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

A Week of Firsts

This week I have had the pleasure/excitement/giddiness/fear of experiencing a few firsts:

I got my FIRST BOOKING for Everything But the Cat… at a high school! We did a road trip to Port Perry:

Port Perry High School
Our school studio theatre
EBTC Team: Stevie, myself & Jason
EBTC Team: Stevie, myself & Jason

 

 

The students were a mix from senior Drama and Social Studies classes. Overheard when they were sitting down: “This is the coolest thing that’s happened all year!” And here’s what they had to say on the comment cards:

“[The show had] deep emotion”

“That we’re not alone with depression, it was VERY powerful!”

“I wanted it to be longer, it was amazing!”

“[The show] opens up conversation about suicide and mental illness”

“This topic was extremely helpful in ways that we can see actual people who have had to suffer the loss of suicide. I thought it was incredible.”

“Wonderful answers to questions.”

The Q&A was a bit of background to my process as a playwright and actor and even as a person going through bereavement.  The Drama class was just beginning their monologue unit and many admired that I essentially did a monologue for 45 mins! There was talk about how to tackle such a long piece and I suggested they make checkpoints in their scripts with movement so they can get some body-memory to help them memorize their piece.

The fire alarm went off just as we were wrapping up so we shuffled outside with all the students, as one shouted “Welcome back to high school!” Some of the students wanted to give me a hug outside as we waited for the fire drill to be over. After a gaggle of hugs it was nice to smile and talk about developing characters with them. They were such a great audience and super keen actors. I wish them all the best!

After a great show there, other firsts this week don’t sound so special like writing my first press release or running 6kms for the first time. But even little milestones are worth sitting back and feeling good about your accomplishments. I hope you too stop and admire what you have done lately, because you are the only you and you’re pretty awesome at it, if you don’t mind me saying so 😉

 

Everything in public…

The other night I participated in the Soulo Festival with my not-so-one-woman show Everything But the Cat...

EBTC Soulo Postcard It SOLD OUT!

The show sold out of pre-sales and the walk-up line started before my call-time! We had a full house with people sitting on chairs that were stacked so they could see over top of other people!

adri EBTC postshow
Me with the post-show talk with my awesome audience

The people I met from the audience were amazing – they were generous with their laughter and their tears. The applause was earth shattering, so much so that I hope my brother heard it because it was mostly for him; he made them laugh with the memories I had shared.

Some audience members even came to give me a hug or shake my hand after, or to tell me their story. I even met a former group therapy member who said she didn’t know it was me going into the show but instantly recognized me when I said “brother from another mother”. She had a deep connection with the theme of the show, but now having one degree of separation she had to say hello afterwards. I’m so glad she did 🙂

I have my first school booking for this show on June 4th and I can’t wait to see what students have to say now that the team has put so much into revitalizing the images to suit my original vision. People’s favourite scenes are still Steph Ouaknine’s slides of the subway and shower, and now I’m hearing the shadow actors are growing in favour as well! Such great talent that was shared to make this happen. You guys are the best!

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Jason and Stevie at the tech board

Thanks to the Soulo Fest for picking my script. Thank you to The Red Sandcastle Theatre for hosting. Thanks to my team Jason, Stevie, Dwayne, Brad, and Bricoteer Puppet Projects for making this show stellar. And thanks to the many talented actors and voice artists that made the memories come to life for the stage. Thank you. Thank you THANK YOU.

 

Everything But the Cat… at Soulo Festival!

Everything But the Cat… at Soulo Festival!

Great news! My play Everything But the Cat… a one-woman show dealing with bereavement and suicide is going to be at the Soulo Festival of solo shows! May 25th, 7 pm at The Red Sandcastle Theatre in Leslieville.

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Right after Mental Health Awareness Week too!

I have been working with Jason Martorino on some new edits to the projections and to the script itself – after hearing from two great audiences give great feedback on what they wanted from the project.

I’m breaking my brain trying to figure out film and sound editing, along with projection programming – “Damnit Kirk, I’m an actor not an editor!” (nerd)
But at the end of the day I am excited to push myself to making this the best performance I can to spread suicide awareness and prevention.

RSVP at the event page on FB!

EBTC Soulo Postcard

I hope I see you there, bring some kleenex, if not for you, I could use some after the show 😉

 

“Everything…” that I’m doing for the show

The fire alarm woke me up at 6 am. False alarm, faulty wiring. But from 6 am on I was in GO MODE. I had some great people coming out to support Everything But the Cat… as I am ready to try my hand at some shadow editing!

"Opera Man" shadow for Everything But the Cat...
“Opera Man” shadow for Everything But the Cat…

I had the artists act out scenes in front of a huge screen while pouring light on them from behind – exactly like shadow puppetry. What I got was what you see to the right:

Not too shabby for the first go! My idea is to interact with those shadows in real time in the show. They will be synced to a voice over audio file to give them even more “life” when the whole thing takes the stage.

Now the hope is I know how to edit that and render it useful for my show…! *fingers crossed*

A huge thank you goes to out those who helped me move to the next level – the stress is in my stomach but I think it’s also the excitement of what’s up next.

 

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!

 

 

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

This weekend I will test myself in many ways.

Tomorrow I am presenting Everything But the Cat… to a group of teachers on their PA Day Mental Health Event. They pre-registered for my show and an info/talk-back session with myself and Dwayne Harmer, the author of “The Kit” (which is the resource for my workshop for the audience).  The idea is to get the word out that we are open for business and bookings! We will start bookings in May 2014 for Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19). This will allow us more time to update our performance to the best of our abilities: new shadow actors, better quality voice overs, slick workshop design… All because we look forward to touring high schools. So fingers crossed we get some interest tomorrow!

Then on Saturday night it’s Drunk Macbeth where we have had 1.2 rehearsals for this show! This will be a bit “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of show and it should prove hilarious! I play Second Witch and Lennox.

So here’s hoping for smooth sailing – see you on the other side of this scary/thrilling/nauseating/exciting/challenging weekend!