Friday, August 28, 2009

Damn This Show is HOT

Last night was the official Opening Night of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love and it was a huge success! Not only did we sell out and have to orchestrate a waiting list but the show went off without a hitch (which is a relief after what happened on our second preview). Thank you to everyone who made it happen! Here are some photos of the actual production for your viewing pleasure:


From L to R: Kirsten Kilburn as Candy & Rob Monk as David


From L to R: Joel Sturrock as Kane & Rob Monk as David


From L to R: Tara Pratt as Jerri & Kirsten Kilburn as Candy



From L to R: Kirsten Kilburn as Candy


From L to R: Sebastian Kroon as Bernie & Rob Monk as David
Photography: David Cooper

Hope to see you at the show!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer/
Director "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Bloody Night

A week or so ago Simon from The Next Stage posted a blog about the beauty of live theatre. Anything can happen and so it did. The SWAT team showed up during Itsazoo’s production of The Road to Canterbury.

Well this must be a summer for crazy things happening because last night we had to cancel the second half of the show due to an actor being injured on stage. The events as reported by the SM:

Act 2 was called off due to a “technical difficulty/emergency” right at the end of act 1:
o Rob/David slammed his hand on the door frame where the door closes. He continued to do the end of the act.
o When I reached the backstage area, Rob was holding his hand with a cloth, Kirsten was there as well.
o Kevan, Emilie and Jergus (thank you!) performed first aid on him.
o At 9:30pm, I made the call to cancel the 2nd act.
o Kevan drove him to the hospital. I spoke with Kevan briefly afterwards (around 11:00pm). He then drove Rob home.
o Rob received 4 stitches; he will be wearing some sort of bandage for the next week or so. The Dr. gave him a go-ahead for tomorrow’s show. After 4 days, he will be able to take off the bandages.
o Jergus and Patrick took care of the door frame where Rob was injured.

It was a total fluke. Everyone was freaking out wondering what he could have cut himself on. There were no sharp edges on the wood or anything. Then they looked at the plate on the inside of the door. It had blood on it. You know how “real” doors have a metal plate where the door handle is and sometimes it sticks out just a tinsy-tiny bit. Well it just so happened that Rob scraped his hand on that tinsy-tiny bit when going to open the door. Jergus took off the metal plate from the door handle and now hopefully (fingers crossed) there will be no more accidents.

Anything can happen: it is the beauty (not sure if that is the right word in this instance but…) of live theatre.

I offered everyone the opportunity to come back and see Act II for free with their ticket stub from that evening. The audience seemed to be ok with the cancellation and hopefully they will all come back to find out what happens.

Tonight is Opening Night, and to borrow a phrase, let's all "keep calm and carry on".

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer/
Director, “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love”

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jerri

Part of why I love this craft is the realization that I cannot fail in my efforts, nor can any other actor, because all that written characters ask is that we bring to the table what is unique to each of us, and that we make these characters our own. In joining the already solid cast of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love nearly halfway through the rehearsal process, I was of course aware that not only was another actor previously playing the role of Jerri for this very production, but that she had undoubtedly built Jerri’s character around her own interpretation and understanding of her motivations...and it would now become my task to do the very same thing, hoping that I could “insert” my own version of Jerri amongst these other characters that were not only established in their own right, but were almost certainly used to interacting with a different version of Jerri than I had prepared.

Photo courtesy of Tara Pratt

Thankfully, I’d like to think this transition was made as seamlessly and joyfully as possible, and in no small part due to the fact that Sabrina allowed me to “fill out” Jerri in a way that was organic to me, and not as a replacement to the work that Aili had previously accomplished. I felt secure in the exploration of this character because my director and fellow cast mates had the grace to honour Aili’s work while simultaneously embracing my own contribution; the rehearsal process was not a competition nor an attempted replication...in essence, I do believe I have been fortunate enough to prepare for this role in my usual fashion, with great encouragement and support.

I wish Aili a healthy recovery, and I thank the cast and crew of this awesome production for welcoming me on board. Now let’s rock the casbah, guys.

~Tara Pratt
Jerri, "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mind, Body, Spirit

Last week I posted a rant about the need for actors to learn to take care of their health, both physical and emotional. After that post I received a message from someone who had read my blog post and they said:

“Saw blog. In my experience, actors not trained in emotional health. Huge in 'getting into', very little/none in exiting character. Very few teach acting students how to exit a character and return to healthy self. Sets a pattern for personal life. Root of the problem. Best of all things with your show.”

I agree with his comment but why is this? Everyday we asked actors to be open and vulnerable to the truth. We ask them to laugh, to cry, to scream with anger and sometimes to show parts of themselves to the public things we would never show to another living human being. This is the job of the actor. So, if we are asking our actors to go these scary emotional places then why are we then not providing them with the skills to cope?

Moreover actors, and artists in general, become actors and artists often due to the events that happened to them in early life and as they grew up. These events, whatever they may be, lead them to seek a community where they would be accepted. Where they would be revered on stage. There is a reason theatre people seek the applause of an audience. We don’t need a psychologist to help us with that one.

So, not only do most actors and artists have a complicated past but then on top of that they are asked to show us their gaping wounds and vulnerabilities on stage every night and then we don’t teach them how to deal with it?

In my other life, outside of the theatre, to make extra cash (because we all know how well theatre pays) I also work as a Personal Trainer and on the weekend I went to the annual BCFit Conference at UBC where I took a lot of workshops that focus on mind, body & spirit. Being “healthy” isn’t just about getting out and getting your 20 minutes of exercise everyday. It is a 360 degree approach:

1) Exercise: daily physical activity
2) Nutrition: eating properly and regularly.
3) Sleep: getting enough sleep every night and setting a regular sleeping pattern.
4) Stress Management: the ability to cope. “The process of living is the process of having stress imposed on you and reacting to it” --Stanley Sarnoff, physician and stress researcher.
5) Counsel: “advice given especially as a result of consultation”. This can come in many shapes and forms from talking and laughing with friends to seeking the help/advice of a professional.

Most people I know do not do one thru three very well and most theatre people I know, who also work as hosts, servers, bartenders, definitely do not do one thru three very well. Then we get to four. Life is stressful all by itself. Acting, by that very definition above, is highly stressful. And finally we land on five. How do we deal with stress? We talk and share with friends but sometimes our friends lead equally, or more, stressful lives than we do. So this is where the professionals come in and I don’t just mean doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists. I mean teachers, leaders & coaches as well.

Maybe we need to start thinking about teaching theatre people and coaching actors on how to deal with the stress instead of throwing them out into the ether at the end of a rehearsal or performance where they head off to the bar or pub to deal with the stress by having a few drinks. Isn’t there a healthier way?

I don’t know and I haven’t tried it before, or even thought about it up until this point, but maybe we take the last five minutes of rehearsal and do some breathing/relaxation exercises. Research has shown that just breathing and slowing down the breath can lead to a reduction in stress. Why do you think things like yoga are so popular? It relaxes and focuses the mind & body. Or maybe we spend the last 10 minutes of rehearsal doing yoga? I don’t know. I don’t necessarily have the answer but I do know there is a problem and maybe we should start thinking about a solution instead of passing it off as “not our job”.

It is our job. As directors, leaders, teachers, coaches, etc it is our job to help give the people we work with the skills necessary to navigate through life or their job successfully. That is what it means to be in a leadership position.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some New Faces

In the Cast:
As I mentioned in my last post we unfortunately had to replace one of the cast members. Firstly, I want to thank Aili Storen for all her hard work and dedication to the production up to this point and we all wish her the very best and hope the she will get back to good health very soon. Consequently, I would like to introduce our newest cast member, Tara Pratt, who will be taking over the role of Jerri. A huge thank you to Tara for coming aboard half-way through the rehearsal process and taking it all on with such confidence.


In the Production Team:

Welcome to Abby Renee Creek who played Bee-Bee in last year’s production of SubUrbia and who has come on board as the Front of House Manager. She is a freakin’ star and a life-saver! Also, a big thank you to Vicky Marghelis who is going to help Abby with Box Office. And, finally, welcome to Stu Wilson who has also recently joined the team as Fight Director to help us with the stage violence.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Shit Happens

The past two weeks have been a crazy stress fest. I think this past Sunday was the first rehearsal in two weeks where the entire cast was all there. And, further, I think that was only the second rehearsal where everyone was actually present.

What?! That is insane!

It is extremely difficult to feel like you are progressing somewhere when you constantly have to go back and re-do something because an actor (or actors, yes plural, as in more than one) wasn’t there when you went over it the first time. Especially since, as I have mentioned previously, this is an ensemble piece with all actors being on stage at all times.

Now, for the most part, the reasons various (again, yes, more than one) actors have had to miss rehearsal have been beyond their control. Life is messy. Shit happens. It can’t be helped. One actor had a family emergency that took them out of the province for 10 days. Another actor became seriously ill and missed two weeks of rehearsals and due to the uncertainty of her situation I had to re-cast the role.

Those were circumstances that could not be helped and although it is stressful these things happen. We deal with them the best way we know how (in my case with a lot of red wine).

However, at the same time as this was happening with these two actors there were also major life-crises happening with other actors in their personal lives. Again, can’t be helped. Life is messy. Shit Happens. But when it starts to effect the ability of an actor to come to rehearsal prepared and ready to work then I get very stressed indeed.

So, here is my message to all actors (and one which I conveyed to the cast Sunday after I had just about reached my breaking point):

Your body is your vessel. The same way a singer must take care of the instrument that is their voice so too must an actor take care of their instrument: their body. Your body inhabits this character that you take on. Your body walks like the character. Moves like the character. Talks like the character. Part of doing your job as an actor is to do what is necessary to take care of your body so that you can inhabit and move this character through space and on stage. This includes taking care of your emotional health because we all know the way emotion & stress can manifest and affect our physical health. This is a fact. If actors are not healthy in mind & body it makes it very difficult to be prepared and ready to work. Taking care of yourself properly is something every person should learn how to do but for actors it is crucial. It is part of your job.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer/
Director “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Killer Good Time

Yes, yes, it has been awhile but since my last post on Tuesday, July 28th. Since my last post the course of events that have transpired have been overwhelmingly stressful and have taken my full attention; thus, the lack of blog posts and twitter activity. I am still in the midst of processing and resolving the events that have transpired so unfortunately I am not here to blog about that today. Soon, though, I promise.

What I am going to blog about today is our upcoming fundraiser on Wednesday, August 19th, 7pm at the Roxy Burger on Granville Street. Thank you to Kevan (who plays Robert in the show) for organizing this for us!

Tickets are $10 which includes 1 free drink (approx value of $5) plus if you hold onto the hard copy of your ticket and show it at the box office during the run of the show you will get $5 off the price of admission.

So, basically it's free. Everyone loves free stuff, right?!

There will be a 50/50 draw and lots of raffle prizes. Plus we will be having a special presentation at 10pm. You'll just have to show up to find out what it is.

See you there!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer