But more excited to challenge myself in not just writing a period piece, not just collaborating with talented actors Jason Martorino, Phil Rickaby, and Caroline Concordia, but to up my photoshop skills to make the visuals for it! That includes my poster:
We are doing a staged reading as it is still in development, but we will be doing light rehearsals until the festival, and of course it will be costumed because why do a Western in plain clothes?! You can see behind the scenes and updates on Whiskey Ginger Collective’s social media:
I don’t think I have shared my non-secret with you… I LOVE puppets! Maybe it’s because I grew up in the golden age of puppetry with Fraggle Rock, Muppets, Mr Dressup, Mrs Rogers Neighbourhood, Sesame Street, and local favourite Today’s Special and Romper Room.
Over the years I have created with puppets as a way to get around production hurdles, mainly no one at my museums wanted to be on camera – yet I was tasked in creating content. Video has been the king of content for a while now, so I always tried to think outside the box when trying to make something on a shoestring budget of a few hours, an iphone, and a museum at my disposal.
Enter Little Red: a campaign for summer camp at Gibson House Museum. She was “mini-me” and a camp counselor helping people get excited for camps at the museum by having little adventures in the museum that were topical to the weekly theme of the camp:
And so Harry the Haggis episodes were born to explore the tradition of Hogmanay at Gibson House! Soon my museum workers were seeing the fun of content creation and I expanded my cast from fuzzy creatures and finger puppets.
It’s been a while since I created with puppets but just recently I had a resurgence of love for them with my new Fraggle, named Pebbles, commissioned by The Puppet Forge and designed by Jay P Fosgitt. I put it up on my personal page and its been viewed 700 times and people were so lovely with their comments that I was taken aback at my return to puppeting! It was a little rusty – and filming and puppeting all by oneself is HARD so it’s not the polished piece I would like it to be. But sometimes you just have to puppet dance, so that’s what I did:
I was back in love with creating with puppets! And so I brought my Eldritch Theatre monster puppet created by Eric Woolfe to one of my museums to do a silly idea…
It has about 700 views on Facebook, 11 shares, and such wonderful comments like these:
It sounds like Philbert Gilbert Dilbert needs to go on a museum adventure around our city! I’m currently researching what grants if any would support a web-series about a puppet interning at museums in the name of supernatural and history. Got any leads? I’m happy to hear them!
One of my fondest memories and best acting gigs I ever got was playing Anne Bonny in the Toronto Pirate Festival between 2006-2008. I got to swashbuckle, carry an axe, wear fun costumes, and pretend my red hair meant I was Irish.
Before smart phones and before social media this video was taken of myself as the irate Anne Bonny and the now Artistic Director of Dauntless City Theatre Scott Emerson Moyle.
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! Yarr I be missin the golden age of my piracy days 😉
My talented friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography let me check a bucket list item off my list: being a historic cowgirl. I have always loved Calamity Jane (from Deadwood was an amazing interpretation!) and Back to the Future 3 – heck I live my life in the times of the Gold Rush, but I’m stuck in Toronto 1850s not the Klondike! My costume in this photo-shoot was inspired by Calamity’s classic look from her 1880’s portrait, too. I have been training to be her with stage combat, whip work, gun work, and of course horseback riding.
My friend Phil from Stageworthy Podcast wrote this when he saw the Rainyfresh edit of the photos:
“Red Anna. Some’ll tell you that her hair wasn’t always red. That it turned blood red from the entrails of the men she killed. Others say that it’s red because it was touched by the flames of hell. Still others say that its the dark mark upon her, placed there for some sin too dark to mention. What the truth is, none can say. But she’s earned each and every tale that’s told about her, and more.”
So here is Calamity Jane’s 1880 portrait I used to inspire my costume that I put together myself:
I was on set for The Spell Tutor as the creator Herman Wang asked if I would want to play a Victorian witch, knowing full well that 1. I am a huge geek 2. I am a Harry Potterhead 3. I am a Victorian for most of my time at the museums. So naturally I said yes! I played Dorthy Kelpie, a Victorian woman trapped in another dimension.
This is their final season and it looks like I will be in episode 4 of it. I had my scenes with Parissia played byAlexandra Bayer. I don’t want to spoil the plot but I will definitely post the final result when it airs as I haven’t had much fun with green-screen and this was a treat to do.
Thanks for having me on the show! And congrats on 4 seasons!
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 have this dream to be in a Western movie… maybe it’s because I have spent the last 10 years working in the right time period at the museums I teach and tour at. Maybe it’s because I started to ride horses when I was a kid and grew up to show horses in Hunter/Jumper class or Barrel Races. Maybe it’s because I have been fascinated with archery and single action lever rifles. Maybe it’s because I have always wanted to be a badass woman saving the day. Maybe it’s because I fell in love with Back to the Future part three or Deadwood tv series (because Calamity Jane played by Robin Weigert blew up my heart and mind!)
Whatever the reason, when my friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography wanted to do something other than weddings and I immediately suggest an old Western photoshoot where I could pay homage to the likes of Calamity Jane and badass ladies in general.
The day before I hung out with my brother at the gun range as we both have our license and trained up on bolt action rifles and pistols, I have to be a markswoman if I’m going to duel at dawn in 1847! Turns out I’m a pretty good shot – look at that grouping and target hits below:
And a preview of what’s to come from the photoshoot: here is one of Ryan’s awesome photos of me in my full Calamity Adri costume get up!
I love history, more over I love me some local Canadian history – to be fair I have been immersed in it since 2007 when I got my first museum job as a Historical Interpreter here in Toronto. But wait! I also did Renaissance Faires and a Pirate Festival before that (which were probably the best summers of my life,) so I feel like anywhere from 1790s up to 1914 I have a fair understanding of what was happening in the Western world.
But then I got to play a heroine of mine: Kit Coleman who was an Irish immigrant who came to Canada, Toronto in fact, and was a journalist – the first to be a female war correspondent, and a fantastic feminist who challenged people to judge her work by what she wrote rather than what gender she was or what she wore.
The full episode airs on CBC at 9pm on Sunday April 17, but for now here is a mini-episode with me as Kit!