Thursday, December 15, 2011
AUDITION DATES: Sunday, January 22nd, 10am-6pm & Tuesday, January 24th, 6-10pm
AUDITION LOCATION: Alliance for Arts & Culture, 100-938 Howe Street
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, January 6th, 2012
Please prepare 2 contrasting contemporary monologues (ie. 1 comedic and 1 dramatic) no more than 2 minutes in length max.
Auditions are open to both Non-Equity and Equity Actors. Equity actors engaged during our 2012 Season will be signed to a Guest Artist contract.
Please note: We will not be holding auditions for individual productions. These are the only public auditions we will be holding for our 2012 season.
For more information on our 2012 season click here.
Please send a cover letter with current contact information, a resume & a headshot to firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please.
In your cover letter please state why you are interested in working with Twenty Something Theatre and a brief overview of your recent work including any experience you have working on new play development.
You will be contacted AFTER the deadline has passed with a time slot. Please DO NOT send duplicate submissions. We thank all applicants for their submissions however only those selected to audition will be given a time slot.
Our 2011 General Auditions last year were a breeze thanks to my new hard-ass rules. These rules remain in effect this year and from here on out. For those guidelines click here and here.
I've written quite extensively on auditioning on this blog so for some other friendly auditioning advice you can read my thoughts here and here.
This year I am actually really looking forward to our 2012 General Auditions and seeing all the wonderful talent this city has to offer. Actors, I'm looking at you, and I have faith you can and will show me once again just how awesome you all can be. I 100% expect that it will once again be a breeze.
Good luck to you all!
Monday, November 28, 2011
I am going off the grid and completely incommunicado until after the New Year. This means not only will I not be blogging but I also won't be on twitter or facebook. I'm not even taking my laptop OR my iphone. Holy crap! I'm having a panic attack just thinking about it. But, it is really going to be the best thing. A self-imposed complete break from reality is just what the doctor has ordered. This has been quite the year!
As I already mentioned in my post "What A Year (or season)!" this year has been huge for Twenty Something but it has also been an amazing year for me as a designer. I had the amazing opportunity to work on 3 great projects. It all started in March with a little production you may have heard of called Jesus Hopped the "A" Train. I could talk all day about this project and still never quite convey how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to work on that production. Not only because it was an incredible production but because I got to form some amazing artistic relationships with some great people. This is the true gift of Jesus Hopped the "A" Train.
Then 5 months later I got to do it all again with on Romeo + Juliet:
Then next it was on to Vimy at the Firehall Arts Centre:
Plus on top of all this I put together Twenty Something's hugely successful Cabaret show Under the Influence, guest directed another Cabaret show for the True Heroines and directed Red Mitts at the BC Buds.
So, yeah, it's been a busy year, to say the least. And, I've said this a lot recently but I am so beyond grateful it's ridiculous. As I said recently in a facebook status "Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask "how is this my life?!". This is a very, very good thing."
A very, very good thing indeed. So thank you again (and again and again...because apparently I can't say it enough) to all of you who made this year the incredible year it has been. So, all I have left to say is:
Here's to 2012, more of the same and may it be the best year yet! Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Almost 2 years ago I started to change my own personal perspective when it came to my theatre career. Prior to that point I looked at everything from a perspective of lack: what I didn’t have, the goals I hadn’t reached, the jobs I wasn’t getting, etc. Then I started practicing a little something called gratitude. And, it changed my life.
And, I know that sounds all new age-y and like I’ve joined an Oprah Winfrey cult or something but it’s absolutely the truth and I believe it 100%. If I could give every person in the world one gift it would be gratitude. It’s not just about saying “thank you” it's a way of living your life.
So, instead of looking at my theatre career from a perspective of lack, I started looking at it from a perspective of abundance: what I did have, the achievements I had made, the opportunities I had been given, etc. And, you know what happened?! My theatre career grew exponentially. I’m not kidding. You want proof…
Okay, I’m a nerd, and I have this spreadsheet timelime thingy that I keep and it starts from the moment I graduated from theatre school and continues to this day. It has every job I’ve ever done, in whatever capacity and how long I worked on it for. The first page of this timeline has everything I’ve done from 2004 to 2009. The second page of this timeline has everything from 2009 – current. That’s 1 page for 5 years compared to 1 page for 2 years. And, yes, partially it is just time and experience. The more you do, the more people you meet, the more opportunities arise but here’s the kicker: about 50% of the 2009-2011 page is for 2009 and 2010 with 2011 taking up the other 50% alone. So, on paper, I did more in 2011 then I did in 2009 & 2010 combined. And, moreover, I did more in 2011 then I did in 3 years previous to 2009. That’s exponential growth.
Maybe it’s coincidence. Who knows?! You can make of it what you will but I believe that the moment I started to change my perspective my life began to change with it.
And so now, I'm aware of it, all the time, this pervasive attitude of lack that I see happening all around me and particularly in the theatre community. It’s all about what we don’t have, the audiences that aren’t coming to see our shows, the money the government isn't giving us, etc.
Making theatre is hard fucking work. Excuse the expletive but it really does apply here. It is hard as shit. Again, sorry. Being an artist is not an easy life. It is a difficult, all consuming, sometimes you want to bash your head against a wall, kind of life. But we are artists because we are called to do it --
Sidebar: And, I firmly believe it is a calling, because if I was happy doing anything else I would do it. If I could be happy working a 9-5 job that would give me a stable income with regular working hours I would totally do it. Who wouldn’t?! But it doesn’t make me happy. Why?! Because I am an artist. Because it is my calling --
And, that means a lot of hard work, work that regular society often doesn’t understand. Is that their fault?! No. Do I blame them?! No. Do I hate them for it?! Absolutely not. We need to change our perspective. This us versus them thing we’ve got going on: “they” don’t understand, “they” don’t go to theatre, “they” don’t give us money, etc.
We are all in this together. We share the same space and community. So, maybe, we all need to start looking at it from a perspective of abundance: the theatre we do have, the audiences we do have, the money we do have, etc. And, start being grateful for it.
We have a beautiful community. One that I am so proud and honoured to be a part of. In the past couple of weeks I have witnessed some of the best theatre I have seen this year. I am so grateful to those companies for giving me the gift of wonderful, amazing, exciting, incredible theatre. Thank you.
So, my advice, from up here on my soapbox, would be: next time you feel frustrated because only a handful of people showed up to your performance instead of letting that feeling of frustration take over, pause, take a moment, and change your perspective. Instead practice gratitude. Be thankful to those 5 people for coming to see your show. And, next time you feel frustrated because you didn’t receive that grant you were hoping for, pause, take a moment (swear a little and drink a lot) then change your perspective. Instead practice gratitude. Be grateful for the money you did raise and for the donors and sponsors that did invest in your production.
I am no stranger to how hard it is to produce theatre in this city. I have been producing theatre in this city for going on 7 years now. It is, as I said before, hard fucking work. And sometimes, yes, you absolutely feel frustrated, disappointed & angry but I refuse to become bitter and cynical and spend my whole life whining, moaning & grumbling about it. That is no way to live a life. And, that is no way to serve your community.
We need to start to change our perspectives. As a community. We need to start appreciating the amazing theatre we do have. We need to start loving the audiences we have cultivated. We need to start being grateful for those people who do support our work whether by coming to see it or by donating their time or their hard earned money. And, we definitely need to start being more grateful and supportive to each other as artists.
If that can happen. If we can change our perspective. Maybe, just maybe, the kind of exponential growth I’ve seen in my own life will start to happen in our community as a whole. Maybe it is already happening but our collective perspective of lack is not allowing us to see it.
I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But, those are my thoughts, from up on my soapbox.
Friday, October 21, 2011
When Angela Konrad, the director of the production, approached me about coming out to Trinity Western University to do the costume design for this production I jumped at the chance because it meant that I would get the opportunity to work with her again. I had the enormous privilege of getting to work with her earlier this year on Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (which went on to win Outstanding Production at the Jessie Richardson Awards this year) and in my humble opinion she is one of the best directors in Vancouver. And, an incredible person. I would probably literally fly across the world to design for her, on my own dime, if she asked me to.
And, she has done it again with ROMEO+JULIET. Her direction of this Shakespearean classic is incredible. (Bard, are you listening?! You should hire her. Now.) It's a fresh, contemporary take complete with dance sequences and billiard room brawls.
For this contemporary take Angela wanted to have the Capulets be white collar or "old money" and the Montague's be blue collar or "new money". As the costume designer I took this concept and went very literal with it. The Capulet's are all in white or varying shades of tan, beige & brown while the Montague's are all in denim or varying shades of blue & black. When my dad says to me (he was my date for Opening Night) at the end of the show - "So, I guess the Capulet's are from Shaughnessy and the Montague's are from Surrey and that's why they hate each other" - clearly we must have done something right since there weren't any director's notes in the program and I didn't tell him anything about the production.
Once the overall concept was in place, I then went character by character to flesh out and highlight the individual qualities of each character and so I thought I would share with you some of my renderings (these are from the preliminary phases so ignore the notations or colour swatches):
Capulet (and Lady Capulet, see below) are dressed in that throw back Mad Men-esque look that is really popular right now. Not only is that look all about elegance but it suits the "tucked in" white collar concept so well.
I wanted Juliet to have that young, innocent school girl look, but still be kind of hip and cool so that it would seem plausible that she would obviously prefer "bad boy" Romeo over Paris the "pretty prep school boy" her parents have picked out for her. So, I went with a kind of Urban Outfitters type of look for her. (I actually bought one of her entire costumes from Urban Outfitters).
This is her white baby doll church/wedding/death scene dress.
Paris is your ultimate prep school boy. He wears argyle sweaters and khaki's and shops at Tommy Hilfiger.
Montague is a working man. He's made a lot of money running his construction company business so he gets to wear whatever he wants. And, that means a jean work type shirt and jeans. This however doesn't mean he didn't go out and buy them from Armani Exchange or something. So, he still looks nice, put together, in a casual way.
Lady Montague is the epitome of this "new money" look which is "trashy" but expensive. And, if a one-piece denim jumpsuit that she probably bought at Holt Renfrew for $500 doesn't say "trashy new money" I don't know what does.
(And, shhhhh....don't tell anyone but I kind based Lady Montague and Montague off of my parents friends whom I - lovingly - refer to as the real life Barbie & Ken)
Romeo has the ultimate "bad boy" look with a hipster-y edge to it. He's got the American Apparel V-neck T & hoodie with a black leather jacket and skinny jeans and sneakers.
As Romeo's friend I wanted Mercutio to have that same sort of look but with a bit more over the top flare and edge.
And, finally, as the arch rival who eventually brings Mercutio to her untimely death, I wanted Tybalt to have that same edgy look but still be Capulet at the same time. So, I put him in a brown leather jacket - to oppose Romeo's black leather jacket - and instead of sneakers, like I gave Romeo, I gave him white leather loafers.
And, there you have it, a small sample of the concept and character looks from this production of ROMEO+JULIET. This hilarious promotional video the students did (put together from the stills from the publicity photo shoot) does a great job of illustrating this concept and idea as well:
So, if you want to see how it all turned out, get a group of your friends together and carpool (or rent one of those zip cars or something) and head out to Langley to catch the show. Trust me I don't think you'll regret it. My dad and family friend who came to Opening Night with me said as we were driving home that they liked this production of ROMEO+JULIET better than some of the Shakespeare productions they saw at Bard this year. And, I wholeheartedly agree. Yes, they are bias. But my family is also blunt and they have no qualms about telling what they actually think. So, the fact that they liked it better than Bard, that says something about this production.
You can buy tickets or get all the information about the show at the SMAC website
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
SPOTLIGHT: The Bomb-itty of Errors by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Gretogy Qaiyum and Erik Weiner, April 3 – 22 at Studio 16.
Twenty Something Theatre presents Temporary Thing’s production of The Bomb-itty of Errors - a fast-paced, energetic, musical “ad-rap-tation” of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors. Elizabethan times get pumped up with live hip-hop flavour, as the actors sing, rap and rhyme fun, catchy and laugh-out-loud songs that retain much of the Bard’s original text – all with a live DJ on stage and original music by Anami Vice. Starring Brian Cochrane, David Kaye, Nick Kopansis and Jameson Parker. Directed by Catriona Leger.
This year the Spotlight is on director Catriona Leger. Catriona's 15 years in theatre have taken her across Canada and abroad to act, direct and movement coach. Favourite directing projects include Romeo & Juliet (Theatre@UBC), Inclement Weather (MiCasa Theatre - Rideau Award nomination), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Torchlight Shakespeare), and she looks forward to directing A Midsummer Night's Dream for the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in June 2012. She has also worked as movement director on several productions including the Jessie nominated Lentement La Beauté and La Perimetre (Theatre la Sézieme). Most recently Catriona played Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra (Torchlight Shakespeare) and was nominated for a Prix Rideau Award (Outstanding Actress) for her work in Someone for Everyone (NightHowl Theatre, Ottawa). A recipient of the JBC Watkins Award for Theatre from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Sidney J. Risk Award for Directing, Catriona is graduate of École Philippe Gaulier and holds a BFA in Acting and MFA in Directing from UBC.
SPRING DEVELOPMENT: Us & Everything We Own by Sean Minogue
In the Spring of 2012 Twenty Something Theatre will present a public staged reading of Sean Minogue’s new play Us & Everything We Own - a young man whose hunger to be successful ruins his once-perfect relationship. Blurring the lines between friends and business, he gets in over his head in a foolish investment scheme and discovers how much he’s truly been risking.
This public staged reading is phase one in a 2-year development plan that will culminate in the World Premiere production in 2013.
And, there you have it folks. Some of you are now asking, wait a second, what about the summer production?!?! In 2012 there will be no summer production. I know, I know…
However, I’ve been running Twenty Something Theatre for the past 6 years and most of my time and energy has gone into making the company a success and I think this past year has proved that without a doubt. So, it’s now time for me to take some of that time and energy and put it back into my own personal professional development and so as of June 2012 I am going to be taking a 6-month leave of absence, if you will, from Twenty Something Theatre to pursue other projects and ventures.
And, I promise to tell you all about these new projects and ventures as soon as I can. Right now I am still in the process of finalizing details.
2012 is going to be a great year. I am VERY excited about the projects that Twenty Something Theatre does have planned. There is incredible talent being featured in both projects and I look forward to sharing that with all of you next year.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
First up: Tonight I’m off to Opening Night of the Arts Club’s production of Next to Normal. And, I am SO excited for this I might cry. Literally. I saw this in NYC about a year and half ago now. It was I think, a couple of months before it won the Pulitzer Prize, and never in my life have I cried so hard at piece of theatre that there was actually snot dripping out of my nose. I know, pretty, right?! And, never have I seen a piece of theatre where not only was I sobbing uncontrollably but everyone around me was also sobbing and sniffing uncontrollably. This is the power of theatre. Never has it ever been so evident to me. If you want to be moved to tears, you need to see this show. If you or anyone you know has ever dealt with mental illness you need to see this show. It’s truly an incredible piece of theatre. And, I’ll apologize right now to anyone sitting around me. It’s gonna be ugly.
[Photo above: (Clockwise from left) Caitriona Murphy, Warren Kimmel, Jennie Neumann, Eric Morin in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Next to Normal. Photo by David Cooper.]
Next: Touchstone Theatre’s production of True Love Lies presented at The Cultch. I’m so excited for this production I’ve already bought my tickets. And, I’ll probably go more than once. Anyone who knows me or has read this blog knows that I am a huge Brad Fraser fan and I had the awesome privilege of seeing the North American premiere of the show at Factory Theatre in Toronto when I was there in 2009. It blew me away then and I’m sure I will feel the same about the Vancouver production. It’s witty, it’s real, it’s about the dysfunction of families yet all the while still loving your family, but not in a mushy-gushy way. It’s smart and it takes no prisoners. It’s why I love Brad Fraser. If you’ve ever loved AND hated your family members all at the same time (which I know you have) then you’ll appreciate this show.
Moving right along: To yet another Arts Club production (loving their programming right now). This time it’s Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker who is an up-and-coming young American playwright. I’ve been hearing nothing but amazing things about this play all over the twitter and blogosphere for the last couple of years. It won the Obie for Best New American play and Performance by an Ensemble as well as it was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Director of a Play as well as the cast was awarded a special Drama Desk Award for an Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Basically the play takes us inside a small town acting/dance studio where “group members pose as trees, beds and baseball gloves. They perform emotional scenes using only the words goulash and ak-mak. They pretend to be one another, telling their life stories. They write deep, dark secrets (anonymously) on scraps of paper and listen, sitting in a circle on the floor, as the confessions are read aloud” (taken from the New York Times review). If this doesn’t sound funny as hell, I don’t know what does.
[Photo above: Emilee-Juliette Glyn-Jones, Alex Diakun and Anita Wittenberg in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Circle Mirror Transformation. Photo by David Cooper.]
Shortly after: Opening up on the Arts Club revue stage is Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride the Cyclone which I am super stoked for since I am one of the only people I know that hasn’t seen it yet. When I was in my final year at UVIC I had the pleasure of seeing one of the very first incarnations of Legoland (Atomic Vaudeville’s precursor to Ride the Cyclone). Sitting in the Barbara McIntyre black box studio way back then I knew I was seeing something special. Ride the Cyclone is about a teenage chamber choir from Uranium, Saskatchewan that die in a roller coaster accident at a traveling fair and I am absolutely looking forward to being able to see what kind of crazy wonderful ride (pun intended) Atomic Vaudeville are going to take me on now.
Finally: We come to West Side Story with the Vancouver Opera. When I first heard that the Vancouver Opera was doing this show as part of their 2011-2012 season I thought to myself “uh, isn’t that musical theatre?!” I’ve been going to the Opera since I was 12 years old (my family are long-time season subscribers) and I’ve seen a lot of different stuff but I’ve NEVER seen what is traditionally thought of as musical theatre done by an Opera company. But then I paused and thought, who better to do West Side Story in the grand Broadway style it deserves than a company like the Vancouver Opera who has the resources to do it?! They’ve got opera singers in the lead roles singing what is some pretty darn tough music, actors and dancers from the traditional theatre community filling out the cast, and apparently they are doing the original choreography by Jerome Robbins (or so I’ve heard). I don’t know how it's all gonna turn out but I’m pretty darn excited to find out on Opening Night October 22nd.
And, there is a ton more happening across the stages of Vancouver throughout the fall but right now those are a few of the upcoming productions that I am personally most excited for.
Enjoy the fall theatre season! I know I will.
Monday, September 12, 2011
STRESSFUL, EXCITING, AMAZING, ENLIGHTENING, INSPIRING, SUCCESSFUL, SCARY, DRAMATIC, HUMOUROUS, ABSURD, BEAUTIFUL, AWKWARD, BIZARRE, EXQUISITE, FASCINATING, TRUTHFUL, CHARITABLE, ETC…
In January, as the new year began, I had already set in motion a 3-show season, something Twenty Something Theatre had never done before. Not only was the company embarking on its first 3-show season we were also embarking on the rather daunting task of mounting of our first production where every single person was paid, not just a profit share or an honourarium, but a full contract fee. EXCITING, yes. SCARY, you bet. And, all this was done with minimal funding. For just that one show only alone approx. $4000 came from funding (thanks to the City of Vancouver) and the other approx. $16, 000 was raised through sponsorship, donations, & other fundraising initiatives/events. Plus we still had 2 other shows to mount and produce. So…STRESSFUL, uh yeah, that might be the understatement of the century. But, SUCCESSFUL, most definitely.
We opened the year with our Spotlight production of Nocturne by Adam Rapp where I had the great pleasure of finally working with a friend and colleague after talking about working together for 5 years.
Then after 2 and ½ years of development we presented our first original production and the World Premiere of Prodigals. I could write about this experience all day and still not do it justice. So, I guess I will just say that without a doubt this show, the people, the experience, will forever be in my memory as one of the best moments of my career. Without a doubt.
Finally we closed our season, literally just over a week ago, with Tough! by George F. Walker. And, what a great way to end a season! Such a strong show and I’m so proud as an Artistic Producer to be able to bring such amazing artists together to create a production of this calibre. Nothing gives me greater pleasure. Honestly. I’m not just saying that.
And, so with that we wrap up the year, and to close this post I just want to send out a huge thank you to all the people who have worked on, volunteered, donated to, came out to see & who just generally support our work. It has been an incredible year because of all of you. I am just filled with so much gratitude because I’ve come to understand that all the good stuff in life happens at the precipice of terror and bravery. And, this precipice between terror and bravery is in a nutshell how I would describe this past year (or season).
Thank you somehow doesn’t seem enough but there it is.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
[FYI: terpsichorean = "of or relating to dance"]
"Marlene Ginader is very good as Tina. Her solid, grounded performance makes clear how genuinely tough Tina’s choices are and how complicated her feelings about Bobby remain...Katherine Gauthier’s hyper-intensity suits Jill well...Johnston’s sweet, vulnerable quality works nicely for Bobby’s unusual masculinity...See Tough! with someone from the opposite sex and prepare for a good argument afterwards." -- Jerry Wasserman, Vancouver Province
"There’s some terrific work in Twenty Something Theatre’s production of Tough! Under Tamara McCarthy’s direction, Katherine Gauthier nails Jill’s nasty humour, and a great deal of the wariness and pain that inform it. On many levels, Timothy Johnston makes a lovely Bobby. There wasn’t a moment in which I didn’t buy his compassionate characterization, and his comic timing is terrific." -- Colin Thomas, Georgia Straight
This is tough material extremely well directed by Tamara McCarthy... Timothy Johnston’s Bobby is a mass of nerves. He shakes, slaps his head and sobs uncontrollably. We alternate—as does Tina—between wanting to give him a hug or a kick him in the butt. No question that Jill, Tina’s best friend, wants to beat the crap out of Bobby. She has, unaccountably, hated him since kindergarten. With long strides, index fingers pointed and a wicked glare, Katherine Gauthier’s Jill is downright scary. As Tina, Marlene Ginader is soft, conflicted, hurt and angry, but shows just enough of Tina’s strength to lead us to believe she will make it somehow...Tough! is 90 uninterrupted minutes of compelling drama" --Jo Ledingham, Vancouver Courier
"As the confused and somewhat naive Bobby, Timothy Johnston comes out of the gates with huge conviction. My front row seat gave me a clear sense of his vulnerability: trembling lip clearly holding back his fear coupled with a wide-eyed stare like the proverbial deer. Easily capturing Bobby’s internal struggle between rejecting Tina and a misguided sense of honour, Johnston also provides small reflections from Walker’s deeper pools. As he literally beats himself about his head trying to fully comprehend the predicament or curls up under the physical and emotional beating he takes, we know there is much more here than meets the eye...Walker repeats this multi-layered hue with best friend Jill as well. Here Katherine Gauthier must make us believe she is putting the fear of god into Bobby for the sake of her best friend Tina’s future and the future of the unborn child. However, just like Bobby, there is something more to her visceral reactions than perhaps the circumstances require... Tough! is as much about sucking it up and doing the right thing as it is about being strong in the face of life-changing circumstances." -- Mark Robins, GayVancouver.net
Only 3 more chances to check out Tough! by George F. Walker before it closes on Saturday. Tickets are still available online at Tickets Tonight or take your chances at the door.
Hope to see you out over the final weekend!!
(All photography by David Cooper)
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Recently, Jerry Wasserman of The Province said, "Marlene Ginader is very good as Tina. Her solid, grounded performance makes clear how genuinely tough Tina’s choices are and how complicated her feelings about Bobby remain."
Here, Marlene shares some thoughts on Tough! and the world of theatre.
Tell me about a really memorable performance or show you saw that really stands out for you.
The two shows that come to mind are The Electric Company’s Tear the Curtain at the Arts Club last season and the staged reading of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Pacific Theatre a few years back. They both set a new standard in my mind in different ways.
What was your, “Aha! I want to be an actor” moment?
I don’t know exactly, I think I remember watching some movie on TV when I was around 8 and thinking, that looks pretty fun and it’s obviously really easy to do. Glad to tell you it’s still fun! It’s always been acting though, I’ve never really considered doing anything else.
Do you have any funny or embarrassing actor stories that have happened onstage?
Yes, yes I do.
How has the rehearsal process been for Tough!?
We have a really great team behind this piece so it’s been a pleasure to go to rehearsal each week and jump right in. And when I say “jump right in” I mean it! This show has no scenes in the script and really snowballs from one thing to the next. Personally, it’s been a huge challenge as this is the biggest part I’ve had to date. I’m proud of this show though and excited to get it up and running!
How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate to your character?
I don’t relate to Tina in most ways and that was one of the great challenges of working on Tough! While we both have strong values and a list of what we want, the things on that list are pretty opposite from me to Tina. She’s also very practical. I, on the other hand…
So why should people come and see Tough!?
It’s a high energy, 85 minute one act in real time. Once it starts it doesn’t stop so I think it’ll be really easy to go along for the ride. Plus it’s affordable theatre!
What advice would you have for any young actors starting out or thinking about becoming an actor?
If you think you can do it, do it. It’s difficult at times but a fun and rewarding career. That being said, the one big thing I would tell “high school Marlene” would be to pick up a trade! A key trick in the first few years of many people’s careers is to balance an erratic actor’s schedule with being financially secure, so, whether it’s hairstyling or welding, if your high school offers it, take it while it’s free. Good luck and have fun!
You can catch Marlene tonight at 8 pm for the 2-for-1 Talk-back night, and the rest of this week until Saturday, September 3rd at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Tickets Tonight, by calling 604.684.2787, or at the door.
~ Sarah MacKay
Monday, August 29, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tell me about a really memorable performance or show you saw that really stands out for you.
One of my most memorable experiences was stumbling upon a one-man memoir type show at the Fringe in Ottawa in 2007. This remarkable piece of theatre entitled The Tricky Part, by Martin Moran essentially exposed a man’s struggle to come to terms with his past. Or was it about learning to grow up? Or was it about a loss of innocence? Truth be told, the plot did not even really matter. The play was about redemption. About trespassing. About being human, But most of all, It was about grace. Ah, grace. That irrevocably human theme that always seems to punch me in the gut (No surprise then that the other “memorable performance” that came to mind was Pacific Theatre’s Grace).
As an avid theatre lover, I have given many standing ovations to very deserving casts in my day. But I had never understood how much an audience sometimes needs to clap just to express; "Thank you". That is how I felt after Peter Hayes (who played Martin) so stunningly brought Moran’s story to life. Hayes generously gave himself to us in a truly cathartic and slightly dangerous way. He let us into Moran's remarkably human story and allowed us to breathe, cry, laugh, sigh, hurt with his character. It was a breathtaking and tour de force performance and one that will stick with me all of my life.
What was your, “Aha! I want to be an actor” moment?
I am not sure if I have ever experienced said moment and yet, at the same time, I also feel like I experience it 77 times a day every day. I have always possessed an invested and real inner life. I also have significant escapist tendencies. As a child, this combination often led me to create worlds or find solace in different identities. I lived out the fantasies and stories in my room and found great refuge in them. I always wanted to live a thousand disparate lives and share in a thousand people’s different stories. Theatre allows me to do that. Theatre allows me to truly step in the other’s shoes and live, eat, breathe, think, act as they do. I guess that is why I have decided to pursue it professionally (amongst many other reasons). You know, to share communally in the experience of being human. Although I may not have had the “Aha!” moment, I have always felt that there was something stunning and powerful about this art form. Something that makes me feel alive pries me off dead centre (in a good way).
What do you think of the theatre scene in Vancouver? The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this theatre scene; its people are stunning and the work is lovely. I do think our major challenge is that we can’t seem to consistently get people into seats. In my opinion, the hardest part of doing theatre in Vancouver (and certainly is not unique to Vancouver) is that we live in a society of individualistic, comfortable people who each cater to their own lives. Thus, it does not appeal to the masses to pay (often too much) to sit in a dark room and turn off their cellphones, Twitters, minds, etc, enough to really immerse themselves in somebody else’s story. We no longer appear to long for those moments in which we, as human beings can sit in wonder, awe and admiration of something outside the self. Not to mention, that we, as a society, have seemingly lost the ability to be present. Because of the tragedy of needing money to produce theatre and needing people to give us money, I feel as if this city often is often forced to play it safe artistically. I wish that we had a platform to take more risks, move boldly, expand the medium, do more collaboration-pieces and really blow out of the water what we have been doing.
Do you have any funny or embarrassing actor stories that have happened onstage?
I was in a two-hander at the Havana called Matt and Ben. We had some pretty crazy costume changes that were not really called for in the script. So, while my cast-member was changing from Matt Damon to J.D. Salinger backstage (a pretty extensive costume change as you can imagine), I was left alone onstage to improvise in order to waste the time. Well, the Havana is a unique space all on its own. To start with, to get from one entrance to another, you have to go through the restaurant kitchen washroom, through the kitchen itself, down some stairs, into the lobby and then through two doors. Needless to say, these “improvisations” could felt like hours.
One particular run, my partner got locked out in the lobby. So, I was improvising away as per usual noticing that it was taking a lot longer than the norm. I end up doing the most ridiculous things (that seem normal at the time due to my adrenaline-charged mind). I don’t remember quite what I did but I do remember grabbing a blanket, turning it into a cape, running around screaming, wrestling a papier-mache rooster down and hitting myself in the head in the interim. Minutes later (and unscripted minutes on stage can seem like hours), my cast-member ends up coming in through the bedroom (which in terms of the story, makes no sense at all) and we continued. Oh, Live Theatre!
Photo courtesy of Katherine Gauthier
How has the rehearsal process been for Tough!?
I feel incredibly blessed to have been a part of this rehearsal process. Delving into the likes of Jill has been riveting, a terrifying challenge and wholly satisfying. Truly a revelation of the flaws, messiness and beauty of humankind, Tough! presents three characters who are all endearing due to their honesty, vulnerability and in their weird way, hope. Thus, rehearsals have provided me with the compelling journey to discover, plummet and expose Jill’s humanity. She wears her heart on her sleeve which is a trait that in this day and age is more of a rare find than a commonality.
Not to mention, working with these talented people. Annie (our magical SM) is unreal; so patient, thorough, and totally hilarious. Tamara (the director) is stunningly gracious and a joy to work with. Being an actor herself, she seems to truly understand when she needs to let us discover and when she needs to come in and “save us”. She also has a gift of verbal affirmation (which is always a good trait in a director). Marlene (who plays Tina) is a stunning human being and a wonderful Tina. I consider it an honour to play her best friend. There is so much that one can fall in love with when it comes to who Marlene/Tina is that it makes my characters’ job (as her best friend, protector, biggest fan) so easy. Tim (Bobby) is one of those rare finds – such a charming and wonderful individual and someone who brings so much heart, humour and chutzpah to the rehearsal process. It has been a pure joy seeing him explore this character and plummet into the vulnerability and depths of who Bobby is. So yeah, it’s been good.
How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate to your character?
I feel deeply connected to Jill. Jill is incredibly loyal and will fight to the end for what she believes. Jill wants to better herself and those around her. She loves fiercely, she believes strongly, she feels passionately and acts extremely. Although Jill is significantly damaged, her decision to not feel sorry for herself is compelling. Jill does not accept mediocrity in herself or anybody around her. In this manner, I feel that we have similar cores but she just has more guts, less self-imposed boundaries and significantly more courage than I do. Although I may not have the follow-through that Jill has, I do feel like we both are passionate fighters, protectors and lovers.
On the contrary, I am significantly more diplomatic and, for lack of a better term, kind than she is. I also, unfortunately, have a strong people-pleasing tendency which does not seem to course at all through Jill’s veins. Jill is not afraid to stand out and in fact, most of the time, is not even aware that she is doing so.
So why should people come and see Tough!?
It’s raw. It’s real. I don’t know. Just come. Let me know what you think.
What advice would you have for any young actors starting out or thinking about becoming an actor?
Man, I hate this question. I really believe that everyone must forge their own path and any advice I could give is either not heard or should not be heard. People come to this powerful art form for so many disparate reasons and I don’t feel equipped or frankly, even desire to spout out advice. That being said, if I were to talk to my sixteen year old self, I would say: “Risk more, fail boldly, tell the truth, and always remember to breathe.”
Thanks Kat! You can catch her, and the rest of the cast, tonight at the Opening Night of Tough! which runs until September 3rd at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Tickets can be purchased from Tickets Tonight, by calling 604.684.2787, or at the door.~ Sarah MacKay
Monday, August 22, 2011
What have been some of your highs and lows over the years, as an actor?
Well, I think the obvious answer for any actor is that anytime you are not working is a low time! So…I’ll go with that too. No work equals low. As for high points, I have had many. With few exceptions, every opportunity to tackle a new character is its own high. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. But I guess…what immediately comes to mind, is the fact that in the last couple of years, I’ve been super fortunate, and have been able to work on several projects in a row that I have had deep personal connections to. Whether it was creating a role in an original work, or collaborating with my peers to produce a show we could be proud of; the opportunity to develop original, thoughtful material, with a varied pool of incredibly smart, stupidly funny, fiercely talented friends has been incredible.
Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories that have happened onstage?
No…I’m kidding. Hmm… I guess I could tell you about the time that I was performing in Aladdin and, while in the guise of “Prince Ali,” I gracefully leapt and subsequently not-so-gracefully tumbled over Princess Jasmine’s balcony, splitting open my face just above my left eye, therefore spending the rest of the play trying to A) Be Disney level romantic and heroic B) Not get blood all over my white satin costume C) Not let the audience notice I was bleeding profusely and D) Not die from loss of blood...I guess I could tell you about that?
Are you kidding me? This company is a machine now! In all seriousness, as someone who has produced their own theatre before, the rate of growth and maturity, pardon the pun, in Twenty-Something Theatre is incredible to me. It is HARD. To give you an example of the early days, and how hopeful and naive we were: I vividly remember, while doing their very first show, This Is Our Youth, at Presentation House in North Van – hanging out outside the Seabus terminal handing out flyers and hoping at least a few of those people would take a chance on our show. They didn’t. And it was rough. Now, the company is producing multiple high quality, exciting shows every year. They are nurturing and fostering young, sensational talent; be it actors, directors, writers or designers. They are featured in print media, digital media and are abuzz in the world of social media. They have come so far, and I am incredibly proud to be able to say that I have been a part of the journey. The best part is, it doesn’t feel like they’re done yet.
How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate, to your character “Bobby” in Tough!?
Bobby is…complex. But Bobby is also simple. He just wants to be understood. He just wants to do the right thing. I think we can all relate to that. Bobby also, unfortunately, has a hard time communicating to people what it is he’s thinking, and battles crippling insecurities about himself and his circumstances. I mean, we all go through that sometimes, but Bobby is ridiculous. That’s a challenge. I mean a REAL challenge. Come see the show, you’ll understand what I mean. Poor guy.
And finally, why should people come and see Tough!?
Come see great writing. Come see great design. Come see great acting. Come see great direction. Come to laugh. Come to be moved. Come to be uncomfortable. Come to support your friends. Come to support strangers. Come to support independent arts. Come to think. Come to not think for a while. Come and have a great time. And then tell your friends.
And you can come catch Tim this week in Tough!, running August 24th - September 3rd at Studio 1398 (formerly the PTC Studio) on Granville Island at 8 pm. Hope to see you there!
~ Sarah MacKay
Friday, August 19, 2011
"Welcome to our 6th annual summer production and our 3rd & final show of the 2011 Season! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be ending our season with George F. Walker’s Tough! To me it is a seminal part of Canadian theatre history and belongs in the same category of as our 2009 production of Brad Fraser’s Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love: contemporary Canadian classics. To some it may seem like “contemporary” and “classic” are contradictory ideas because when we typically think of “classical” theatre we might think of Shakespeare or Chekov; but, as a country Canada is still quite young and we haven’t had the luxury of time. Canadian theatre history is maybe 100 years old, if that. The “classic” playwrights like Shakespeare changed the landscape of theatre history hundreds & hundreds of years ago. However, did Brad Fraser change the landscape of Canadian theatre with Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love? I think so. Did George F. Walker change the landscape of Canadian TYA (Theatre for Young Adults) with Tough?! Absolutely.
Tough! doesn't pander to a young audience. It is real. It is gritty and it treats the issues that young people deal with as something worthy of exploring. The lives of Tina, Bobby & Jill and the issues they deal with are very real to them in the moment and this trio of actors have given these characters a journey that is both hysterically funny and painfully real. And, honestly, what more could you ask for from a “classic” piece of theatre?!"
Sunday, August 14, 2011
All proceeds will be going directly towards our upcoming production, Tough!, running from August 24 - September 3.
Here's What you need to know:
Date: Tuesday, August 16
Time: 7 pm - 'til late
Location: Hell's Kitchen 2041 West 4th Avenue Click here for map.
Includes: 1 FREE drink (practically the cost of your ticket right there!), entry for an awesome raffle prize, silent auction, and 50/50 draw. Hey, you could walk out of here with a profit!
What is the raffle prize for which you'll be entered? It's a $100 gift certificate to Peckinpah restaurant, located in the heart of Gastown!
Other Silent Auction items include:
Wild Whales whale watching adventure for 2 (retail value: $250 + HST)
Orling & Wu fine tableware (retail value: $168 + HST)
Sewell's Marina Eco-Safari Boat Tour for 2 (retail value: $146 + HST)
Hope to see you there!!!
~ Sarah MacKay
Friday, August 12, 2011
Marlene hails from Brandon, Manitoba and is happy to be making her Twenty-Something Theatre debut. Recent credits include Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire (Carousel), Tiny Replicas (Zee Zee Theatre), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Arts Club), Around the World in 80 Days (Gateway Theatre), The Vertical Hour (UP) and an upcoming episode of Fringe. Catch her next in Chelsea Hotel at The Firehall Arts Centre this winter.
TIMOTHY JOHNSTON (BOBBY) -
Timothy is stoked be to back with team Twenty-Something, after previously appearing with them as Warren in their inaugural production, This Is Our Youth and as Wesley in the world premiere of Prodigals. Having trained at both Capilano U and the University of Victoria, Tim has a multitude of credits in both cities, including The Gas Heart (GasHeart), The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (Somnambulist), Ride The Cyclone (Atomic Vaudeville), Silverwing and Disney's Aladdin Jr. (Kaleidoscope), Toothpaste & Cigars (VEC), Seussical The Musical (Random Entertainment) and more.
KATHERINE GAUTHIER (JILL) -
A Trinity Western University graduate, Katherine is honoured that Tamara and Sabrina invited her on this wild ride. Thanks to the wonderful cast (and Annie) for making the ride wilder. Selected credits: Hamlet (Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-op), Good Woman Of Setzuan (TWU), Matt and Ben (Fighting Chance Productions), Godspell and You Still Can’t (Pacific Theatre). Special thanks to Him, her parents, her siblings, in fact, all of her supportive family; especially, Nana, who makes it all possible.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
What a treat to direct this talented trio in Tough! Directing credits include Whistler Chairlift Revue (Whistler Live/2010 Paralympics), The Vertical Hour (United Players –selected by critic Jo Ledingham in her Top 10 Picks of 2009), Munsch Alley (Carousel Theatre –Jessie nomination for Outstanding Direction), and The Laundromat (Scarlet Satin). Tamara co-founded and was co-Artistic Director of Boca del Lupo Theatre until 2001. She has taught physical theatre at the Vancouver Film School and the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Newfoundland. She is a 4-time Jessie Richardson Award nominee, Artistic Associate of BellaLuna, and proud mom to Lucas, who turns 1 on Sept. 2nd. Thanks always to Mike.
As I watch my 10 month old son discover the world and learn about cause and effect, I realize so much of what happens to us, and the choices we make, depend on and are intrinsically linked to the actions of others. While my son is having difficulty going down for his nap (likely because of his recent discovery of crawling), I am weighing my options: invest another half an hour in this nap venture, or go for a walk. Yet if he had gone to sleep, I would be considering a different set of choices… probably choosing to have a cup of tea and respond to email. In Tough! Tina is making her own choices, but they depend completely on the choices Bobby makes. I find this so fascinating right now; I think I believed we are mostly responsible for what happens to us by the choices we make, but I see now the set of choices we create for ourselves is entirely influenced by the actions of others.
The other thing that is different for me directing this show now than in an earlier time of my life, is my perspective on motherhood, having only been a witness up until a year ago. I am so grateful everyday that I have my husband to share in the parenting of Lucas. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a single mother. And to imagine being one at 19 years old is unfathomable. My heart breaks for Tina, and though one might make judgements about her, we cannot deny her bravery.
It has been a delectable treat to listen to Walker’s poetry brought to life in rehearsals by these tremendous young actors. Thank you for choosing live theatre.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
It really has been the "Summer of Me". In June I went to the island for the weekend and got to spend some long overdue with Mr. Ogden and got to sample all the tasty cocktails he's slinging over there on the island after he left us high and dry on the mainland. And, I just got back from another long weekend in Vegas where I soaked up all the sun we've been missing here in rainy, cloudy Vancouver and then so generously brought the sun back with me. You're welcome.
That isn't to say I haven't been doing any work. I've just been doing a lot of the boring things no one wants to hear about like organizing our annual report and financial statements & filing our CRA tax return. But, I did guest direct the latest live show for the True Heroines at Guilt & Co. Check out the awesome photos here. Such a fun night!! Now, I'm in the process of organizing and figuring out our 2012 Season so that we can make the big announcement (hopefully soon).
Plus, I've started working on my next costume design contract doing Romeo & Juliet and am currently working on final designs as we speak.
Plus, plus, I have been trying to organize, pack and clean my condo so that I can put it up for sale. Which I'm telling you is pretty much the least fun thing I could ever think of. Just imagine trying to clean your ceiling and having toxic cleaning chemicals falling into your eyeballs. Yeah, its awesome.
But it's now 3 weeks until we move into the venue for Tough! so I'm going to kick my butt into gear and follow up on my promise to keep you updated with lots of news and stuff about our newest summer production. Coming soon (I promise): introductions to the director and cast.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
That's not at all to say that I don't love the poster. I do. It definitely gets your attention and as Andrew said to me it "should raise some eyebrows, huh?". It sure will.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Last year’s sale went very well, despite a cantankerous woman yelling at us, shouting racial slurs, and having the cops called on her. This year we’re hoping for something just as successful, though perhaps less dramatic.
Our location this year is pretty awesome. We will be selling our wares to coincide with the West End Farmer’s Market, so there is lots of cool stuff for everyone to check out. You can help to support local farmers, while you help to support us!
Some items for sale include:
- An Xbox + games
- lots of ladies clothes (sizes S and M)
- household items
- and more!
We will be setting up shop across the street from the vendors on the 1100-block of Comox Street, between Thurlow and Bute, across from Nelson Park. Opening at 9 am and finishing up around 3 pm.
So come on by and hunt for your “treasure” this Saturday, or even just to come and say hello. The weather is forecasting full sun for this weekend, so let’s hope it stays.
See you there!
~ Sarah MacKay
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
The Director’s Project is a unique opportunity for a young director interested in producing his or her own work but who doesn’t necessarily have the resources to make it happen or doesn’t know where to start. Twenty-Something Theatre will provide you with the framework to get you started and help you get your vision out there.
I. What you are responsible for:
-obtaining any rights/royalties for the play
-putting together your own cast and crew
-all production related costs including any minimal set, props & costumes
-finding your own rehearsal space
II. What Twenty-Something will provide:
-venue and technical support
-marketing & publicity (including posters, flyers and programs for the show)
-box office support
HOW TO APPLY:
Please include in your submission:
1) a cover letter, resume and 3 references
2) an artistic statement or letter of intent, maximum 2 pages no less than 11pt font, that includes:
-the play you wish to direct, why you have chosen the play & how it fits in with the Twenty-Something mandate
-who is part of your creative team and cast (if you have one)
-what is your vision as a director, what excites you most about directing theatre and what is your directing philosophy
3) a synopsis of the play, no more than 1 page. ***Please note: This is not a development program. The play must be a finished work. The play:
-must be at least 75 minutes in length
-must fulfill the mandate of the company in terms of the cast of characters must be within the age range of 18-35 and the content of the play must be contemporary.
Please save your submission in a Word compatible format. If it can’t be opened, it won’t be considered.
All submissions can be emailed to spotlight[at]twentysomethingtheatre[dot]com
Only short-listed applicants will be contacted for an interview. No phone calls please.
APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 15th, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
However, I have managed to accomplish a few things over the past couple of weeks. Last Thursday we had a photo shoot for Tough! by George F. Walker - our sixth annual summer production - that goes up at the end of August. This year, as well as our standard studio shots, we moved half our photo shoot outdoors and as you can see below they turned out pretty great!
(Photography by David Cooper)