I have been working behind-the-scenes (well behind-the-screen) for Groundling Theatre and Crow’s Theatre’s adaptation of Julius Caesar as their social media specialist. I have been having a blast managing their Facebook and Twitter, where so many audience members and critics are able to interact with me and tell me how much they LOVE this production.
This weekend I open Comedy of Errors with Urban Bard Productions! I get to be me… well kinda: I play Adriana of Ephesus and she is kinda like Miss PIggy but with an Irish accent and dressed like she’s from Pride and Prejudice. Come check it out!
Recently I was at The Globe. Yes, I know it’s a reconstruction, (actually I visited the carpark of the actual location as well!) truth is I am ready to give a standing ovation at any time to this fact as Sam Wanamaker is now my personal hero for all his hard work and patience on the matter of reconstruction. Visiting The Globe was a milestone in my life and I definitely will never forget it.
The new theatre with Wanamaker’s name is unlike anything I had ever seen. I have read books, written term papers, watched movies, and seen plays ABOUT the time period (Jacobean in this case) but never had I been in a living history museum to one. Because truly that is what both theatres are: triumphs in preservation that people can now participate IN history rather than just witness it in books and pictures.
The Globe iss in off season until the weather shifts to a more comfortable temperature – so my friends and I booked tickets to Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for The Knight of the Burning Pestle which turned out to be the perfect fit for us. It was exactly the right amount of historical nods: to entertainment: to experience. The groundling heckling, the archetypes, the space itself! Oh the space itself! It was all candle lit! No electricity!
We stood, yes stood, in the Lord’s Box which is to the immediate house left of the stage. We were basically on top of the stage, right by the balcony of musicians. (You can see it there in the picture ->) I didn’t even mind standing for 3 hours! I was so engaged by the space, the actors, the story – all of it was, in fact, overwhelming me.
I started to cry. I had a body rush of adrenaline and I wanted to laugh but I cried instead. I was having an aesthetic experience right there at the first intermission of Knight of the Burning Pestle. My friends laughed, half jokingly, at me for doing so – but I can’t blame them. It’s hard to explain what I was feeling.
Aesthetic Experience is “…a sense of being both an observer as well as a participant, a sense of being both detached and yet involved. A sense of timelessness in the event often occurs, and time is expressed as being either compressed or dissolved; that is, it is described as being extremely focused in a moment or a person or a place, while at other times it opens out and expands into a sense of the infinite, the limitless in scope or space…often a peculiarly heightened sense of wonder, elation, or awe accompanied by a fresh awakening to the sense of one’s smallness in the face of the vastness, the limitlessness…an experience involves often a sense bordering on delight.
I remember when I was in high school when my art teacher, Mr. Craig, was trying to explain to me what an aesthetic experience (AE) was. Technically this experience is “your personal interaction with a work of art.” He tried to explain to me that when I have that almost black out feeling, that body shiver, that catch of breath in my throat when I see theatre – that THAT is an aesthetic experience. My body is reacting to the art. I seldom get a full AE from visual arts, I sometimes get it from music, but the most intense ones are from theatre. I always felt silly for them when I was a kid, not understanding that the knot in my stomach from watching shows at the Pantages Theatre combined with the giddy feeling I was having – I just thought I was the crazy little redhead everyone told me I was (I was a bit high strung as a kid, gee that’s a surprize.) But that intense bodily response was a connection to the show, the actors, the theatre, the audience, the WHOLE experience. I was having an AE. It started when I was 7 and I saw The Phantom of the Opera. What a show to throw me! That show was built to give you an AE: everything was over the top beautiful.
And so I was hooked. I remember walking out of the theatre and beaming up at my mom saying “I want to be Christine Daee!” and my mom saying “Oh, hunny, you can’t be Christine, she’s not real. She’s an actress.”
And so here we are. The reason I’m an actor is because I’m an AE addict. I want to GIVE that feeling to people. I want you to feel that connection with art. I want you to have that feeling: that body buzz when the curtain opens; that head rush of joy when the sword fight is flawless; that stomach ache as the ingénue pleas for her life; THAT feeling. That is what I crave every time I step into a theatre.
Here is our “treatment room” (otherwise known as The Shed for the Alley Plays) and the “prescriptions” our audience members get. Treatments/the show lasts anywhere from 1 minute to 10, it all depends on your diagnosis from our “doctors”. So fun!
The last time I did Shakespeare was… yeesh… that long ago. I think at least two years? Really? Huh. See why I used 3 exclamation points? I missed the Bard. Missed him dearly. Sure I got to write a play for Humber River Shakespeare Co. Sonnet Show (which goes up May 24th) but writing and being inspired by Billy Wiggle Stick is much different than acting him out.
Spur (for short) is doing a couple different things with the teams they have collected from auditions. They have us not only doing the Shed Shows @ Fringe Fest, but traveling around doing shows at hospitals, nursing homes, and whomever else wants to have an immersive Shakespearean show. I really dig the Shakespeare-in-Hospitals part – it is kinda the coolest thing. Even cooler than that I got to pick some monologues that I am very excited to explore:
First is Richard III Act 1 Scene 1
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
CHILLS. I love that speech! And the allowance to explore it is a gift. So excited!
Next is Queen Margaret when she has to say good-bye to her lover, Suffolk, because King/husband is starting to figure things out so Suffolk needs to leave now or lose his head!
O, let me entreat thee cease. Give me thy hand,
That I may dew it with my mournful tears;
Nor let the rain of heaven wet this place,
To wash away my woful monuments.
O, could this kiss be printed in thy hand,
That thou mightst think upon these by the seal,
Through whom a thousand sighs are breathed for thee!
So, get thee gone, that I may know my grief;
‘Tis but surmised whiles thou art standing by,
As one that surfeits thinking on a want.
I will repeal thee, or, be well assured,
Adventure to be banished myself:
And banished I am, if but from thee.
Go; speak not to me; even now be gone.
O, go not yet! Even thus two friends condemn’d
Embrace and kiss and take ten thousand leaves,
Loather a hundred times to part than die.
Yet now farewell; and farewell life with thee!
So vulnerable. So honest. She is so much better at her goodbyes than Juliet any day! Speaking of… I have to play Juliet (gasp/shudder/horrors upon horrors/no really) in the balcony scene no less! I know right? But still – Shakes is good times, even if you’re a whiney snively teenager. My other scene ROCKS MY SOCKS. It’s the Iago and Othello scene where Iago says “beware the green-eyed monster” and plants the seed of jealousy in Othello’s mind. *insert maniacal laugh here* I get to play the baddy and I can’t wait.
So in short – I’m excited to be barding it up this summer. I hope you can catch some of this at Fringe or maybe around town. Watch the calendar for where and when. Until then, I’m perfecting my spear wiggling 😉
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!!!
View from the Tavern into the Kitchen The view from the “back door” Into the Pantry The repro dishes I can use! 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)!
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:
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 🙂