Unzipping the Cat – my 1st Semester at OTS

So I had a whole post almost ready to go, talking about my first semester as a full time student at the OTTAWA THEATRE SCHOOL acting conservatory.  And I’m scrapping it, because it just didn’t feel right.  Too pretentious or something, I dunno.

But I still wanted to give at least some kind of blog shoutout to the school that has helped make this past year without doubt the greatest one of my life thus far.  Because when I ended up auditioning for it at the start of the year, I really and truly didn’t have much of a plan in mind…it was sort of just the next step in this whirlwind theatrical path I’ve been on since 2008, when the Ottawa Fringe Festival changed my life for the better.  I suppose I didn’t even really know if I was planning on becoming a professional actor…I was just moving forward fast enough so that I couldn’t convince myself to fall back.  Something my life up until then had been all too full of.

But since entering the school, and meeting my amazing classmates Alex, Ben, Ashley, Kathryn, Julia, Dania, Laura, and Proteus (not to mention the 2nd and 3rd year gangsters, Chelsea, Nadine, Kelly, Sidney, Henry, Aidan, Phil, Lauren, Alexa, Bobby, Jerushah, Jeremie, and of course Madeleine), I’ve been through a hell of a lot.  Some tough times, some REALLY tough, but some, if not most, incredible.  I got to perform in short pieces that I had to create myself, and it felt so damn good.  Pieces that I love, some that I plan to return to in the future (you haven’t seen the last of Roscoe P.Lucifer, gang, let me tell you).  My end-of-semester Vocal Masque ‘The Flower’ is something I’m intensely proud of, and I can’t wait until next semester when I start getting the more specialized physical training that will help make that piece so much better.  I can’t wait.

I don’t want to get into too many specifics about the school year (what happens at OTS stays at OTS, you understand…at least until it’s been properly rehearsed), but there’s one story that I just have to share…it involves a daily routine we were all to bring in and essentially mime for Bruce Bissonette’s acting class.  I picked my coming-home drill of petting Winston just the way he demands, then feeding him.  But when we presented, Bruce then asked us to introduce an unseen twist into the proceedings…could be anything.  For some reason, literally the ONLY twist onto this routine that popped into my head, and thus the one I used, was that while petting Winston I came across a zipper on his back.  And upon unzipping him, it turned out there was a bird inside all along, just wearing a cat suit.  Apparently this is the sort of thing that goes on in my head, and  ‘unzipping the cat’ has since become almost a catchphrase in our class for trying to add something unusual to a bit or a scene.  I encourage you all to try and work it into your daily routine too.

There are a lot of reasons I picked the OTS as my destination…great profs one and all, and thanks so much to Bruce, Andy, Doreen, Kristine, Kate, and Rachel for all the valuable lessons so far.  But it’s the students I’ve met along my path that steered me here…I recently did my end of year wrap-up post on this blog, and here’s a partial list I compiled along the way of theatre from 2013 featuring OTS students, alumni, or faculty:

Absurd Person Singular
Summer of ‘34
Arms and the Man
the Comedy of Errors
the Day we Grew Wings
the B Team
Who Will Separate Us
War of the Worlds: A Radio Play
Loyal Opposition
the Vanity Project
Die Zombie Die
Mercutio and Ophelia
the Tragicall Historie of Nick Wade

And of course the OTS shows themselves, THE FARM SHOW, FALSE ASSUMPTIONS, and SYLVIA.  Not a shabby or small list (and I’m likely missing a few), and these folks make me darn proud to be among their number.  There’s only a few days now until second semester start up, and I’m anxious to get back to it.  Because I finally have a plan!  It turns out…I’m going to be an actor.

A GOOD one, to be specific.  In for a penny, after all…

Peace, love and soul, and keep on unzipping the cat,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

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