Evolution Theatre

Two Places at Once

Though I'm all about Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety these days, this is also the week that all these student films I worked on late last year get their official screening. 

Big shout-outs to the gangs at Humber College and York University. I wish I could be there with you to see how everything turned out. In the meantime, here's the trailer from one of those films, The Sheppard, which premieres tonight at the Bell Lightbox, home of the Toronto International Film Festival.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/39971827 w=400&h=300]

The Shepherd Official Trailer from Tenebre81 on Vimeo.

Can't wait to see the whole thing!


DOUBLE BILL: Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety and [boxhead] 

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m.  Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m.  (no show on Monday)  Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors  Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240 


Mary M's Infinite Playlist

I get nervous easy. That's why I keep so damn busy all the time so I don't have to focus on how scared I really am. One of the ways I keep busy with a show looming on the horizon (previews tonight!) is by creating my character a playlist. As in what would my character be listening to right now. I know, it might seem a little weird, but I enjoy it. Now my director has told me I need to have a dance party before the show starts to warm up (which my stage manager has gleefully decided to join me in on), but what does Mary Magdalene listen to during the day?

Here's what I came up with:

And I've been poked and stoked. It's all smoke, there's no more fire, only desire for you, wherever you are.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjC94cKrhHc] I'll tear out every page, I'll give into my rage and if you come back I'll swear you off for good. My chances looking slim when happiness looks grim. I like this dark place the liquor cheap and good.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfthrizXKOM] Who finds the money? When you pay the rent? Did you think that money was Heaven sent?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGgafB0RmE8&w=420&h=315] She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones. It was then he felt alone and wished that he'd gone straight and watched out for a simple twist of fate.

And of course, it's a little on the nose but:

When You Were Young - The Killers[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff0oWESdmH0] You sit there in your heartache waiting on some beautiful boy to save you from your old ways.

As this is an "infinite" playlist, feel free to leave additional suggestions in the comment section.


DOUBLE BILL: Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety and [boxhead] 

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m.  Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m.  (no show on Monday)  Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors  Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240 


Saving Your Voice

When I first walked into the space where I will be performing Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, I was worried about my voice. The space felt big and echo-y, I talk a heck of a lot and my voice has been out of theatre shape for a few months. But after a few days, things seemed to fall into place. Until today. It could be stress, fatigue, or play ol' sickness, but I woke up with a pretty sore throat this morning. So, in the spirit of not panicking, I took to Twitter instead. Here, in no particular order, are some tips and tricks I have now picked up from some pretty swell people online. If you have your own tips, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

@jpduboisgodin: Don't force your voice, let it come naturally; use only enough air as you need; don't speak in throat voice, use the "mask". Direct your voice to the front of your face, don't hold it back. Air in through the nose, out through the mouth; do warm up exercises; stretch; sing.
@mikaeladyke: stop talking. Honey, Gargle olive oil, steam your vocal chords
@krisjoseph: Rest. Hydrate. Repeat.
@BrianMCarroll: 1) warmups 2) hot water and honey 3) abdominal breathing while performing 4) relaxation exercises before performing. Use the body resonators (skull, sinuses, chest, abdomen) rather than vocal chords to project.
@_DefyGravity23: garlic boosts the immune system, lemon and honey sooth :) Halls vitamin C droplets are awesome when not at home.
@maxlroze: fishermans friend. Period.
@dloehr: Ricola, warm tea.
@tenbruggencate: gargle liquid calcium. Plus lots of lemon tea with honey #liquids
@HeatherInOttawa: I stayed away from hot and cold drinks prior to shows or recitals, and only drank warm or room temperature. My voice teacher recommended that. I don't actually know if it's legit or not!
And although  there isn't a prize for best advice tweet...
@AlixSideris: keep lubricated ... f'you know what I mean


DOUBLE BILL: Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety and [boxhead] 

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m.  Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m.  (no show on Monday)  Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors  Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240 


Sober Mary

Oh right, I have a blog don't I? I can't believe I've already been in Ottawa for two whole weeks. Rehearsals have been INTENSE. You guys, one person shows are hard! You'd think I already knew this, but nope; Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety has pushed me further in two weeks than Roller Derby Saved My Soul did in all the months of work I ever did on it. And that's as it should be. Every new project should challenge you in new and exciting ways.

So here I am, after some well-needed Easter rest, ready to head back to work. Zombie Jesus may not have risen again this weekend, but Mary Magdalene sure is good to go.

Initial press is very good. Some nice things were said about me in the Ottawa Citizen and on The Visitorium blog (and be sure to check out Kevin, The Visitor's interview with the [boxhead] gang as well!)

I'm going to try and blog a bit more as we go into tech week, but you can probably find out more if you follow me on Twitter, along with the Hashtag #soberMary.

See you at the show, yes?


DOUBLE BILL: Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety and [boxhead] 

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m.  Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m.  (no show on Monday)  Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors  Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240 


Play Hard, Work Harder

I've been so stupid tired in the last few days, my blogging has fallen off the map, so get ready for an influx of posts in the next little while. And why, you might be thinking, would I be feeling so tired? Although you might not be thinking that. Maybe you're thinking "should I have another coffee right now" to which I would respond, yes. You should always have another coffee right now. Anyway, on Monday night, I caught the train from Toronto for a busy Tuesday in Ottawa. It started out with a meeting with my Mary M director (PRO-TIP: if you want to schedule a meeting with your director, just crash at his house), a French theatre audition, lunch and chat with my dear friend and former Evolution Theatre partner, picking up my tax information, audition prep for another French theatre audition in Toronto the next day, dinner with my director and his beautiful partner, and finally a show - Jayson McDonald's Giant Invisible Robot. (more on that in my next post, but trust me, just go see it)

I felt good about my day. The audition was one of those amazing group ones that last about two hours; where you just get to play with a bunch of strangers and create something beautiful. It's a testament to the Artistic Director that brought us all together that within the first 15 minutes strangers quickly became trusting friends and coworkers. I love those types of situations because they are incredibly fun and leave you with such a high.

In the evening, by the time the show was over, I was ready for drinks, even though I knew that I had a train to catch at 5:30 a.m. the next day. Why so early? Because I wanted to be back in time for work and I had another audition to get to in the afternoon. But a little devil on my shoulder started telling me I should postpone the trip to a later one, maybe call in sick to work, stay out, sleep in, HAVE FUN! And to tell you the truth, I was tempted. Oh so very tempted. Because let's be honest, what are my odds of booking this gig in TO anyway?  But the later trains were sold out and, no matter how freaked out I was about the audition, I had done all this prep work for it and didn't want to miss it.

So I did what any responsible grown-up would do in this situation: I drank like a fish, closed the bar and then stayed up all night before heading directly to the train station... Ugh.

Ok. Let's be honest. I am not the best example to follow. (Won't somebody please think of the children?) But I knew what I was doing and I did not give up along the way. I dozed as best I could on the train, showed up for work and did my job. Well, I might add. (Though special shout-out to my roommate for dropping by with some life-saving acetaminophen.) Then I went to my audition and knocked it out of the fucking park. My body knows, because I've done this before, that the show must go on. Something always clicks inside me when I have to get something done, something that makes sickness and hangovers disappear until I am able to deal with them. Maybe that's my Mutant Superpower?

It was hard, it was painful, and I am getting too old for this shit, but I pulled it off, crashing into bed somewhere around 8 p.m.

Years ago, I was at a Leadership Camp where you had conferences and events during the day and big ass parties at night. During the very first session, someone said something to me that I will never forget: You're only allowed to play as hard as you are ready to work. I'd add to that, you are only allowed to play hard if you are ready to work even harder.

It's too important. This career is my love and people are counting on me. I'm not ready to throw that all away for a few nights of fun.

The Part Chooses You

About two years ago, an incredibly talented director friend (or ITDF) told me over drinks that he had a script that would be perfect for me. I was floored. This is a critically acclaimed, award-winning director whose work I admire very much saying that he wants to work with me. ME! That script? Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety.

Being one of the key members of Evolution Theatre at the time, I immediately approached the company to program it into our next season. It was eventually scheduled for April 2012.  Unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, things changed for ITDF and he had to bail on directing the show. He however insisted that I continue with the project and that I had his blessing to find someone else to direct.  Names were tossed around. Having really enjoyed Twelfth Night at the Ottawa Theatre School, I mentioned Andy Massingham. We had wanted to work together on a project for a while now and, to me, this seemed like a perfect fit.

Andy had wanted to do more directing, but he wasn't sure he would have the time to work on this project. After all, you don't end up with Rideau Award nominations for four separate shows by being "available".  Plus, he wasn't sure he liked the script all that much. So one beautiful summer morning last year, we sat on his porch, script in hand and had a chat. His first question for me: "Why do you want to do this show?"

You mean other than the fact I am dying to perform and the only way I seem able to do so is by producing it myself?

Well, I think it's a great script with a lot of humour and a lot of heart.  If I said to you "homeless alcoholic woman who believes she is the bride of Christ" - hahaha probably wouldn't be the first thing that comes to mind, but Mary M makes me laugh. A lot. (Side note - on the way to NYC I read a few sections of the play out-loud in the car. In less than one paragraph, my friends were hooked.)

But it's more than that. There's a lot of myself I see in this character: East Coast way of speaking (playwright Berni Stapleton is from Newfoundland) - check; troubles with alcohol - check; not having a home and being ok with that - #hobokenny check; filling her bag with free food when it's offered - check; seen as promiscuous even when you're not - check; being so in love with someone you can't be with and spending your whole life waiting for him to come back - check to the check to the double check check.

If you are an actor, have you ever realized that whenever you have a new character to play, no matter how different they are from you, there is always something in there that makes you go "man, I am totally going through that shit in my own life right now." It's almost spooky how that works out.  An acting teacher once told me that you only get the parts that you are meant to play. In essence, you don't choose the parts, the parts choose you.

Mary M is lonely, which is why she overcompensates so much. I get that. Boy, do I ever get that.

He nodded thoughtfully and finally asked me to read. The sun was bright and warm as I read and he stared out at the neighbourhood movie playing in front of us.  The trees frame his street like a perfect natural TV screen and the effect is stunning. By the time I was done, he was quiet for a moment. Finally, he looked at me and nodded some more.  He tells me he's changed his mind. He really does love this script after all.

"We'll make it work."


Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety by Berni Stapleton Directed by Andy Massingham Featuring Nancy Kenny

Arts Court Theatre 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m. (no show on Monday) Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240

Hair - It's for a Part

My last haircut was in July 2011. For the first 3 or 4 months, it was just unnecessary, then it was unaffordable (#hobokenny) and finally, I decided to make it work for me. The show I've got coming up with Evolution Theatre - Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety - is about a homeless woman who crashes into an AA meeting. At some point in December or January, re-reading the script, the theme of hair was coming up. At various points in the script, my Mary M mentions never getting gray hair, drying his darling feet with her hair, soaking up his blood with her hair...

(Luke 7.38  She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears began to fall on his feet. She dried them with her hair, kissed his feet, and anointed them with perfume.)

I had a chat with the director and said that chances are a homeless woman would not have nice hair and I would like to let mine grow out for the show. He agreed and now here I am with hair that probably hasn't been this long since my high school days. The ends are split and dry and, as I realized during roller derby tryouts yesterday afternoon, get caught in my armpits. And there is A LOT of it. I've always had really thick hair and these days it feels like I'm wearing a sweater on my head. A very shedd-y sweater.

So here I am, about a month and a half from showtime, with hair still growing, and having stopped plucking my eyebrows about a month ago.

Mary Magdalene or Cousin It? The things we do for Art.

In the meantime, I know I'm late on the bandwagon, but this one really made me laugh. Personal favorite: "It's for a part."



I'm Going to Need a New Dress

Last night, the nominees for the 5th Annual Les Prix Rideau Awards were announced and I couldn't be happier. My little Roller Derby Saved My Soul received FOUR nominations!  They are Outstanding Fringe Production, Outstanding New Creation, Emerging Artist for myself as playwright and Emerging Artist for my director, Tania Levy.  This is all for the production that took place at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this past June. I'm also really pleased that Evolution Theatre walked away with a whopping SEVEN nominations and that my director for the upcoming Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, Andy Massingham is so well recognized.

To tell you the truth, I kind of expected the Fringe nod and I had hoped that Tania or I would get the Emerging artist nomination, but I never thought that both of us would, nor did I even expect the New Creation one.  I mean fer cryin out loud, I'm now nominated in the same category as PIERRE BRAULT. That, to me, is just unbelievable.

Maybe four or five years ago, I remember wanting to do a one-person show. I had a theme. Something about roller derby. That was about it.  I had no idea where to even begin, so I contacted the one person I knew who might.

"Hi Pierre, do you ever give workshops on creating a one-person show?"

"Not really, but if you have an idea you want to work on, we can meet for drinks and talk about it."

Now, at the time, I wasn't the NancyKennyRockStar you all know and love. More like NancyKennyRoadie. So contacting the man who created a show that blew me away so much I actually went back and paid for it twice was no small feat. And just like that we were going to have drinks? (Lesson learned: you can pretty much meet any local artist you want if you buy them drinks and maybe lunch... well, at least you can with me #hobokenny)

I still remember the very first thing he said to me when we met.

"Why? Why do you want to do this? Do you really feel the need to sleep on someone's couch in Saskatoon?"

Yes. Yes, I do.

We talked for about four pints and the rest, as they say, is history.


Pierre's advice was a big help in pushing me in the right direction for what was to become Roller Derby Saved My Soul so to even be nominated in this category with him? Whoa.

So much thanks to you, Pierre, my friend and colleague. As they say, it's an honour just to be nominated, but this one feels just a little bit sweeter.


Full list of nominees below:



For Immediate Release - Ottawa, February 27, 2012

Founded in 2006 to celebrate, encourage and promote French and English locally produced professional theatre work and its artists, the Prix Rideau Awards is proud to announce the nominees for 2011.  Artists and supporters gathered earlier at Le Petit Chicago, where the nominees for outstanding achievements in the year 2011 were unveiled.  During the 2011 calendar year, two teams of local arts professionals juried 36 English productions and 12 French productions. Nominations were submitted by secret ballot and tallied by independent accountants.

The Prix Rideau Awards will be handed out on Sunday, April 22, 2012, at the Shenkman Arts Centre, in Orleans.  Tickets are on sale now at www.shenkmanarts.ca.


The nominees for English-language productions are:

Outstanding Production

Strawberries in January, Great Canadian Theatre Company

The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Twelfth Night, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival

Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School


Outstanding Direction

Joël Beddows, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

David S. Craig, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Janet Irwin, Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School

Kevin Orr, Bifurcate Me, Theatre 4.669

Craig Walker, Twelfth Night, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival


Outstanding Performance, Female

Mary Ellis, Dreams of Whales, New Theatre of Ottawa

Annie Lefebvre, Under Milk Wood, Ottawa Theatre School

Rose Napoli, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Kate Smith, The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

Beverley Wolfe, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre


Outstanding Performance, Male

Richard Gélinas, The 39 Steps, SevenThirty Productions

Andy Massingham, Exit the King, Third Wall Theatre

Andy Massingham, The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Andy Massingham, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

John Muggleton, Speed-the-Plow, Plosive Productions


Outstanding Design

Martin Conboy, Lighting Design, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

AL Connors, Sound Design, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

Ivo Valentik, Set Design, Speed-the-Plow, Plosive Productions

Ivo Valentik, Set Design, A Midwinter’s Dream Tale, a Company of Fools

Sarah Waghorn, Set Design, Dreams of Whales, New Theatre of Ottawa


Outstanding New Creation

Tony Adams, Erin Lindsay and Cory Thibert, Sounds from the Turtle Shell, May Can Theatre

Lawrence Aronovitch, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre

Pierre Brault, The Shadow Cutter, Great Canadian Theatre Company / Sleeping Dog Theatre

Nancy Kenny, Roller Derby Saved My Soul, Broken Turtle Productions

Julie Le Gal, Andy Massingham and Kevin Orr, Bifurcate Me, Theatre 4.669


Outstanding Adaptation / Translation

A Company of Fools (Adaptation), A Midwinters’ Dream Tale, a Company of Fools

Henry Beissel (Adaptation), Antigone, Third Wall Theatre

David S. Craig (Adaptation), The Fan, Odyssey Theatre

Mishka Lavigne (Translation), Little Martyrs, Evolution Theatre

Charles McFarland (Adaptation), Hamlet 2011, Ottawa Shakespeare Company / Ottawa Theatre School


Outstanding Fringe Production

Glitch…, Ottawa Theatre School

Playing for Advantage, Black Sheep Theatre

Roller Derby Saved My Soul, Broken Turtle Productions

Sounds from the Turtle Shell, May Can Theatre

THE WALK, Moon Dog Theatre


Emerging Artist Award

Katie Bunting, Actor

Pierre Ducharme, Set Designer

Nancy Kenny, Playwright

Mishka Lavigne, Translator

Tania Levy, Director


The nominees for French-language productions are:

Production de l'année

Adieu Beauté, la comédie des horreurs, Théâtre Belvédère

Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Mise en scène de l'année

Caroline Yergeau, Adieu Beauté, la comédie des horreurs, Théâtre Belvédère

Joël Beddows, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Isabelle Bélisle, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Pierre Antoine Lafon Simard, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Pier Rodier, Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Interprétation féminine de l'année

Geneviève Couture, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage,  Théâtre de l’Île

Jocelyne Zucco, Les Fridolinades, Théâtre la Catapulte /Théâtre français de Toronto

Lina Blais, Les Fridolinades, Théâtre la Catapulte / Théâtre français de Toronto

Marjolaine Beauchamp, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Micheline Marin, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Interprétation masculine de l'année

Nicolas Desfossés, Autopsies de biscuits chinois, Théâtre du Trillium / Théâtre Belvédère

Alain Doom, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Pierre Simpson, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Richard Bénard, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

John Doucet, Ti-Jean de partout, Cie Vox Théâtre


Conception de l'année

Geneviève Couture, costumes, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage, Théâtre de l’Île

Brian Smith, décor, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Guillaume Houët, éclairages, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Julie Giroux, décor, Les Papillons de nuit, Théâtre de l’Île

Pierre-Luc Clément et Olivier Fairfield, environnement sonore, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Nouvelle création de l'année

Annie Cloutier, Antoine Côté Legault, Marie-Pierre Proulx, Autopsies de biscuits chinois, Théâtre du Trillium / Théâtre Belvédère

Diane Bouchard, Dragon glouton, Gestes théâtre

Michel Ouellette, adapté par Joël Beddows et Marie Claude Dicaire, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte

Philippe Landry, Retour à Pripyat, Théâtre de Dehors

Marjolaine Beauchamp, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium


Prix artiste en émergence

Marjolaine Beauchamp, dramaturgie

Mary-Eve Fortier, interprétation

Lisa L’Heureux, direction de production

Frédérique Thérien, interpréation

Caroline Yergeau, mise en scène et interprétation


Derrière le Rideau Award

Mathieu Charette, régie, Feu la mère de madame et Un bain de ménage, Théâtre de l’Île

Julie Grethen, régie, Les Étoiles d’Angus, Théâtre de l’Île

Lisa L’Heureux, direction de production, Les Papillons de nuit, Théâtre de l’Île



For general information:               Source:

Les Prix Rideau Awards              Élise Gauthier, Communications Coordinator

C.P. 1087, Station B                   communications@prixrideauawards.ca

Ottawa (Ontario), K1P 5R1



Online Tools for Artists

Along with my semi-regular Cool People Doing Cool Things column, I'm now going to be adding one called Online Tools for Artists. Today's Tool: Pinterest

I'm a little embarrassed that as a social media practitioner, I hadn't heard of Pinterest until a few weeks ago.  And to be fair, even when I did find out about it, I didn't know how it could possibly be of interest to me. Pinterest is a "virtual pinboard" that lets you share any images you find on the Web.  A neat concept that can be used to help decorate your home, plan a wedding, put together fashion & beauty tips, or collect recipes to share with your friends.  This is all fine and good, but like I said I couldn't figure out how it could be of any real use to me in my everyday life.  Then I remembered a conversation I had with my director for my upcoming appearance in Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety (tickets currently available by phone).  He told me how when he worked with Peter Hinton as a director, the man would have an entire wall filled with images that inspired him in regards to the production he would be working on at the time.   That's when it hit me. I'm not much of one for using wall space or creating vision boards or things like that (being #hobokenny and not having walls for a while will do that to you), but virtual walls? Sign me up!

Recently, I've created two Boards on Pinterest: one for Mary M and one for Roller Derby Saved My Soul. I was even able to add the show info in the Board description. So far so good.  I've added some photos I've taken on my phone, as well as stuff I've found online by adding the Pin It button to my browser toolbar. I've also done a search for things like "roller derby" in Pinterest and found a few people with awesome photos that I've started following.

I'm not quite clear on the whole following aspect just yet. Following someone seems to mean that their Pins show up in your Home window when you log on. I had left a question for myself in one photo to find out who was it in and some strangers actually answered less than 5 minutes later which weirded me out a little bit.   However it doesn't give them access to any of my personal information so, so far, I'm cool with that.

Right now, I think I have found myself a great tool that let's me work through my own personal actor/writer creation process while letting in folks on my own personal practice.  As someone who readily advocates that theatre is about process and not product, I think Pinterest could be a very good step in that direction.

What do you think? Have you tried Pinterest? How has it been working for you?

HoboKenny Rides Again

You know, I have a great job. I really do. But this Blog is not called So You Want To  Be a Civil Servant, now is it? It is therefore with great pleasure and pride that I officially announce to you that I will once again be taking centre stage this coming April for Evolution Theatre in the one-woman show Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety. Yes, Ottawa, I'm coming home!

It's a beautiful, funny and touching script by Newfoundland playwright Berni Stapleton and will be directed by the hardest working man in Ottawa theatre, Andy Massingham.  The whole thing is part of a double-bill that includes [boxhead] by Darren O’Donnell, which will be directed by Alix Sideris and featuring Christopher Bedford and Stewart Matthews.

Check out the Evolution Theatre site for more details on that one and I will be sure to let you know right here when tickets go on sale.


In the meantime, check out this show synopsis and tell me it doesn't sound like the perfect thing for #HoboKenny (which, BTW, I plan on using as the #Hashtag for the show - so go ahead and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date).

Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety by Berni Stapleton Directed by Andy Massingham Featuring Nancy Kenny

Mary Magdalene has spent the past 2000 years in mourning. She’s wandered the earth, lost her jewels and maybe her marbles, and now sleeps on the streets in Toronto. She crashes (literally) into an AA meeting, where she finds the 12 steps to sobriety lead in divergent directions of spirituality, passion, and a really formidable mother-in-law. Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, the perfect after Easter treat.

Arts Court Theatre 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

April 18th to 28th, 2012 – 7:30 p.m. Pay What You Can Matinee: Sunday April 22nd – 2 p.m. (no show on Monday) Tickets $25, $20 for Students/Seniors Available by phone by calling Arts Court at 613-564-7240

In the Eyes of Stone Dogs

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled bloggatical to bring you this important news: Six years ago, my dear friend Linda (then Culbert) asked me to audition for a show her boyfriend wanted to put on. The show was We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! by Dario Fo. At first I didn't even want to audition because I was 100% certain that said boyfriend did not like me, so what would be the point? But she insisted. And I did. Though I don't quite remember all the details, I do have a email dated October 17, 2005 from Miss Culbert that states: "Hey Nancy, First of all, congrats! Aren't you glad I asked you to audition? hee hee. Anyhow, here's the copy of the script as promised. See you soon!"

So, I'm pretty sure I got the part.

The rest, as they say, is Evolution Theatre history.

Six years and eleven productions later, two world premieres among various other types of Ottawa premieres, rave critical reviews, season sponsorship and multiple grants, charitable status and board of directors, a short pause for a wedding and a baby (though thanks fully not at the same time), mentorship through the Great Canadian Theatre Company, Resident Company of the Arts Court Theatre, and now a partnership with the Ottawa Theatre School... Evolution Theatre has come a long way from a bare-bones set in the basement of the University of Ottawa.

Which brings me to the reason for this little break from my break from writing my blog (does that sentence even make sense?) - Tomorrow night, Evolution Theatre will be opening their latest production, In the Eyes of Stone Dogs by Daniel Danis, directed by Christopher Bedford (said boyfriend from the previous anecdote), featuring Catriona Leger, Andy Massingham and the graduating class of the Ottawa Theatre School. This is the company's first production in their new home at Arts Court and the first of what I'm sure will be many fruitful artistic collaboration. That said, for the first time in six years, I'm not involved and, worse yet, I can't be there.

But hopefully, you can.

My spies tell me it's a really great show and I'm willing to believe them since it looks like this:

It breaks my heart that I might not be able to see it, so would you do me a really big favour? Go see it for me. Tickets can be bought online and it looks like you can still get some for opening night. That usually means you get a party with your ticket. A party! So please, for me, buy a ticket and then let me know what's going on at the party by live tweeting with the #StoneDogs hashtag the cast and crew have been using. And then come back here and let me know what you thought of the show in the comment section below.

To the cast and crew: Break a leg! Thank you for opening up this new chapter in Evolution Theatre history.

To Chris and Linda: You've worked hard and I am so proud of you. Merde!

Special Announcement

Dear friends and colleagues, it is with mixed emotions that, after almost five and a half years, I officially announce my resignation as Director of Communications for Evolution Theatre effective June 30, 2011. This was not an easy decision as I helped found this company all those years ago. I will, however, stay on as a member of the Board of Directors for the foreseeable future. I wish the company all the best as it moves into a new phase as a Resident Company of the Arts Court Theatre and I will continue to be an avid fan.

Much love to Chris and Linda. It's been quite the ride.

For my part, I will be switching my focus towards many personal projects, the most pressing of which is my one-woman show, Roller Derby Saved My Soul, at this summer's Ottawa Fringe Festival.

The Publicist's Dilemma (Part Who Knows Now)

I've noticed a marked improvement in my marketing skills throughout the last year. The more I keep doing it, the better I get. I'm sure I can hear a collective "duh" from all of you reading this and, somewhere, Malcom Gladwell's ears are burning. I know it sounds silly, but it always catches me by surprise when I feel like I've actually gotten good at something. This weird little "Huh. When did that happen?" kind of thing.

This week, I finished up my final publicity report for Little Martyrs and I was incredibly pleased with the results:

  • Our Media Call was the highest attended for any Evolution Theatre production;
  • We had two television appearances, one of which was an interview;
  • We had two radio spots - one an interview and one a review;
  • We had FIVE print preview articles, including the cover of the Ottawa Citizen's Arts & Life section with two large photos and online video (and the Citizen never seems to do theatre previews anymore);
  • There were a total of 7 reviews of the production, which ranged from good to great for the production.
  • And this does not include such things as at least 3 weeks on PosterLoop, various community listings, posters and flyers, ect. All in all, I am incredibly proud of the work I did and consider this campaign to be a success!

    That said, if you build it, they... might not always come.

    Though I don't have any final numbers yet, attendance for the production was not what I would consider to be particularly good. It was, ok at best.

    So that makes me wonder, what more could I have done? What kept people away? Was it the themes of the play? The venue? The cost of tickets? The time of year? The fact that is was new work in a town that is always seeking a "sure thing" (and don't tell me that new work does well in town because of Fringe of Undercurrents - both of those festivals come with a certain pedigree)?


    Please feel free to discuss in the comment section below.

    Post Play Depression

    I just want to play World of Warcraft. My Dranei Shaman just passed the level 60 mark and I bought a flying mount.

    I'm giving you all a minute for my extreme level of nerdom to sink in.


    We good? Ok. I used to play, years ago, with my ex-boyfriend. When I started heading down to Toronto, my roommate was playing. He bought his wife an account but she wasn't using it. It took maybe a day for him to mention it enough for me to start playing again.

    I love the game because I can completely tune out anything happening with me or the outside world.


    Little Martyrs closed last week. It was probably the most fulfilling production for me to work on both as an artist and as an administrator. I've talked about Show Withdrawal before. Since I started feeling sick and slept for almost 24 hours immediately after the show, I figured I had passed through the withdrawal phase. I did a reading for a new French play, packed up my stuff and headed down to Toronto for an audition.

    Something was nagging at me though. I didn't feel like working out anymore. My sleep was shite. So I logged on. I played for an entire day. The next one I unpacked, only to find out I needed to head back to Ottawa for a callback audition.

    Maybe it was seeing the Little Martyrs cast all over again. Maybe it was having a chat with one of the beautiful ladies from The Importance of Being Ernest, which had closed the night before, who coined the term "PPD or Post Play Depression"... But when I woke up Monday morning it hit me like a ton of bricks: a weight of sadness. I just laid there for a while.

    I got up because I had grants to write. That done, I managed to get pissed off enough to go run at the gym, beating my personal best. Then I went to my coaching workshop with Barbara Deutsch. I cried during my check in.

    And then I felt better. Motivated. Ready to take on the world. More like me.

    PPD - 0 / Nancy - 1 / WoW - 61

    The Greatest Review Evah

    In June of last year, I discovered THIS BLOG (or CHUD, if you prefer) when I was looking up the Ottawa Fringe and it made me laugh. Here was someone talking about my favourite things (theatre, Fringe) and his writing made me laugh. Like a lot. The more I read, the more I loved this neophyte's (a much cooler sounding word than "newbie" as I'm sure he would agree) approach to the theatre. His pilot light turned on and he just loved... everything. All of it. All theatre. It was so incredibly refreshing to my cold, grinchy heart now jaded from years of working in this field.

    I eventually met this mystery writer who somehow sees more theatre than I do (Really? WTF?) and he quickly became a pal, who is currently my cat's roommate throughout what I like to dub my "vagabond" year.

    And so I read his blog all the time now. It's funny and insightful and often reminds me why I love this art form so much.

    All that to say, yes, I am totally biased. And yes, I am aware that The Visitor is often very kind in his show reviews. That doesn't mean I don't find this to be a very well-written review of a show from a guy who just flat out got it.

    I highly encourage you to go and read the Little Martyrs review that includes gems like these:

    The set grabs you by the throat and just instantly starts twisting your brain in directions that haven’t even been invented yet. I don’t know what mad scientist’s lab Pierre Ducharme escaped from, but thank fuck his talents have been channelled to good use. The set is bafflingly cool in a way MC Escher only had nightmares about.

    ...this is the closest you’re coming to seeing a David Lynch movie live on stage in this town anytime soon.

    Shows like this don’t come along that often, folks. And like it, love it, flee screaming from it…you should see it. Yes. Yes, you should.

    And once you're done reading it, call this number - 613-564-7240 - and buy yourself a ticket to the show. There's only one week left to the run.

    Little Martyrs runs until February 19 in Arts Court Studio A, 2 Daly Ave.

    Little Martyrs

    Well, the time has finally arrived. About two years ago, Mishka Lavigne approached Evolution Theatre with an idea for a translation. Of all the plays she approached us with, La petite scrap by Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf was the one that appealed to Chris Bedford, our Artistic Director, the most (and I'll let you read his program notes about that when you come and see the show). Mishka and Chris contacted the playwright and went to visit her in Montreal. Dominick was impressed with Chris’ vision for the show and readily agreed to the rights as long as the process would be supervised by Maureen Labonté, a well- known and critically acclaimed dramaturg in the Canadian theatre scene, since this was to be Mishka's first translation from French to English. After many revisions and workshops that were graciously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the piece was almost ready for the stage.

    Chris would of course Direct and our company General Manager, Linda, would Stage Manage. I, of course, called dibs on the one female role that I could suitably play, but you can trust that Chris would never have agreed to that if he didn't think I could do it.

    On the design front, our long-time collaborator, Pierre Ducharme, would handle set & lights. From seeing his electronic maquette of the set at the first read to the 14 hour days he's been pulling off over the last two weeks, managing technical glitch after technical glitch beautifully and seamlessly, I knew we had the best guy for the job. For costumes, we courted the always incredible Sarah Waghorn who at first thought she might be too busy to take on the show. I can't tell you how thrilled we were when, not only did she realize she could do it, but she could also work within our budget! Finally, for sound, I'd been name dropping AL Connors at company meetings ever since I first saw A Company of Fools' A Mid-Winter's Dreamtale. Dude isn't just a great DJ, he is a fantastic sound designer too.

    And for the rest of the cast, well have you seen who we've got onboard? Jody Haucke, Brad Long, Margo MacDonald and Matt Miwa - an incredible ensemble of talent, courage, dedication and pure love of the work.

    We, at Evolution Theatre, have been incredibly blessed throughout the entire process of creation for this show and we are now ready to share all of it with you. We hope that you will be able to come out and join us at some point during the run.


    World English-language premiere of:

    Little Martyrs By Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf Translated by Mishka Lavigne / Dramaturgy by Maureen Labonté

    February 9 to 19, 2011 Arts Court - Ottawa Dance Directive, Studio A, 2 Daly Ave Tuesday to Saturday - 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday - 2 p.m.

    Directed by Christopher Bedford

    Lighting and Set Design by Pierre Ducharme Costume & Properties Design by Sarah Waghorn Sound Design by AL Connors

    Featuring: Jody Haucke Nancy Kenny Brad Long Margo MacDonald Matt Miwa

    Story Synopsis: Directed by company Artistic Director, Christopher Bedford, Little Martyrs is a fictional account inspired by the real-life events that shocked the world in 1993 when two young boys kidnapped a toddler in Great Britain. Ten years after the sordid crime they committed when they were children, Jacob (Matt Miwa -recent member of the National Arts Centre’s Resident Acting Company) and Ludo (Brad Long - Les Prix Rideau Award, Emerging Artist Nominee) are released from prison. Each strives for redemption in a different way; Jacob finds himself on a higher path and Ludo discovers beauty through creation. The two young men meet again under new identities through Minnie (Nancy Kenny), a former runaway who rents Jacob her late newborn’s room. Searching for his partner in crime, Ludo sets up a studio next door. From this point on the story takes a more complex turn. Rounding out the cast are Margo MacDonald, fresh off her sold-out run of Shadows during the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s Undercurrents Festival, as Minnie’s mother and Jody Haucke as Minnie’s father.


    Tickets $25 / $20 students & seniors PWYC Matinee - Sunday, Feb 13 Box Office: 613-564-7240

    Artist and group rates available

    The Publicist's Dilemma (Part 4)

    Remember how back in Part 2 I briefly touched on the difficulties with being both an actor and a publicist for a show? (No? Well then go click on that link!) Well, recently, with Little Martyrs, I've discovered another issue: even though I am a performer in the show, I don't want to be interviewed about it. It's kind of weird, since I love talking about the show, but I feel that when I have my actor hat on, it takes away from my publicist abilities (and vice-versa) because, you know, I only have one head on which to rest my chapeau. So at the well-attended media call for Martyrs, I wanted to take care of the media folk - introduce them to cast and crew, set them up with interviews, make sure they have everything they need, stuff them with cookies, ect - but I had to do all this in an elaborate costume since I was involved in the scene we were presenting (an unavoidable fact as I am in almost every scene). I found it hard to then turn that switch off and be a good actor when what I really wanted to do at the time was make sure the lights were alright and that the cameras were getting all the good angles.

    Two days ago, another media outlet asked to "talk to one of the actors" - of course I could have done it myself, but I also had to think bigger - and so I submitted our most popular cast member, who recently sold out a run of her very own less than two weeks ago at the GCTC Undercurrents Festival and whose name would carry more weight than mine - as difficult as that might be to imagine ;)

    I'm very lucky this time around that I have four other actors, as well as a director whom I can send out in my place. I just wonder what it will be like when I'm the actor, producer & publicist for my own one woman show...

    Little Martyrs runs from Feb 9 to 19 in the Ottawa Dance Directive - Studio A

    The Joy of Indie Theatre

    Everything was going so well. We've been rehearsing Little Martyrs in the actual performance space for weeks. Set, costumes and props steadily being added every day as our performance work just kept getting stronger. We even got some beautiful publicity photos courtesy of the amazing Andrew Alexander.

    The problems started out small enough: a rented lighting board arrives with missing cables; lights magically turn themselves on without anyone touching anything (and gives me a spotlight during a pivotal speech, so you know, I'm not complaining). Then the lighting designer slips on some ice and sprains his knee. Call for volunteer technicians are put out. A rehearsal gets postponed while technical problems get fixed. Then we find out the entire dimmer system is out. The kind folks at Algonquin College step in with some equipment, but it turns out the power output isn't compatible with the space's outlets.

    Tomorrow's rehearsal gets canceled as more work needs to be done. A new solution is offered: we need to rent a slew of new equipment. We can't get it until Monday morning, but beauty of beauty, instead of enjoying a much needed rest and day off, the entire cast steps in with an offer to sweep and sew and chauffer people and things around. Everyone's pitching in and doing what they can. We're all in this together.

    This new equipment rental was not in our budget. We need an extra $600 to $750 to be able to pull this off, so I am asking all of you who read and enjoy this blog for one heck of a favour. Can you help us raise this money in the next few days? Every little bit helps, whether it's $5 or $500, whatever you can manage. You can make a contribution right now by CLICKING ON THIS LINK and hitting the donate now button. Evolution Theatre is a registered charity and you'll be able to print a tax receipt immediately. If you do it quickly enough, I may even be able to add your name to our list of donors in the program.

    Can't spare anything, can't even afford to see the show? We still need a few volunteers for the run (especially on both Wednesday night) to work box office and hand out programs. Volunteers get to see the show for free. Just send an email to volunteer at evolutiontheatre dot ca for details.

    Thank you for taking the time to listen - we open in T minus 4 days. Let's do it!

    The Dam Breaks

    If you knew that you would find a truth that brings up pain that can't be soothed, would you change? Would you change? - Tracy Chapman

    I had a good day today. The media call for Little Martyrs was well attended and I was proud of my work from a publicist's stand point.

    After our dinner break, we resumed rehearsal where we had left off the day before. For one particular scene, I had pretty much been doing the same thing over and over for the last week. The director flat out told me that it was boring and to do something else. I did. It didn't work. I tried again. Still nothing. I was getting frustrated. Finally, the director said "why don't you let us know what's going on." I froze, my brain desperately trying to figure out what that meant, so I did the first thing that came to my gut in order to shut it up: I screamed.

    That's when the dam broke and it all came rushing out. That's when I finally fell into the last half of the play. That's when I did the good work.

    By the end of it all, I felt incredibly raw and, yes, vulnerable. More than anything, I wanted to be able to go out for a drink. Or maybe smoke? The doctor didn't say not to smoke, right? Sigh. Perhaps sensing it, my stage dad came over and gave me a big hug, which I totally needed and appreciated. Still, I was itching for something, anything to drown out and/or numb all this... feeling.

    And that's when I heard that little voice, the good one, the true one, my inner artist's voice and it said: "Hey. How about we just sit in this for a while and see where that gets us?"

    So I took a breath and I said ok. I popped my headphones in and I let the music carry me down the mountain. I let myself be soothed and chill out. Tomorrow, we begin again.


    My Own Dam

    The minute I read this post by my dear friend, Kris Joseph, I wanted to comment on it. The part that struck me the most was this one:

    I’m not surprised that substance abuse is so prevalent in this line of work: this profession is bizarre. Our tools are our emotions; our product is catharsis (direct and indirect). Actors stir up mountainous levels of feeling as part of their daily work, and they have to climb off those mountains somehow. One terrific and easy way of making the descent every night is with a pint. And that’s what actors do.

    Climbing down the mountain! What a beautiful metaphor. For years, I've tried to explain it and it's all right there. That's exactly what it feels like. It's also typically why I drink so much more when I'm working on a show. Gosh, on tour it was pretty much: flyer, show, drink, repeat.

    But I held back from commenting because what I'd have to say would be so inherently personal, so confrontational of my own inner demons; who'd want to even read this shit? Well, seeing as how a cutesy post on my accidental dating life was the biggest draw of the past couple of months, apparently, many of you do. So that was the good, here is the ugly.

    To be honest, I've never considered myself an alcoholic. I've gotten stupid drunk (and by that I mean I've done stupid, unsafe things while drunk - most of which you know of MOM so stop worrying please, I love you kthxbai) a few times, but I'd like to think that I can handle myself well. I grew up in a family where a drink after work was the norm and social drinking at family occasions was always such fun (some of my favorite memories include going out with my cousins or drinking wine with my godmother). I come from the East Coast, which means I also know how to pound back my fair share, often more than the average man or woman before it really affects me. Then again, there was a bit running joke at the GCTC that you just had to stir some ice cubes and I would come running like Pavlov's Dog, so who knows what other's perception might be?

    All this to say, I love a good drink with friends as a way to unwind, and I'm not usually very discriminatory in my poison of choice.

    Funny word to use there: poison. Because that's pretty much what I've been told it was today by my doctor. I've had digestive issues for years and, after a while, you just start to believe that that is just the way it always will be. But a doctor did some tests and I've been told I need to cut out yeast, wheat and keep the glutten to a minimum. This means, no more booze. For three weeks. When I have a show opening in less than a week...

    I'm a grown-up and I know that I will be fine with this (especially since I was told that I would probably lose quite a bit of weight in the process, which let me tell you is an excellent motivator). Personally, I had already thought about cutting back for quite a few times now, but then someone would ask to go for drinks or offer me a beer or I'd have just a really hard day and my resolve went down with the cool crisp beverage that found its way into my hand. But I always wondered what I would do if I didn't have my "feel-good crutch" - how would I cope? You mean I'd just have to deal with my rage, my depression, my fears and, yes, even my joy without being able to numb any of it down? All on my own? Can I do that?

    Well, I guess I'm about to find out.

    Little Martyrs runs from February 9 to 19 at Arts Court - Ottawa Dance Directive, Studio A, 2 Daly Ave. Click here for more details.