canada series.  Although I have seen part of the movie I was not familiar with the musical so I was in for a bit of a treat in discovery.  They have been running commercials on TV for the past month so I was familiar with a few bars of one song but not much else musically.  It was a great night of theatre.  This is a show that is really about dance and it sure did that well from all in the cast with the lead, Billy Elliot, as a phenomenal stand-out.  There are four Billys with the tour.  We saw Ben Cook. I was floored at what this kid could do.  Not only was he an amazing dancer, but he was also a wonderful actor with a lovely singing voice. It blows me away that they have four of them! That one kid could do all that so well is amazing, but to have four! Wow!  There are other talented members in the cast, both young and old.  I particularly liked Sam Poon as Michael and Janet Dickinson as Mrs. Wilkinso

Late Night Posting... Insomnia

Right now it's 4:39 a.m. This is not a good thing.  I should be sleeping.  I almost was, but the snoring kept me from going completely out.  I don't blame Mark, he is sick and there have been many nights when I have kept him awake with my snoring.  I moved rooms but I have a hard time with other mattresses and to be honest my mind has been quite awake after an unintentionally stressful rehearsal.  For the last month we have been focusing on choreography as that is when the schedules have allowed for it so it has meant a very jam packed month with a lot of moves for the cast to learn.  For me, it was a lot of being there but the focus was not on my stuff.  That's okay, but I do prefer to layer choreography in earlier and interspersed with scene work so that there is a little more time between rehearsals for the actors to reinforce the moves and at the same there is time where I am working with them on scenes so that the continuity and structure of my rehearsal pattern is m

A Trip to the World of Shakespeare... Wonderful Storytelling...

Yesterday afternoon I took in When That I Was at Shadow Theatre.  Solo actor Christopher Hunt plays Jack Rice, nephew of Will Shakespeare, recounting his days int he theatre at the height of Shakespeare's career.  We were treated to a multitude of characters and stories as Hunt shifted seamlessly from queen to playwright to Earl, all as they were seen through the eyes of his younger self. I was very impressed with the tightness of the production.  Hunt himself is a gifted story-teller from within the piece.  I must commend the brilliant lighting design (Terry Gunvordahl) which works so well with Hunt to create the quick shifts in time and space seamlessly sweeping the audience up in the story.  There are many, many fascinating characters in the play, all played by Hunt as Jack Rice.  We see Shakespeare in love and jealous and disappointed and resigned. We meet Kemp and Burbage and other actors of the troupe.  We even meet Queen Elizabeth.  It's a great piece for those who lo

Something Wicked... at the U of A Drama Department

Last night I took in the 3rd BFA Class production of MacBeth in Corner Stage.  For the class it is technically an acting course, but there was nothing classroom-like about the production.  For little or no production costs Director Ron Jenkins managed to put together a tight piece with fantastic lighting, sound and costumes (designed by Victoria Krawchuk).  I went for a number of reasons.  MacBeth is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, I know many of the cast members from other productions and classes, and I know the fight choreographer, Janine Hodder, very well and wanted to see what she had done with the numerous sword fights in the piece.  I was blown away!  Yes, she's my friend, but I can comment here - there is some fantastic fighting in this show and it is up and down and all around - on tables, up and down stairs, fast and layered and I was so impressed (as were the people I saw it with!).  I know that she has really enjoyed working with this class and for some of the

The Kite Runner - A Chance to be Good Again...

Last night I took my Mom to see The Kite Runner at The Citadel Theatre. Based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini it tells the story of two young boys in Afghanistan during the 1970s and the impact of the events of the country's history on their friendship.  It is also a story about making amends and forgiving yourself for past wrongs. The production is beautiful and rich in sensory elements.  It has the right feel for part of the world it portrays and rather than go with a very concrete realistic stage Director Eric Rose's production has instead wisely chosen a more abstract and flexible design (Set and Lighting Design - Kerem Cetinel).   It works well as the scenes shift quickly from place to place and time to time in Amir's (Anousha Alamian) memory as he narrates. Sound also plays an important role in the production - with a live musician onstage (Salar Nader) complimenting the Sound Design of Matthew Waddell.  It is stunning to both see and hear and the repeated images of

Whirlwind Weekend! ... Next!

Had a great time this weekend rushing from thing to thing.  The boys took up a significant portion as they usually do, but with one organizing a play date for Friday evening and the other having a bowling party on Saturday afternoon it meant that I couldn't see as much as I wanted. Oh well, it happens and I can't really complain because I do get out to a lot of things. Plus I was happy to see them both engaging positively with their peers and since I didn't have to do much more than be there it was all good. It did make for a bit of running around.  After Mark got home from work on Saturday I scooted off to catch some of the Skirts AFire Festival. I was treated to a magic show by Billy Kidd and then a reading of a work under development ( Her Story) by Annette Loiselle and Nadien Chu.  It might be the playwright in me, but I really love play readings.  I also have a very strong visual imagination so I am not bothered by not having a full set and all the blocking.  Plus

International Women's Day - I think Edmonton Holds it's Own!

Thinking about International Women's Day - mostly because Facebook and Twitter have it plastered all over the place - and realized that I feel Edmonton really holds it's own at least in theatre.  With Skirts AFire holding it's first ever herArts Festival this weekend and the Expanse Movement Arts Festiva l - both with exceptional involvement from women in the performance and organization ( read: behind the scenes ) areas - I think we are in a good place.  Would I like more female ADs of the principal theatre companies?  Probably, but I also think that we have some great movers and shakers who are women in the field and I think we have some great male ADs that recognize the talent that lives here and they do not let gender make their decisions for them.  I could be wrong in that, but I seem to see a lot of women in arts management in the city.  These are smart, sharp and invested women who know how to get things done. What makes me feel we have the right attitude it is th

Finally Writing... Feels Good...

It is no secret - I write to deadlines and from feedback.  So, luckily I have had both to motivate me in the past few weeks.  I was happy to hear that one of the scripts that I submitted for the First Annual Skirts AFire - herArts Festival - Peep Show was selected.  The selection of The Easy Road ( which I wrote at last Fringe's Play in a Day ) led to a great meeting with Dramaturge Tracy Carroll and gave me the impetus to write a new draft to get ready to submit to the APC (Alberta Playwriting Competition). This was a bit of a challenge as the deadline of March 1st means that I am torn between getting T4s done and working on my writing!  Every year the same thing happens and one of those things I kind of have to do or else Canada Revenue and our employees would be ticked off at me!  Anyhow, I managed to finish a new draft and send it off. In preparation for Peep Show, we are using the original submitted draft because some of the structural changes would make the new draft a

Fantastic Sounds - CD Release Party for Lesley Pelletier

Last night I took a little break from theatre to attend the CD Release Party for Lesley Pelletier's new CD Turn Down the Lights at Fiddler's Roost.  It was a great night of music and visiting with my good friend Julie who took me as her guest, and I was doubly pleased to leave with one of the new CDs to listen to.  I have known Lesley ever since I did the show Baby with her a few years ago.  I have known her mother Judy Stelck even longer and I had a great time visiting with her as well. The music - well, you can hear some of it here on her website.  The album is fully produced with a band, while the website is mostly just Lesley with guitar, but it still gives you a great idea of what her sound is.  It is music that requires a strong singer, which Lesley certainly is.  She has one of those full bodied voices that can belt as well as soar and which can express a variety of emotions.  Lesley also wrote all the songs on the CD and what impressed me most is that they are all