This has been a rough, dreary end-of-month, no fooling! I had not realized just how much I had come to define myself by theatre, and this blog, in so short a time. At least, not until I had NOTHING TO GOD-DAMNED WELL BLOG ABOUT. Seriously, someone needs to start running shows over Xmas holidays, just for me. I’d appreciate that, everyone. Although this HAS given me a chance to start watching LOST and UGLY BETTY, helping me fulfill the Norte-Americano dream of becoming a couch potato.
But, all good things must come to an end, and if you think this year was ‘good’, then that cliche now applies, because it’s over! I for one had a good time, some GREAT times, a few absolutely horrible…so, a year. Here are a few personal notabilities:
–Holy shit, I’ve started a blog! Following in the footsteps of one famousactressNancyKenny, I started up this here ridiculous amateur theatre chud, something that was originally only going to be a series of reviews/notes on Facebook about the Ottawa Fringe. Instead, I’ ve given my sad little life some flicker of ongoing, contrived meaning. Yay me!
–Holy shit, I went on a roadtrip! To Toronto, specifically, to see and review the Summerworks festival thereabouts. It was a grand, if highly ill time, I saw great shows, got noticed, and finally met Emily Pearlman and Nick DiGaetano.
–Fucking Hell, I broke someone’s heart. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done. No one should ever be allowed to do that. Especially me. Sorry, Jammy. You deserved a lot better.
–Holy shit, I’m volunteering for a theatre! The Great Canadian Theatre Company, to be precise, and I’m having a blast. At this writing, I’ve served seven shifts (counting envelope-stuffing day), eagerly awaiting the next show.
–Holy Shit, I took acting lessons! Over at the venerable Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, under the tutelage of theatrical Yoda Barry Karp. Met some great people, had the most fun I’ve ever had in a classroom, and am counting the days until level two begins.
–Holy shit, I have Nancy Kenny’s cat! The adorable Winston the cat, my roommate since October now, and here he will remain until our very own littlest hobo (Nancy Kenny) can finally settle down somewheres. He took his Xmas travels like a champ, by the way.
So there’s the short version of 2010…how about the long version? Thought you’d never ask…here for history’s sake is a complete list of all the shows I done took in during this calendar year:
6 Characters in Search of an Author
7 (x1) Samurai (2)
Anatomy of a Broken Love Affair
the Andrews Brothers
Archy and Mehitabel
As You Like It
Beer Tent: Reflux
Billy Stutter: an Irish Play
Biographies of the Dead and Dying
Breaking Down in America
Cactus: the Seduction
Countries Shaped Like Stars
Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy
a Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
the Death of Tybalt
Deliver’d From Nowhere
the Duck Wife (2)
Every Job I’ve Ever Had
a Fistful of Flowers
a Flea in her Ear
Grouch on a Couch
It’s A Wonderful Life
It’s Just a Stage
It’s Raining in Barcelona
the Kreutzer Sonata
the Last Goddamned Performance Piece (2)
Love in the Time of Harlequin
the Man Who Went to Work One Day and was Eaten by a Bear (reading)
Mechanicsville Monologues II
Men Telling Stories
a Midsummer Nights Dream
Miss Caledonia (2)
Mixing Boal: Kitchen of the Oppressed
Multinational gRape Corporations
Not the Good Kind of Animal Attraction
the Peter ‘n Chris Show! (2)
the Pig of Happiness
the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Purely Cabaret (2)
Ride the Cyclone (2)
Romeo and Juliet (Salamander)
the Roof Top Guy
Sacred Sites in Suburbia
the Sad and Cautionary Tale of Smack-Headed Peter
the Saddest Girl in the World
Say Ginger Ale
Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus
Someone for Everyone: an Unromantic Comedy
the Sputniks (2)
Sweet Little Nothings
Swimming in the Shallows
They All Do it
This is a Play
Time to Put my Socks On
the Turn of the Screw
Underneath it All
We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! (reading)
Who You Callin’ Sweetheart?
Word! Sound! Powah!
You Are Here
-My Summer Crush Improv
-Fringe Festival Secret Cabaret Show
-Taxi Stand Jam
Not too bad for a relative theatre newbie like my own self, if I do say. although I admit I got off to a slow start (I’m SO fixing that next year, but more on that later). And in no particular order, here now are a few of my fav’rit things from that list (note: not ‘best’, just some of my personal picks. I am by no means qualified to decide what is ‘best’ or not, and please never, ever trust anyone who says they are. They are lying to you.) With that in mind, here are some of my…
FAV’RIT ENSEMBLE SHOWS:
– Bash’d – A perfectly, insanely entertaining gay musical rap-opera from Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow.
– A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Company of Fools show how it’s done in the great outdoors, with a brilliant cast and a hep, funny take on Shakespeare’s faerie fling.
– A Fistful of Flowers – the Baltimore annex Theatre crashes Emily Pearlman’s living room for the best theatre nite of the year, with their must-see DIY show about love and revenge in the mythical west.
– Airport Security – Gruppo Rubato puts on a seriously underrated show at the GCTC studio about the perils of modern travelling. Hilarious and dark all at once.
– Vimy – I saw it five times, I’m NOT gonna put it on the list? Thumpingly awesome WWI drama with a killer cast, that shattered some records for the GCTC and earned every penny.
– I – David Hersh’s world premiere at the Gladstone was supercool and fresh, with an aspiring writer clashing with her idol and a cast of thousands (well, almost).
– The Sad and Cautionary Tale of Smack-Headed Peter – an impressive, filthy, edgy modern fable about a new kind of messiah along the Thames. Dirty, epic poetry.
– Twelfth Night – The Ottawa Theatre School teams with some keen pros to deliver a funny, sexy telling of one of Zombie Bill’s funnier bits.
– The Peter’n’Chris Show – Shit, that was funny. DAMN.
FAV’RIT SOLO SHOWS:
– Blood.Claat/Word! Sound! Powah! – Two from human dynamo Dbi young, I caught the first at GCTC and the second at Summerworks. Powerful pieces of Jamaicana indeed, from a positively inspired performer.
– Time to Put my Socks on – Alan Shain tells it like it is in his original show about one disabled man’s quest for love and sex, and other good things.
– Hamlet (solo) – Raoul Bhaneja performs the entirety of Zombie Bill’s epic, alone, no sets, no effects, and it couldn’t be more mesmerizing.
– The Sputniks – Elison Zasko made me cry. All I’m saying.
– 7 (x1) Samurai – David Gaines gives a solo interpretation of SEVEN SAMURAI. And it works. Holy hell, I love theatre.
– Redheaded Stepchild – from Summerworks, Johnnie Walker’s amazing show about an awkward, effete ginger teen, his flamboyant alter-ego, and clueless stepmom.
– Aomega – There were, like, 7 people in attendance at this gorgeous drop of insanity from Daniel Nimmo at the Ottawa Fringe, about the trifold multidimensional consciousness Aomega. I maintain that everyone else was scared.
FAV’RIT MUSICALS (besides BASH’D, cause I already mentioned it):
– Ride the Cyclone – Atomic Vaudeville tears up Summerworks with a twisted and brilliant tale of a deceased coir singing their final songs. I still heart poor, headless Jane Doe.
– Haunted Hillbilly – A wonderful show from Sidemart Theatrical Grocery about fame, country music and vampires, featuring Greg Kramer (also in 12th night) as the villainous couturier Nudie.
– Countries Shaped Like Stars – I saw it again at Summerworks this year, it counts! I will never, ever get tired of this show. Eager , tho, for their newest LIVE FROM THE BELLY OF A WHALE. Go Mi Casa!
– Nativity – My first proper show at the NAC in several decades was a delight, with everything from singing angels to singing coyotes, with many other singing things in between.
– Grievous Angel – A simple, gorgeous stage show about the life of legendary country figure Gram Parsons, and his protoge Emmylou Harris. Their ‘Cash on the Barrelhead’ was a grand moment.
FAV’RIT BOY ACTORS:
Simon Bradshaw – the Man who went to Work one day and got Eaten by a Bear, Airport Security, Swimming in the Shallows – Maybe the best pokerface in Ottawa theatre, he’s got angry/funny down to a science. Do NOT miss THIS IS A RECORDING at Undercurrents, folks.
Garret Quirk – Death of Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet, Mechanicsville Monologues II – His explosive Tybalt was the big reason I caught Salamander’s R&J, and his piece in MMII brought down the house. Expect great things!
Jeff Culbert – Archy and Mehitabel – Had to mention gentleman Jeff, and his hypnotic turn in A&M from the Fringe. Elegant and masterful.
Alex McCooeye – Me Happy, Nativity – Two distinct, utterly wonderful comic performances have me very much hoping I get to see this cat in something else, and soon.
Richard Gelinas – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, Swimming in the Shallows – A serious actor with a very hysterical streak in him. How to steal scenes while hiding behind a newspaper? Talk to this guy.
Raoul Bhaneja – Hamlet (solo) – Too impressive not to mention it again. He did HAMLET, for god’s sake.
John Koensgen – Heroes, Educating Rita, St.Nicholas, Blackbird – Volume alone would put the killer on this list, but BLACKBIRD nailed it. Fucking wonderful.
John Doucet/Kevin Loring – Vimy – Pardon my singling any of the lads out, but Kevin and John’s work as not just their two leads, but each others central past figures, was a perfect joy to watch. Even again and again. 🙂
FAV’RIT GIRL ACTORS:
– Emmanuelle Zeesman – Andrews Brothers, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, I – What can you say about the Zees? Whip-smart, funny, AND she can tap-dance. ‘Nuff said.
– Nancy Kenny – The Last Goddamned Performance Piece, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, We won’t Pay! We won’t Pay! – Winston, did you put this one in here..? Fine, fine. She DID have me laughing out loud before the doors were even closed in TLGDPP, and pretty much at will after that in whatever she did. Yeah, she makes the list.
– Jenny David – L’Ascenseur, You Are Here – A Visitorium fave, wee Jenny David is one of those ‘up’n’comers’ who’s impressed me twice in a row now, and I’m hoping she goes for the hat trick sometime soon. One to watch, trust me.
– Dbi Young – Blood.Claat, Word! Sound! Powah! – An unstoppable theatrical force. You should bust down walls for the chance to see one of her shows, they are jolts of awesome straight to the heart.
– Danielle Savoie – Death of Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet, Red Noses – A memorably hilarious turn as Rosalind in TYBALT, followed by a twistedly sinister ‘Raven’ in the great RED NOSES. Supahcool.
– Kate Smith – Airport Security, Turn of the Screw, We won’t Pay! We won’t Pay! – Harried high-flying comic housewife or potentially unstable victorian-era nanny, Kate Smith pretty much does it all and makes it look easy.
– Kelly Rigole – They All Do It, Mechanicsville Monologues II – Her bit of Commedia in THEY ALL DO IT was a joy to behold, and her burlesque numbers in MMMII weren’t too shabby, neither. Have I mentioned about THIS IS A RECORDING yet? It’s already selling out guys, for serious.
– Catriona Leger – Airport Security, Someone for Everyone – The funniest lady in O-town? Could very well be.
There’s a lot more I could mention…fav’rit venues? Carleton Tavern and Emily Pearlman’s living room, for start. Fav’rit directors? While I’m still not too technically savvy on such things, I have to give the great Pat Gauthier a nod for his multiple and awesome shows. Fav’rit Writers? Howsabout good ole Donnie Laflamme? Or David Hersh? Fav’rit moments? Too many to count. Don’t no one be offended if you’re not on this silly list, it’s safe to say that if I saw your show, I thank you, and want to see more. This is just a small (really!) bit of love from me to all of you theatre peeps. Thanks for, y’know, changing my life and all. And with that, here’s a brief look forward, with my very own NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS for 2011:
#1 – SEE MORE STUFF. I’m going for a minimum 130 shows in the next year, not counting repeats. Think I can do it? I want to make a special effort to see more community theatre.
#2 – STOP BEING BORED. There’s no reason for it. I’ve already been practicing my new modal operation format: INPUT//OUTPUT//DEATH. Here’s hoping I do it right!
#3 – 211 IN 2011 – I’ve been off my movie watching game, and want to correct that. So on top of those live shows, I want to see at least 211 new movies (or old ones with new commentary tracks) in the new year. I’ll keep you updated. But gotta nourish other senses, so…
#4 – READ MORE. – I’ve been WAY off my reading game, and that has to stop. And I especially want to start reading some plays, too. Again, I’ll keep you updated (I know, you’re waiting on fucking pins and needles).
#5 – ANOTHER THEATRICAL ROADTRIP – Maybe SUMMERWORKS again, maybe someplace a little further…I’ve been eyeing the Victoria fringe for a while now. Someone just tell me where Jayson MacDonald’s gonna be.
There’s more, but they don’t really belong here, and this has been going on for WAY too long without me being drunk. So hats off to all those amazing people who got their shit together, put it on a stage and made me say ‘wow’, because you rocked my world. To my fellow theatre fans, keep on showing up, because that’s the only way it works. And whoever you are, thanks for reading, drop a comment now and then, because as far as communication with the outside world goes, this is pretty much my big attempt right here. Help the experiment along!
And, by the way, CRUSH IMPROV at the Elmdale on January 3rd, and COMPANY OF FOOLS Twelfth Night Fundraiser at NAC 4th stage on the 5th. Be there, yah? We’ll have a laugh. From all of us here at the Visitorium, aka me and Winston the cat, peace, love and soul. See you next year, your pal,