Recently I had the pleasure of sharing a story with Stories We Don’t Tell, a storytelling gathering in Toronto. I like their mandate:
“There are some stories that we get really good at telling, we tell them to our friends, our coworkers, and even strangers at parties. We tell them because they are a part of us, and in doing so they build up our sense of self.
There are also stories we don’t tell, maybe because they’re sad, or weird, or just a little too intimate. These truths are just as much a part of who we are, despite being erased from our day-to-day conversation.
The Stories We Don’t Tell is a monthly live event, held in living rooms across Toronto, and podcast that gives you a window into experiences that are so often left unseen.”
One of the many hats I wear is shaped like a bonnet – well, at least that’s my usual hat when I’m at the museums. I am a storyteller and sometimes the story I have to tell is that of Toronto’s history at some of the historic house museums. You can learn about my endeavors on my Historical Interpreter page and see more about my historical dramas built for site specifically on my Playwright page.
The Toronto History Museums and I have a long standing history (pun intended) of creating experiences for patrons to explore history in a different/immersive way. I have created several theatre-in-situ/site specific stories based on artifacts, letters, diaries, and photographs. Here’s my little piece in the museum magazine about it:
So fun! I can’t wait to see what our next creation will be 🙂
I had the wonderful opportunity to do my not-so-one-woman show “Everything But The Cat…” for CMHA National #MH4A17 Conference and it was amazing! Met new amazing stigma fighters and even saw some familiar faces. The audience for my show was equally amazing, such great feedback and probably the world’s greatest hugs that ever happened in my life today. A special thank you to the AV team that hustled the conference room into a mini theatre, and to the team that puts together a great event to bring together stigma fighting warriors to learn from each other, inspire each other, and refuel on each other’s passion. Thank you to Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences#MindVine for having in as an impromptu guest, it was so great hanging out with you! And the love from Natalie from Art With Impact was so great just before I went into my presentation.
And as always Stevie Baker is the best Stage Manager and had my back & made the show that much more awesome!
Once upon a time, Lori Lane Murphy met me online… I was stoked to be a part of her All In Our Heads storytelling event at The Paddock a while ago, and wouldn’t you know it – Lori was even cooler in person. I even met her husband Paul who I immediately wanted to be his sister!
Fastforward past coffee chats and more storytelling events to when Lori brings this great idea of a mental health podcast that we should make together. Of course I am game! We create Stories Like Crazy We have a few episodes ready to drop for #MHW17 Mental Health Week May 1-7, but we don’t stop there…
We are teaming up to bring our one-woman shows about our true life stories dealing with mental health issues in our lives. Partial proceeds will go to CHMA’s #GETLOUD campaign for this year’s #MHW17
Next year, our great nation will be celebrating 150 years of Canadian history and culture! Now the history nerd in me is going nuts with all the great programming that I know is coming to the museums I work at – but also that I will be in an episode of Canada: The Story of Us on the CBC is exciting!
PLUS: it has been confirmed that my one-woman play about Mrs. Gibson and the women of the Upper Canada Rebellion will be remounted at Gibson House Museum in August!
I’m stoked to look back at this play I wrote back in… oh man, 2010?! Dust it off and send it back into rehearsal/the parlour. It is a site specific piece that tells the woman’s side of what happened in December of 1837…
“November 1851: In the front parlour of Mrs. Gibson’s newly built home in Willow Dale, a table is set with cake and tea. Mrs. Gibson and her guests: Mrs. Cummer and Mrs. Sheppard, have gathered. Gibson House hosts the three unique women of Willow Dale whose lives were touched by the events of the 1837 Rebellion. Based on letters and journals, discover history through the perspective of the wives, daughters, and mothers of those men who fought for change on Yonge Street.”
Great news! I have a new adventure and it includes magic, horror, and puppets! Check out the upcoming show from Eldritch Theatre:
I am now their Marketing Monster and I am in LOVE with what I get to do for them. You know I’m addicted to social media right? And I’m polishing my Producer hat to help Brimstone McReedy come to be this Halloween. I really hope you can make it.
How did this come to be? I actually went to see Eric Woolfe’s show Doc Wuthergloom last year for Halloween (my partner Jason and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween) and we had such a great time that we talked about it for days. So I had to email the theatre because this doesn’t happen everyday! The Artistic Director (Eric) was very humbled by our reviews and when I said I would be delighted to help with social media for the company in the future – guess what? 8 months later he asked me to do just that 🙂
I am so pleased to be a part of this team: The Commandment is opening this Friday at the Hamilton Fringe Festival and I can’t wait!
This solo-show has been a long time coming for my dear friend Phil Rickaby, who has poured his heart and soul into this piece – which I totally admire as a fellow creator. When I wrote Everything But the Cat… he was a great support and resource for me. And now is mixing fact and fiction, past and imaginary in his own one-man show.
When he asked me to be a part of the creative team as AD and help him do social media I jumped at the chance. Here’s the trailer I created for him:
For one thing, I didn’t know it was going to be so gosh darn gorgeous. I mean look at those photos! I was compelled to stay outside and if you know me that is NOT my factory settings! I hide in the shade or stay inside, but that weekend I was constantly trying to stay outside and soak up the sunshine and the beautiful relaxing landscape. But wait, isn’t the Toronto Islands a tourist destination? How can that be relaxing? Well, the organizer (and friend) Phil Rickaby planned our weekend retreat on Mother’s Day weekend + the weekend was cold and calling for rain so not many people were there except the usual suspects (aka the people who live there).
I was there with 5 other writers, only two are pictured above as I didn’t want this to be a “vacation” where I photograph everything (though I couldn’t help the pictures above because AGAIN it was so damn gorgeous!) – all of which had a project they were working on. I was working on the 2 Weeks to Paradise webseries script! We shared our pieces together and gave feedback on what we heard.
We had our own desks in our rooms and came together at meals and hung out (Phil and I went to the farm on the island and got kissed by Prince the llama(!), and heard about each other’s projects. It was really inspiring!
Here is a sample of what I wrote while I was there; it’s shifting the focus on Claire, the principal character’s intern. I want each of them to have a full story of their own as “supporting” characters…
CLAIRE You know what I mean. You’re dedicated. You’re an artist.
JENNY Graphic artists don’t get to be “artistes”.
CLAIRE Ya you do, it’s in your job title.
JENNY Ya but, I don’t use a brush I use a keyboard and I don’t think a museum wants my digital creations any time soon. Hell, I just want my Etsy to blow up – pay my rent, hell buy me groceries…
CLAIRE Do you need money?
JENNY No no no. I just, ah, I just am feeling like a faker. No one wants my shit.
CLAIRE It’s not shit.
JENNY Says the dutiful sister.
CLAIRE Says the sister who is always right.
JENNY I love you “sister who is always right”.
CLAIRE I love you too. Now (waves her fork like a wand) it is time for another glass of wine! Why? Oh, because I’m always right!
Here’s hoping the next round of grants will let me finish this and produce it up for you to see! In the meantime, if you can BOOK SOME TIME at Artscape, I’m already planning on going again later this year. It was exactly what the writer doctor ordered 🙂
*Special thanks to Phil Rickaby for putting that weekend together and all the participants who were just an amazing talent and energy to be around.
So a few months back I get a message from Erin Norah Thompson on Facebook: “I have a project I’m interested in having you as a collaborator…” turned out she wanted me to direct one of her scenes in this really neat concept of a show called Meet Cute. The 15 minute script would repeat 3 times but each time it would have a different edge to it: 1. Girl Meets Boy (and stalks him) 2. Boy Meets Girl (and stalks her) and 3. Boy and Girl Meet (and it’s all consensual/romantic).
I got 3! And I played up the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time complete with muppet arms of excitement and bumbling over what to say (did I just rhyme, omg, they hate me for sure!).
Now you have to remember, I haven’t directed something since Grade 11 Sears Festival! It was God by Woody Allen and I had no idea what I was doing – I just knew I wanted to make the show happen and there was no director so I stepped off the stage to be that person. We ended up winning for Production Design and my days of directing were pretty much over. Granted I have collaborated on projects like my one-woman show and a few things at the museums where I was directing a lot of choices but still an outside eye was needed/had. So you can see why I was nervous to jump into directing. But I’m so glad I did! After sitting with the opening night audience I said “oh yay! no one left!” and I relaxed a little into this new experience of being a part of the stage without being on it. And now I may have a new love and addiction…
So I hope you can check it out! Here are some reviews that may encourage you to see it!
The Mind Reels reviews Meet Cute “Short, sweet, and just about the most perfect little rom-com scene I’ve ever seen presented” (oh hey that’s the scene I directed!)