#11 – Kate

Looking fierce! (And yes, my youngest daughter was born with a mohawk.)

My friend Kate has given me an amazing opportunity: the chance to direct again.  I’m not just directing any play.  I’ll be working in the theatre for young audiences realm, specifically for kids 5 to 9.  Wheee!

 

I feel like Kate and I have a special bond.  We have daughters near the same age.  We both did the single mom working theatre contract to theatre contract thing.   We both have twisted, and often dirty, minds.  (Which we would never bring into our theatre for young audiences work, of course.  Ahem.)  We’re both hard-working, driven women with nice faces and yummy gooey emotional centers.    Nom.

 

We recently got together for our first brainstorming session about the new play.  I’ll be honest, the first time I read this piece I put it down after the first page.  It did not grab me, at all, but I gave it a second chance.  After all, I trust Kate.  She wouldn’t give me a bad piece to work with.  Right?

 

I’m always a bit intimidated when, as a director, I meet up with an Artistic Director because I want to make sure I impress them.  Confirm that they made the right choice in hiring me.   Reassure them that, though I couldn’t remember to bring a change of clothes to my daughter’s daycare, I’ll most certainly meet all deadlines with verve and creative gusto.    I had no real reason to be worried about meeting with Kate.  Within a few minutes, I confessed my original uncertainty with the script and she told me she felt the same way.  The more we talked, the more I realised we had a lot of the same questions about the narrative, the characters motivations, about costuming…  I mean, really, does he need to have a full-body fish costume?  I mean, can’t he just say he’s a fish and we’ll believe him?  Anywho, I digress.  The point is Kate is an artist and a being an artist involves having a lot of questions, and worrying that you’ll never find the answers.   The creative process ends up being trial and error mixed in with random silliness in an attempt to make sense of things.  And often the end result is an artist’s best attempt at making the answers interesting and beautiful enough for an audience to soak up.

 

I love doing all these things with Kate.  I think she’s a pretty talented lady and, when I’m around her, I feel just a bit more talented too.

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#10 – Aron

After over two years of not seeing each other, we finally meet for coffee.

He uses the word “cunt” in one of his first stories, and then apologises for his language.

I laugh.  Has it been that long?  Has he forgotten who I am?  Cunt doesn’t bother me… neither does any of the other expletives he throws out at me during this storytelling.

Same old Aron.

We’re known each other since university.  I had a huge crush on him, though he never knew that.  (I guess he does now… if he reads this.)  I played both his lover and his mother, not in the same production of course.  It’s the lover role that I remember the most.

He was my Romeo.

My crush had vanished by then (no offense Aron) and was replaced with awe of his natural talent and spunk.   (The energetic/vibrant type… not the biological fluid type… though I never had first-hand knowledge of the second.)    We were couple together for classic scene study class: the famous R&J balcony scene.  I could tell Aron wasn’t pleased.  I don’t think he minded working with me, but I don’t think he saw himself as much of a romantic lead.

You see, Aron is a clown.  In all senses of the word.  Always has been. Normally I dislike clowns.  Correction:  I dislike BAD clowns.   Aron, I adore.  So you see how good he is at what he does.

Our scene finally clicked once our prof got us to see the nervous energy, the eagerness, and the humour in the scene.  Once it became fun to play, Aron couldn’t be stopped.

Funnily enough, he eventually performed the role for Company of Fools.  I was insanely jealous of his Juliet.  😉

Our paths have crossed a few times since then.  I did some silly choreography for one of his first clown shows in Ottawa.  But then he left town.  Went on to study in Italy.  Did his MFA in Calgary.  Went on to learn from some dude…. Philippe Gaulier or something.  He’s now working for Cirque du Soleil.  You might have heard of them.

Aron is a deeply intelligent, artistic, and passionate person.  He’s a creator in the grandest sense.

He’s worked around the world, and he’s still as grounded as he’s ever been.

And when I’m around him, I feel grounded too.

Aron and I in The Lark (2001)

#9 – Melanie

So I had a date with my friend Andrew to see a play at the University of Ottawa. This girl saw us in the lobby and essentially tagged along for the rest of the night. I didn’t mind. It’s theatre. It’s a social occasion. It’s not like we’re going to be talking during the performance. She seemed nice enough.

We were introduced. I found out she was doing the MA program at the U of O theatre department.

Huh. Bonus points in her favour.

Eventually we get to chatting and, I don’t remember the exact wording but, she said something like: “Oh, I know you. You directing that play I saw the other day. I didn’t like it at all.”

Huh. Well then.

Not one to miss an opportunity to debate with a fellow academic, we all went for beers after the play and had an amazing discussion about the play I had directed, about the form, about my directorial style and about our love of theatre. Turns out, she actually really enjoyed my direction. She just wasn’t a fan of the play itself.

Fair enough. Still, bonus points for the compliments. .

Our next major exchange occurred over makeup shopping at Sephora. And that’s all it took. Girlie stuffs and theatre… we left each other with hugs and “I love yous”.

I know good stock when I see it. Someone who challenges me, stimulates me, and makes me laugh.

That’s Mel.

And she’s got fierce rapping skills too. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

*girlcrush*

Day 294-297 – Green / Art / Moon / Sun

Day 294 –

I recently re-redecorated my basement office.  It seems that in the short year I’ve lived in my house, this room has undergone at least three transformations.  I was never happy with how it looked and I don’t think the room was ever happy with what it was meant to be. (Boy that was a hippy thing for me to say.)  After a bit of thought and a trip to Ikea, my home office is finally feeling good.    I think the biggest contributor to this, other than the new red shag area rug, was the addition of two single green bamboo stalks.  It’s amazing how adding a live plant in a room  brightens everything up.  It also gives me something pretty to stare at whebn I’m procrastinating from work.

Day 295 –

I had the pleasure of attending Justin Van Leeuwen’s canvas print launch.  My absolute favorite of his available prints is this one.  If you agree or want to see more, you can buy his amazing stuff here.

Day 296 –

Tiny Moon

Day 297 –

Here’s a PDF of my eldest’s most recent work of art – Le Soleil.  She’s quite bold with her choices.

Day 284-287 Growing Up (Or Not)

Day 284 – This little bit of beauty was a big deal to me:   I turned 31. To say that my thirties have been an, um,  adventure so far is a gross understatement.  Raised as an only child having only met my 1/2 sister 13 years ago, I always looked forward to birthday for the attention and presents. Strangely, I really didn’t want a huge amount of hoopla this year and I think that’s a good thing.  It takes a lot of confidence for me to not want to make a big deal out of what is usually my “super special day”.  Was I overwhelmed by the amount of Facebook comments and Tweets wishing me a great day?  Yes.  It was marvelous.  But overall I was content in myself, which didn’t need outside validation.

Day 285 – One of the reasons why my neighborhood rocks:  After it rains, the reflection of the bright red fall leaves on the trees lining my street make it look like the puddles are made out of pink water!

Day 286 –

Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.

– Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

Day 287 – There’s something in the whole “fake it ’til you make it” idea.  I committed to helping my Mom with a community theatre musical she’s directing.  I promised her I’d come up with choreography for a particular dance number.  My dream was always to be a dancer, but I never pursued it… mostly because I don’t think I would have “made it”.  Oh sure, I can dance probably better than most, but I’m nothing spectacular. I equate it to my dropping OAC calculus because I was getting a 75% and didn’t want to bring my average down.  I gave up dancing as my main source of artistic inspiration in favor of the theatre, and finally, directing.  I think I made the right choice.

But still, I had to be a choreographer for the day.  And a good one.  Because my mom is notorious for talking me up.  To some of these people, I’m a big shot director from the Nation’s capital.  To me, I’m just… me.  But I digress.

I was having trouble coming up with choreo, but with a little help from my hubby, I felt inspired.  And when I got to rehearsal the next day, I walked into the room like I was the best damn choreographer there ever was (minus the huge ego, of course) and taught a 4 minute dance number in less than 3 hours.  And these people are “amateurs”!  And I have it on good authority that they choreography stuck!  They remembered it.  They are still having fun with it.

I went in there wanting to give those 8 women the confidence to execute the number with sass and power.  I had no idea that would rub off on me too.

Day 240 – 245 – Where did It go?

When I started this blog, I got so much enjoyment out of finding special bits of beauty where I least expected it.  Right now, I feel so drained most days that writing even this small blog seems like a chore.   It really isn’t though.  It’s kind of like exercise.  Sometimes I don’t feel like doing it, but once I start I really enjoy it.  And I find the results really rewarding.

I feel like I’m a very modern (though often whingy)  woman.  I have a lot to be proud of and happy about.  I’m a (relatively) young adult with a B.A. and an M.F.A.  I own my home and car.  I’m married and have two fantastic kids.  I work anywhere between 1 and 5 jobs at a time, all in my chosen field.    I have amazing friends that I don’t see nearly enough.  I have a Twitterverse full of interesting people to talk to.  I’m healthy (minus the chronic migraines… bleh.)  I am what some other people aspire to be.  But we’re never 100% happy with what we have are we?

With all of this responsibility comes a huge amount of stress and I really hoped that having this blog would help me focus my negative energies on something good… or maybe give me a 5 minute break in my day that would boost me.   I’m almost 3/4 of the way trough my test year for this project and finding daily doses of beauty and joy is still a struggle.  Why is that?

I don’t have the answer… but I’ll keep looking for it.

Day 240- A good friend of mine suggested I take a look at this person’s artwork. You should too.


Day 241- I spent almost the entire day taking care of my finances.  I’d gone from balancing my books every week to ignoring them completely for months.  Well not anymore.  Today, I balanced my accounts perfectly.  I’m completely up to date.  And yes, this is a supremely geeky beautiful thing… don’t judge me!

Day 242 – Spoiler Alert!!!  If you haven’t seen the movie BABIES and don’t want it ruined for you (ha! it’s a bunch of babies being cute… there I ruined it for you) skip to the next day.

There is a scene about 3/4 of the way through the movie where Mari (from Japan) and Bayar (from Mongolia) are playing.  Stewart and I laughed out loud at the way the two babies were playing because it was absolutely fascinating and more than a little true.  Mari is trying to do the simple task of placing a tubular wooden block into a donut shaped block.  Frustration and a complete tantrum ensues, with full-on leg kicking and wailing.  Bayar, tethered to a bed with a rope to keep him out of “harm’s way” somehow gets his hands on a roll of toilet paper.  The sheer glee on his face is contagious as he unrolls the paper which gets caught on a nearby post.  He eventually gets the full roll close enough to him so he can have a good munch on it.  Mouth full of toilet paper, he couldn’t be happier while Mari has all of the modern toys at her disposal and is losing her mind.    So funny and so beautiful.

Day 243 –

Wearing bright red lipstick and no other makeup while hanging out at home... because I can.

Day 244 – I’m almost positive I’ve told this story on my blog before, but I can’t find a sign of it anywhere.

When I was a kid and had nightmares, I’d quietly sneak into my parents’ room for comfort.  Nothing strange there.  The strange part though is the only thing that would calm me down enough to go back to sleep was a drink from my Mom’s bedside table water glass.  I can’t really describe it, except for it always tasted of relief.  (Then again, I was probably dehydrated at the time!)

AJ crawled into my bed recently, quite late at night.  For the first time, she asked to have a sip of my water.  I walked her gulp the room-temperature drink down like her little life depended on it.  She settled right down after that.

Like mother like daughter.

Day 245 – Many of my posts have been about food because, let’s face it, I’m a total foodie.  If I had more time and lots more money, I’d be cooking up a storm every day.  I’ve love to go to culinary school just for the fun of it.

But food isn’t my beautiful thing for today – sharing is.  My Jam Experiment (Blueberry Apple Caramel) is quite a tasty success.  I don’t have a ton of it, but the first person to request a sample through the comments below, Twitter or Facebook will get a small jar of it delivered by yours truly.