HEART OF STEEL: AUDITION CALL

Auditions:  HEART OF STEEL, Next Stage Festival (Aim for the Tangent Theatre)

Casting roles of all ages for "Heart of Steel", a new musical comedy by Wesley J. Colford, which will take place in the Factory Theatre Mainspace as part of the Next Stage Festival, January 6th - 17th, 2016.

Audition Day 1: 10/14/15
City: Toronto

Audition Day 2: 10/15/15
City: Toronto

Call backs: 10/16/15
City: Toronto

Deadline to submit:  Saturday, October 10th at Midnight

Email applications to: tangentsubmissions@gmail.com

 

Engager website: www.aimforthetangent.com

Equity submissions welcome, performers will be engaged under the Equity Festival Agreement. Compensation will be provided in the form of profit share.

 

ALL PRODUCTIONS WILL BE COLOUR BLIND CAST AND PERFORMERS OF ALL CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS AND ETHNICITIES ARE ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT.

As well, performers who play one or more musical instruments will also be given special consideration: please indicate in your submission letter what instruments you play.

 

Successful applicants will be asked to prepare the following:

One short song, NO LONGER than 2 minutes in length. Piano accompaniment will be provided, please bring your own sheet music.

In addition, when contacted you may be asked to prepare sides. Please indicate in your submission if there are any roles for which you are particularly interested in being considered.

 

CASTING BREAKDOWN: 

(Note: Ages reflect the character and not necessary the performer. We have open minds.)

Amelia MacPherson - Fiercely intelligent and longing for adventure. Amelia comes from a modest upbringing and puts her own dreams on hold to help provide for her family. Curious, cautious, logical, self-sacrificing, with more inside her than she knows what to do with. (17-20)

Jenny MacPhearson - Jenny shares her older sister's quest for adventure and usually gets what she wants. Resourceful, cunning, and bold. A self-proclaimed troublemaker. (13-17)

Maureen MacPhearson - The widowed Matriarch of the MacPherson household. Wearied and stretched by the responsibility of providing for her family, her conservative views sometimes overwhelm her attempts to do what's best for her daughters. (40-50)

Charlotte MacPherson - The youngest of the MacPherson sisters, their father died shortly after her birth. Smart and attentive, if sometimes bratty. (6-12)

Edie MacPherson - The sister of Maureen's late husband, Edie lives with the girls and helps with the house. A gossip and busybody, but with a heart of gold; as full of wisdom as she is colourful metaphors. (35-60)

Jinks O'Toole - The supervisor of staff at the Sydney Steel Plant. A man who's had the same job all of his life on the verge of shipping off to war on another continent. Salt of the earth with a stubborn streak and daft as a dark winged duck. (35-60)

Georgie MacDougall - Tough as nails and brassy to boot. Georgie doesn't take flack from any man and doesn't need much of an excuse to pick a fight. Able to take care of herself just fine. A jar of homemade moonshine doesn't hurt though... (25-50)

Dottie Dubranski - As sophisticated as they come this side of the Canso Causeway. Dottie cares a great deal for her friends and is very loyal when the going gets rough. Her fiancee, Olivier, ships off for war. (17-30)

Kay Riley - Naive and somewhat sheltered, Kay joins the Steel Plant to expand her career horizons and challenge herself socially. Also to learn how to swear. (17-30)

Olivier Gourdeau - A handsome Acadian from Cheticamp, engaged to Dottie. Works cranes at the Steel Plant but is readying to ship off to war. Well meaning, but always a little bit late. Knowledge of Acadian French is an asset (17-40)

Felix "Mackie" MacIsaac - Sturdy and stalwart, Mackie is the best "crane man" there is, having worked at the Steel Plant since it first went up. He knows everything there is about cranes and is looking for someone to mentor. Originally from Newfoundland. (50-70)

Ethel Jones - A school teacher turned scientist for the Steel Plant chemistry division. In charge of fractional distillation. While she may seem cold, she cares deeply for the men and women under her and wants everyone to get home safely. (25-40)

George Lemoine - A loner and a bully, but not without charm. Lives a thankless life in the furnaces of the coke ovens and ships out soon for a thankless life overseas. (20-50)

Douglas Troy - Well meaning but shy. Another poor schlub from the coke ovens. Dreams of advancement, met with ironic fate. (20-50)

Jake Harvey - Hard worker at the steel plant who longs to go to war, denied due to flat feet. Frustrated with his lot but committed to thorough work. (20-40)

Corey Lahey - Very much in support of women working at the Plant. In support of women in general. Mostly in support of peeping them in the showers. A misogynist and a cad. (20-30)

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: If requested, scripts can be made available to read prior to auditions. Please indicate in your submission if you are interested in reading the script in advance.

If necessary, video auditions will be accepted but in person is preferred. Please indicate if you would need to send a video audition and we will provide additional material.

 

Interested applicants are asked to submit a resume and headshot to tangentsubmissions@gmail.com, attention: Wesley J. Colford, Artistic Director. Electronic submissions only. No phone calls please.

 

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT:  Saturday, October 10th, 2015 by 11:59 PM

HEART OF STEEL comes to Next Stage!

A new full length musical from Wesley J. Colford debuts in Toronto at the 2016 Next Stage Festival! This war-time musical comedy about women taking over work at the Sydney Steel Plant premiered at the Highland Arts Theatre March 23rd, 2015 and will come to Toronto with a new cast and creative team, running January 6th-17th. 

"Next Stage is the perfect place to see this show develop further. It's had an amazing run in Sydney and stands to only get better with more time, energy, and a fresh outlook. Lots of changes will be happening over the next months, but it couldn't be more exciting!"

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The production will take place at the Factory Theatre Mainspace January 6-17, 2015.

The new creative team includes:

Luke Brown, Director
Chris Mounteer, Music Director
Amanda Nuttall, Choreographer
Matt Pilipiak, Associate Producer
Wesley J. Colford, Producer

SUMMARY: 

The year is 1943. The Sydney Steel Plant is in full swing, providing half of Canada's steel for the war efforts, but WW2 is far from over. The boys are overseas, and it's up to Cape Breton's female force to hold the fort! A lovable cast of outrageous characters that will put a smile on your face and a tune in your heart. 

Featuring an original score that mixes traditional East Coast folk with '40's swing and boogie woogie. Heart of Steel is sure to steal your heart!

 

Auditions will be held Oct. 14 & 15, 2015 in Toronto, ON. Check back soon for more details!

A RETURN

It's been almost a year to the day since Aim for the Tangent finished the last play of its 2013/14 Season - our first official "season" - and I hopped on a plane to return to a long neglected home to take up an adventure, the  breadth of which I held neither comprehension nor conception. 

After 8 years of studies and work in Ontario, I was to return to Sydney, Nova Scotia - the "capital" of the disproportionately small island of Cape Breton. The reason: to direct a local production of my Vaudeville musical The Wakowski Brothers, the first production undertaken by Aim for the Tangent and our first big hit. This would serve as the debut production of another new venture - a new venue, once a church, now converted into a gorgeous 550 seat theatre. 

Some first steps on what would be the stage of the Highland Arts Theatre.

Some first steps on what would be the stage of the Highland Arts Theatre.

Downtown Sydney had never had a professional theatre venue, not in my lifetime at least. The stories of now demolished Vaudeville houses lining Charlotte St (the "main drag") was the stuff of inspiration for my own work, but just as the Vaudeville circuit dried up, so did these theatres. The nearest "regional theatre" being the Neptune in Halifax (5 odd hours away from Sydney, for those keeping score).

This conversion of a gorgeous 100 year old church was an incredible undertaking, but one I remained skeptical of. No theatre venue meant no theatre audiences and despite a thriving community theatre scene based around the local university and a recent renaissance of Broadway musicals at the Savoy (one of the aforementioned Vaudeville houses in the nearby city of Glace Bay), I worried that Sydney wouldn't be able to sustain a mid-level, "alternative" theatre putting on productions akin to the scale of Toronto's Tarragon or Passe Muraille.

I committed to one show. The success of which lead to committing to a second show: A Christmas Carol. The mega-success of which prompted the planning of a very hasty Winter/Spring Season, which lead to my involvement in 5 shows in the past 5 months. 

The trials and triumphs of these past five months are the stuff of another blog post (or several volumes of memoirs), suffice to say: Highland Arts Theatre defied by every expectation and as we speak, we are readying three new productions and one re-mount which will run in rep all summer as well as an all new 5 play season for the months between September and Christmas.

When I left, I had no expectation that I would be leaving Toronto for so long or that I would be able to combine so much of the world I have been studying, living in, and trying to create back home in my own town. 

It has now been five months since I've been in Toronto and as I write this, I am readying to return. In just a week and a half I will be walking your urine caked sidewalks, breathing your sterile, smoggied air, and biking through your gorgeous nights until the warmth and breath and lights coalesce to create the feeling of infinite.

"First Time Last Time" opens at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace on June 10th. More soon!

Poster Design by Hilary Scott

Poster Design by Hilary Scott

2014/2015: Season Announcement

Hello Sports Fans! 

November is here and after an extended summer break, it is once again time to Aim for the Tangent!

We had an extremely busy last year with four world premieres, two remounts, two multi-city tours, and a workshop - plus the professional debut of our flagship show, The Wakowski Brothers... It's been a lot. 

We've been extremely lucky and extremely busy in the interim, but at last we are proud to announce the next three shows to be hitting Toronto with the usual Aim for the Tangent flare.

This season takes us from the bedroom of a young woman to a magical/shitty island, from the brink of unexpected tragedy to the culmination of a long expected one - working with new collaborators, old partners, and dear friends. 

As usual, stay posted for further updates or sign up for our mailing list for exclusive information on upcoming auditions. 

And now, without further ado, your 2014/15 Season:

SEX & THIS
by Wesley J. Colford

Part of CIRCLE JERK produced by Soup Can Theatre, safeword, and Aim for the Tangent

Sex and This by Wesley J. Colford (The Wakowski Bros., Aim for the Tangent – Best of Fringe – NOW Magazine Critics Pick: Outstanding Production); A touching and distinctly modern comedy-drama about death, self-destruction, and the new rules of mourning in the age of Facebook. Directed by two time Dora Award nominee Jakob Ehman (Cockfight, Theatre Brouhaha; Minotaur, Young People’s Theatre; Donors, safeword) and starring Tiffany Deobald (Much Ado About Nothing, Single Thread Theatre) and Carys Lewis (The Corpse Bride, Theatre Panik).

Soup Can Theatresafeword, and Aim for the Tangent Theatreare proud to present Circle Jerk; one production, four new and provocative short plays written under unique constraints. This past summer, members of the public were invited to submit original snippets of dialogue that the participating playwrights would have to use as the opening and closing lines of their new creations. After receiving almost300 submissions, four intriguing lines were selected and assigned to the writers:

“Subtlety is not your specialty.”
“What’s Bulgarian for slut?”
“I think it’s time we talked about your filthy rituals.”
“I fucking hate potatoes.”

As an added twist, each of the lines of dialogue were assigned to two playwrights in order to serve as both the closing line of one play and the opening line of the following play. This loosely interconnected and ultimately cyclical structure (with the first play starting and the last play ending with the same line) puts the “circle” in Circle Jerk. After an intense writing and production period, the end results are four diverse yet cohesive works backed by an impressive roster of talent. Click here to reserve advance tickets - limited availability.

Praise for participating companies’ previous productions includes:

Sultry … Seductive … Uniformly Delectable … N N N N N” – NOW Magazine

Fast and Furious … A Story of Surprising Depth …★★★★½” – Torontoist

Sexually Charged … A Thrill Ride … ★★★★” – My Gay Toronto

SHIT SONG FOR SOME ISLAND
by KYLE CAPSTICK

After last year's bold and highly divisive Of Shapes Transformed by Love, Aim for the Tangent once again teams up with Kyle Capstick and Newborn Theatre in this new play about identity, place, and the purgatory of home. 

Fiddler wants you to believe that there’s something about this island. Jane knows she’s in love with it despite never having been there. Jane’s sister Ryann doesn’t  share her love. Worried that Jane will leave the city for the island, Ryann asks Duana to convince Jane that the island isn’t worth loving. If the air on the island is music, will Jane ever play it?

This play follows the debut of Kyle's second Toronto production, I Don't Want to Dance with Straight People, which played in August of this year. A Toronto production directed by the author will debut in Toronto in February of 2015.

Live fiddle music will accompany the performance.

FIRST TIME LAST TIME
by SCOTT SHARPLIN

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"You say the first time is the last time, fine."

"Okay. Let's do it."

Ben and Airlea have nothing in common except a mutual attraction. With no interest in long term commitment, they embark on a succession of first dates and last loves filled with harmony and heart break, intimacy and disconnection, romantic fancy and hard reality. A moving and personal drama about a one night stand that becomes a lifetime.

This contemporary love story is at times equally hilarious and heartbreaking, cynical and sentimental. Developed through the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and will make its professional world premiere at Shadow Theatre in Edmonton in March 2015. The play will then receive an east coast production in Sydney, NS at the Highland Arts Theatre in May, before veering once again West for Toronto.

The Aim for the Tangent production will take place June 3rd - 13th of 2015 at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace.

FRINGE: 10 to See (2014 Edition)

Following the success of last year's blog post, and in the spirit of mutual promotion and artistic community, I have spent the morning culling down my "Must See" Fringe List of 30 shows down to the Top 10 that I am most excited for! There are literally dozens of others I am looking forward to and I'm sure many of my favourites will completely blind side me, but two days before Toronto's biggest Theatre Festival commences for another year, these are my picks. 

DISCLAIMER: I have not seen these shows in their final form, if at all, and all recommendations are based largely on friendships and trust in the talents of the artists involved. So not biased at all.

Sean Sullivan, Nicole Wilson, and Craig Thomas is "Potosí". Photo by Nicholas Porteous.

Sean Sullivan, Nicole Wilson, and Craig Thomas is "Potosí". Photo by Nicholas Porteous.

BUT FIRST: This year, I have the privilege of producing Alexander Offord's award winning new play "Potosí" for his company, good old neon. Potosí was the winning of the 2014 Fringe Best New Play Contest and as such is expected to sell very well. Avoid lines and pre-sale fees by joining us THIS WEDNESDAY at 10:30 PM for the world premiere of this exciting and dangerous new play. You'll laugh, you'll think, but you'll also be terrified. 

Tickets available at the door, or in advance HERE. It's also the second last day to donate to our crowdsourcing campaign - click here to check it out!

And now, the TOP 10....

52 PICK UP (Pg. 14)

A tremendously talented group of young actors come together to perform this structural sizzling play that promises to take its chronology from a deck of cards - a different show each night! Featuring all star talent, including several recent additions to the Soulpepper ensemble, and two company members from Aim for the Tangent's past season: Cam Laurie and Ruth Goodwin!

ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (Pg. 16)

I missed this play by seconds after sprinting from another venue at the Atlantic Fringe last summer. Performer and Playwright Nancy Kenny is a crackerjack personality, however, and after touring the country, I can't wait to finally catch this one woman powerhouse take on Toronto!

VALKYRIE (Pg. 16)

It promises to be a great year for the Tarragon Extra Space! Also at this venue is "Valkyrie", from Rarely Pure Theatre. I caught their excellent production of "As You Like It" this past winter and was thoroughly impressed by the work of this indie company. One of my favourite performers, Katie Ribout, is featured in it. Plus it's got a kick ass poster!

HUGH AND I (Pg. 20) 

From some of the team that brought past Best of Fringe hit "Funny Business" (a major influence on my young pre-Fringe self), this musical about Hugh Hefner features some mega-talented musical theatre ladies and some great original music by Daniel Abrahamson (who also stars). The musical I'm most looking forward to!

CONFESSIONS OF A REDHEADED COFFEESHOP GIRL
(Pg. 24)

I saw this performed last fall and loved it, but that was before a national and New York tour. Sufficed to say I'm very excited to see how much it's grown and laugh and cheer on Rebecca Perry as she makes her triumphant return to Toronto! A must see if you're a twenty-something, a redhead, or a coffeeshop girl. 

THE TROJAN WOMEN (Pg. 24)

Directed by Peter Pasyk, who I worked with this past year on Sean Dixon's "A God in Need of Help" at Tarragon, this giant cast features the graduating class of Randolph Academy. An epic Greek collosus, with a lead part described as the "female King Lear", I can't wait to see what Pasyk brings to this timeless tale.

THREE MEN IN A BOAT (Pg. 26)

A new play by one of my favourite Canadian playwrights, Mark Brownell, directed by one of my favourite directors, Sue Miner, and featuring  two of my favourite actors (and people), Matt Pilipiak and Scott Garland? No, I'm not biased at all. Seriously though, Pea Green Theatre has been selling out Fringe shows since the first year of the Toronto Fringe and is sure to make another big splash with this new show. Get tickets early!

AN ODE TO DYADS (Pg. 52)

I saw a preview of this highly physical and fiercely intelligent clown piece (or is it a fiercely clowny play of ideas?) at the Paprika Festival in April and was blown away by the dark comedic chops of these two young performers. The piece has since been developed and expanded and I can't wait to see it. 

CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE (Pg. 66)

I don't know much about this site-specific post-apocalyptic play other than that it allegedly features some pretty radical mixed-media innovations and features Aim for the Tangent favourite, Amy Marie Wallace (last seen in "Of Shape Transformed by Love"). A script by David Brock makes the package even more attractive. They have lots of shows, but seating is limited so book early!

SUMMER SPECTACULAR (Pg. 64)

This is a big one. Literally. Giant. Like, giant puppets. And the sun. I'm telling you, this one is huge. 

I spent the better part of last year working with Jacob Zimmer and Small Wooden Show on a variety of projects and was privvy to some of the pre-pre-pondering surrounding this show. I haven't seen the fruits of the labours yet, but knowing the genius of Jacob ans his amazing team (including Chris Stanton and Susanna Fournier). Be excited. Be really excited. 

OTHER SHOWS I'M REALLY EXCITED FOR:

The Common Ground, Julius Caesar, Punch Up (by Kat Sandler!), All in the Timing, Myth of the Ostrich, Red Headed Step Child, Never Swim Alone, Sean and Steven Run for Mayor, Love's Labour's Lost, Chasing Margaret Fleetwood, and True.

Plus, like 20 more but I have to go deliver postcards. 

Expect updates as I actually see some shows, but for now - as the Fringe would say - GO OUT AND SEE SOME THEATRE!

OF SHAPES: The Dramaturg

Only three more performances for Of Shapes Transformed by Love!

It's been a wild and exciting ride, and it's not over yet! We've seen the eye of the hurricane and it looks like blue skies from here on out (well... not at night) but regardless of the weather, it's always an adventure. 

In the last installment of our Creative Team series, we bring you Suzanna Derewicz, our Production Dramaturg and Movement Coach, who sheds some light on the process she brought to rehearsals and some of the more ethereal aspects of performance. 

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From Suzanna Derewicz:

I’ve felt extremely privileged to be a part of the process on this show. It’s a project that excited me from the get go as something that I could sink my teeth into, that allowed room for interpretation, exploration and called for a less traditional approach to script analysis and to working. It called for an understanding of the physical, and physical made visceral. Turns out Kyle liked the idea of having someone coming into to the process who had experience with this, and having trained primarily in Grotowski’s methods, that made me their candidate. Quickly I became a regular at rehearsals – first as an outside eye. Soon I began working with the actors one-on-one, and in ensemble configurations to help them find their characters – bodies, mannerisms, transformations (as so many of them do), the life within the world of the play, its pulse, and where it sits within them.

I’ve felt inspired watching pennies drop and discoveries being made. Things that first felt strange in rehearsals started to make more sense once more organic approaches were introduced in tandem with the script work they were already doing. Rich imaginations started fuelling the work. I encouraged a degree of selfishness in rehearsals, to not be so polite. I asked them to offer up their discoveries, to go to the rickety places, to balance there a while, to see what happens.

I’ve been excited to find new ways into this work, and inspired by seeing others on my team doing it with gusto, not being afraid of it. As well, I’m glad to have offered at least a few more people, a couple of new tools so that when approaching the work textually – or intellectually is not working, they can try going to go other places for answers, places that are driven by impulses, and not just ideas about what a scene is, or who the character is, or what the play is, but digging underneath those surface ideas.

What resulted was an ensemble who wasn’t afraid to be ravenous for connection, who wasn’t afraid to go into the savagery of their imaginations, live there for a bit, and see what they can take from there.

Don't miss this show - tonight, tomorrow, or Sunday at 9:00 - the beauty and the magic.

Tickets available here.

OF SHAPES: A Preview

Tonight we open our doors to audiences for the first time for our first and last Pay-What-You-Can Preview. In professional theatre, it is common practice with new work to begin a run with a series of "preview performances" to test the work in front of an audience and tweak accordingly before unleashing it to the cruel lashes of critics and paying patrons. At theatres such as the Tarragon, shows get a full week of Previews before opening. On Broadway, sometimes months. We have one - and even it is a luxury.

In the spirit of releasing this new work and the layers of artistry that have gone into its creation, I am very pleased to release this beautiful trailer from the masterful hands of Nicholas Porteous.

Pay-What-You-Can-Preview, tonight at 9:00PM. 

We then run Wednesday to Sunday every night until May 18th. Come rain or shine, come snuggle with us at the Majlis Art Gardens, 163 Walnut Ave. Layers are encouraged, but the space is covered so no matter the weather you will be dry and in good company, soothed by the sensuousness and spirituality of storytelling by candlelight.

Seating is limited so CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE.

OF SHAPES: Let There Be Light....

In our second post in our Of Shapes Transformed by Love design series, we bring you the ever-evocative and artfully transportive Joe Pagnan with some preview pics of the finished design (including some secrets) as well as his original design statement. (One of my favourite parts of starting a new show with Joe is his design statements.)

43° 35.896', -80° 15.950'

"it is a moment tripping on its toes, teetering on the blade's edge. Footsteps running across a wooden floor. Hiding [playing] amongst the willow's hair. A breeze, tickling the hair on the back of my neck. Shifting, tilting, falling, tumbling over toes over crown over toes.

a light breeze, I am overlooking a lake, a willow billows above my dreams. The smell of a fire, pine. running [playing] through the forest, my legs are a steed's. pounding, white steam rising from my mouth each pattern repeat. The water, cold, ice melt off. dew rising, steam over its calm, the sky breathes. the wood is scorched, my dear, how will you dance your jig? morning tears won't remove the scars in the wood, age will expand them and they will bubble as a memory on its bark. flaking. 

the tendril sways around me, [i] see through her hair to the flickering stars. pictures in ultraviolet, slicing in the blue black sky.  I must. Beating the earth, footsteps faster free, gaining, flight up, tripping on its toes, teetering dream, skirting over water, fast; I put in my index finger and paint a picture as I glide. summer birds changing their reflections in the lake. the stars are brighter than the earth tonight, up there is where we belong, amongst the imagined lines, dreams of fates and astrology, we are as much them as this tree I've attached my swing to. holding it down. it will grow around me, absorbed by the bark until it bubbles and flakes. forever encased. the wood is scorched my dear. how will you dance your jig? your pretty face wrinkled with age, flaking. the wind in the last strands of hair. ice blue eyes look out on the lake. reflecting the forever blue of memory. how much smaller the tree seems standing under it now. the dirt is padded down by a hundred's hundred of little feet. It's a moment, tripping on its toes, falling [playing]."

Of Shapes Transformed by Love starts tomorrow night at 9:00PM with a Pay What You Can Preview. To book tickets for later in the run, click here

OF SHAPES: Through the Wardrobe...

With one week until the opening of Aim for the Tangent's new production "Of Shapes Transformed by Love", we've opted to feature some of the many creative voices with fresh perspectives of the process and what thrills and challenges have been part of this journey. 

This is our biggest team yet with a cast of 8 and a creative team of 5 (7 if you include publicity). With so many artistic angles, our first guest writer is Lindsay Junkin, our Wardrobe and Prop Mistress. Stay tuned over the following week for more articles and some exciting news...,

“But How Would I Transform a Woman Into a Tree?”

 by Lindsay Junkin

When I first read an early draft of Kyle Capstick’s Of Shapes Transformed By Love I was taken by the world created on the pages, the weaving of mythological imagery and modern identity struggles. But my technical mind was also pretty immediately struck by how creatively challenging it would be to stage, I mean six transformations in front of an audience, how? It planted itself so much in my brain that over the following months when I had any issues on other productions, I would take a step back from the problem at hand and ask myself the question “but how would I transform a woman into a tree?” Mechanics, conceptual movement, how could that be done well? I’d muse and so when I finally returned to my actual production issue it would seem infinity easier. Ages later, I related this story to Kyle and he laughed.

Two weeks later he asked me to finally figure it out as his costume and prop designer for this production.

Helping to create this world on stage has been so satisfying and really very organic for me. There were times to play with the fantastical and times play against it, balancing in such a way to make a world simultaneously familiar and apart from us. The characters of Of Shapes accept the extraordinary as they live timelines interconnected with each other. They’re a people on the sea, surrounded by nature with familiar societal traditions like marriage and make-up but there is hardness, a wildness, an otherness. The modern with the mythic, the feminine and the masculine, the cyclical and linear, love and violence. I aspire to define this world in its own right. Something that, through costumes, has meant a rustic look, a lot of layering and dare I say, pieces with a trans-formative element.

So here I have been asking myself “how would I transform a woman into a tree” and hoping you like my answer. 

OF SHAPES: MEET THE CAST

With just over a week before the grand opening of Kyle Capstick's mini-epic, Of Shapes Transformed by Love, we present the sprawling cast behind this mythic and magical marvel. 

Click below to read on. 

All headshots by the fabulous Jonathan Harvey. Creative team bios to follow! Stay tuned all week for more updates as the countdown to Of Shapes continues...

Read More

GENESIS: One More Night...

And so, after a year and a half of work over 4 productions and 2 casts, tonight it finally comes to an end. We've done this show for sold out houses, and audiences of 4. We braved the wilds of Hamilton, and Toronto's east side. We've played churches, cathedrals, and chapels - not to mention Red Sandcastles - and at 10:00 tonight, Genesis will go back into whatever vaults store the unlimited creative potential that is theatrical magic. 

It's unfortunate that said magic is transient, and wholly dependent on it's inconstant, ethereal nature, but then if it was constant... would it truly be magic? And so like the Sandcastle within which we've made our home for the past two weeks, at the end of the night we go out with the tide.

Thank you to everyone who's made this play such an enormous part of my life. To Ros, for creating the most fun world to play in and letting us continue to play in it. To Viv, for shaping and believing in that world, and charging gung ho along with my crazy schemes. To all the actors I've had the privilege of sharing the stage with and the many voices who have brought this play to life in so many different ways. To Lee Fairbanks and the Pearl Company, for believing in us. To Rosemary Doyle, for her wisdom, trust, and generosity. And to all the people who laughed: Truly we are a blessed troupe.

And for all the people still to laugh: See you tonight.

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THE REVIEWS ARE IN:

"The most deliriously funny play I have seen in a very long time. [Rosamund Small] scores more laughs in only 75 minutes than do many comedies in twice that time... If you missed it last year, don't make the same mistake twice."
- 4 Stars, Christopher Hoile, Stage Door

"A genius and frequently uproarious farce...The quintet of performers submit themselves to being ridiculous in service to the play and, in the process, become heroic and hilarious.
"
- 4 Stars, Drew Rowsome, My Gay Toronto

"Invigorating, creative, hilarious, and often very affectionate... This cast knows precisely what to do."
Mike Anderson, Mooney on Theatre

GENESIS: The Second Coming

Last week Genesis & Other Stories opened in Hamilton as part of the Pearl Company Winter Theatre Festival in Aim for the Tangent's second major production of Rosamund Small's hilarious farce. After a sold out run at the Toronto Fringe Festival, it was such a joy to re-visit this piece, although the new production brought its own new challenges. 

Due to scheduling conflicts, three members of the original cast were unable to join us for these two revived runs (Hamilton and Red Sandcastle Theatre: advance tickets now available here), and so December was filled with rushed and ragged rehearsals, trying the stamina and mental agility of the brave new actors who had taken on the unenviable task of replacing three beloved and lauded ensemble members. 

The result has been an extraordinary theatre experience, and a testament to the subjectivity and brilliance of live performance. While the script has remained (more or less) the same, injecting the play with new blood has irrevocably altered the very core of every character and relationship, meaning that events and decisions now play with entirely different motivation and subtext - a confusing and delightful challenge as one of two original castmates! In such a short period of time, our heroic new members of the team have seized their roles completely, making them entirely their own while honouring the spirit of the original script. 

As we prepare to head back to Hamilton for our second weekend of shows, here's a brief introduction to our new band of players. If you saw the show at Fringe, come witness this exciting alternate reality. If you missed the show at Fringe, you're in for a treat. 

Click below for pics and bios...

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GENESIS AT THE PEARL: Inside the Oyster

Yesterday, the cast of Genesis and our fearless director piled into a van and braved the maiden voyage across wintery terrain to the fabled, but previously unexplored, terrain of that legendary city of old: Hamilton. Having only heard rumours, we knew not what to expect... How our fortunes reveled when we walked into a beautiful, Distillery-esque castle of exposed brick and forgotten treasures known as: The Pearl Company Arts Centre. This building sized art installation is every bit as fascinating and beautiful as the many pieces of creative endeavours it hosts from a cross section of disciplines. Walking in, the walls are covered with paintings, sculptures, and reliefs. On the upper level, a grand performance arena usually reserved for musical guests (the back row is supported by a veritable Great Wall of couches). In the basement, a cave of wonders: birdcages, one ski boot, a freight elevator, window panes, rows and rows of ancient auditorium seating, a moose head, and a children's book entitled "Why do I have Stinky Feet?". 

The ground floor hosts a beautifully eclectic 140 seat thrust theatre that recalls a rough and tumble Globe with a rainbow of assorted office/multi-purpose chairs circa. 1973. This is to be our home and playground for the next two weeks. 

It's the kind of venue that - in Toronto - would never be empty. Even in Hamilton, I count ourselves so lucky to have been included in this rare opening as part of The Pearl Company's annual Winter Festival. 

Yes, it means extensive reblocking, yes, time is short and we open in less than a week, yes, we still have props, costumes, and possibly an SM to source, but the beauty and possibilities presented by this beautiful space more than make up for the realities of Festival rehearsal processes. We've been very lucky with spaces over the various incarnations of this show, but this one just may be the Pearl of the bunch.

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In other news, tickets are now on sale! If you live in Hamilton, or have friends in Hamilton, please check out or send them to The Pearl Company website where tickets can be purchased in advance. We're so excited to be on the road with this show and would love your help in spreading the word! And if you can't get to Hamilton, don't worry! We'll be bringing this revised production back to Toronto in February at the Red Sandcastle Theatre! 

Stay tuned for next time, when we take a photographic tour of the mysteries and wonder of the Pearl Company....

2014: Winter/Spring Season Announcement

As recently reflected, 2013 was quite the year for Aim for the Tangent: We had our biggest hit yet at the Toronto Fringe with the completely sold-out, site-specific Genesis & Other Stories, as well as our first non-festival production, and first multi-provincial tour, with Mature Young Adults at the Atlantic Fringe Festival and the wonderful Videofag in Toronto. However, this is just the beginning! Not content to rest on our laurels, we've got a big bold bunch of new shows planned for 2014 - in fact, we've got so many projects in the works that we're splitting 2014 into two parts: a Winter/Spring season and a Summer/Fall season. 

In addition to the three new productions we're announcing today (including two new plays and one old favorite), previous "Best of Fringe" hit and Aim for the Tangent's first production - The Wakowski Bros. - will be making its professional debut with Talk is Free Theatre in Barrie, ON this March. It's gonna be a busy six months!

And now, without further ado; your 2014 Winter/Spring Season.

GENESIS & OTHER STORIES
by Rosamund Small

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 Genesis is hitting the road! After its blow out success at the Toronto Fringe Festival this July, this comic farce of biblical proportions will debut in Hamilton, ON as part of The Pearl Company's annual Winter Canadian Theatre Festival. The show will run 6 nights: January 16th - 18th and 23rd - 25th at 7:00 or 8:30 PM at the Pearl Company Arts Centre (for full listings, click here).

"I have been trying to get Wesley to bring a show to Hamilton for two years now, so it’s great to finally be able to host his company,” said Festival producer Lee Fairbanks. “I think Hamilton will love this work."

After the two week engagement in Hamilton, Genesis will return to Toronto for an encore performance at the Red Sandcastle Theatre on Queen St. East. 

The production will run February 5th to 15th and will mark Aim for the Tangent's second non-festival endeavour. 

Photo by Nicholas Porteous

Photo by Nicholas Porteous

 This revised production (directed again by Vivien Endicott-Douglas) will feature (above, left to right) Jared Bishop, Llyandra Jones, Cameron Laurie, Hilary Scott, and Wesley J. Colford. 

Here's what the critics had to say about the Fringe production:

"Chaotic perfection is the only way I can describe this truly hilarious play... an absolute must see this year at the Toronto Fringe Festival."

Tarah Kennedy, Mooney on Theatre

"Comically disastrous... very funny. Things could only go worse if the theatre collapsed."

Jon Kaplan, NOW Magazine

"Definitely one of the highlights of this year's Fringe Festival. "

Lauren Gillett, Theatromania

"I can't fault this show. It's great. Amen."

Theatre Isn't Dead Blog

"This is a brilliant, funny show. See it."

Colette Shaw, The Charlebois Post

DIRTY STACEE
by Wesley J. Colford

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 From the author of the above mentioned The Wakowski Bros. and Mature Young Adults comes a new  dark comedy about Star Trek, isolation, and internet porn addiction. 

After some informal readings in late 2013, Colford will be spending the beginning of 2014 working on a second draft of this new play with the assistance of a Theatre Creators Reserve grant from the Ontario Arts Council. 

In April, an excerpt of the play will be produced on the Theatre Passe Muraille mainspace as part of the Paprika Festival, participating under the "Artists Lab", a new program designed to help foster new work from alumni of the festival who are over 21.

Following Paprika will be a full reading/workshop at the Tarragon Theatre Far Studio with an eye for a full Aim for the Tangent production later this year...

Audition information will be announced shortly.  

OF SHAPES TRANSFORMED BY LOVE
by Kyle Capstick

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"A last kiss. A heart breaks. A woman transforms into a tree." 

Aim for the Tangent Theatre is very pleased to present the premiere of award winning playwright Kyle Capstick's new play Of Shapes Transformed by Love in co-production with NewBorn Theatre. 

Inspired in part by the stories of Ovid’s MetamorphosesOf Shapes Transformed by Love explores how the human heart can grow wild through the lens of the magical.

Kyle is a long time friend and colleague from Sydney, NS who made the trek to the big T.O. a year and a half ago and has been taking over ever since. Along with his strong ties to the Cape Breton Stage Company (he played the original Jim Wakowski in 2011) Kyle placed second in the Playwrights Guild of Canada's 3rd Annual Post-Secondary Playwrighting Competition for his play I Miss, Not Just, Your Eyes as well as winning the Pat the Dog 24 Hour Playwriting competition in 2012.

Other writing credits include: Clunk (Acadia Theatre Company), Uncertain (Atlantic Fringe Festival); All My Love, Walter, Her Body, and I Miss, Not Just, Your Eyes (Elizabeth Boardmore Festival of One-Act Plays) Something for My Grandparents (Cape Breton Stage Company). He is a graduate of Cape Breton University.

The Aim for the Tangent/NewBorn production will take place in May/June of this year, directed by the author. 

Auditions will take place in early February.


To stay informed of future updates and audition information, make sure you sign up to our mailing list! Looks like it's gonna be a great start to the year.

2013: Plays I Saw

In the spirit of reflection and procrastination (starting 2014 out right!) I have decided to borrow a tradition from a very good friend of mine, namely the wonderful Lois Dawson, and record/compile the titles of every play I saw over the course of 2013. For the purposes of this exercise, I have included play readings, but (for the most part) not cabarets or primarily music based performances (excluding musicals). 

The idea behind publishing this list (in blog form) is not only to call attention to what a (potentially unhealthy) theatre addict I am, but more importantly to publicly thank and acknowledge the incredible wealth of theatrical talent this country supports. 

This year I got to see a lot of amazing shows - including some stellar festivals, brilliant new works, and awe-inspiring productions of classics - from all corners of the country! And by all corners, I mean largely Toronto, with some from Nova Scotia and PEI. And as many shows as I did have the privilege of seeing this year, there were probably an equal number that I desperately regretted not getting to see due to lack of physical hours or conflicting performance runs, which itself is a testament to the outpouring of theatre in this incredible city. 

If you are one of the shows I missed this year: my humble apologies, I'll aim to make it for this year. If you're pretty sure I saw your show but it's not listed here, that's more than probable: I compiled this list based on the records in my planner - a fun reflectionary exercise in itself but highly dubious where precision is involved. 

I ended up with a grand total of 127 plays in 2013 - a far cry from Derrick Chua standards, but not too shabby all in all! Let's hope 2014 hosts as many fearless productions and performers. Allons-y! 

FULL LIST OF PLAYS I SAW IN 2013:

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2013: A Retrospective

Another year is come and gone, a what a year it's been. When I think back on 2013, a word that comes immediately to mind is "tumultuous" - which is not necessarily a bad thing! As we grow and evolve, the old must transform to create space for the new, and what an awful lot of new there's been. 

In terms of this blog and company, 2013 was the year Aim for the Tangent was truly birthed. New blog, new website, new productions, new tours, new TAPA membership, and an increasingly new definition of how we work and the ways in which we create. 

On a personal level, I started 2013 with a promotion and have been running fast ever since. Creatively, I've reached new heights, the odd low, new challenges, and (I hope) new growth. As I strive for the ever elusive "balance", I'd like to think I've made some solid progress that will hopefully carry on into 2014. Progress moves in fits and starts (going to the gym regularly lasted all of about two months...) but 2013 saw some of the happiest and most balanced periods of my life, and I'd like to think those only stand to further improve.

2013 was also perhaps my busiest year yet (which, after theatre school, is saying a lot!), and there's a lot to recall and be thankful for. This was the year of Seagulls and serving, Theatre Manager and putting in shows, Friends' Best Friend's Boyfriends, Country Fairs, oversold houses, and an incredible '80's prom night. Dionysus made an appearance (who am I kidding, he's always hanging around), as well as some self-imposed sobriety. A road trip in a rented car that began with Disney and was finally able to donate blood. The summer of three shows! Carrying on in chapels, reunions in pizza parlours, and a very long meeting in a park that lasted three years and a week. Pizza and wine! Cut short but not regretted. Conferences that weren't conferences and Radio Shows that weren't for radio. Driving a Porsche (yeah - that happened!). So much mulch. Seriously. Much mulch times a million. Forgotten birthdays, 50th birthdays, unexpected winners, broken windows, invaluable stage managers, terrible front of house managers, terrific co-workers, old friends, new friends, travel, parking, time and space. Oh, and the first White Christmas in recent memory, as well as by far the most gorgeous. 

2013, you definitely raised the bar. Yet, none of it would have been possible without the incredible work and support of my many many overly talented and underpaid collaborators. I am a very lucky man to find myself amongst such talent and such generosity. I only hope my luck holds out, and that I can find myself worthy of your continued friendship. I've got some new projects in mind...

SOME RESOLUTIONS:

1) UPDATE BLOG ON A REGULAR BASIS
(as well as Twitter.... maybe... Why am I so bad at Twitter?)
2) GO TO THE GYM
(Okay seriously. This year for reals. For more than just two months. Why are you laughing??)
3) CONTINUE LEARNING ITALIAN AND ACTUALLY PRACTICE DAILY 
(Duolingo - you gotta check this baby out!)
4) READ THE ECONOMIST
(There's an app for that)
5) MORE MUSIC
(Ukulele, check - now maybe actually brush up on piano?)
6) DO CROSSWORDS
(And maybe sudoku. Sudokus? What's the plural?)
7) DRINK MORE TEA
(Always.)

The last few months have been awash with planning, and I am excited to announce that a lot of the fruits of said planning will be revealed over the next couple of weeks. Aim for the Tangent will be unveiling the first half of our 2014 season (January-June) next week - featuring three new productions and two workshops! Meanwhile, The Wakowski Bros. readies to make it's professional debut in Barrie with Talk is Free Theatre. And what was that about a grant for a short film...? 

There's a lot on the horizon and as 2013 draws to a close, 2014 stands ready in the wings. Here's to another year of adventure, risk taking, and community. 

Happy New Year!

A year in reflection and a tease of things to come....

A year in reflection and a tease of things to come....

MYA: Design Concept

With only days to go until Mature Young Adults bursts forward unto Toronto, I wanted to share some of magic that's going on behind the scenes. It's been a very busy week, culminating in an extraordinarily busy weekend. I'm showing a short scene from an entirely new play tonight at Theatre Passe Muraille, plus plotting some other schemes which - of course - have deadlines at the same time that all of this is going on. And we open in a few days. Right. 

With all the craziness, I wish I had time for some further words, but instead I have enlisted our amazing designer, Joe Pagnan, to say a few words on an image we want to share with you today. Amidst the stress and rushed calamity, I look at this picture, realize this is something we are bringing to the world - making manifest - and immediately my stress is overwhelmed yet again by excitement. We hope it gets you excited too.

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Joe Pagnan:

This image was an early render in SketchUp just to make sure the concept fit in the limited space. After we saw it would, and that the footprint could be used evocatively, the process continued down the rabbit hole. I hope you don't mind me sharing the design statement Wesley. Here it is! It was funny how I had an image from my childhood take me so roughly for this show. Its rare that those fleeting design moments strike you instantly. I'm thrilled we are trying to make it work. With only a handful of days left it will be an art rollercoaster. 

"R.R.#3, Clifford, ON N0G 1M0"

A park where my adolescence was ripe, brittle flaking paint on a dizzy hexagon of wood, spinning, twirling, a cold rusty smell on my hands from holding a worn smooth metal bar. It was my only connection to the ground, to stasis. The sound of concrete grinding away under pine needle, mulch, and gravel as I would leave under a low wattage lamp attached to a characteristically empty barn. A mini put course long forgotten now an excellent place to sit on its rotting fence as the twilight buzzed, the nails holding... straining to hold a child that was leaving the discount behind. A dock, floating out. A rush because we did that, broke the dock from the land, a group of us so young, in sweaters with big letters and bigger arms, wet from running into shore. Laughing. scared, but invincible. The summer that would never end. The first time you see a firefly and actually see it. A settling of the sky and ground, and the water again still. Morning would never come. Even the long walk back to the mature adults around the fire, the fire you could smell mingling with the fire of all of the other adults escaping to find their dizzying seat, the bottle their metal bar grounding them to stasis. Us, drawn to the fire that would lull you to sleep. Though safe, it was the dewy chain links and clammy plastic seat of a seized swing and painful landing of a metal sea-saw onto a buried bumper tire that you would dream of returning to.

You dreamt that here you would lose it all, your first kiss, your virginity, you would understand the world, you would taste a beer, get lost in the woods, swim to the far dock. You expected it to be here because that coarseness was where it should have been. Funny that we said to each other it would, and then we grew up so many years never trying to make it happen. Only, thinking about it. Joking about how [HE] had a boner when he fought with [HER] in the water. Only, thinking about it.

Turning off my lamp in the park.

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Three more days...

MYA: Two Weeks to Opening

Yet again, I find myself remiss in my blogging duties and responsibilities. From the promise of Thanksgiving, I have yet again abandoned cyberspace, leaving it (and you, dear reader) bereft of my reluctantly cogent if occasionally solipsistic remarks. No more. 

In two weeks, Mature Young Adults  finally comes to Toronto, gracing the stage of Kensington Market's VIDEOFAG Art, Theatre, and Film venue. 

It's been a weird combination of lots of producing work and not a whole lot of rehearsing. The show comes hot off a successful run at the Atlantic Fringe Festival this summer (see blog posts below), so aside from some minor tweaks the show itself is pretty much set. What is not set is publicity, media, promotion, pavement pounding, and mulch collection... so it's been a busy time for this producer. 

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One of the exciting things that is new is the addition of Joe Pagnan to the production team!  I have long been a fan of Joe's amazing work (Gruesome Playground Injuries , Wild Dogs on a Moscow Train , etc) and have wanted to work with him for some time. This project seemed like a perfect excuse, and boy am I glad we brought him on board!

We're still in the stages of negotiating the world we want to create with the world that will fit in a relatively small room with two actors and hopefully some audience members... so I am reticent to talk specifics of what we are planning, but sufficed to say, I am pretty excited. With luck, we will be confirming things in the extreme near future (like, ideally before opening) and so with luck I will be able to make some announcements and post some pics soon. 

I will say this: having worked on the development of this show for sometime, there are certain fantasies that creep into your head from time to time. Fantasies like, "What would this look like if it was a movie?", "What would this look like in a Mirvish production?", "What would this look like if we had any actual budget to speak of?" When I sat down for our first production/concept meeting, Joe pitched me not only everything I'd asked for, but everything I'd been afraid to ask for, as well as everything I never imagined we'd be able to do short of major funding from TD Bank. And most of what we need he's already sourced for free on Kajiji.

This is a man you want in your corner. 

I am so excited to get to share this play with this city. I am so excited to be at VideoFag. I am so excited to be at Kensington Market and in front of a real park, for this play about (among so many other things) a park. Stay tuned, sports fans. It's gonna be great.

A Park View from VideoFag

A Park View from VideoFag

Thanksgiving Reflection

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. Turkey splendor aside (which is pretty bloody splendid), taking the time to reflect on the positive and emit some gratitude into the etho-sphere is something we can all stand to do a lot more of, and having a day to remind us of this is never a bad thing. 

I find myself so full of gratitude this fall, which has already been one of great reflection and humility as I look back on the past six months and all the triumphs and wins and the dedicated people who sweat and bled to make that happen.  

Most immediately, I am extremely thankful for the extraordinary feast I was privileged enough to take part in last night, featuring so many of my favourite things, some stellar people, and even an impromptu dance party. 

Most surprisingly,  I find myself thankful for whoever stole the front tire of my bike Saturday night, as being forced back on to the TTC this weekend has been a good reminder of the enormous luxury it is to have the freedom of self-generated transportation in this city. 

To avoid what appears to be the beginnings of an Awards Show of Thankfulness, I'm gonna change things up with a rapid fire paragraph. In no particular order:

Warm feet, warm drinks, amazing friends, stolen moments, To Do Lists, To Don't Lists, Tim Minchin, Saturday Night Fever, Aaron Sorkin, creative time, reading, sushi, board games, Whoopi Pies, sweet potato, trying new things, learning Italian, learning to breathe, steady work, erratic work, not having to shave,  the kindness of strangers, so much music, freedom to dance, freedom to cry, freedom to sleep without gun shots and war cries, the best employers, the best employees, that one nice Air Canada lady, new plays, old plays, Edward Albee, Tom Stoppard, The Toronto Fringe, The Atlantic Fringe, Tarragon Theatre, Jacob Zimmer, the hope of new Star Trek, the promise of new Doctor Who, David Tennant, setting deadlines, ukulele ladies and too much wine.  

For this summer, which has been equally wondrous, grounding, empowering, and humbling. For this winter, and all the awesomeness bubbling just below the surface. For everyone's patience, support, enthusiasm, and love. For the oncoming 23.

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 For those of you who notice these things; yes, it has been over a month since I have posted a new Blog post, or had much of an online (or offline) presence of any sort, aside from Facebook post updates documenting my long belated discovery of The West Wing. I've been in partial hibernation mode/intensive work mode, for which my credit card debt is extremely thankful.  I've also been trying to cling on to the small amount of free time I've had to complete the first draft of a brand new play I've been thinking about for a while. I am ecstatic to say: Mission Complete! (More on that later...)

However, as October sails forward at full speed, there are lots of new and exciting things to be kept busy with, some of which you will hear about soon! In the meantime, I'll be plotting the official announcement of our 2014 Season, applying for grants and festivals, and gearing up for the Toronto premiere of Mature Young Adults  at VideoFag in just over a month! (Lots on that sooner...)

MORE SOON!