Monday, November 29, 2010

"I'm tired of looking. Everything I want is right here."

Sunday night I attend the closing night performance of Apuka Theatre’s inaugural production of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, with an inspired bit of staging in a photo studio/loft on Carlaw Ave. 

I want to say thank you to actors, David Gingerich and Natalie Feheregyhazi and the production team led by director Rod Ceballos, whose adept hand ensured the play's intensity, for creating such a beautiful and moving theatrical experience. You told the story and I got it, moment to moment, and I was so moved. Simple and pure. Why isn’t all theatre like this?! The show only had five performances leaving me sad I cannot force everyone I know to go and see it. Hopefully the company will consider a remount. I feel as if I have been privy to buried treasure. Though I should keep it secret, I can’t wait to boast of it to everyone. And it’s all the more special given the production’s limited run and esoteric existence. 

I felt as if for the first time I could so clearly hear the playwright’s voice as well as directly feel the performers’ hearts beating in rhythm with their characters’. You made me care about Frankie and Johnny, their need for one another and why it had to be now. And why they/we have to recognize the moment when it arrives and do everything in our power to seize it. You elevated McNally’s play and gave it a level of gravitas that I alone with only a reader’s imagination could not reach.

The vastness of McNally’s feelings poured forth through the players’ connection to their own. The brave choice to commit fully to the physical reality of Frankie and Johnny's sexual discovery clearly bore out the truth about the dance of attraction this play so sharply reveals. It was a beautiful experience. I was riveted through out, completely absorbed by this frank, daring and unflinching meditation on love.

Terrence McNally's ability to wrestle this beast called love, kicking and screaming into the light so we may see her naked, full primeval force, leaves me in awe of the depth of his understanding. And I think I only got that because the actors were so committed to their work. Kudos to you both. 

You did this play such a tremendous service. And though it shouldn’t be, it was a rare experience. 

Your production of Frankie and Johnny has Inspired me to live my own life bolder.

Thank you.

I am sure to cherish this memory for a lifetime.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Richard III - Hart House - Sept. 15

Very happy to announce I've been cast in my first ever Shakespeare production. I will be playing Brakenbury and Norfolk and a few others in the upcoming Hart House Theatre production of Richard III, directed by Jeremy Hutton.
 We are into our second week of rehearsals. Things are going exceptionally well. Terrific cast. Awesome staging. It's going to be one hell of a ride. Miss it at your own peril. Will update more frequently during the rehearsal and show period.

Click here: Richard III to purchase tickets and get more info.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Improv 101

Count me in. I had my first class this evening at ITC in the Yellow room with Chris Besler. Chris is an awesome instructor. In one of our exercise we had to say things we loved for 45 seconds. I can now add Chris Besler to my list. I am so glad to be in this group. We have a terrific group of players that are all very giving. I look forward to developing along with everyone else. It definitely feels like this is long over due.

Tonight we began with a focus exercise of sending a clap to a person in the circle and continuing the phrase, zip-zap-zop. Then we threw an imaginary dagger at someone accompanied with a great yell. We built this up until we had three daggers going at once. The object was to establish eye contact.

We followed this with the name game. This was a terrific exercise where the group decided what your name rhyme or slogan would be accompanied with an action and performance tone. I was christened, "Malcolm, Triple X" with the motion of crossing your arms in front of you over your crotch, in the tone of some G-boy. I don't know how this group of budding improv-ers knew me so well.

Our main exercise was the panel of experts. where four of us would take turns being a group of experts in a subject that was invented in the moment by the group suggesting two words, a noun and a verb. I got "Magic Thong" where in I was cast as the model of these magic thongs. They became weight loss thongs. To which I added that there was an invisible string that sucked the fat from inside and bundled it into your sexual area.

It was a terrific class with a great group. Definitely the right direction for me as I'm discovering it's all inter-connected: Stand-up, improv, sketch, etc. And of course my baseline being acting. It's fun to bring that work into this environment.

Looking forward to the classes ahead.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guergis splurges: down payments are for suckers

Women you have a lot to live up to if you’re going to match the productivity of your status leader in Ottawa, Helena Guergis.

Take a deep breath and away you go.

Start by entering a beauty contest at all costs even if the entry fee is an extortionists ransom of $4000. Once you’ve made the transformation from beauty queen to MP, get yourself a full, no down payment mortgage on an $880,000 dollar home in Ottawa from a Bank of Nova Scotia branch in Edmonton. Then re-write the lyrics to Happy Birthday as follows:

Happy Fucking Birthday to me
Happy Fucking Birthday to me
Happy Fucking Birthday to me
I guess I’m stuck in this hellhole
Without boots and only my sock feet
To walk around in this shitty airport.

Now practice this great come back phrase: “Don’t lecture me. I’m here working my ass off for you _______________________________." (fill in the blank), e.g. hellhole inhabitants of PEI.

After this, write a dozen or so ghost letters with the help of your staffers in praise of yourself to the national papers; all while celebrating your blow snorting husband’s DUI charge being reduced to careless driving and a $500 fine.

That’s quite a list ladies. Are you up for the challenge? Remember, to gain this kind of status you have to be willing to "work your ass off." That's the Guergis motto.

The journey from bubbly brunette to bubble-headed bleach blonde is hard work for any girl. This is why beauty queen experience is so vital.

I see world domination at the level of a Bond super-villain for any aspiring Guergis apprentice out there. After all, she's only a junior cabinet minister. Give her some time.

Check out Rick Mercer's Guergis Photo Challenge here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I know a guy who can surgically remove that horrendous third arm growth thingy Andrea's currently suffering from. He's an expert in the field. Does great work. Very little scarring. He's rates are reasonable too. He does operate out of a public storage locker -- but the savings have to come from somewhere, right? It'll be worth it though, just to be able to see again.


Not everyone knows the pain and social stigmas associated with this lesser know disease Forehead-arm-stuck-itis. I’ve just done some research, and the good news is: There’s hope! The people at the Institute for the Ethical Treatment of Forehead-arm-stuck-itis or Freedom Forehead, as they like to call themselves, know that growing a third arm out of your forehead is no laughing matter. That is why they are committed to detaching the three-million third arms that are currently stuck to people's heads all over the world. In fact in the time it takes you to read this, five more people are now suffering from Forehead-arm-stuck-itis in cases much worse than yours. After all, you're one of the lucky ones. You can still eat and breathe.

Help support this tireless team fighting one of the top global epidemics that has been widely ignored by the media. Once you become aware of the depth of this problem you will be compelled to lend Freedom Forehead a hand, or rather help take one away. Give generously but also pull vigorously, at least until the damn thing comes off.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jordan Hall's new play 'Kayak': a fun paddle ride through deep waters

Yesterday, I attended a staged-reading of Jordan Hall’s new play Kayak at the Alumnae Theatre.

The one-act play is a brisk, sharply observed tug-of-war between a well-to-do mother and her son’s green-conscious, globally aware girlfriend. As I listened to the story unfold there were moments when I almost felt a blush come over my cheeks in recognition of the character of the mother. Jordan has captured lightning in a bottle with this character. She manipulates, plots and executes her own agenda on her son as only an over-invested mother can, with a smile and a well-crafted naïve stubbornness that aims to kill you with kindness all for your own good, because of course, you just don’t know any better.

The play is a comedic gem with many sparkling moments that sit on top of a strong emotional undercurrent. Both mother and girlfriend have meaty arguments and heated exchanges through out. The play quickly hooked me in with timely observations of life as we face it now in this era of global-warming doom.

It’s a delight to watch how the character of the mother plots out her agenda to win her son over to how his life should really be lived. Jordan's play clearly revealed for me how twisted the mother’s actions are. This was a revelation for me. After all, doesn’t every mother want her son to think her actions are all in the name of love, wanting only the best for her son, even though what she’s actually doing is smothering any chance for him to discover what’s best for himself.

If I had one observation to make it would be that Peter, the character of the son, never really has it out with his mother and gives her a piece of his mind. I feel if this were fleshed out more it would give the play a much deeper resonance. If Peter speaks up he may end up hurting his mother in ways he’s always tried to avoid. Because, when he is finally forced to speak his mind, and damn the consequences, we won’t know our way out of the woods.

Having lived through this dynamic in my life, I wanted to see a real breakdown between the mother-son relationship where Peter becomes self-aware and throws off the years of being passively controlled as a mama’s boy, and stops placating her to keep that identity. He sees for the first time the stunted growth of a life lived accepting someone else’s vision for his own life, and experiences his own uncontainable resentment previously unrecognized. Suddenly, he sees the time he’s lost and the decisions that have been stalled because of it. Though, granted, this is perhaps another play, one I need to write myself…or perhaps, tracking down a good therapist might be the answer.

The fact that my feelings were sparked in such a way is a testament to the strength of Jordan’s characterizations. I felt so invested in the mother that I could feel my own relationship with my mother rush to the forefront and I wanted Peter to fight back.

I found the play to be a very inspiring work. I hope to see a fully realized production. Congratulations, Jordan, on another fine piece of writing. We will miss you as you start your next chapter away on the West Coast.

Visit Jordan's website with the link below:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Billy Bob Thornton 'Blow Up' on Q TV

After beginning my blog with high minded ambitions of documenting my pursuit of acting aspiring to high artist endeavours, I find myself truly inspired this morning to write about…Billy Bob Thornton’s ‘blow up’ on “Q”, the CBC radio music show hosted by Jian Ghomeshi.

Yes, sadly, high art has little hold against the visceral thrills pop culture can provide. Or perhaps beneath it’s shallow veneer lurks high art, waiting to be unmasked?

I am sure most Canadians are extremely grateful to Billy Bob Thornton (BBT) this morning for giving our nation yet another 15 second of blazing internet fame. The occasional bone tossed to us by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show just isn’t enough to sate our appetite for landing on the international radar of flash-in-the-pan fame other countries seem so much better at.

It seems according to BBT that Canadians are “reserved.” I know what you’re thinking, ‘ouch’ right! He goes on to clarify, after what seems like an eternity. You see, he was searching for just the right words to subtly insult the audience he was playing to that night, yet somehow aim his comments above their intelligence level. Turns out it would be below that of a two-year old.

He finally lands on just the right words, “…like mashed potatoes with no gravy, if you know what I mean,” he delivers with a grin.

If I know what you mean…let me see…that’s a pretty complex thought. Okay, got it. Mashed potatoes, that yummy side dish composed of liquefied boiled potatoes and cream, milk or butter…mmm…Canadian are just like that!? Only wait…without the gravy! Okay, that means mashed potatoes by themselves are not yummy enough…it should be served with gravy because that’s what makes it really yummy…so in fact what you're saying BBT, and I hope I’m following you here, is that we are actually not yummy and, in fact, are quite bland because we are a nation of liquefied potatoes not covered in gravy. Okay, got it…. Ouch! You really know how to kick a man when he’s down.

I’m sure most of the entire listening audience knew exactly what he meant. Ghomeshi certainly did when he immediately pointed out, “We’ve got plenty of gravy up here. It’s a national dish in fact.”

BBT walked right into that one. And in fact for the first time a smile cracked through the belligerent expression he wore through out the interview, where with great delusion he compares himself to Tom Petty on two occasions! What?! Ohh-kay.

The smile belied to me that in fact the whole interview was an act. Everything from the expression of grave injustice for being associated with his own Oscar winning career as an actor and screenwriter, to the feeble attempt to seem completely dumb-founded by an obvious line of questioning, to the bizarre responses of entering competitions in monster magazines as a child, to cursing on air, to blurting out the name of the first girl he was in love with. The entire thing was an act.

The only genuine moment was the self-realized smile.

Perhaps BBT’s musical endeavours during the last two years, producing five albums, has insulted the actor in him, whose only gig now is interviews like these.

“Bad actor!” he must be saying to himself this morning. “Who invited you to the party? I thought you and I were through. I’m a musician now, Gawd dang it! Leave me alone! Go take your Oscar and get the hell out my tour bus! Go to the Monster’s Ball where you belong! The two of us are like a couple of Bandits waiting for Armageddon in the middle of an Ice Harvest, with nothing but Bad News Bears under the Friday Night Lights outside the School for Scoundrels getting presents from a Bad Santa hoping the Astronaut Farmer will come up with A Simple Plan to stop Pushing Tin with Mr. Woodcock…though what I really want is Love Actually all I’m getting from you is Intolerable Cruelty! So why don’t you just take off to The Alamo and let me be The Man Who Wasn’t There!”

Thanks to for the above.

The façade was down. And the smile said, ‘yeah, you’re right. The jig is up. You got me.’

It seems we may have been treated to some of BBT’s best acting in this interview. And all for free gosh darn it! But then again insults have always been free.

By the way if BBT really loves gravy as much as he insinuates, he would know it has everything to do with Thanksgiving. Perhaps, when he is off the air he will have plenty of time to give thanks for all the gravy he has enjoyed in his life.