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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

March 8th, 2017

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm

This old Visitorium has been a little patchwork/schizoid these last few months. Am i reviewing still? Am I just promoting theatre…or my own work? Why is it still here?

Honestly, every time I try and come up with answers to these questions, I just get tired in my brain. So instead of thinking, I’m just gonna write, which is way easier and probably more productive. Let’s just try it shall we?

And what a day to start writing…international Women’s Day! Where to even begin? I suppose where my instincts usually tell me to start…with comic books.

mockingbird-8

Fun Fact: If you’ve ever lamented that there is no ‘International Men’s Day’; congratulations! You’re part of the problem.

 

I don’t buy as many comix as I did in my heyday, but feel free to check out FAITH from Valiant comics, written by Jody Hauser and featuring maybe the only plus-sized female superhero headliner, well, ever. Revived from her original incarnation at Valiant in the 90’s, the new Valiant has left the litany of fat-jokes that dogged this character behind and instead embraced her unfaltering optimism, loyalty and flat-out heroism. It’s an unapologetically positive book that deserves much of the accolades its receiving. And check Faith out in the team book HARBINGER RENEGADE as well, because its awesome too.

F-LJ

And of course there’s LUMBERJANES, an epically amazing fantasy-tinged ongoing from Noelle Stevenson about the adventures of an all-girl scout-style troop at a summer camp. With delightfully cartoony art and instantly engaging and diverse characters, this is one for all ages and all hearts. I’ve been collecting the trades, and you should too. Might I suggest, for my Ottawa readers, picking a few of them up at Comet comix at 1167 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South? Owned and run by the fantastic Heather, and she won’t steer ya wrong!

I could go on and on…DOCTOR MIRAGE, SAGA, BITCH PLANET, MS MARVEL…there’s good stuff out there. But I DO have theatre to get to. And I love me some rambling about theatre. I mean, this blog was primarily founded on my unabashed love for the one-woman show. And having already caught one of the best of these, Margo MacDonald’s THE ELEPHANT GIRLS this year, my theatrical ladybar is set nice and high for 2017.

Elephant Girls cred AA

So what’s coming up? Well, tonight I have the honour of catching INFINITY at the NAC Studio, written by Ottawa’s own wunderkind playwright Hannah Moscovitch (or @moscotweets as her close personal friends like me know her on the Twitter). She’ll be back in the newly announced GCTC 2017/18 season. I’ll dig into many of the new season announcements in another post, but happy to report there seems to be plenty of female representation across the board, at least at first glance.

For my own part, I’ve been blessed to have some simply astonishing and talented ladies helping to prop me and Strange Visitations up during our 3-year existence. Like repeat director Jodi Morden, soon to be seen back at the Ottawa fringe with the fierce Hannah Gibson Fraser in a new project from Pretty Ugly Productions. Or my clown pal Madeleine Hall, also returning to Fringe with a solo project that will quite simply knock your likely mismatched socks off. Also multitalented Rebecca Laviolette and the unstoppable Erin MacDonald, both of whom I would have been lost without.

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True Theatre Luv.

And I have so many more women in Theatre who I look up to, admire, and continue to be inspired by…Nancy Kenny, Alix Sideris, Michelle leBlanc, Kristina Watt, Martha Ross, Alexis Scott, Gemma Wilcox, Rachel Eugster, Laura Hall, Brooke Cameron, Morro and Jasp, Kirsten Rasmussen, Mind of a Snail, Ingrid Hansen, Jan Irwin, Megan Carty, Catriona Leger, Mary Ellis, Kate Smith, Bronwyn Steinberg, Lisa Zanyk…I could (and probably should) go on. Instead, I’ll just make a special shoutout to my old classmate and theatrical force of nature Kathryn Paige Reeves. The Mouse has a brand new play of her own creation about to take to the stage this April, and I could not be prouder. Don’t think I’m not considering a road trip, Kathryn!

carpe noctem

SO. EFFING. PROUD.

And hey, it would be quite silly to write up a Women’s Day post without mentioning, nay worshipping, the brilliant, sexy, silly and passionate woman who has allowed me to be a part of her life, my sweetie Caitlin. You make me stronger, you help me grow, and even if I am the Giraffey in our relationship, I promise I’m always looking up to you. Thanks for never giving up on me.

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Schmoop.

What else? I should mention the incredible book I’m reading right now, found at the library while hunting for the autbiography of Harpo Marx (which I DID find, don’t worry). It’s called I AWAIT THE DEVIL’S COMING by turn of the century flapper-to-be Mary MacLane, and it’s a series of fiery, brilliantly nonconformist diary entries she wrote in Butte, Montana in 1902 at the age of 19. Full of incredible language and razor wit, it’s a thing of terrible dark beauty and I kind of NEED some local young actress to pick it up and adapt it into a 1-woman show. Monica Bradford-Lea, off the top of my head? I’ll help you!

This is an important day, and ever-more important this year with the pussy-grabbing grand wizard down south doing his worst every day (and that’s pretty worst). Keep being positive. Read something a woman wrote, see a play with women, watch a movie directed by a woman, collect a comic starring a woman…and then keep doing that. Because, of course, one day is approximately 364 too few. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

PS special shoutout to the bestest ladies of the all, my amazing niecelets Brynn and Clara. Rule the World, gals!!

Brooke & Pierre

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2017 at 12:59 am

I don’t know what it is about today, January 20th 2017, but I have a strong urge to write a blogpost about a world leader with a surname beginning in TRU. Someone charismatic, and known for speaking his mind. A real divisive figure, ya know? And I’m not talking about Justin Trudeau, neither. I’m talking about TRUDEAU. As in Pierre Elliot, the ultimate PM…yeah, no, I wouldn’t waste your precious time talking about that monster down south. You got enough of that on Twitter today (and every day, really).

Fortunate Son that I am, I got a chance to check out the latest at the GCTC, Brooke Johnson’s autobiographical one-woman storytelling epic TRUDEAU STORIES. The stage was sparsely set as I walked in, just a small box set beside a terrifically comfy looking chair. I thought for a moment Jim Jefferies was about to stroll out and do a set

jjc

Comedian Jim Jefferies also uses a comfy chair in his stand-up comedy shows. Just to put a point on this completely unnecessary sidebar.

But of course, tonight belonged to the great Brooke Johnson, who took to the stage with a smile and started telling her story through memory, letters, and a very special piece of audio, of her unlikely friendship with the man himself, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Beginning with a chance encounter during her time at the National Theatre School in Montreal back in the 80’s, including an awkward dance in ill-fitting shoes, the show goes on to detail the extraordinary platonic bond that developed between a budding actor and our national enigma, both a playful and sombre figure in this recollection as his legendary head occasionally weighs heavy under the burden of his phantom crown. He may have stopped being PM, after all, but he could never stop being Trudeau.

brooke-johnson-trudeau-stories-pic-by-kelly-clipperton

Not that Brooke Johnson herself isn’t a force in the show…her easy warmth and charm brings the audience in to her story before they even know they’ve been trapped in her storytelling spell. Together with some beautiful direction from Allyson McMackon, the story of not only Brooke and Trudeau, but their odd relationship and his place in the Canadian identity creeps off the stage and into a warm, fuzzy place in the audience’s hearts. The show ends with an appropriate ‘remember where you were’ moment, as the struggle of maintaining so private a friendship with so public a figure comes to its inevitable, emotional conclusion. It’s a satisfying, heartwarming, funny and terribly Canadian piece of work and it made me awful happy to see it. It might even be enough to make you love Justin again. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

By the Sword

In Theatre, Uncategorized on December 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Action blockbusters at the movies are a pretty big growth industry these days, and I’ll admit to having partaken of my fill over the years. But why should the Marvel Cinematic universe have ALL the fun?

avengersageofultronposter

“All for one and one for all!” – Captain America, probably.

Down at ye olde Ottawa Little Theatre, the gang has thrown their century+ weight behind an All-for-One-and-One-for-All production of Ken Ludwig’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS, based natcherly on the Alexandre Dumas swashbuckler classic. The story follows young up-and-coming swordsman D’Artagnan (Robbie Clement) as he heads to Paris to join the vaunted Musketeer ranks and protect the King and Queen (Jacob Benson and Lindsay Laviolette). Trouble unfolds quickly as our young hero accidentally falls afoul of the titular heroes Aramis, Athos and Porthos (Eze Leno, Ian Gillies and Job Dickey) as well as earning the wrathful eye of the nefarious and power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Glenn).

Of course, D’Artagnan and the heroic trio manage to reconcile, and team up to try and protect the realm against Richelieu and his cadre of killers, including Kyla Gray as the cruel Rochefort and Rebecca Laviolette as the deadly Milady. Toss into the mix an innocent lady in waiting (Katherine Norland) and D’Artagnan’s feisty little sister Sabine (Emily Walsh) plus a mighty ensemble cast, and the recipe for epic adventure is ready to go!

3-musketeers-maria-vartanova

“Avengers Assemble!” – Pic by Maria Vartanova

To say the OLT pulled out all the stops for this show is an understatement. Colossal setpieces, rousing score, gorgeous freaking costumes, projection, fog, swordfight after stellar swordfight, they throw everything in their considerable theatrical arsenal at Dumas’ tale and the end results are a heaping helping of fun and adventure. Clement strikes a solid balance of youthful enthusiasm and derring-do for the anchoring role of D’Artagnan (his scenes with sister Sabine and love interest Constance are quite especially delightful), and the musketeers are as wonderful a bunch of heroes as you could ask for. I was personally thrilled to see fellow OTS alum Kyla Gray returning to the stage, and am happy to say she makes a dandy cutthroat as the smashingly-clad Rochefort. Fellow villainess Rebecca Laviollette steals a good chunk of the show with some frighteningly impressive ass-kicking throughout. And amidst the fights and set pieces (all well done, and only occasionally wearying from sheer volume), solid performances and engaging storytelling abound.

This is a big show, using every inch of the OLT stage and even beyond to make it even larger. Sides, aisles, even spaces outside the theatre all become part of the spectacle in a brash and campy adventure played in deliberately broad strokes by director Stavros Sakiadis. Serious moments are peppered with a much-needed humour that allows the play to laugh at itself instead of sinking into melodrama…not that it shies away from the melodrama when it’s called for. Action, love, honour, betrayal, revenge, treason…it’s got all that good stuff and plenty more. Buckle a swash or two this holiday season, feel like a kid again, or just go ahead and bring the kids. If you want fun…here it is. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Unzipping the Cat

In Theatre, Uncategorized on October 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm

So with Ottawa and Vancouver Fringe done for this year…what’s next? What does a ragamuffin bumpkin of a DIY artist like myself do to keep himself busied and out of trouble? Shlepping back to my dreary kitchen job, I suppose, ho hum.

Well, true…but happily there’s one other gig I have to delve into straightaway, and while it’s not kitchen related, it does involve a nice heaping helping of FRESH MEAT. Yes, I’m fortunate enough to have been selected back into the roster for the 5th annual little Festival that didn’t give a fuck! It’s the second time Strange Visitations has made the FM grade…first was back in 2014 when I teamed up with Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden to create FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING, which just went out West to Vancouver Fringe. So what could I possibly do to follow up that madcap, fast-paced clown adventure?

How about…talk for 20 minutes about a cat?

unzipping

Basically 20 minutes of this. Photo credit: LOG Creative.

No, wait, come back..! Not just ANY old cat, now, come ON. I mean the legend, the icon, the furball, Winston the Cat his own dearly departed self! Back in April, I was slated to appear in a small fundraiser event, hosted and organized by good guy Nick Amott. I had a piece all set to do, when 2 weeks before hand, the worst happened and poor old Winston had to be put down. A few days after, while drowning my sorrows at the Carleton Tavern, I pulled out my laptop and out poured a 12 minute monologue about our time together, Man and Cat. With a small bit of tweaking, I performed that piece, titled Unzipping the Cat,  on stage at Live on Elgin just ten days later. Now, I know this is a technical violation of the Fresh Meat edict that every piece must be a world premiere, but gimme a break, there were only a dozen people in attendance that night and I’d only had a grief-stricken week to rehearse!

I’m happy to be given the chance to put this piece back onto a stage and give it the time it deserves, and that Winston deserves too. And other than Winston, I’m gonna be well and truly going this one alone. No director, dramaturge, nothing. My tech rehearsal will be a BREEZE. And it’s not that I think I’m so shit-hot I don’t need anybody’s help…my past few Fringe experiences have hammered the exact opposite lesson into my brain, trust me. I just want to keep this piece (I hesitate to call it a ‘show’) as real, and as honest as possible. It’s my own personal experiment with honesty on stage, and we’ll just have to see how that goes. I hope you show up.

winanman

The Ghost of Winston COMMANDS YOU!

And if my self-indulgent cat show does NOT excite you then never fear, I’ll be sharing the stage with plenty of WAY more talented people than myself, including Kate Smith, Hayley Robateau and Jordan Moffat, Prix Rideau Award-winners Two Kind Boys and much more! Check out full schedule, lineup and ticket info at the Fresh Meat website, and we’ll see you out thee for the coolest time around.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston…just this once)

The Speed of Fringing

In Uncategorized on September 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Back in Ottawa for about a week now…still missing the mountains, wicked sushi and cheaper, more efficient mass transit big time. And definitely missing Fringe, tho the worst of my post-fest ennui has evaporated by now. But this was a particularly special Fringe for me, not only my first visit to Vancouver Fringe, but first time performing in another Fringe Festival to boot. And how did that go down?

PosterFSDvan

lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and comercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING. We (meaning myself, Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden) opened this weird little silent physical comedy to an unexpected crowd of 60 people on Friday September 9th and then never looked back. And while we never did crack that 60 opening, our houses were always good and I feel safe in saying our trip to Vancouver Fringe was a resounding success. Much lovely feedback abounded, including some from some familiar and friendly faces (thanks again for the surprise visit, Sarah Finn!) With the assistance of our terrific venue tech Phil, the show went off without a hitch 6 for 6, we had a blast every time, and quite frankly are already itching to come back.

As for the future of Speed of Dating, well, we’re definitely hoping to do an Ottawa remount in the months to come, and we’ll keep you posted on that front. The new bits in the show went over great and we can’t wait to show the hometown what we got! Special thanks to the Fresh Meat festival for helping us premiere this one 2 years back, and good luck on the upcoming 5th anniversary edition…and more on THAT in my next post, coming soon.

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VANCOUVER FRINGE. Can I just say I love this festival? Granville Island is maybe the perfectest setting for a Fringe that exists on planet Earth (although I did make it out to some of the off-Island venues to, like the historic Cultch and Rio), and we lucked out with damn near perfect weather for the entire time. I managed to catch almost 30 shows while I was there, and for the record that includes:

Space Hippo

Peripeteia

I Forgot to Fly Today

Happiness ™

the Ballad of Frank Allen

the Girl who was Raised by Wolverine

Aux.la.more.

Does Not Play Well with Others

the Jupiter Rebellion

In the Trenches

Great Day for Up

Bella Culpa

Curious Contagious

Perpetual Wednesday

Fat Sex

Love is a Battlefield

the Lion the Bitch and the Wardrobe

Frank: to be Frank

Falling Awake

Love, Lust and Lace

Berlin Waltz

Til Death: the Six Wives of Henry VIII

Wild/Society

Nerdfucker

Get Lost Jem Rolls

Cabaret of Bullshit

In the Blue of Evening

Ze: Queer as Fuck

Some AMAZING stuff in there…Vancouver had a seriously stacked deck of talent this Fringe. I count myself lucky anybody found the time to squeeze our little show into their schedule! FALLING AWAKE and BELLA CULPA, a pair of 2-hander physical comedies, were definite highlights and inspirations for me, not to mention the hilarious BALLAD OF FRANK ALLEN that I caught twice. But things were great across the board, even the very setup of the Fringe, setting out from sandwich board village every day to see shows, and meeting back at the open air Fringe bar in the evening (I didn’t realize how MUCH I’d missed an open air Fringe bar, you guys!). Props also to the simple and brilliant Artist Rush Pass system, replacing the occasionally cumbersome password system for this Fringe. And of course, huge thank you to my amazing billet Naomi, who not only kept a roof over my head for the duration, but provided our show with the chairs we needed to go on!  You’re the best!

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I guess the view wasn’t so bad, either.

FAV’RIT MOMENTS. Skytrains. Aquabus. Sandwich board village. Lizard-Maaaan. Seagull ate my pizza. If it seems too hard…stop trying. You can’t predict the Heather. Epic dance party. 100 dollar lunch at Queen Elizabeth Park. Tacos at Cats. Sushi Aria. Reunion with Cliff. STU! Crowdsurfing cardtrick. Moths. Dancing with Frank. Popcorn and beer at the Rio. The Berlin Wall comes alive. Closing Night Selfie with Jayson McDonald.

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Also, and inappropriately, known as the Giant invisible Selfie.

And maybe my last, fav’rit moment at Vancouver Fringe came on the final night. Sandwich board village had been torn down, last shows were on, we’d closed the day before. A gentle rain was falling across Granville Island, and this dream of a trip was almost done. I took a long, lonely final wander around the place to say goodbye, getting a bit misty-eyed in the misty evening, fully feeling an early post-Fringe depression. Then, as I was passing a small restaurant, a happy couple spilled out not too far from me. They saw me, and one of them immediately shouted “Hey, it’s the Speed Dating guy!” We walked together for a minute, and they told me how much they’d loved the show, and the Fringe, and my frown turned upside down in a flash. To quote one of my fav’rit philosophers in what feels like appropriate timing…the Human Race. Don’t you just love it? Yes I do. It is the only Possible way to cope with it.

Bless ya Vancouver Fringe. I’ll be back. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Vancouver and the Speed of Dating

In Uncategorized on September 1, 2016 at 9:50 am

It all started with a flower.

Flower

Almost three years ago now I was in my one and only semester at the late, great Ottawa Theatre School, working away on my end of year project, a five minute ‘vocal masque’, in this case a silent and solo 5-minute performance piece. After a few questionable ideas, one night I lay awake in bed and the storyline for a short scene popped into my noggin. A clownish bit about a lonely dope trying to declare his love for a local barista by offering her a token of his affection…a solitary blue flower, hence my name for the show, ‘The Flower’. I quite enjoyed the finished product, and even performed it in a couple of other places a few times for new audiences. It was a nice bit.

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Then a while later, I applied for and got in to a local theatre Festival, Fresh Meat, dedicated to premiering original 20-minute shows. I thought of the flower, and wondered what else that character could get up to. Somehow, speed dating popped into my head. After a few weeks of awkwardly imaging a 20 minute speed dating piece as a solo work, it occurred to me that this would be a LOT easier, and better, if someone else were on the stage with me. Also if someone were watching the both of us and making sure what we did made sense. Enter Madeleine Hall and Jodi Morden, two pals and previous grads of the Ottawa Theatre School, where I devised the flower in the first place. We put together the original show, FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING, for the 2014 Fresh Meat Festival, and it went over like gangbusters. I played two oddball characters, Madeleine tackled ten (not bad for a 20 minute show), and I’m still proud as mud of the staging for that show. It was a long rehearsal process for such a short piece, but worth every second.

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Me and the 2 bestest gals in showbiz.

Jodi, Mad and I (along with Rebecca Laviolette) would go on to collaborate on the 2015 Ottawa Fringe show HANNAH & GEORGE, very much inspired by characters from Speed of Dating. Not a sequel per se, more of a ‘what if’. A live action clown romantic comedy. It was fun. 🙂

 

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I can still feel the love. 🙂

Now it’s 2016 and, after each performing in original works of our own at this year’s Ottawa Fringe (CARDINAL for Madeleine, with Mitchel Rose, and the solo NORMAN BISBEE GOES TO WAR for me) we’ve got the gang back together to bring Speed of Dating out of retirement and out west to the Vancouver Fringe Festival. It’s a lot of firsts for me…first time performing out of Ottawa, first remount of a show (with almost ten extra minutes added to boot…it’s a revamp as well!), first time actually even going to Vancouver…the excitement is building, folks. I’m rather giddy.

In true emerging artist fashion, the gang and I have begun a Fundraiser campaign to try and offset the expenses of flying across the country to perform in just one festival. Please feel free to click on the link and donate what you can, if anything…and if nothing, that’s fine too, we accept good vibes and well wishes!

PosterFSDvan

lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and commercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

We have also the obligatory Facebook event page, which it would be lovely if you west coast types took a look at…it seems trite, but as out-of-towners, I promise, every ‘going’ click is another confidence boosting shot in the arm (I’ll add to that that , wow, am I ever blown away by the advance ticket sales for the show, already way above what I received for my show this year in Ottawa…THANK YOU, Vancouver!)   https://www.facebook.com/events/291773537853609/

I would be remiss if I didn’t shoutout our incredible photog/designer MJ Gervais, who has done stellar work making us look good, not only on our sweet, sweet poster, but our series of collect-them-all polaroid postcards. 8 in all, and we’ve printed them in varying degrees of rarity. If you manage to get a complete set, tweet a pic of yourself with them at #SpeedofDating ! We will owe you, at the very least, a group hug.

polaroid_GeorgeSimpleman

lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and commercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

polaroid_MysticFlower

lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and commercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

Almost time to head on out, still finalizing the last bits of packing, printing and panicking…but mostly, can’t wait to check into the False Creek gym and see how Vancouver audiences react to our rapid fire, silent, silly romantic adventure. We hope you like it.

Vancouver Fringe…damn. Pretty good mileage for a 5-minute piece. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Ottawa Fringe 2016 – Epilogue

In Fringe Fest, Uncategorized on June 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

This…was a hard Fringe.

Picking up the pieces now in those oddly quiet days after, and finally getting some reliably decent sleeps again, it’s odd to look back on this one, my ninth Ottawa Fringe Festival, and the third in which I performed. I think I saw fewer shows than ever before…a paltry 27, tho of course they were all fantastic. In fact, before I get to my own post-show report, let’s deal with those amazing shows I was lucky enough to lay eyes and feels on:

the Exclusion Zone

Gary

Love is a Battlefield

Everybody Dies in December

Dissidents

How to be a Gentleman

Laser Kiwi

Rideshares and Rope Swings

Magic Unicorn Island

2 For Tea

Cardinal

Angels and Aliens

A Tension to Detail

Alpha Delta 86

In Waking Life

Best Picture

GET LOST Jem Rolls

Saor (Free)
C-

ArborAmor

V.R.Dunne

#staystrong

Grade 8

Drinksitter

Lovely Lady Lump

Blindside

Okay, so that’s a pretty swell list, yeah? And I’m sorry I missed some great hometown heroes like Fireflood and Dead Unicorn Ink, but here’s hoping they consider a double-bill remount (you know you want to!). Also missed the local Improv gangs at Fringe…will try and make up for that with a few visits to their regularly scheduled shows coming soon. Some shows I missed because they conflicted with my own, or out of sheer exhaustion. Of the ones I did catch, I loved a lot. Jem Rolls was as good as I’ve ever seen him in GET LOST, the Two Kind Boys made a wonderful Fringe debut with the terrific RIDESHARES AND ROPE SWINGS, Martin Dockery impressed as ever in THE EXCLUSION ZONE, Nancy Kenny gave what I think is her most beautiful performance ever in EVERYBODY DIES IN DECEMBER. In the end though, I had two top picks that immediately made me want to come back in the theatre and see them again

Magic Unicorn Island WEB

MAGIC UNICORN ISLAND from Jayson McDonald. The dude what inspired me to become a solo performer continues to inspire with maybe his best show yet (and that’s saying something). Hilarious, imaginative, poignant and devastating.

-Cardinal 1 (cred Aplombusrhombus)

…And CARDINAL from Aplombusrhombus. I had the privilege of performing with Madeleine Hall in last year’s Fringe, and after Cardinal it’s pretty obvious who had the talent in THAT team-up. Joining forces with Mitchel Rose, they created a wordless, colourful and vibrant visual landscape as two opposing clowns act out the disintegration of a man’s mind to alzheimers. Utterly unforgettable.

Plenty more shout-outs deserved…The Synsk sisters charmed mightily in IN WAKING LIFE, Gerard Harris hit storytelling highs in A TENSION TO DETAIL, James and Jamesy continue to be brilliant in 2 FOR TEA…I really could go on and on and ON, but I think I’m just stalling now.

bisbee poster

This year I hit the Fringe in my first ever solo show, a comedy/drama called NORMAN BISBEE GOES TO WAR, the story of an elderly WWII vet who is robbed of a precious locket and sets out to nab the punk who took it. Along thee way he meets a young runaway, is haunted by visions of his old squadmate Peppini, yadda yadda yadda. A little late for the elevator pitch now, I know. This show was a definite labour of love, and I can’t thank my stage manager Erin McDonald enough (fighting illness the entire Fringe, but still made every show and nary a tech bobble to be found. If anyone deserves an award this time out, it’s her). Likewise her partner Pierre, who jumped in by her side and was ready to take over if need arose, plus stalwart venue tech Fraser, sound guru Leslie Cserepy, and superstar  Jodi Morden who helped out so much in the creation of the show. And of course my OWN Partner Caitlin, who helped keep me sane and standing throughout. All the love forever, gang.

I don’t know what I was expecting from my first solo outing…I mean, I know what i was HOPING for, or dreaming about…best of fest! Sellout crowds! Rave reviews! Outstanding solo performer! Cries for a remount! On to Winnipeg..!!!! Ha. 🙂

The reality was much more, well, real than all that. Small to middling houses (I will NOT make my money back, tho I won’t take such a hit that I have to sell organs or anything), a couple of relatively pleasant reviews, no word of mouth to speak of, no awards or accolades…none of which sounds particularly strange when I put it on paper. But at the time…well, let’s just say that playing to 8 people at 11pm on closing weekend was not a personal high for me (but I gave those 8 good folk a terrific show, dagnabbit!). I got disappointed, I felt distant from my beloved Fringe family…gone from being that reviewer guy everyone knew and liked to just some untested solo performer whose show wasn’t doing very well and who didn’t know how to open his mouth without whining about that fact. I found myself feeling very un-Fringey pangs of envy towards friends and colleagues whose shows WERE packing houses and WERE getting rave reviews and great word of mouth while I stagnated…believe me, I ain’t proud of those pangs. Add to that working overtime hours at my day job all the while I was opening a physical theatre piece, and my visits to Chapel Perilous were becoming more and more frequent. And I know, I know that others at Fringe had even less material success than me, and those people have my eternal sympathy. Fringe can be a brutally tough racket, and this one has been a big learning experience for me.

But…but that isn’t what I wanted! A LEARNING experience?? My first solo show? Are you kidding me? This was supposed to be my breakthrough, guys! Didn’t anyone read the script in my head? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO DID THE READING???

diary

“…and then I won a Dora Award.” It’s right there in my diary, you guys!!

Sigh. But in the end, and after some sober (and sometimes drunken) self-reflection, I know exactly why my show never sold out, and why the reviews were just okay, and why nobody talked about it on twitter and all that jazz. And that’s because…it just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t TERRIBLE, don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I put up there on that stage. It IS a good show. But not only is there room for improvement, there’s need. If this show is to ever see the light of day again…and trust me, after this Fringe my dreams of touring it have taken a serious body blow…it needs some work. And I’ve already taken a few moments to sit down and think about where those tweaks and twists might come. And I’ll be talking with others about exactly that in the months to come. Fringe may be only 11 days a year, but it also never ends. That’s my new reality. And that reality…well, that’s a rather welcome one.

NormanBisbee3 pic byCaitlin Oleson

Take a break, Norman…you did good.

In fact, I have to delay workshopping on Norman Bisbee because now that Ottawa Fringe is over for 2016, it’s time to get back into the rehearsal hall with Madeleine Hall (the talented one, remember?) and Jodi Morden (the belle with the bell) as we start prepping FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING to hit Vancouver Fringe in September. See? Fringe never ends, gang. Fringe is a beginning that never ends.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

The Road to War

In Fringe Fest, Uncategorized on May 20, 2016 at 12:55 am

I’m up later than I’d planned.

I mean, not that I had a CRAZY busy day or anything (I’m no Kiefer Sutherland), but I did get some sun, which if you’re familiar with my pallour you’ll know could be a source of concern for me. There was much walking in direct sunlight, some eating, some meetings, what might be considered a late-in-life viewing of Mel Brooks’ BLAZING SADDLES, and then bedtime.  I was in bed, and ready for sleepies.

But for Fringe.

The 2016 Ottawa fringe website went live and all whirlagog with activity today, announcing the impressive 20th anniversary lineup of the festival that changed the course of my life back in 2008.  A lot of my time today was spent pretending I did NOT have laundry that needed doing, and instead poring meticulously over the shows in said list.  I can already safely say that I’m almost recklessly giddy that my theatrical hero and inspiration, Jayson McDonald, is finally coming back to Ottawa Fringe, and that LASER KIWI is a show I will absolutely be seeing, based solely on the wonderfully absurd strength of its name.

laser kiwi

LASER KIWI, people..!

But I was sleepy, and so took to bed.  But sleep was not in the cards.  I had too many thoughts in my head, about my beloved Fringe.  Not of the entirely Fanboyish variety for which I first became known in Ottawa, but because MY show, the still-upcoming Norman Bisbee Goes to War, was one of the shows in that ‘impressive lineup’ I’d mentioned.  And while I’m happy to say the thoughts that kept me awake were NOT unhappy ones…no undue stress about deadlines or production details or unfinished scripts (there may have been a fantasy or two about winning best of fest lodged in my musings somewhere)… I knew that I clearly was not done with Fringe for the day.

So up I got, poured a late shot of Jamesons, and tossed my dvd of Martin Dockery’s brilliant storytelling show WANDERLUST on for inspiration.  It worked.  And remind me to buy all the rest of his discs come June, and then remind yourselves to do that too.

dockery

This is Martin Dockery. See all his shows and buy all his stuff. You’re welcome.

When it was done, I moved to my computer, because as the show played, I realized that I owed a long overdue post, on this terribly rusty blog, ABOUT that show of mine. One that’s been kicking around in my head for about 2 years now, coming to me almost fully formed after a couple of moments in front of a mirror in the changeroom at work pretending to be an elderly man, for no good reason.  NORMAN BISBEE GOES TO WAR is a show about an unexpected adventure undertaken by an unlikely protagonist, 84 year old Norman.  Venturing out into the bad part of town to track down his most prized possession, stolen by a Rat-Faced punk, Norman befriends a young runaway named Sally, and is aided/haunted by visions of his old war buddy Peppini.

NormanBisbee1 Pic by Caitlin Oleson

Scary promo photo of me by Unicorn Princess Caitlin Oleson.

That’s the elevator pitch, such as it is.  Marketing ain’t my strong suit.

The reality of the production aspect, however is…good?  I’ll say good.  I was terrified for a long time that I was taking on too much with this one, a show I’d told myself as soon as I thought of it that I wasn’t good enough to do yet.  I’d probably still be saying that, if some clever people hadn’t  made me realize that I would likely be content to KEEP saying that until I was dead.  And you don’t make art when you’re content (dibs on the tee-shirt right for that one).

Still…I was writing and performing this show, and kinda/sorta directing it too.  Which is a TERRIBLE idea, you don’t have to tell me.  But I have people keeping me honest in this, I swear! An early workshop of the show with Jodi Essery led to me abandoning the original silent version of the show in favour of a full-fledged script, with words and everything.  My go-to Jodi, Jodi Morden, has been sitting in when she can, helping me with blocking and timing and everything in between. I landed a gold medal Stage Manager in the form of the mighty Erin McDonald, who does nothing but impress.  Good guy Leslie Cserepy is going to town on sound, Stirling Prentice of Winged Beast Outfitters is working up a sweet poster design. The script is done.  I like it.  I’m off book.  I’m…we’re…in good shape?  We open in less than a month at the ODD Box.  And as I sit here, almost in the dark, writing this post and listening to my collection of Fringe songs from my computer (a bit of LITTLE ORANGE MAN is teasing my ears as I write these words), I can remember that June back in2008, standing alone in a corner of the now-gone Beer Tent, basking in the glow of my first ever Fringe and gawking at the people and performers who had redefined acting and entertaining for me in just 11 short days and quietly, desperately thinking to myself I WANT TO BELONG TO THIS SO BADLY.

Now, before you say anything, let me just say that it’s kind of hard for me to feel like I belong to anything.  It’s just my brain. But, I’m a little bit closer now.  This June I’ll be even a littler bit closer-er. Me and Norman.  And hopefully a few of you reading this will be joining us along the way.

And hey, if you wanna buy an advance ticket, go for it right HERE. See you at the Theatre, gang. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and…oh. Yeah.  That’s ANOTHER overdue post.)

 

Coming Up in April 2016

In Uncategorized on April 8, 2016 at 8:32 am
  • Updated April 12th, added Cabaret  Oh-La-La and Dance de Garcons to Theatre Francais.

Another right-on-time entry of show listings for the month.

…APRIL FOOLS!  I’m more than a week late! Sigh. Here ya go…

Concord Floral at the NAC Studio. Jordan Tannahill…’nuff said.  Until the 9th.

Calendar Girls at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Until the 16th.

Pool (no water) at Academic Hall, from the Ottawa U Drama Guild. The 5th to 9th.

vw cast

The Virginia Woolf Cast, courtesy of Andrew Alexander.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Gladstone, from Bear and Co. A pleasant evening in with charming people. The 7th to 16th.

12th night ld

Twelfth Night of the Living Dead at Algonquin College Theatre (Buliding N). Shakespeare’s classic…but with Dinosaurs! Or something.  The 13th to 17th.

Mop in the Grid at Live! On Elgin. Hosted by Nick Amott and Fireflood, a night of variety and pre-Fringe excitement from a slew of companies, including myself (doing I don’t know what, but come along and find out). On the 20th.

Staff Room at the Gladstone, from Phoenix Players. The 22nd to 30th.

wh

Woyzeck’s Head at Arts Court Theatre, from Third Wall Theatre. Tactics closes for the season with the return of one of Ottawa’s most beloved theatre Companies to action! The 22nd to 30th.

Janet Wilson meets the Queen at the GCTC. You had me at Tony Adams and Katie Ryerson.  The 21st to May 8th.

Belles Soeurs: the Musical at the NAC Theatre. Tremblay gets the song’n’dance treatment! The 27th to May 14th.

 – Theatre Francais

Cabaret Oh-La-La at Theatre de L’Ile. Until the 16th.

887 at the NAC Theatre. Robert Lapage returns! The 12Th to 18th, English surtitles on the 15th.

Dance de Garcons at La Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre la Catapulte. The 14th to 16th.

Tendre at the NAC Studio. 2 performers, attached with rubber bands, in a show for ages 4 and up! The 23rd and 24th.

Scenes de la Vie Conjugale at the NAC Studio. French adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman classic Scenes from a Marriage. The 27th to 30th.

 – Improv and other Stuff

oif 2016

Ottawa Improv Festival at Arts Court, the 14th to 16th. All the Improv you can handle, and most of the Improv you can’t. Check it out!

The Improv Game Show at Live! on Elgin. Exactly what it sounds like, on the 11th.

Okay, I’m a week late and this post is still missing a ton of stuff, I know!  Will update occasionally (with updated items spotlighted at the top of the post for easy reference from now on) when I get the chance. But for now, I need breakfast, and it was really important to get this one out today.You don’t even know.  Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Coming Up in March 2016

In Uncategorized on March 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Updated March 10th – added Cabaret Oh La La! in Theatre Francais.

March! No Undercurrents, sure, but hopefully less blizzards, so there’s that. And also, these:

anton

Anton in Show Business at the Gladstone theatre, from Three Sisters Theatre Company. The sisters are doin’ it for themselves (and lucky audiences) until the 5th.

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Ottawa Little Theatre. OLT’s stellar take on the legend of MacMurphy, Nurse Ratched, Chief Broom and the gang continues until the 12th.

Boom at the NAC Theatre. Something about music? I don’t even know. Until the 12th.

twpwwp

They Won’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! At Algonquin College Theatre N112, from Algonquin Performing Arts. The Gonq kicks off their season with a swell bit of Dario Fo for ya, directed by Mary Ellis. The 2nd to 6th.

die Zauberflote – the Magic Flute at Tabaret Hall from Ottawa U School of Music. Turns out not ALL opera in Ottawa is bankrupt! Playing The 3rd to 6th.

Butcher at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. A nice light romantic comedy…or rather, the exact opposite of that. The 3rd to 20th.

mackenzie

Mackenzie the Musical at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton U Campus), from Carleton Engineering Musical. The Carleton kids put their own spin on Chicago for this musical fundraiser for the Ottawa Food Bank. The 4th and 5th.

A Chorus Line at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society. A little song and dance about T&A to warm up the winter The 4th to 13th.

just mingling

Just Mingling at Arts Court. A Queer Theatrical Salon featuring new works from Margo MacDonald, Lawrence Aronovitch and Sarah Waiswisz. The 4th and 5th only.

Silent Comic Workshop at Arts Court Library, with Andy Massingham. A one day physical comedy workshop from the one and only Andy Massingham, recently seen onstage at the theNAC, Dora nominee, and soon to be director of Odyssey Theatre’s summer show! Don’t miss this one! Saturday the 5th. Entry 100, 80 for students.

hvenus

The Hottentot Venus – Untold at Origin Studio. Jacqui duToit‘s one-woman show coinciding with International Women’s Day. The 8th to 12th.

Tuesdays with Morrie at the Gladstone Theatre, from 730 productions. Because Thursdays with Morrie would be just ridiculous. The 9th to 19th.

AYLI

As You Like It at the Carleton U Art Gallery, from Sock’n’Buskin. The 10th to 19th.

Perfect Pie at Arts Court Theatre, from Cart Before the Horse (part of the TACTICS series). Judith Thompson hits Tactics as the series rolls ahead! The 11th to 19th.

Snow Angel at the NAC Studio, from Quest Theatre. Physical theatre for kids! Three performances on the 12th.

The Odd Couple at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Odd couples don’t come more classic than this one, gang.The 22nd until April 2nd.

1manSW

One-Man Star Wars at Centrepointe Theatre, from Charlie Ross. A fundraiser for the Ottawa Fringe festival, featuring the now-legendary west coast show in its first Ottawa appearance On the 23rd.

Will Somers at the Gladstone Theatre. No, not THAT Will Somers. But definitely that Pierre Brault! The 24th to April 2nd.

52

52 Pick-Up at the Avalon Studio, from Cracked Compass Collective. I’m quite excited for this revival of a classic Fringe play from TJ Dawe and Rita Bozi.  The 25th to 27th.

otc

The Ottawa Theatre Challenge at the NAC 4th Stage, from various companies and hosted by a Company of Fools. Everyone who’s anyone competes to win the coveted rubber chicken award in this inspired annual event celebrating World Theatre Day. On the 26th.

Calendar Girls at Ottawa Little Theatre. The girl power just doesn’t stop in Ottawa theatre these days! The 29th to April 16.

Concord Floral at the NAC Studio. The 29th to April 9th.

opendoor

The Open Door at Live on Elgin, from Power of Dreams Theatre. Live continues to play host to exciting new theatre in town! The 31st to April 3rd.

sq2016

Stiff Quickies at Arts Court Theatre and Studio. Not exactly theatre, but an evening of short films once again as fundraiser for Ottawa Fringe. Always a blast.  On the 31st.

  • Theatre Francais

le Long de la Principale at La Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre la Catapulte. Until the 4th.

Antigone at Academic Hall, from Ottawa U Drama. Sophocles returns. The 1st to the 5th.

Jour 1 at la Nouvelle Scene, from Petit Théâtre de Sherbrooke, Vox Théâtre and Théâtre de la Vieille 17. March 6th only.

on verra

On Verra at La Nouvelle Scene, from Theatre de Trillium. The 8th to 12th.

Cabaret Oh La La! at Theatre de L’Ile. The 16th to April 16th.

Ca Ira (1) Fin de Louis at the NAC Theatre. Revisit the French revolution from the safe and comfort of a theatre seat! The 16th to 19th.

  • Improv and Other Stuff

From Crush Improv, comes the final grand royal battle in their BOUT TIME tournament of champions on Monday the 7th at Mother McGinteys.

Elgin St.Improv is back at Live! on Elgin with Frame it on Me, a comedy tribute to film noir on the 13th.

she2

Experimental Farm Theatre hosts the 2nd annual She-larious celebration of wimmin in comedy, the 6th at Pressed Cafe. Then right back at that location on the 10th for their Student Showcase show!

GRIMprov has already had a show, and will be back on the last Wednesday of the month (the 30th by my reckoning) for their regular spot at the Cock and Lion!

Morning Person Theatre is back with Sunday Night Fanfiction: Revenge of the Internet at Live! on Elgin on the 27th…always good fun.

smut

Cameryn Moore is back after a packed house last month for a brand new Ottawa Smut Slam at the Clocktower Bank st. on the 31st, this time with the theme f the great outdoors! Which reminds me of a story…

As always, drop me a (gentle) line if I’ve missed or screwed-up anything. See ya at the theatre!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)