Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

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 😉

Horror Puppet Magic Time!

Horror Puppet Magic Time!

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 🙂

So please give them a follow on Twitter: @EldritchTheatre

And let me know if the revamped website makes sense (because I revamped it! Eep!)
www.eldritchtheatre.ca

And here is their super secret Facebook Group that gets all the news and discounted tickets first:
Cabal of Horror

And do you want to get letters from Doctor Wuthergloom. the twisted Victorian freak? Ya you do: subscribe here: Cabal of Horror Mailing List

I hope to see you at the Halloween show!

Cranium Cookie: Your new fav web show!

I have been working with some great people on a not-so-secret project called Cranium Cookie – an education web show that explores all things in Canada! I am the HIstory and Arts Host and I get to delve into amazing Canadian history across our great nation.

Check out our teaser trailer:

 

Can’t wait to show you more!

IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour

My friend, Andrew Freund (@AndrewFreundKM) asked me to be a part of the IC Publishing Summer Blog Tour and I couldn’t be more delighted! You can read Sheri’s post that launched the tour here. The idea is to talk about projects and all the things that go into it.  As Sheri puts it: “So, what better subject to blog about than how to start, continue, and complete those tasks we really want to—big or small?”

writing
My projects vary: I’m a playwright and soon to be children’s author (that’s my in-the-works project/goal!) and a blogger over at my “Everything But the Cat…” website. I would really like to explore screenplays in the future; I have a webseries idea in draft about bereavement in a dark comedy set in Toronto too. So a little bit of everything really!

How do you start your (writing) projects?
With a deep desire to say something about that subject. When I wrote the historical adaptations for The City of Toronto Museums I was moved by historical fact and the knowledge that most people I knew didn’t even know those events had transpired. In their own home town too! The medium I was most familiar with was acting so I wrote a play. I also wanted people to come to the site specific museums to experience the history as much as be entertained by it.

With Everything But the Cat… it was equal parts moved by events (my brother had died by suicide) and a part of my bereavement process. I needed an outlet and once again, it was the medium I knew. I also wanted to share my story in a very personal way: one-woman-show style. I wanted my audience to know this happened to me and that this show was something beyond entertainment – it was a call for community and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. That’s why I made the blog over at www.everythingbutthecat.net so that the community could grow and connect and share.

With the upcoming children’s book, I felt I still had things to say about mental health and subjects like depression and helping young people understand that it’s okay to talk about their feelings to those they trust. In the book a little girl has SADs and it is up to her and her helpful teddy bear to fight the symptoms and treat her illness.

How do you continue your writing projects?
Scheduling helps – I like putting myself on deadlines. I also like bringing in other people: the more eyes on it the better. With my plays I had dramaturgs, editors, directors, stage managers… With the children’s book I am reaching out to people I know in the business (Like Erik Buchanan, you can read his blog post from the links below!) and trust their opinion to soundboard off of. Networking is helpful because you never know who will say yes to your project unless you ask! (This blog share being a perfect example of building networks and community!) But these people also put the pressure on to deliver! It’s harder to procrastinate a project when I know someone else is waiting to see that project.

How do you finish your project?
Ah. This is tough. I never feel the project is complete. With the shows, there is a deadline to get it into rehearsals, but even there the script may change and I allow it to with the insight of the actors, director, stage manager – all of these elements can add so much more to the original text. But it is key to stand by your words and stand up for your decisions: it is your play afterall. Setting boundaries is a good idea before allowing others to put their two cents in too 😉

With the book coming up, I don’t know how I will deal with that! That is a finite thing that will be sent off to the printers. I’m guessing with lots of re-reading and edits and a test audience to read it and give me feedback so I can adjust the text/illustrations to get the right mood from the reader as a response. Allowing your “ugly baby” out into the world and to come back with notes, scribbles, highlights and post-it notes is a hard thing but a necessary thing.

Include one challenge or additional tip that our collective communities could help with or benefit from:

Tip: keep a small pocket book in your purse, bag, knapsack for all those quotes friends say that tickle you – you should use them in your next project. I mean, it made you laugh, it could delight someone else in the future.

Challenge: I would love to know more about the ins and outs of the publishing world. I’m coming into it post-self publication world revolution, where the game has changed so much… where do I begin?

Passing the Pen
I’d like to pass the pen/keyboard over to these fantastic people who will answer these questions next Wednesday on their blog!

Dwayne Harmer is a Designer,  is an Artist and the creator of the Stress Prevention Kit. After dealing with his own mental illness for over a decade, he wanted to provide an alternative to the clinical and the flowery spiritual self-help books. “Spirituality for me comes from the serenity of being in this moment.” He hopes to inspire others to take a (w)holistic approach to their health. @stresskit @zoetropicdream
stresskit.zoetropicdream.com  +  zoetropicdream.com

Erik Buchanan is a professional writer, ghostwriter, communications consultant, actor, and fight director. He is the author of Small Magics and Cold Magics, both published by Dragon Moon Press, and his third novel True Magics will be out this fall.  He also has short stories in “When the Hero Comes Home” and “When the Villain Comes Home.” He has also written more than 300 articles on everything from from consumer electronics to reasons to get the flu shot.  Erik is currently working on a web series, a young adult horror series, and trying to find enough time to sleep.
 erikbuchanan.blogspot.com   @erik_buchanan

Behind the audition table

Recently I was behind the audition table on the panel for Urban Bard Productions as they are doing Comedy of Errors this summer downtown Toronto. Here are my observations to be taken in stride for anyone who thinks my opinion/advice is worth anything more than the breath I spent saying it 😉

1. If there is a script, STOP and read it. And if you don’t read it, do not announce that you have not read it! This happened more than once believe it or not. Just do yourself a favour and read the script.

2. If there is a sign on the door STOP and read it. Huh. I sense a theme here.

3. If it calls for an accent then do it. If you can’t do it: try. The panel wants to see you play – your willingness to just do it. (“the scripts are called Plays for a reason, so PLAY!”someone once told me.) Or if that scares the bee-jebus out of you, decline the audition because that’s the gig. But please don’t lie to the panel and say you can do a *insert region here* accent because they will likely ask you to do it: and when you come up short EVERYBODY FEELS AWKWARD. Own what you know. Work on what you don’t. But don’t try to get away with a lie.

4. Do NOT bring a knife to your audition. And then use it. And freak out the panel. Or just me.

5. Do have fun! When you are having fun we are having fun! Most audition panels are made up of people who have been in your shoes once-upon-a-time and we get it: it’s a weird thing to showcase all of you in 2 mins or less. What they want to see is your willingness, that’s 80% of the audition. There are some non-tangibles like “do you look the part” which may just be in the directors brain and never shared, or if you fit the costumes that were pre-made/rented. But really it’s your willingness to take direction, be relaxed with these certain people, showing us your homework without showing us your homework – all that in 2 mins is HARD and they know it. So just have fun and it will all be okay.

6. STAPLE your résumé to your headshot for the love of Shakespeare!!!

7. Read the room. You may not be able to do this yet but it is a skill every actor should have. If the panel keeps looking at the time, or has one word answers for you maybe you should wrap up your candid post-monologue chit-chat and get outta there. If they are looking at your résumé do not start your monologue until they look up! It’s the little things. 

8. Go there. Just do it. The whole “we would rather see too much than too little” is fine for a theatre audition (again read the room and do your homework to see if this is contrary for that situation) but mostly just GO THERE. Fill the room. I’m not saying “be loud. be impressive. be a diva” no I’m saying own it. You got the audition now take it and make it yours. Don’t apologise (oh us Canadian actors) just do it!

I think that’s it. They seem so obvious but nerves and life get in the way. The trick is to not bring that into the room. That is the hardest part of all. But that’s what auditioning is. Take all in stride and keep going to get better at the audition part, and sometimes you will even GET the part 🙂

And now if you’ll excuse me I have to practice what I preach…

 

 

Improv: love/hate

Second City Student ID

So I am a new student at The Second City Training Center here in Toronto. I am finally staring down my fear of doing an improvisation class.

“But Adri – you do improv all the time!? You fear it?”

To clarify, I do not fear improvisation. I fear improvisation CLASSES. For some reason, and this has been confirmed by not only my experience but other peers I have talked to; that improv classes are full of people who are hell bent on BEING FUNNY. Yes, all caps. BEING FUNNY is not my goal in that classroom, but I get caught up in this vibe, this environment that has been established by the majority of people in the room. Sometimes it even becomes a competition and that makes it worse.

Then there’s the fact that we are all at Second City and the pedigree of Funny People exudes from the very walls – I mean they have pictures of Martin Short, John Candy to name a few Funny People that studied at Second City. And it’s intimidating. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those faces up there is also a testament to the work that comes out from studying there. And it excites me to think that I am learning what they learned and following footsteps and doing my homework to be a good lil actor. I am grateful to be there. But the fact still is: the improv classroom is a bit of a  war zone for me.

After day one I have the age old stomach ache that proceeds after intense third-eye judgement. It’s like a headache only in my stomach. And the over analysis begins and I do the “could shoulda woulda” routine as I walk too quickly away from class to get the hell away from everyone. But why?! I LOVE ACTING. I also adore being witty. Just the other day I met a group of people at a Casting Workshop and a gaggle of girls kept telling me I was so funny, so witty, so quick. And here I am loathing a dedicated 3 hours to such an event.

So this is my brick wall. This is the thing I have to conquer over the next 7 weeks of class. I have to not conquer improv – but the improv class itself.

Wish me luck.

 

What did you do tonight?

Oh, who, me? Well, I curled my hair for nearly 2 hours…

(well my fake hair)

Merida Hair Test 1
Merida Hair Test 1

I’m very pleased with this first round of hair shaping! It goes well past my hips which isn’t necessary so I need to figure out what I want to do with it. Plus I want to add bulk without the weight. Hmmm… All this needs to be done for next week! On June 4th I am Merida!