Fortune Favours Fools

There's something really interesting about performing a show for young audiences inside a high school. Standing around the girls bathroom while Catholic teens with truckers' vocabulary and skirts so short a stripper might ask you where you got it gossip and bitch, well, I couldn't help but feel the slightest bit uncool... it might have had something to do with the pantaloons and pigtails.

The show itself was a blast to do. People in attendance usually took a little bit of time to warm up to us (especially if we happened to be performing at 8:30 a.m.), but that was mostly because they didn't know what to expect. It's Shakespeare right? Then why is there a guy in a beard running around in a dress with his boobs drooping all the way down to his knees? I giggle as I picture the visual in my head. Hee.

After most performances, we would have a brief talk-back with the kids. Questions would range from "How did you come up with the concept for the show?" to "Did you get any tongue with that kiss?"

But since a lot of these kids were drama students, almost every single time we were asked: "Where did you go to school for acting?"

You could see it on their eager faces: "I want to go there too so I can do what you just did." And that, I found quite dangerous.

Though I was happy to tell them I went to the University of Ottawa, I wish I could have told them what I recently found so eloquently presented on The Mission Paradox blog on The miseducation of the artist:

School doesn't teach anybody to be an artist. They teach skills. What separates (you) from the pack is (your) willingness to mix (your) considerable skill with the art/love/generosity that lies within. It takes a lot of courage to do that. When (you) or any passionate artist is really trying to connect with people, they open themselves up for ridicule. They risk being laughed at. They risk having their ideas challenged. In many ways it's easier to be that second violinist. It's easier to just blend in and do your part. Sure, the wage sucks, but that's the price you pay for being invisible.

I recommend everyone reads the full post by clicking the link above.

I truly believe it does not matter where you go to school if you want to make art. It's about what you do when you are there - the people you meet, the activities you participate in - and knowing that your learning experience does not end when your official education does. You can gain skills anywhere, but what's really going to help you succeed is your passion, your drive, your dedication, and your love of what you do. And you have to love it, every part of it, even especially the rejections because they are only going to make you stronger.

It would have been easy for me to stop auditioning for the Fools after not getting cast the first time, but I kept at it. Maybe 5 or 6 auditions later, after wearing them down enough that they probably went "Well, she keeps coming back even though we made her dance on roller skates to Single Ladies while reciting verse with a mouth-guard on her teeth... maybe we should put her in a show," I FINALLY got to wear yellow tights. It's about persistence. And love.

That's what's going to help you stand out.

And that's what I wish I could have told those kids.

Can You Help?

This was going to be a post about the last day of the Big Comedy Go-To, but since it's now over that can wait a bit. This is a post about my first day performing with A Company of Fools in Shakespeare's Interactive Circus. The show is very fun but also probably the most physically demanding piece I've ever had teh pleasure of working on. And, as with most Theatre for Young Audiences (or TYA), we do the show twice at day with probably about three hours to spare between performances. In those three hours, we must tear down the set, change out of costumes, pack everything up, eat, travel to our next destination and set everything up again. I'm exhausted but exhilarated at the same time.

Performance wise, though I had a few blocking (and by blocking I mean choreographed dance routine) issues, everything went really well.

On the personal side though, things were not as good. We performed our first show in a school cafeteria and we were told we could leave our things in the teachers lounge right next door. During the last bits of the show, I saw a group go into our room. Apparently, it's also used a class. Since, I was on stage, I couldn't exactly go over there. I had left my bag open because I assumed the room was secure for us.

When the show finished, one of the actors and I walked over. We were met by a teacher who was just leaving. We asked about our stuff, she said she moved it all to another table. I went to my bag. Some of my stuff had "fallen" out (lipstick, keys, deodorant, and some of my clean clothes). I looked for my iPhone. I couldn't find it. My fellow actor offered to call it. It went straight to voicemail. I started to panic. I never turn my phone off. It's always on silent or vibrate, it should not go to voicemail. I emptied out my bag and everyone looked around our things.

My iPhone was gone.

Also gone from my bag: an apple I was going to eat as a snack. Would this be considered irony that my apple products are what have disappeared?

I know it's just a possession and it's kind of silly for how upset it makes me, but I feel so gross right now. My entire life is in that phone and this is such a violation of my privacy. If someone wanted to, they could have access to my email, facebook and other accounts. They have phone numbers, private text messages, work videos, notes I've jotted down about ideas and shows, and all of my photos & music. It's also an expensive loss. Not just the phone, but also the apps and music I've downloaded on to it.

I don't really know anyone's number by heart and almost everything on there isn't backed up since my desktop exploded back in December. My hardrive was synched to that phone.

I've tried calling it and friends have left texts with requests to call if found. One friend even put in that a reward would be offered. A part of me keeps hoping that it's all just an innocent misunderstanding and so I've been holding off on getting it deactivated, just in case. At this point, I just want it back. But the phone is still off. Rogers can't track it if it's off or if they threw away the sim card, which is a very distinct possibility. I've spent my afternoon at the police station waiting to file a police report and the school tells me they are "looking into it," whatever that means. The officer at the police station was very kind, but I'm not sure if anything can really be done.

So, instead, I'm putting it out there on the interwebs in the rare instance that someone might know something. My phone is a white iPhone 3GS with no case. It was "lost" this morning, April 26, somewhere between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. at Canterburry High School in the teacher's lounge next to the cafeteria (some people at the school also called it the teacher's cafeteria). When you turn it on, the screen-saver is a picture of my cat sleeping in a suitcase.

I honestly won't press charges or ask any questions if I can get it back in one piece. I'm even willing to discuss a reward if found. You may keep the apple (that's not the reward, but you can keep it).

If anyone knows anything, please leave me a message below or email me: nancyjkenny at yahoo dot com

Dance Dance Revolution

If you've ever been out to any event with me where there might be any kind of good beat going on, you know that it is practically impossible to stop me from dancing like my fucking life depended on it. I love music. I love dancing. I love move my body because I find it very liberating. It's awesome and fun.

So you'd think that being in a show where I actually get to dance and sing and play would be awesome, right? Well, don't get me wrong, it is, but one of the main reasons I love to dance is because I don't have to think. If you've ever been to said events where I have been dancing, you also know that I am an absolutely spaz on the dance floor who just comes up with random shit and simply pretends no one is watching when I go for it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I'm always having fun.

Problems arise however when I have to turn that dancing into some kind of choreographed, cohesive ensemble piece. Now I've got to remember where my feet have to go, what my arms are doing, SMILE, breathe, keep singing all the words to that song you just learned and be on pitch. In other words, I have to think.

No, that's not right.

I have to think and not make it look like I'm thinking.


Sheesh. I get frustrated pretty easily.

We preview the show tomorrow for about 25 students and I'm a little worried, but slightly exhilarated at the same time. Shakespeare, musical theatre, rap, improv: not exactly my strong suits, but I'm learning something new and I have to be patient. That said, how fantastic that I get paid to do this?

Can You Keep A Secret?

Apparently, some people think a girl with a blog and an unhealthy addiction to her iPhone social media programs is the best person to entrust with the most TOP SECRET news in Ottawa Theatredom. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, somewhere among the hanging out on movies sets (with Cuba Gooding Jr!), working at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (season launch on Monday!), learning to rap Shakespeare, making women feel beautiful, discovering hidden abilities to translate small documents from English to French, watching some "bloody" good theatre (check out a solid production of Blood Relations at the University of Ottawa before it closes this weekend, as well as the musical Blood Brothers at The Gladstone), working on my own theatre company's project, performing improv with some lovely ladies, and training for a 5K race; somewhere among all that, I became the new anglophone publicist for the upcoming Les Prix Rideau Awards.

(Of course, all of this must have happened after I discovered that necklace from Harry Potter that allows Hermione to attend to classes at the same time, because there is nothing short of wizardry to explain how I manage to do all this stuff...)

After learning that Über Publicist, Crystal Parsons would be leaving the wonderful world of theatre promotion for the civil service, I was approached by the awards committee to see if I could fill her sexy shoes.

My first answer, of course, was no. Re: see above schedule & need for a clone/develop magical powers.

However, after much discussion, I eventually said yes for the following reasons:

  • The workload isn't as excessive as I first anticipated.  There is no need for me to translate documents for these bilingual awards, since there already is a francophone publicist, and I'd be doing a lot of stuff from a social media perspective that I'm doing already.
  • This could all wait until I was done my stand-in gig.
  • Being able to say that I'm the publicist for Ottawa's professional theatre awards is a pretty big deal and adds another notch of legitimacy to my marketing belt.
  • With the GCTC holding a whopping 16 nominations, I can make a lot of what I'll be doing relevant to the day job.
  • I think the awards are important and I want to support them in some way.  This is more than just a big party where people dress up to watch somebody get an award.  By recognizing the contribution of theatre professionals in the community, we are raising awareness of our work and acknowledging that there is a a place what we do here in town.  My dream? That one day, when I tell someone I am a professional actor, they will not ask me when I will be moving to Montreal or Toronto because it will simply be common knowledge that such a scene exists here as well.

All that to say that I will now be only one of three people to know the award winner's identities before they are revealed on April 18th because I need to have the press release handy for media as soon as the ceremony is over.  (Note to self: find dress that coordinates well with handcuffs and a briefcase *insert your own joke here*)  And this confidentiality agreement I signed says that no amount of bribing can make me reveal the secrets before then.

But have no fear!  You too may know the results as soon as they become available.  Tickets are on sale now!  Details below (this also reminds me that I will be performing in my first public Sanitas Playback Theatre show that night as well... where the heck is my clone?):

The 3rd Annual Les Prix Rideau Awards celebration is taking place at De La Salle High School (501 Old St Patrick Road, Ottawa) on Sunday, April 18, 2010.  The first-ever fully bilingual awards ceremony will be cohosted by CBC Ottawa’s Alan Neal and not-from-CBC-Ottawa's Annie Lefebvre, with theatrical reflections by Sanitas Playback Theatre and music by DJ AL Connors.

Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased through the Nouvelle Scène box office:

  • online at
  • by telephone at 613-241-2727 ext 1
  • in person at 333 King Edward Avenue, Ottawa

Les Prix Rideau Awards III -- Sunday, April 18, 2010 De La Salle High School, 501 Old St Patrick Road, Ottawa Doors open at 6:30 PM; presentation begins at 7:30 PM - Tickets: $25

I Like To Move It, Move It

Rehearsals have begun with A Company of Fools for an upcoming school tour at the end of the month. The show is called Shakespeare's Interactive Circus and is based on the loose premise that our lead, Sir Richard Somethingorother (I swear I'll learn his name by the end of the run, but it's really long) has disappeared (in all likelihood he is passed out drunk somewhere) and since he pretty much played ALL the parts, we, the lowly minions, are now forced to present something to the anticipating crowd. That "something" includes Romeo & Juliet: The Rap, the mechanicals bit from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth: The Musical, and the first meeting between Kate & Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew done as a tag-team match. I'm kind of exhausted just reading all of that. Actually, I'm kind of exhausted (in a good way!) doing all that.

I've only had two rehearsals so far and my body is reminding how sluggish it's been for the past few months. I've been either sitting at a desk, driving a car or standing around on a set doing very minimal movements. I'm going through the initial phases of muscle pain. My hamstrings ache from all the high kicks I've been doing (don't ask) and I've got to include more stretching into my daily routine. With all this beautiful weather, it's even inspired me to pick up my running once more, which is great as completing a 5K is one of my goals for 2010.

Rehearsals, as you can imagine, are also incredibly fun. I can't believe that this is a job that I actually get paid do to.

Life Is Better When You Have A Sassy Gay Friend

Happy Easter! I hope you're all enjoying your time off. I know I am as I get ready for a fancy brunch at the National Arts Centre, a brunch a won through Twitter! In the meantime, purely for your enjoyment (and mine-it's hilarious!), I bring you 3 videos from the Second City Network's Sassy Gay Friend. Because all of Shakespeare's women would have led much better lives if they'd been given a Sassy Gay Friend.

Lots of gratitude to my own Sassy Gay Friend for sending these my way. And of course for looking out for a stupid bitch like me. My hair's never looked better.

Ophelia: [youtube=]

Juliet: [youtube=]

Desdemona: [youtube=]