Storytelling with Stories We Don’t Tell

Stories We Don't Tell logo

Recently I had the pleasure of sharing a story with Stories We Don’t Tell, a storytelling gathering in Toronto. I like their mandate: 

Stories We Don't Tell logo

“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.”

Here’s what I shared (and head over to their podcast to hear more stories!) it’s a piece from my one-woman show Everything But the Cat…

*Content Warning: swearing and talk of suicide

Everything But the Cat… at CMHA’s #MH4A17 Conference

Adrianna at CMHA MH4A17 Conference

Adrianna at CMHA MH4A17 Conference

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!

So thankful to share and connect. Thank you!

Stories Like Crazy presents: 2 one-woman shows!

Stories Like Crazy presents: 2 one-woman shows!

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…

Stories like crazy podcast presents 2 one woman shows by Adrianna Prosser and Lori Lane Murphy

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

Get tickets and details here: www.universe.com/storieslikecrazy2017 

Follow us on social too:

www.twitter.com/storylikecrazy

www.facebook.com/storylikecrazy

See you in May!

A new Blog for a not-so-new conversation.

I recently started a new blog over at Everything But the Cat…’s Website about all things mental health in hopes that people will share their stories. Storytelling is a lost art and I want to do my part to bring it back: it is a great tool to connect people to people, to build community and help others feel they belong. By sharing stories of loss, bereavement, depression and how people are coping, thriving, LIVING – I want others to hear they are not alone.

I am really keen on having guest bloggers as it can’t be a one sided conversation. I already have The Stress Kit’s author lined up, Ashley Gibson who is a constant inspiration – and even the team behind EBTC… is going to share their stories of how they cope, deal, live, promote their mental health.

I hope you join me, join us, and if you were interested in posting as a guest blogger I hope you reach out too! Drop me a line adriannasemail @ gmail. com or through one of the contact forms on these here websites.

Thanks, and remember: you’re awesome.

-Adri

You made me cry and that’s a good thing.

I feel like such a grown-up! I bought my first ever theatre subscription this summer! It is for Tarragon Theatre and I get all 5 of their Mainstage shows for their season. I was lucky enough to be able to get to their “Social” and see Daniel MacIvor’s “The Best Brothers” in a tech/dress rehearsal.

So yesterday was the first time I got to do the whole subscriber thing and show up and pick up my tickets and oh- wait – what’s this? I got a present with my tickets:

Susan Coyne Postcard A hand written postcard from Susan Coyne! As a playwright I was floored! As an actor I was gushing! And as a Canadian I was all the above. Such respect for this woman and her work!

Alright – enough exclamations…

But seriously that is just too cool.

Then the show, Joan MacLeod‘s “The Valley” happened:

If you know me then you already know I am deeply involved in suicide prevention and advocacy for mental health awareness. My show “Everything but the Cat…” is currently in pre-production for a 2014 tour of high schools in Ontario. So here I am, sitting in the audience with my Education Consultant as my seat buddy and this play unfolds about a late teen boy who can’t seem to make the transition into university – he’s deeply depressed and unmotivated and wants to hide away from the world. Even though it’s not the money; he got a full scholarship to go to Uni, and his family is super supportive…  Hmmm. Where have I heard that before? Soon enough the parallels with my brother were too much and I was on the edge of my seat.

At one point of the play one of the characters is compelled to attempt suicide. It was well staged, well acted, well written. I was in tears. And not pretty hollywood tears when you see someone upset on tv, no, I was weeping.

But then I cried even harder because the boy in MacLeod’s story has a hopeful if not happy ending. I wept for that happy ending that my family never got. In an alternative universe Andrew doesn’t go through with it. He tells me. He tells my family. He tells someone and they listen. Really listen. They become his rock and he leans on us and that’s okay. He hits rock bottom, but that’s okay because that’s us and we don’t mind. We will stick around to be the solid ground he has to stand on to get better. And in that alternative universe my brother comes home for Christmas.

So I would like to thank the cast and crew behind The Valley – especially the playwright who not only made me feel extra warm fuzzies that this was set in Canada, but that she “went there”. MacLeod allowed for some choice acting moments and thanks to the cast for not commenting on the depression or anxiety written into their characters. A brave role for a young actor who plays Connor and has a psychotic break onstage… But everyone was solid. My focus was drawn to Susan Coyne though – maybe it was the postcard that has me hyper aware of her onstage – but her mothering was lovely to watch. My step-mom walked with her in that show, in that parallel universe where she gets to participate in saving her son.

Both my seat buddy and I walked out of there with wet eyes and a huge smile. We have a meeting this Sunday about “Everything But the Cat…” and the next steps on taking it on tour and it seems kismet that we were able to come together and see this show – not even knowing the content would be so close to home, to our hearts.

This is a pretty high bar you have set Tarragon. But so far, I am loving this whole subscriber thing and being exposed to new works of theatre and then being catapulted into inspiration and ideas.

Thanks.

A month in a day

This past weekend I feel like I have lived a month in a single day. Or, I guess, counting the fact that I did two different shows in two days, it should be a month in 48 hours…

IMG_0398On Friday at 9 am I did my one-woman show for the Durham School Board, District 13 to be precise.

With 37 teachers representing several different schools I was more than a little nervous to do this show for THE FIRST TIME IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE. And a very important audience at that. I was presenting to them on their themed PD DAY event about Mental Health Awareness with the hopes that if they liked what they saw they would invite me to their school to present my show.

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<– The talented Dwayne Harmer made these awesome teacher’s info sheets. And then it was time to do the show….

 

 

 

AND THEY LOVED IT!

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^ That comment card above made my heart swell, much like the Grinch, to 3x it’s size. I knew after the presentation that I had something. I had a story to share. That Andrew’s story was to be shared. It felt great to be able to do that. One teacher asked if I could do the show next week! HA! I hope my team can follow up and start a tour soon, but that may be too soon! But just to be safe, I quickly went on an epic journey to purchase a projector for the awesome projections in my show. I nicknamed it “Princess” because Dwayne and I were laughing about the fact that it did turn into a quest not unlike the quest of rescuing Princess Peach in the Mario Bros videogames. The projector/Princess was always “in a different castle” (or store) and we had to keep moving onwards! So when we finally found one it was rightfully named Princess 😉

Then that evening I had the pleasure of escorting my very talented boyfriend, Jason Martorino, to the private screening of his horror flick “Kingdom Come” which was AMAZING! Sometimes it’s easy to get swallowed up by one’s own projects – but I am so very lucky to have Jason who is supportive of my work and I his. It was great to be his plus one and witness his hard work on screen. So great. And so great that he helped me out on my project as he was my Sound Operator for my PD Day presentation.

Next up on Saturday was Drunk Macbeth – with only 2 rehearsals (including the day of: 12 pm start and I left at 11:30 pm…) it was nerve wracking up until we took the stage at 8 pm. Get this, we SOLD OUT and had a rush line that we ended up turning away! The best part? Wearing Scottish attire:

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I was given such great compliments for my Lennox/Second Witch roles! My fav was that I was such a “badass goddess” with my dirk and tartan 🙂 Yup. That made my day.

So after this weekend, of which I did a month of prep for production wise (please visit the website I designed www.everythingbutthecat.net and enjoy the twitter feed of @Urban_Bard from the show night and @EverythingCatTO because they were curated by me!), and acting wise (holy jeeze a 45 minute monologue of a show, and then remembering my iambic pentameter…oy.) Ach mon to be more in theme 😉

So you will excuse me if I fall in a heap as my brain/heart/limbs are all exhausted from this weekend. And thank you to everyone that helped me get here. After a nap, or two, I will get back to making the tour happen!

 

 

Everything… came together!

Production crew Steph and Eden and Ms. Dawson My production team for this round: Director Steph and Sound Tech Eden! Thanks ladies!!!Robin Silhouette
One of the projections at the school – looked awesome!
Thank you Card from SinclairAww, you guys… thank you for having me! It truly was wonderful for you to host my show!

 

Today was my “trial by fire” with my Everything but the Cat… production about my first year of bereavement. Steph, my director, and my friend Eden, worked on the projections and sounds to bring together a 20 minute version of my show for Sinclair High School in Whitby. I was honoured to be invited and doubly so to have such an amazingly awesome audience – for BOTH shows. Yes you heard me. I did two back to back solo shows where I cried, they cried, I laughed, they laughed and then we had some great discussions. I walked away with some great ideas and feedback too.

Some of the highlights of this morning’s experience are as follows:

-The one thing contraband at this school was Oranges. One of the faculty is allergic. Guess what I have in my show? A GLASS OF OJ! It became a quick star of the show…

-I got hugs! I love that the students were so ready to let me into their lives and to give me some space in their heart! I had some great private one-on-one moments with students too!

-One student even asked if I needed an actor for some upcoming re-staging of the show. I was floored! They wanted to be a part of it? BEYOND FLATTERED.

-Teachers and students gave input into what they would like to see and how I may be able to help them achieve their goals in the classroom and still be on topic. I am excited to get the ideas down on paper (after this blog) so I can build a solid program for the fall.

I keep saying “for the fall” like I have a plan. The answer is – no, I really don’t. But if I give myself a deadline I am more likely to work. And at this school BOTH audiences asked when they could see the full version. My response? “I’ll see you in the fall!” 🙂

Next task on my wish-list for this program is to get a great counselor on my side. Many students wanted advice and to share some personal stories with me. I wanted to be able to provide the perfect answer… Trouble is there isn’t one. But at least with a trained professional who knows how to handle those in crisis or those who would like advice about crisis in their life or someone close to them – well I want them in the room with me so we can co-facilitate those types of interactions. Please let me know if you know someone who would be willing to tour schools with me!

So thank you to all those involved but especially Ms Dawson and Mr Emes who invited me to their school in Whitby for this special visit. It was an amazing day!

 

Everything… in the classrooms update

So! I had a fantastic meeting with Pat McCarthy who is an Education Consultant and Artistic Producer at Alumnae Theatre (which is where we met – during the New Ideas Festival where Everything… had its first public viewing as a staged reading.)

Here is the teachers info package I put together for critique:

Everything but the Cat Teachers Package (PDF)

Next week I’m taking a segment of my show to a high school in Whitby where senior  students in Social Humanities and Drama classes will view and critique my show. I want to know from the source if this is something that they want to hear! If this is a package they want to watch! So this will be a trial by fire…

More updates soon on that.

In other news I have been cast in Spur-of-the-Moment’s Shakespeare In Hospital Programs where actors tour hospitals and perform for the sick and the elderly across GTA. I am really proud to be a part of this! I also am now a part of the “Wharf at War” team that will be touring Ontario (Brockville to Ste. Marie!) doing scripted and improvisational historical interpretation about the War of 1812. I have two characters: a widow born in the Niagara region and a seamstress of Scottish decent. I’m eager to start both these projects as they really speak to the person that I am. I adore both of these companies’ mandates and I am ready to jump in head first 🙂

 

 

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