Arts Court Theatre

Reflections on 2010

2010 has come and gone and here I am alone in my condo reflecting on the time that has gone by with the Simpsons/Family Guy marathon that seems to be continuously  on Global on Saturday afternoons playing in the background. January 2010 was a pretty dark time for me. After months of no work, I was starting a new job at the Great Canadian Theatre Company and feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. My finances were a mess, my heart was broken, I was experiencing panic attacks... I was feeling utterly and completely lost.

And then someone very special walked into my life. Our time together was brief, but also incredibly illuminating. His lust for life was contagious and, as he disappeared back into whatever magic vortex he came from, he left me with a very simple: "Hey, life is awesome."

I'm very grateful to this person because my entire attitude changed after our encounter and every risk, every move, every dream I've dared to pursue to its fullest this past year can be directly traced back to the impact he had on me.

After that, things began to change almost immediately and 2010 was a very good year.

I had more professional acting gigs than ever before. It started out with this fun little number: [youtube=]

There was not one, but two jobs as a stand-in where I got to work alongside people like Adam Beach, Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence; a school tour with A Company of Fools (which I may very well be reprising in 2011) that lead to a one-off in Montreal and at the Lumiere Festival; a seven or eight week contract in Morrisburg at the Upper Canada Playhouse and a Fringe Festival run in Ottawa and Calgary; a workshop for Evolution Theatre's Little Martyrs as well as a reading of We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! for our five year anniversary party; a voice-over contract in French for a birth control website; and a bilingual gig at the Upper Canada Village.

All of this led to accomplishing two of my goals for the year: I became a full union member of ACTRA and CAEA (and got a few more credits towards my full UdA status) and found an agent to represent me in the Toronto market.

And if you're looking at that pseudo goal list I created at this time last year, my laptop died and I moved myself into the wonderful world of the MacBook Pro. I didn't schedule time to write, but I did finish a first draft of my Roller Derby script. I completed a 5K Race and I'm now working towards being able to run a 10K. I took a bunch of incredible acting classes in order to keep training with more consistency and, as many of you know, I traveled a whole heck of a lot.

As for my marketing work, I was at the GCTC where, among other things, I implemented a social media marketing policy and gave my first workshop on the subject to the staff. Since they're still going strong in this area now that I'm gone, I'd like to think I did pretty alright there. After giving a presentation under the banner Art as Business, Business as Art - my chosen topic being Branding the Artist - during the Ottawa Fringe Festival's brilliant Lunchtime Artist Series Ignite the Fringe event, I was approached by Odyssey Theatre to help them with their marketing and promotions for They All Do It. (Oh and I learned that I probably influenced at least one new blogger in town.) And I also ran a pretty successful publicity campaign for 'I', which took place at The Gladstone in November.

As I briefly mentioned above, my theatre company, Evolution Theatre, after a year of workshopping new shows, celebrated its five year anniversary, became a resident company of Arts Court and announced the two shows we will be producing in February and May of 2011 (which will be a whole other post in the ver near future).

And though I can't beat this guy, I saw over 75 stage productions - give or take a couple that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

Oh and I became an auntie and a godmother to the most adorable little boy in the world.

It wasn't all sunshine and lollipops though: my grandparents passed away; I kissed a lot of frogs, but didn't find any real princes; I got sick, tired and depressed more often than I cared for; I never knew where I would be sleeping next or how I might be able to pay for my next meal; and, sadly, until I've figured out a more permanent home for myself, I've had to leave my cat, Winston, with someone else.

But Winston is being well taken cared of, my life feels like an incredible adventure, I've discovered that I have wonderful and generous friends, and there was making out. All in all, 2010 was pretty gosh-darn amazing!

I can't wait to see what's going to happen in 2011.

Hello God, It's Me, Nancy

I've been ignoring you, dear blog.  I recently realized that when things are not going super well, I avoid talking about it here, because frankly, who likes a whiner?  Nothing's been really wrong.  In fact, lots of great things have been going on.  I saw some absolutely incredible theatre in Toronto  - The Silicone Diaries at Buddies in Bad Times and Studies in Motion at CanStage, in collaboration with Vancouver's Electric Company.  For both show, I managed to catch a post-show talkback, which I always find incredibly illuminating.  In the case for Diaries, I was moved to tears.  Seriously, I tried to congratulate the performer of this one-person show on my way out and all that came out was a bunch of garbled "so great/thank you *sniffle* *choke* kthxbai!" And then, my little theatre company - Evolution Theatre - (maybe you've heard of them?) - turned five FIVE years old. Can you believe it?  I have trouble keeping a relationship going for that long and yet, somehow, my little partnership with the Bedberts has outlasted them all.  I believe that Christopher & Linda Bedford and I have known each other for almost ten years now.  Just incredible.  We celebrated with cake and a special reading of the first show ever produced by the company, Dario Fo's We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!

But wait! There's more!

At the birthday party, we had a few announcements.  First up, Evolution Theatre was named one of three resident companies of the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation.  This means that starting in September of 2011, we now have a permanent performance home until 2013 and we will be producing two shows a year in the Arts Court spaces.

And if that wasn't enough, we also announced our 2010/2011 season.

Up first is an original translation of Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf's La petite scrape. It was translated by local Evolution collaborator, Mishka Lavigne, with the assistance of Canadian dramaturgy heavyweight Maureen Labonté.  This is a show that has been in the works since 2008 and we are thrilled to be bringing it to the Arts Court Studio from February 9 to 19, 2011.

The production, now titled Little Martyrs, will be directed by Christopher Bedford and features the amazing local talents of Jody Haucke, Brad Long, Margo MacDonald, Matt Miwa, and, you know, yours truly.  Rehearsals have just recently started and I am incredibly excited to be a part of this project.  More details will be up on my blog and the company website soon.

The second show is an original script by local playwright Lawrence Aronovitch and is entitled The Lavender Railroad.  It will be directed by l'incroyable Joël Beddows (whose Swimming in the Shallows was probably one of my favorite productions in Ottawa this year).  As both Lawrence and Joël were out of town for the party, we received a message from our former Professor Beddows which I would like to share with you, as I got a little misty-eyed when I first read it:

I was a young professor when I first met this trio.  They were all opinionated, argumentative and ambitious.  Our rapport was not always harmonious: this often happens among people too similar to one another. They seemed determined to question any and all statements I made. History would state that they were correct to do so.

They graduated and started making theatre.

I was intrigued; then I was impressed; suddenly, I could not “not” see their work.

For awhile, I was proud; then I was fascinated; today, I am trying to keep up!

Working with Evolution Theatre this coming season represents many things to me; first and foremost, the opportunity to work with a creative team that has and will continue to make a mark on practice in Ottawa and someday soon, beyond.

Joël Beddows

Wow. Details are still being finalized for this production, I'll let you know additional information as it comes up.

I've also had two great auditions in Ottawa and Montreal during this time, but even after all that, I still felt... sad. Though I miss my friends and my routines, I keep trying to remind myself that there is a reason I'm doing all of this; there's a reason I'm working so hard.  Because I have a dream.  And fuck it! I'm going to see it through.

Now back to our regularly blogging schedule.

Summer Theatre in Ottawa

I'm not back in town two days and my schedule is already packed with show after show that I want to go see. First up, A Company of Fools have been running wild in parks across town with A Midsummer Night's Dream.  That's until August 2nd.  Click the link for schedule information.

Today, Arts Court launches it's "Summer Fling" with Educating Rita until August 1st.  They have a bunch of other shows lined up as well: Satin Dolls (August 6 &7), the bilingual play Les Inséparables (August 10 -22), and Swimming in the Shallows (August 12-22).   The fling continues in other market venues as well - check out the link for full schedule and info.

The Glastone has got a musical, The Andrews Brothers, from July 22 to August 14, while Odyssey Theatre premieres They All Do It in Strathcona Park from July 29 to August 29.

Oh and if that's not enough for you, the areas around Ottawa are booming as well.  My old stomping ground, the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg has got The Long Weekend until August 1st; Perth has a new Classic Theatre Festival that presents Blythe Spirit (also until August 1st) and The Voice of the Turtle (August 6-29); and in Prescott The St Lawrence Shakespeare Festival runs two shows: Macbeth & the Trouble on Dibble Street from now until August 14.

With so much going on, you can be sure that I will see you at the theatre!

Shining City

You've probably noticed, if you are a regular to this site, that I haven't been up to my usual blogging vigor this month. That's because the majority of my month was spent in rehearsals (and public relations work) for Shining City by Conor McPherson, produced by SevenThirty Productions in Ottawa. Well, tonight, live from the Arts Court Theatre, is opening night.

I'm incredibly proud of the work that I and the rest of the cast and crew have been doing on this production. I'm just trying to see tonight as another part of the process of creation. This will be the first time we have an audience and I find that prospect kind of scary. (You mean I have to act in front of... PEOPLE?!?) I hope that throughout the two week run you will all be able to come out and see it.

Details for the production can be found below. If you come out tonight, we will be holding a small party in the theatre lobby with food, drinks, and Irish music. Please stick around after the show to say hi and share a bevy. See you at the theatre!

Shining City by Conor McPherson Directed by John P Kelly Featuring Richard Gélinas, Tom Charlebois, Nancy Kenny & Garrett Quirk

Arts Court Theatre – 2 Daly Avenue – Ottawa, ON

November 17 to 28, 2009 – 8 p.m. Sat/Sun matinees - 2:30 p.m. (No show on Sunday & Monday night)

Tickets: $25 - $20 students/seniors/underemployed Pay-What-You-Can Matinee on Sunday, November 22nd

Box Office: 613-564-7240

Keep the Halloween chills going with the perfect November play!

Set in present-day Dublin, Shining City takes place in the disheveled office of Ian, a former priest turned therapist. Ian's latest patient, John, is in trouble. His wife has just died tragically... and he is visited more than once by her ghost. John is now terrified to return home, but Ian has his own troubles, including a new baby and a crumbling relationship.

"Literally lifted the hairs on my scalp." - London's Evening Standard McPherson is "the finest dramatist of his generation..." - London's Daily Telegraph