Following the massive success (and inherent hectic-ness) of Genesis at this year's Toronto Fringe, I've been a bit off-the-radar the past few weeks, having escaped the heat of the big city by returning home to the (decidedly cooler) harbourtown of Sydney, NS on lovely Cape Breton Island.
The trip is sort of a pretend vacation (as close as I seem to get to one these days), primarily instigated by an offer to perform in and direct a remount of this play, which I originally wrote for the Cape Breton Stage Company in 2010:
The play ran through the whole summer in 2010 - and proved very popular - marking my first full length play and production of that length. Very appropriate for a play about coming of age and a variety of "firsts". It was also the summer that my writing exploded. Once the shows were up (three were running in rep), I spent my days mostly writing and produced an obscene amount of work, including several shorts that would fuel creative expansion for the next three years (My Friend's Best Friends's Boyfriend, The Fetis Play, The Collector, Mature Young Adults ) as well as the first rumblings of The Wakowski Bros. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I was asked to revive Pizza Passion as part of a 5 year anniversary "retrospective" summer season.
The play itself is a lovely little light summer rom-com about a boy getting his first job (at a pizza parlour) in preparation to go away to business school in the fall, falling for the cash girl and learning a bit about life in the process. It's a lot of fun and a good time is had by all (the audience gets pizza afterwards compliments of our sponsors, Napoli Pizza - the best pizza in Canada). More than that, though, the play represents a very special time in my life and a lot of firsts in my career and artistry. It's been such a pleasure getting to re-live some of that nostalgia while digging in deeper on every level and having the opportunity to really amp up the production values (I re-iterate some of this here).
It doesn't hurt that the cast (Ken Chisholm, who originated the role three years ago and directed the original Wakowski Bros., and Bhreagh MacNeil, who is coming in fresh and is poised to take the world by storm) and my SM, Mary-Jean Doyle, are absolute dreams to work with and put up with my (at times manic) obsession with transitions (which actually add so much to the production - thank you from the depths of my heart, Jeannette Lambermont-Morey).
Doing a role I wrote and played three years ago really is a lot like going back in time, in the strangest way. So much has changed in those three years, but many of the ideas in the play I can see as being themes that would be developed and continue to be developed in plays I've written since and am writing as we speak. It's such a rare opportunity to get to hold the mirror to oneself in such a four dimensional, experiential way and I am very grateful to the Cape Breton Stage Company for allowing me the chance to live with these characters and in this time again for this short mirage of a vacation.
The show opened last night to great success and will run tonight and tomorrow before evaporating into the air again as all theatre eventually does. Once I get back to Toronto (and theoretically have more time...? HA!) I might write again on some of the things I've noticed from my - mildly indulgent - time capsule of introspection. Sufficed to say, I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've been given and continually astounded by the faith people put in me and my work. It's so wonderful to be home in Cape Breton during the summer - it had been three years since I'd been properly home and didn't have to wear a thermal suit - especially on the cusp of rehearsals for Mature Young Adults , yet another show set in Cape Breton where I play a teenager.
For now, I'll enjoy the nostalgia and salt water while I can before Pizza Passion disappears into the mists of Bras d'Or like Brigadoon (perhaps for another three years?).
I hope it isn't another three years before I'm back.
IN OTHER NEWS...
Toronto based singer-songwriter Brooklyn Doran has started an Indiegogo to raise money for a professionally recorded EP. I first met Brooklyn while doing The Seagull earlier this year and she is a terrific musician/theatre maker. Her campaign is really well done, with some great perks (have a song written about you/anything you want for a very reasonable price!) and definitely worth checking out.
ALSO IN THE WORKS...
Pre-production is in full swing for the Halifax Fringe production of Mature Young Adults, which will commence rehearsals as soon as I get back to Toronto next week! Stay tuned for exciting new content, including new promo material and the announcement of our venue - which I've been assured we'll find out any day now!
Two plays down, one to go! Sleep deprivation don't fail me now!