Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Special Day

March 21marks an important anniversary. My blog is officially 2 years old!! I thought I would do a quick recapping of some of my personal favourite posts over the last couple years. I started this blog as a way to initiate conversations with others and I am pleased to say that many of these posts are my favourites because of your participation in the comments section. Thank you for participating!  I also appreciate those of you that have enjoyed reading without commenting. Page views make me happy. Thank you!

So here it is Wayne’s top 5 favourite blog posts:

5. “Afghanistan’s law’s and Canada’s Dilemma” – The Many Faces of Wayne was not always so arts focused and with this post I addressed a very serious human rights issue. I wasn’t sure how the blogging world would respond to this one, but as usual you didn’t disappoint me.

4. “Playing With Death” – I enjoyed writing this light hearted post about my encounter with a mythical figure during the B.C. scene festival.

3. “Don’t Talkback to Me”- Sometimes I get myself into trouble. A while back, there was an international discussion on twitter about how to “Fix theatre.” Someone responded that every performance should have a talkback session following it. I am not a fan of these, so I replied: “I hope not. I hate talkback sessions.” When I returned to the discussion later in the day, I was surprised at how many people I had provoked with this statement. I decided to write this blog post to explain myself, which also turned out to be more controversial than I was expecting. Check it out. It’s worth noting that this post was later briefly paraphrased in a London theatre mag. as part of a larger discussion on blogging and theatre.

2. “Notes to a Younger Wayne”- What would you tell yourself if you could travel back in time? This is what I would tell a younger Wayne. This one includes some photos of a younger me.

1. “Everyone in the Audience is a Reviewer” – This is a classic. Give it a read.

I hope you enjoyed my walk down memory lane. Happy birthday blog!

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A Review of The Shadow Cutter

 

Pierre Brault (left) and Andy Massingham (right) star in The Shadow Cutter (photo by Andrew Alexander)

Too often in this town we privilege the work of artists from other cities and dead playwrights above the writers who live and work in our community.  This is a shame– If we don’t support the telling of our own stories than who will? This is why, on Thursday night, I was very excited to head off to the world premiere of Pierre Brault’s The Shadow Cutter.

 I’m fortunate that I live a short walk away from the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC), because the weather that night was nothing less than wretched. The combination of melting snow and steady rainfall had turned the sidewalks and roads into rivers of slush. Whether you were traveling by foot, bus, or car the journey was unpleasant. And yet, as I entered the theatre it was a packed house. The worst of March weather in Ottawa had not in any way deterred audiences from making the trek out to see a play and the mood of the crowd was optimistic and upbeat. Simply put, everyone was excited to see a brand new “made in Ottawa” production.

As Brian Quirt, the GCTC’s associate artistic director, mentions in his message it is clear that audiences “want to support and champion our local artists.”  One can only hope that given this fact, local artists will be given even more opportunities to showcase their talents on the main stage in future.

The Shadow Cutter, a collaboration between Sleeping Dog Theatre and the GCTC, tells the story of Ottawa born magician Dai Vernon– a magician famous for fooling Harry Houdini.   Brault’s script focuses on Vernon’s obsessive quest to uncover the magicians’ ultimate sleight of hand secret “the center deal” and what this pursuit costs him.  The play aspires to bring the audience “into the world of magicians where secrets are currency and illusions rule supreme.”

There were a couple of moments where mirrors and lighting tricks were used quite successfully to convey this mood. I would have preferred to see even more of these techniques used to fully immerse the audience into this world.

Andy Massingham plays the role of Dai Vernon. This is a natural fit for Massingham, and he performs various tricks on stage (from cutting out silhouettes to sleight of hand card tricks) quite admirably.

It will come as no surprise to those familiar with Brault’s solo work, that he plays all the other parts in the play. It was a refreshing change to see Brault interacting with another actor on stage. Watching two actors engaging with each other is always more compelling (for me) than watching one, so I hope Brault continues in this direction.

Overall, I really enjoyed this play and would certainly recommend it. That being said, without revealing the surprise ending, I feel that this ending would have been better served if it was set up through out the play.  In other words, instead of “Carl the Conjurer” at the beginning I would have preferred if that character was replaced with Vernon’s son.

For more information and performance dates click here:

Post Inspired By: I Can Be Bought (via So You Want To Be An Actor? (REDUX))

Nancy has written a post (see below) on how she is enjoying her life has a contract worker, which for her is a new experience. I’ve been a contract worker for the last 4 years and while contracts have their drawbacks, generally this lifestyle appeals to me as well. I am quite content to work for roughly 9 months out of a year (usually for the Federal gov’t) and have 3 months or so to pursue freelance writing and other creative projects (like my 2010 Fringe show).

Maybe eventually I will find a place where I enjoy the work so much that I want to make it a more permanent situation. So far that hasn’t happened and I’m enjoying working in a variety of different places doing fairly diverse tasks. I also like the freedom of knowing when a job will end and that it will end. This way I don’t feel trapped by work and can explore the things that interest me but also not have to worry about whether or not I’ll have money for rent or food.

That being said, it’s not all gravy and until farily recently (I’ve got a steady gig now), 2010 was a tough year to be a contract worker. Fortunately, I had enough saved to survive the longer than usual dry spell without incurring debt. If you are going to pursue this lifestyle, you have to be prepared to save during the times of plenty so you have enough to support yourself during the lean times.

Here is an exerpt and link to Nancy’s post:

In the past, when I wasn’t working I was usually on employment insurance. All that ended in early January, coincidentally right around the time I started rehearsals for Little Martyrs. You could say that I’ve been a contract worker ever since. This is definitely a new situation for me, having absolutely no guaranteed income coming in, but it’s not a bad thing. My focus is shifting to projects that really interest me and, somehow, the work is comi … Read More

via So You Want To Be An Actor? (REDUX)

Time Capsule:Fake Plastic Trees

Digging through my computer files I found this little gem. It’s a cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees “recorded sometime last year.

I actually had the opportunity to see Radiohead at Barrymores concert hall, back in the day, but at that time I had only heard “Creep” and that song didn’t really do it for me, so I didn’t go.   Years later, I would pay $50 to see them live at a very crowded outdoor concert in Montreal. Funny how life works like that sometimes. Anyone else have a similar story to share?