MYA: Halifax Day 14

And so, our time in Halifax at the Atlantic Fringe draws to an end... As all things do... 

What a blast. What a time. So many great shows - unmentioned favourites include Universal Babble , It Trickles Down , and the glorious 937  - so many great nights, and so many great friends. A new highlight of my life has to be singing Epiphany  (yes that  Epiphany) and A Weekend in the Country  with Garry Williams and Kevin Kindred at 4 in the morning. 

I'll probably babble on about what a great experience the Atlantic Fringe was once I get some sleep and return to being something more closely resembling a functional human being, but in the meantime, here's a quick video from me and Renée from the docks of Halifax on our last day in Nova Scotia. 

Stay classy, Halifax. Till next time. 

MYA: Halifax Day 10

Well, so much for a blog post every day...  

We all knew it wasn't going to happen, but I did think it would last longer than it did. The good news is that my lack of internet time has been the direct result of so many amazing real life times, which I suppose in the end is kind of the point of all this.

It has been an amazing week in Halifax since I last wrote. Amazing shows, terrific audiences, so much support, and really great friends - both old and new.

It's been incredible getting to talk with so many people about the show, and seeing people from such a wide variety of backgrounds. Old friends from Cape Breton, old friends from Toronto, new friends from everywhere and even a few young friends. This show seems to touch people in such drastically different ways, and it's been a  real treat to get to talk to so many people about it at this still relatively early stage of its development. 

We also got another pretty great review, this time in the Chronicle Herald. 

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With all the socializing, promoting, a few "professional" meetings, and actually doing shows, I've barely had any time to see other shows in the Festival, but as the week goes on, I've been slowly catching up and I wanted to take a second to shout out a few of my favourites of the ones I've seen so far!

Phaedra's Bed  - Some really terrific work from Kim Parkhill and Garry Williams. I love revisiting Greek stories and this "Vocal Masque-esque" piece does a great job of exploring the themes and humanity of a woman who's struggles remain just as relevant today. This also wins the award of "Best Set Design Ever Realized in a Fringe Festival". Seriously, awesome.

ZomRomCom - I'm a bit biased because I know everyone involved in putting this together, some of them for more than 10 years, but I absolutely loved everything about this terrific piece from the Cape Breton Stage Company. One of the funniest plays I've seen in a long time, it was bold enough to take us through some major twists while still ending on a heartfelt and thoughtful note. Beautiful performances from Erin and James as well. It had been too long since I'd seen either of them perform.

Cupidity - Jessica Fitzpatrick is a force to be reckoned with in this delightful parody of the media saturated world we live in, in which romance is as much a tactic for advertising as sex. Demonstrating some awesome acting chops in a variety of roles, my favourite sections were an enactment of a fictional romance movie set in the 30's and a demonstration of sexual liberation featuring Barbie and Ken (My favourite line is still "Hey, Paper Boy, here's a nickle. Go buy a house: it's the '30's!").

B Side - I was first drawn to this charming one man show at the 60 second preview marathon at the opening party, but only was able to catch it on it's closing day last night. Still, so glad I caught it. A charmingly unsettling performance from Arlin Dixon. While short, I really enjoyed this play and hope to see more from this Toronto based company back in that other city I spend time in sometimes.

L: A Fragmentation Subway Waltz  - Aside from having a fantastic title, this new play from Kristin Slaney had a lot to get excited about. I loved the script, which was both funny and insightful (which I would expect from Slaney), the true joy was in the performance though as Lesley Smith embodies several unique-but-the-same characters with startling alacrity. Beautiful show and wonderful acting. I'm not entirely sure if this was the production's intention, but it made me think a lot about Canada. Which is I always like to do. Interesting (and entertaining) stuff.

More shows to see (and do) and more friends to catch up with! Update soon! If there's ever any time!

MYA: Halifax Day 4

Wow. What a rush. As suspected, the last few days continued to spiral into a bevy of busy-ness and my blogging ambitions were trumped by the demands of Sound editing, Program Making, and - oh yeah - opening the show. Even now, I'm hastily typing so I have time to still grab a sandwich before running to our second show, but it's been such an amazing two days, I had to jot down some thoughts. 

I love Halifax. I've never really spent this much time in the city, other than day trips and maybe the rare overnighter, but being here has been so great. It's got the friendliness of the East Coast with just a hint of Toronto expansiveness without getting overwhelming. Add the gorgeous view of Citadel Hill and that beautiful Atlantic Ocean and I'm in love. 

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Thursday night kicked off the Festival with a bang: all 54 shows were given the opportunity to "sample" their show with a sixty second segment of anything they liked. Some did straight excerpts, others more "pitch" style, but all were fascinating and it was remarkable how quickly you were able to get a sense of what each show was like and  - eventually - a real sense of the Festival as a whole. It's a very cool way to start everything, and really fostered a sense of community and getting to all share the same space for a brief moment, which I really liked. It's the kind of event that might be a bit overwhelming with the 150 shows of the Toronto Fringe, but apparently they do it in Vancouver so who knows? I was amazing how quickly the evening went. Afterwards there was a party next door at the Argyle, where I got to catch up with old friends (shout out to ZomRomCom!) as well as finally put some faces to e-mail addresses. 

Indiegogo UPDATE

Yesterday, our Indiegogo Campaign officially ended, securing over 125% of our original goal! I feel like I need an entire blog post to unpack the feelings of humility and honour I've felt, being blessed with such overpowering support and love - often from very unexpected places (not that I expect love and support from anyone, but some really came as an elated surprise). Thank you to everyone who donated, everyone who passed the word, and everyone who sent their love and best wishes. For something that I was very trepidatious  about beginning two weeks ago, I can't get over what a holistic experience this has been. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I promise to stop posting about it! 

Special Thanks to our final Donors:
Nancy Florian, Kim McCaw, and Samantha Mehnert. xox

AND THEN THERE WAS OPENING... 

Once everything has settled in, I think I'm going to have to have to also write a whole reflection around this as well. I wrote a fairly lengthy Facebook post last night, which I think sums it up better than I'm capable of at the moment, so at the risk of repeating myself:

What an amazing opening. I am... overwhelmed. 3 years and more of sweat and guts culminated tonight in front of an audience and I am so full of light. I was going to write a blog post, but I think I need to go to bed. Thank you though to everyone who came out, everyone who supported me and this play at any stage of its development, to our unbelievably generous Indiegogo Donors, and the sensational Renée Haché. I’m feeling very, very proud.

After the show I got to have drinks with Mike MacKenzie and Kristin Petite, two of my oldest friends (I credit Mike as being literally my oldest friend - we had the same babysitter at age 4) and wonderful people who I haven't seen in far, far too long. In retrospect, they might have been the perfect people to have at the show for Opening and getting to catch up and hear their thoughts was beyond amazing. 

I'm really happy with the show. It's been in development for so long and had so many voices, but at the end of the day, doing it on that stage yesterday, I am so proud of what it is and the way it tells the story that I felt was worth investing this much time to tell. It's not necessarily a play that everyone will love, and I have no idea how the rest of the run will go, but right now I am so happy. Thank you to Kevin, Thom, Lisa, Robert, Noah - everyone on the Fringe team who made us feel so welcome.

I can't believe we get to do it here 8 more times. 

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MYA: Trailer #2

Thanks to the inexhaustible brilliance of the marvelous Nicholas Porteous, for the first time ever we have not one, but TWO trailers for Mature Young Adults . 

After filming tons of footage, Nick actually put this together first. I immediately loved it and thought it captured one side of the play very beautiful, but we were hesitant to post it because we didn't want to glaze over the humour of the show or portray it as too, too sentimental. That said, it's gorgeous. And I love trees. And Nicholas Porteous. 

If you haven't already, make sure you watch this first, but then, sit back and enjoy: 

This Blog post might end up being "MYA: Halifax Day 3" due to the ridiculous schedule that will be today. However, I promise to catch up with all the excitement soon, including the Fringe Opening Party and our own Opening Night! 

PS: There is only ONE MORE DAY to donate to our Indiegogo Campaign! We are soooo close to our goal, which will mean lower processing fees and the satisfaction of closure. If you haven't already, please consider helping us covering a small portion of our costs so we stand a chance at not losing money!

Click Here to Help Young Artists Create Original Canadian Theatre

Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

MYA: Halifax - Day 2

Day 2 hit the ground running and didn't stop! We finally made the excursion to downtown Halifax, where we spent most of the day, and managed to squeeze quite a bit in on the production and publicity front. 

The day was book-ended with the most senseless construction traffic I've seen in a long time. Welcome back to Nova Scotia. We waited for literally a half hour without moving before coming into sight of the hold up - an entourage of at least 10 orange clad laborers filling ("filling") one moderate (at best) sized pot hole - which was not actually in the direct line of our road - simultaneously blocking all four directions of the intersection. 1 worker was lethargically shoveling while 3 workers looked on, slouching malcontentedly. 4 workers blocked off all routes of escape, whilst 4 additional workers watched these 4, presumably to make sure they were holding the signs correctly. At 7:30 the sight was very much the same (despite being well past 5), with the exception that the one shoveling had joined his compatriots in malcontented slouching, and one of the 4 stop sign-wielders had propped his sign up on a convenient telephone pole. We made it through after a mere 15 minute stop.

I swear, my next Fringe show is about Nova Scotia road construction. 

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Aside from traffic unpleasantness, the day was quite lovely. We eventually made to the Art Gallery (where the show is taking place) and were surprisingly delighted by the charm of the small Lecture Hall venue. The way the stage is actually distributed allows for considerably more room than we had rehearsed for, and a beautiful set of curtains the Fringe has provided make for well needed wings. Our technician, Noah, was extremely helpful and answered all our questions. Apparently we actually have one of the more popular venues. Who knew! 

The rest of our escapades consisted of picking up posters, picking up Props, commencing our Guerrilla Twitter Campaign (more on that later...), and dropping off postcards. I have to say, I'd forgotten exactly how much friendlier Halifax is than Toronto, in a very general sense. In Toronto, especially around Fringe, people will allow you to leave postcards, but there's a bit of annoyance around the whole ordeal. Here, we couldn't give them away fast enough! Store owners went way out of their way to make room for stacks while complimenting the design, while hotel clerks volunteered to hand them to patrons when asked what there was to do in the city. Maybe it's because there's only 50 shows (compared to 150), or maybe the Halifax theatre scene just isn't oversaturated with postcards, but it was incredibly refreshing and made what could have been dreary publicity grunt work quite delightfully easy. 

We also met with our Stage Manager (for the first time in person, in my case): the lovely Tracie Burgess, of Halifax heritage, York trained, re-Halifax-patriotized, and future Europe jet setter. It turns out she was the lighting designer for a show I saw in last year's Toronto Fringe (One in a Million ) which holds the prize for most lighting cues I've ever seen in a Fringe show (possibly any show), all of which was set in less than 3 hours. I feel like we're in good hands.

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Indiegogo Update: 

Only two more days to donate! We're soooo close! I know I'm blowing the horn a lot, but I promise after we open I'll shut up. This time yesterday, we needed 31 people to donate $10 each to reach our goal. Now we only need 23 people. If you can possibly spare $10, please consider...

Clicking Here to Help Young Artists Create Original Canadian Theatre

We're so close to our goal, which it turns out is only about 1/3 of our final budget - which doesn't include any money to the artists. Please help us break even!

An enormous Thank You to our latest donors:
Michelle Vokey, Nick Hayman, Sherry Ramsey, Oliver Dennis, and Suzanne Doane.

COMING SOON: 

Lots more excitement in the coming days including: a promised update on our Guerilla Twitter Campaign; a second, longer Trailer; The Atlantic Fringe Opening Night Party, and of course, Mature Young Adults   makes it's big debut! Stay tuned.

MYA: Halifax - Day 1

Weeeeee'reeeee heeereeeeeeee! 

After years of development, months of planning, weeks of rehearsal, and days of not eating or sleeping, we are finally here in Nova Scotia for the 23rd Atlantic Fringe Festival in Halifax! 

As promised, I am going to attempt a semi-regular - maybe even daily - blogging record of the trip. Internet connection may be an issue, as we are living a semi-nomadic lifestyle, so no promises, but I will do my best. 

We got in late last night (early this morning) at the Halifax Airport; incidentally one of my favourite airports. I often have to kill time at it during layovers to and from Sydney. It's great cause it's not too big yet has everything you could want, so you're not wandering through miles of hallways trying to find your gate or a decent breakfast wrap.

Renée looking lovely and me looking slightly manic after a day at work and hours of TTC/waiting at airports.

Renée looking lovely and me looking slightly manic after a day at work and hours of TTC/waiting at airports.

After getting in at an all too unreasonable hour last night, we had a relatively quiet day getting situated with Renée's relatives (where we are lodging) where we were treated with the best East Coast hospitality. The house we're in is gorgeous and the view to die for: I fear I shall be quite spoiled by the end of this adventure.

We finished the evening with a delightful meal of Atlantic sushi - clearly superior to Pacific sushi - and I now find myself enjoying the luxury of wi-fi in a room that outshines most hotels I've been in, sublimely sipping a hot mug of Mulled Apple tea (my favourite that doesn't seem to exist in Ontario but is plentiful at East Coast Superstores). Life, it seems, is very good.

The beautiful view of seclusion from the back door.

The beautiful view of seclusion from the back door.

Indiegogo Update: 

We are sooo close to reaching out goal! We need just over $300 more and have only three days to do it. The way Indiegogo works, we still get our money even if we don't reach our goal, but they take a higher percentage of it as an "admin fee", meaning we get less. We're looking for 30 people  to each give $10. I know no one ever has any money, but you can help at all - even by posting the link of our Campaign on your Facebook page - it would mean the world to us. A lot of people have been working incredibly hard to make this production happen and we are so grateful to everyone who has already donated. I have been completely blown away by the response and starting tomorrow we'll be starting to send off some of the perks!

If you give $10, we'll send you a postcard direct from downtown Halifax. If you're able to give $25, you'll get a ticket to the show when it comes to Toronto (or Halifax if you're already here!).  

Click here to help with the creation of Original Canadian Plays. 

A HUGE thank you to our latest donor: Lacey Juk!

MYA: Teaser Trailer

Tonight's the night! In just 12(ish) hours, Renée and I will high above the clouds en route to beauteous Halifax and the Atlantic Fringe. It still feels very surreal and I don't quite believe it's really happening... I suppose I should finish packing too... 

My plan is to start updating on a (hopefully) daily basis to keep all our Toronto and Cape Breton fans posted on the goings on of our adventures. I've never even attended the Atlantic Fringe before, so I am very excited to see how it differs and compliments the Toronto Fringe. Perhaps we'll even learn some lessons that will be useful to future Atlantic Fringers. 

Before we leave though: a treat! I'm so excited to release the brand new Mature Young Adults  Teaser Trailer, filmed and edited by Nicholas Porteous. We also have a slightly longer trailer we'll be releasing later in the week, but for now: prepare to be teased...

IN OTHER NEWS... 

Six days in and our Indiegogo Campaign is progressing beyond my most optimistic fantasies. 

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has donated since my last Blog post: 
Suzannah Derewicz, Jerry Young, Svava Juiliusson, Elain Allen, Joanne Williams, Beatrice Donald, and all of our Anonymous donors.

There are still FIVE DAYS left to donate! We're about 2/3 of the way to our goal and if we make it before Friday, we won't have to pay a percentage of what we've made to Indiegogo. Please consider clicking here and helping us if you can at all - the smallest donation makes all the difference!

Now, off to Tarragon and then to the Airport! Ciao for now.

MYA: Indiegogo-a-gogo!

Exciting times...

Exciting times...

It's finally here: After several sordid sleepless nights and prolific profanities projected at Pay Pal.... Aim for the Tangent is proud to present our very first Indiegogo Campaign in support of our first touring production: Mature Young Adults  at the Atlantic Fringe. 

Exciting times indeed. 

As I mentioned in our recent newsletter, this is our first time attempting this kind of fundraising and we promise it isn't something we'll be doing every month - or even every production - but this is a very special show that is very special to our team and it means so much to be able to debut it in our beloved Nova Scotia. Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated.

CLICK HERE to visit our Campaign page and take a look at our video and perks. 

If you can't support financially, we completely understand, but we would be incredibly grateful if you would help us spread the word: E-mailing, Facebooking, Tweeting, and any new fads that have been created as I type this are all acceptable and encouraged!

Our Campaign has been up for only ONE DAY and already we've reached 1/3 of our modest $1000 goal!

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the beautiful people who have set the bar high for generosity right out of the gate:
Iain Stewart, Jim Betts, Scott Sharplin, Isabel MacDonald, Ed Rosing, Angela Muise, Walter Carey, Angela Carroll, and Kevin Kindred 

This is how you make us feel: 

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IN OTHER NEWS....

Yesterday, we received the final drafts of our brand new design for a MYA poster and postcards. They have been sent to our wonderful printers at Northbound Printing and I've been assured they will be ready in time to take with us to Halifax in... LESS THAN A WEEK??? Oh my how time flies. 

Speaking of time flying, I'm on the verge of running late for one of our last rehearsals, so I must dash! Expect lots of Blog posts in the coming weeks: taking this show "on the road" is pretty exciting for me and the whole team and I plan on documenting as much as possible. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this beauteous image....

Design by Nadia Pacey

Till next time! 

MYA: The Director Speaks

As we reach the close of week two, I find myself getting more and more excited about the direction things are going for Mature Young Adults.  In celebration of some of the exciting discoveries and concepts we've been playing with in the rehearsal hall, I've asked Alexander Offord, our dextrous director, to consent to an interview to tease and illuminate some of what we've been working on. 

Alexander is a colleague from George Brown Theatre School who has been involved with Mature Young Adults  for a little over a year, since directing the public workshop presentation this time last summer. He is a novelist, director, playwright, intellectual, and all around great guy. He also happens to be one of the best actors I know (more on that next season...). Recent projects include: The Hystericon  (Toronto Fringe) which he wrote and directed and Or Be Eaten  (also TO Fringe) which he directed. Last year's Fringe he was featured as an actor in the "Shakespeare-of-the-Absurd" hit Madhouse Dramedy   and was the reluctant director of the Gaelic musical, Tam Lin.  His thoughts can be further sought out on his Blog, which you can access here.

 

Aim for the Tangent: What interests you about Mature Young Adults and what drew you to the project?

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Alexander Offord: If you're any kind of consumer of culture at all, there are certain trends or evolutions in form that you've necessarily been saturated with, particularly in the last twenty years or so. Almost of all of these trends or forms reduce to what we might call "irony," which is to say the kind of  self-conscious, wink-wink-nudge-nudge-ing that one sees in TV programs like HBO's Girls, where day-to-day tragedy & self-reproach & inner turmoil are removed from the characters' experience & replaced with  a carapace of dramatic self-awareness that is both a)  the inevitable consequence of a generation of hyper-educated, internet-fed young people suddenly being driven to create art, & b) dangerously seductive in terms of being accessible & entertaining to watch. It also happens, at least in my opinion, to be at times seriously abrasive to the soul. The American critic Lewish Hyde once wrote, in an essay called Alcohol and Poetry: "Irony has only emergency use. Carried over time it is the voice of the trapped who have come to enjoy their cage."
 
Mature Young Adults appealed to me because it is about unhip, uncool, unsexy subject matter. It is about the day-to-day experience of human beings who, above all else, feel. It is about two young people who are in love, old-school love, before the whole notion was reduced to eye rolling and a misting of A10 cells with dopamine in the ventral tegmental area of the brain. If there is going to be another major aesthetic movement in the coming years, I suspect it might be a return to themes or characters that are easily written off as "sentimental." It will be a second-coming of characters who don't need to be admired, only loved. 
 
To Wesley's credit, it's also one of a very small minority of plays which I read & didn't just see the playwright trying to convince the audience how smart he is. 


Were there any challenges that come to mind (either in the rehearsal process or working with a new script or even not getting to go to Halifax to see the end result...)?

AO: This depends on what is meant by "challenges." I try to excise difficulty from my creative process by working with people more talented than I. Yes, there were serious cuts made to the script; yes, there are always sticky points in rehearsal, but in truth, the biggest challenge in working with Wes & Renée is resisting the temptation to dick around too much.

That being said, the venue itelf is causing me a certain amount of psychic pain, but to an extent that's the nature of Fringe. My kingdom for @#$%ing gobo...


What's the best and worst thing about working in Fringe?

AO: I have a whole rant I could do about this but I don't know of how much interest it would be to your readers. My only experiences thus far have been with the Toronto Fringe, so I can really only speak to that. I guess I would say that conceptually the Fringe is possibly the most important theatre festival in the country, in that it provides basically the only venue for emerging artists to not only a) produce their work on a budget, but b) actually get people to see the stuff. The Canadian theatre scene is so hellaciously underfunded that there is a real hostility to young artists from a lot (though not all) of the establishment. Fringe to certain extent obviates some of this restriction.The worst thing about Fringe really doesn't come from either its patrons or staff/volunteers, but from the reviewers. A sad reality is that far too many people decide to see shows based solely on the arbitrary tastes of a particular journalist. Which, whatever, critics are just doing their job & everyone has to eat & live. But the notion that the worth or existential merit of a work can be reduced to how many fucking "N's" it gets is pretty dispiriting.

What's something you learned from your first relationship?

AO: That all grievances, no matter how small, must be aired. Fighting, or at least bickering, is very healthy in a relationship.


If you could ask a past girlfriend one thing, what would it be?

AO: I have nothing whatsoever to say to any past girlfriend. Which should tell you a great deal.

Why should people see MYA over other options in the Fringe?

AO: Because in ten years when Wesley's Artistic Director of the Tarragon Theatre, and Renée's been forced to hire servants just for the task of polishing her Doras, you'll want to be able to say that you saw them act in a shitty art gallery in Halifax for ten bucks. If you remember my name at all, it'll most likely be in some formulation of, "Oh yes, I saw his production of 'Aladdin' at the Norfolk County Theatre. It was a little slow, I thought.'"

IN OTHER NEWS... 

Today marks the penultimate day with our beloved Associate Producer, Lois Dawson, who will be abandoning us for the West Coast (or as I like to call it, the second best Coast) in scant few hours. Lois has been an enormous help on the project thus far, and will no doubt continue from afar. She is spending her final hours in the city watching our first run through tomorrow... No pressure at all.

We have also had a slight set back procuring a bench for our set. If anyone has - or knows anyone who has - access to a park bench in or near Halifax, please feel free to message me! 

More soon! 

MYA: There and Back Again (and There Again)

And so we come to the final third of the Magnificant Summer of Three Plays, in which two key elements from the previous two thirds (Fringe and returning to Nova Scotia) are combined to create: returning (again) to Nova Scotia for the Atlantic Fringe Festival.

Yes, after only  a week of being back in Toronto, we are already deep into rehearsals and pre-production for Mature Young Adults  - which is a good thing as we leave for Halifax in exactly two weeks!

Things are a little behind where I would normally like them to be at this point in the production process, but that seems to be par for the course for this much smaller division of the Fringe. Having done Toronto fringe a few times now, I am very excited to take Aim for the Tangent on its first forray into the world of Fringe touring, something I hope to further explore in years to come! I don't really know what to expect from this production (despite living most of my life in Nova Scotia I have never done a show in Halifax or even attended the Atlantic Fringe), but that's why it's an adventure.

A rough mock-up of our new poster design by our talented promo designer, Nadia Pacey.

A rough mock-up of our new poster design by our talented promo designer, Nadia Pacey.

After some hugely exciting and productive rehearsals last week, we have officially frozen (and printed) a brand new draft of the script - officially Draft 6.2, but looking through my computer I discover there have actually been almost 40 unique versions of this script over the past three years!

Mature Young Adults has had a long and hugely supported life; from it's original inception as a 20 minute short, to a workshop with Theatre St, John, to publication, to expansion as playwright-in-residence at the Paprika Festival, to workshop performance at Tarragon, back to New Brunswick for the 2013 PARC Playwright's Colony..... finally to Halifax for the Atlantic Fringe. (Then in November, back to Toronto at VideoFag!)

So far, things in the prep world have been pretty fantastic. Getting to continue working on this project with Renée Haché and Alexander Offord has been an absolute dream, and having Lois Dawson in town to help as associate producer has been invaluable as I balance three hats on this one (up from two on Genesis , down from four on Pizza Passion ). 

After a minor glitch (where all our tickets were available for purchase for the bargain price of $0.00), tickets are officially on sale online and can be purchased here.

Things are definitely shifting into high gear, so stay turned for lots of exciting updates!  Now, to run to a photo shoot....

SPEAKING OF ZOMBIES....

I'm not sure how many people reading this will be in Halifax for the Atlantic Fringe, but regardless, I couldn't help plugging this awesome trailer for another show that will be heading to Halifax in a few weeks: ZomRomCom.

While I haven't seen it yet myself, it's coming off a smash run with the Cape Breton Stage Company last winter, and features two of my oldest friends and theatrical collaborators, James FW Thompson and Erin Gilli...Thompson, and is written by Scott Sharplin, to whom I owe much of my playwriting career. Jenn Tubrett directs to complete this dream team. Check it out:

CAPE BRETON: Passion Project

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:

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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.

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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. 

You can see her campaign video here, and check out some more of her songs here

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!

 

GENESIS: Post-Fringe Reflections

We interrupt this post-Fringe coma to give you a long  overdue blog post...

Actually, that's a lie. Who has time for comas? In reality, the Aim for the Tangent team has been working non-stop since Fringe on a number of new projects... but more on that later. 

For the moment, allow me to send out a huge cyber-space THANK YOU to everyone who helped make Genesis & Other Stories  the colossal hit it was! The entire team was so blown away by the support, attendance, and critical response and we have only our audiences to thank. 

I'm so pleased to officially record in BLOG form (meaning, it can never be destroyed...) that Genesis  received a 100% SOLD OUT run - beating out even our previous hit, The Wakowski Bros. , which started selling out very quickly, but not from day one! Because we were site-specific, we were allowed to do 11 shows, which means 11 sold out performances for over 660 audience members.

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This year was a wild one for weather! While we avoided the major flooding and power outages that cancelled performances across the rest of the festival (a perk of performing in a church?), the lack of Air Conditioning in our packed chapel venue almost caused some patrons to faint...... So we bought an Air Conditioning. Just one of the lengths we go to to ensure our audiences' comfort and enjoyment.  

In addition, the complimentary juice boxes that our playwright wrote into the show provided a welcome mid-show treat. Note to self for our next show.... 

 

As mentioned above, the critics were very kind to us, giving rave reviews pretty much across the board! Here are some short snippets: 

"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

 

Now that the dust has settled, the one feeling that lingers in my mind when I think on this year's Fringe is: Gratitude. Gratitude for my brilliant co-performers and production team, who were not only patient but inventive - and at times ingenious - in the face of challenges and potential catastrophe; for everyone who helped with our fundraiser, our promotion, and the wonderful people who helped us harrass you on FB and twitter; for the staff of Trinity St. Paul's, we couldn't have asked for a more welcoming home; for our incredibly generous audiences, especially the ones who came before we got the Air Conditioner; and to Rosamund Small, from whom this world was birthed - without you, none of us would have gotten to play in it. 

To all those above and more: THANK YOU. 

 

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Now to start scheming the next one.... 

MORE SOON....... 

FRINGE: 10 to See (Plus more...)

One week till Fringe! 

In the perpetual hustle of promoting your own show, it's very easy to get caught up in a self-indulgent spiral of insularity; something that flies in the face of the community that I believe is one of the Fringe's greatest strengths. Last night, after finally getting my hands on a Fringe Program, I was astonished to come to the realization that I have good friends involved in a total of 23 shows. TWENTY THREE SHOWS. And that's not including acquaintances. 

In celebration of the wide array of talented people who are all running the final gauntlet to opening, I wanted to take a moment away from GENESIS & OTHER STORIES  (which you're all coming to already, right?) and spread the word about some of the other shows I'm excited about. 

DISCLAIMER: I haven't seen any of these shows in completion, but I have given preference to ones I've seen in various stages of development or are being done by friends and past Aim for the Tangent company members. If you are a friend and I somehow missed your show in my sleep deprived state, please post info in the comments! 

Click the titles for full information. Recommendations are listed in order of Fringe Program. Here we go! 

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GENESIS: Teaser Trailer

Trailers are tricky for theatre - especially when dealing with meta-theatrical mindgames like the play-within-the-play (within-the-church) in Genesis & Other Stories. How do you capture something that is inherently a live event without misrepresenting what the actual experience will be? Fortunately we had two things on our side: one, the gloriously talented (and really great guy) Nicholas Porteous (who can be seen himself in not one, but TWO Fringe shows this year)  and two, our Director, Vivien Endicott-Douglas, who had the brilliant idea of shooting a "behind-the-scenes look", in-character of the backstage process of "Adam and Eve" (the "play-within-the-play" part of Genesis). Once we had the concept figured out, we had an unruly amount of fun shooting bits of "Adam and Eve" (even more over the top on film) and improvising interviews as our characters to create an "Office" style mockumentary. When we were done, we had not only maxed out a three hour video card, but Nick has attested that when he took only the "essential interview moments" (not even the Adam and Eve bits) and put them, unedited, back to back, the result was more than 8 minutes long. Master editor that he is, he has put together the following in what I think is a brilliant preview look at the show and the kind of comedy you're going to experience at Genesis & Other Stories. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

IN OTHER NEWS...

Just a reminder that our PWYC Preview/Fundraiser is next Friday the 28th! See the whole play, in the church, with music beforehand by Alex McCulloch. Check out our "Calendar" page for more detils! 

 

GENESIS: Meet the Cast

With three weeks (yikes!)  before opening night and rehearsals well under way, I wanted to take a brief moment to introduce the leading players in this backstage, biblical farce. As a bonus, we've got special headshots from our "Adam and Eve" photoshoot!

Click the jump for some hysterical shots!

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Welcome

Congratulations! You have consciously chosen or stumbled upon the single most important theatre/underwater yodeling blog in the entirety of the galaxy. 

In the future, I will endeavour to provide more information on the secrets of underwater yodeling, but as of this post, I admit to being somewhat lacking in that area, so you will have to be content with a more theatrical bias. Not that it will only be about theatre. Because who goes to the theatre?

This is my first blogging experiment/attempt in a very long time. I think the last time I did something like this it was on LiveJournal and everyone still used MSN Messenger. It was short lived. My hope is that this shall be slightly longer lived. 

Aim for the Tangent (the company, not the website) is as much the product of my personal crusades as it is my business pursuits, and as such this blog shall reflect both the sub and ob-jective, in line with my ever escalating challenge of balancing the two. I am not always good at it, but I am so fortunate to be at the beginning of a career in an industry where the two are so often complimentary. I will attempt to avoid self-indulgence (a fear that has perhaps kept me from this medium of communication in the past), and I thank you in advance for indulging any of my many vices that may pop up from time to time. Largely in the form of puns. Also alliteration.

This company is in the early stages of what I hope will be a long and varied history. As such, in many ways I am still listening to hear what it wants to be. I am hoping that this website and blog will be one way of refining that definition and building what will be something somewhat resembling an Identity. More on that in future posts; sufficed to say I am very excited to be standing where I am at this point in my life. There is so much to explore and experience and create, and it is my hope to share with you a small piece of what that looks like from my perspective - with the hope that you will in turn share with me a little piece from your perspective. 

Feel free to contribute and start discussions in the comments - I would love for this blog to become a place of discourse, revelry, and respectful, intellectual knife fights. Tell stories, agree or disagree, go for the jugular: Just please be respectful. As I'm sure anyone cool enough to find this website would innately be. Community is perhaps the single most compelling reason I embarked on this particular journey in life and I would love to think this website was helping to build that, drawing us together in cyberspace even as we isolate ourselves behind our smart phones. 

Expect more updates soon. As busy as things are, I expect to be enamoured with my new toy for some time to come. Lots of exciting things on the horizon: from productions to contests to new friends, and perhaps a brave new chapter. 

Thank you for being here. 

Wesley

 

Boxes within boxes.............

Boxes within boxes.............