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

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

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!

IMG_9557
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.

souloposter

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.

IMG_7364

 

 

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

 

 

 

AND THEY LOVED IT!

IMG_7373

IMG_7375

 

 

 

 

 

^ 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:

995247_10153549127255193_1927166764_n

 

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!

Sonnet Show!

I am one of the playwrights for the Humber River Shakespeare Co. Sonnet Show this coming May 24th. I get 14 days to write 14 minutes based on 14 lines of Shakespeare (aka a sonnet)

I got sonnet 75:

So are you to my thoughts as food to life,
Or as sweet-season’d showers are to the ground;
And for the peace of you I hold such strife
As ‘twixt a miser and his wealth is found.
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then better’d that the world may see my pleasure:
Sometime all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight
Save what is had, or must from you be took.
Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
Or gluttoning on all, or all away.

And I have 3 Women actors and 2 Male actors… guess which room I got at the museum? The kitchen!!!

Montgomerys Inn4  View from the Tavern into the KitchenMontgomerys Inn 3  The view from the “back door” Montgomerys Inn 2  Into the PantryMontgomerys Inn 1  The repro dishes I can use!Montgomerys Inn The hearth!

I also work here from time to time as I am a historical interpreter. This is an Irish household that had a tavern and inn along with some farming in the mid 1800’s. It has been restored to the year 1847 (right when the Irish Potato Famine is in full swing!)

I want to write something about food and love. I want the audience to experience food. I want the actors to be servers and cook food… Will I get my wish?! Here’s hoping – and off to the proverbial drawing board (aka my lap top)!