Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 2)


For those of you who missed Part 1, which contains the list of all the shows I've already seen, you can check it out here  


Alright gang, I have a problem. A glorious problem, but a problem nonetheless. There are just too many great looking shows at this year's Vancouver Fringe Festival  for me to see them all before I leave town. This means I have had to do some creative culling when it came to writing this blog post.

The I'm sorry I'm lazy shows

Since I have so little time, chances are I will not be making it out to the Firehall Centre, the Havana, or the Cultch, but that doesn't mean there aren't some great shows playing out there. Early buzz is on James & Jamesy in the DarkTJ's Kitchen, and Mrs. Singh & Me in each venue respectively.

The this has been around for ages and I can't believe I haven't seen it yet shows

I'm lucky that I attend so many festivals. Quite a few shows tour the circuit repeatedly over the years and every once in a while you get a golden opportunity to finally catch it. That's the case for The Most Honest Man in the World. Andrew Wade is the nicest guy and I keep telling him I will see his show in a certain city and every single time I've missed it. I've also heard about Vaudevillian for quite some time and I'm hoping this city will be the one where I will come through. Don't wait until the very last minute to see a show. It's a terrible feeling when you miss it and you talk to the performer after who kindly listens as you apologize but inside you both know you are the asshole. Don't be like me. Don't be the asshole.

The I've got high hopes so please don't disappoint me #nopressure shows

Balance 2.1

This show comes from the same people who brought Anatolia Speaks to the Fringe last year, which I really enjoyed. Plus I'm currently living with her and she made me tea when I was feeling under the weather. When a performer makes you tea, you go see their show. That's the rule.

Chris & Travis

Although Travis is one of the best magicians on the circuit, this show somehow wasn't really on my radar until I saw the Fringe opening event a few nights ago where he and Chris were hosting. Their good natured game of charades to acknowledge the festival sponsors pretty much sold me on the show. See kids! Nonsensical previews do work!

The Exclusion Zone

Martin Dockery is one of the best storytellers out there and I absolutely love it when he pushes himself to go outside the box. Last year's The Dark Fantastic  blew me away and I have a feeling this one will be right up my alley.

Fire in the Meth Lab

From the guy who created Pretending Things are a Cock. Based on the title and the poster I was expecting this to be a drama but someone told me it was a comedy so I'm even more intrigued.

For Body And Light Presents: Bear Dreams

I saw For Body And Light's previous show in Edmonton last year and caught a preview of this one at the opening event. I'm not typically a "dance" person but the use of mask, live music and poetry has me intrigued.

Grandma's Dead

It's Sam Mullins, one of the most affable performers on the Fringe who has consistently been playing to sold out houses all summer. He's trying something a little different from his usual storytelling fare and it always excites me when performers try something new. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award last year so I'm going to go sit in the front row and judge.

In Search of Cruise Control

Last year, I saw James Gangl's Sex, Religion and Other Hangups and thought it was the strongest, funniest and most polished one-man show I had seen in a very long time. It seems this one might be no different after not only selling out his entire run at the Edmonton Fringe Festival, but the entire holdover performance as well.

Kiss Around Pass Around

I still regret missing Miss Hiccup when she performed at the Ottawa Fringe a few years ago. I've heard great things about this one and I'm really looking forward to it.

A Story of O's

Tonya Jone Miller has had a lot of success with autobiographical stories like Threads which has been raved about across the circuit and won her an award for Outstanding Original Work this summer in Ottawa. This time she pulls from her background as a phone sex worker.

Village Ax

Sydney Hayduk is my manic pixie dream girl. It seems impossible to find so much heart in such a small frame, but there you have it. If there was only one show I could see at this festival, this would be the one.


Sigh. There are more shows that have peaked my interest, from catchy titles to interesting premises. If I have a hole in my schedule or if I hear any great buzz, I may try to squeeze some of them in. Word of mouth is a powerful things and that's the beauty of Fringe. If you hear of anything, please feel free to let me know about it in the comment section below.

2015-09-10 13.36.16

As I write this, the Vancouver Fringe Festival officially begins tonight! Grab a program, grab some friends, grab me a glass of white wine if you see me around and have yourself a merry ole Fringemas!


Nancy's Must-See List at the 2015 Vancouver Fringe Festival (Part 1)


I'm finally back on the road! After an absolutely lovely time catching up with friends and shows at the Victoria Fringe Festival, it was one tumultuous little ferry ride over to Vancouver. Actually, the ferry ride itself was fine. It was in the search and rescue of our missing luggage that the real adventure happened.

Smiles in the hours before we lost our innocence. Our innocence was in our luggage.

Everything worked out, as they do, and now we can always say "Well, at least it's not as bad as searching for our luggage at the Greyhound Station."


But back to the reason you probably clicked on this blog link in the first place. Now that I am in Vancouver and I have my Fringe program, I have been combing through the list in order to see as many shows as I possibly can in my short time year.

Before I go any further, the usual disclaimer. I am not a reviewer, nor do I claim to be one. This list is my own personal list of things I look forward to seeing for a variety of reasons. Pick up the Fringe program and make your own awesome list of things to see!

The Shows I've Already Seen and Would Probably See Again So Maybe You Should Go At Least Once

I've already seen 16 shows appearing at this year's festival, which nicely fills up my gotta catch 'em all punch card. 15 of them I would recommend.

The Birdmann in Momentous Timing

Saw this one a few years ago at Zoofest in Montreal. It was crazy and kooky and put a big ole smile on my face.


A total stand-out show for me at this year's Victoria Fringe Festival. A beautifully crafted solo-confessional. As a former Canadian SLAM poetry champ, I shouldn't be surprised that Brendon Mcleod knows how to craft a beautiful turn of phrase and his delivery makes you feel like you are having a deep one-sided conversation with your best friend. Only 30 seats in his venue to get there early!

God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II

God in a power suit telling it like it is. Probably one of the funniest shows I have ever seen.

The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper

Another stand-out for me from Victoria. I saw Corin Raymond's previous show, Bookworm, three times. He's a glorious storyteller and I knew this one wasn't going to disappoint.

The Inventor of All Things

Hands down, this is my favourite of all Jem Rolls' shows. If you like his other shows, you are in for something completely different. If you hate his other shows, you are in for something completely different.

Keith Brown: Exchange

An incredible magician, he will have you yelling "Burn the witch!" before the show is done... or maybe that's just me... because I am an asshole.

Lust & Marriage

I met Eleanor O'Brien during my first tour to Winnipeg in 2009. Her friendship back then during a particularly difficult Fringe is one of the reasons I didn't quit. I saw her one-woman show at the Toronto Fringe this summer and I was absolutely charmed by her performance and her tackling of a subject matter that often remains behind closed doors.


Caught this one at the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year. I will see anything that has Jayson McDonald's name attached to it and you should too.

The Middle of Everywhere

I've seen every single show the Wonderheads have brought to Fringe. Their shows are always delightful and this one is good for the whole family!

Nashville Hurricane

My favourite Chase Padgett show! It's a beautiful, well-crafted story that just gave me all the feels. A darling on the Fringe circuit and, once you see it, you will understand why.

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris

Peter n' Chris are funny guys and their shows regularly sell out on that premise alone, but this one, while still hilarious, also packs a nice emotional gut-punch.

The Sama Kutra

Clowns. Sex. Directed by one half of Mump & Smoot. I saw their very first performance in Calgary last year where they won the Patron's Pick. I've been told they've made some changes since so I'll be checking it out again to see what they've cooked up.

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel

Caught this one ages ago at that fateful Winnipeg Fringe in 2009, so you can be sure I'll be back for a refresher this year. From Ryan Gladstone, the guy who brought you Grant Canyon, I don't think history has ever been this fun.

Sperm Wars

Jeff Leard has frequently been compared to a young Robin Williams and, once you see his show, it's not hard to understand why. An incredibly malleable performer, he will have you in stitches before the hour is up.


After her preview performance at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, Windy Wynazz became my very first Fringe crush of the year. Once you see the dance number in her show, she just might become yours as well.


Man, so much talent at this year's Vancouver Fringe and these are just the shows I've seen! Stay tuned to this blog for Part 2 where I give a shoutout to all the stuff I'm hoping will delight and surprise me.







Nancy’s Must-See List at the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival


Wow, Fringe already? It feels like just a year ago that I was packing up a car and heading out on a four month tour of the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit... Oh wait, that was a year ago. One year ago...

This year, I am taking it easy. For the first time in about 12-13 years, I am not involved with any Fringe show in any way. This year, I am but a patron and I am excited to see what is coming my way at this year's Ottawa Fringe Festival.

The Fringe preview start tonight, so new things might catch my eye, but for the moment, as is my yearly wont, here is Nancy's Must-See List for the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival:

Usual disclaimer: These are my opinions only. If your show is not on here, it does not mean it isn't any good. Feel free to add your show and why we should see it to the comments below. Also, please don't hate me.

The Stuff I've Already Seen so I Probably Won't See it Again but you Should

Magical Mystery Detour

Caught this one in Edmonton. Gemma Wilcox is an incredible shape-shifting performer. You may have seen her in The Honeymoon Period is Officially Over and Shadows in Bloom, two shows that have more awards and recognition than Meryl Streep has Oscar nominations.

The Cockwhisperer... A Love Story

Caught a working version in Winnipeg and then the whole thing in London. Colette Kendall is one of the fiercest women I know. The first time I saw this show, during an incredibly rough time I was having at the Winnipeg Fringe, I wrote about how much I admired her and her presence. I think this may be her first time in town, so show her some love, Ottawa!

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project

Saw this one in Montreal last year. I loved it, even though Sam told me he was not happy with it. He then went and made major rewrites and proceeded to sell the shit out the rest of his Fringe Festival tour in every single city. My title for this section is now misleading as I will totally try and catch this one to see what changed. He also beat out Roller Derby Saved My Soul for a Canadian Comedy Award, so there's that.


Caught this one in Toronto. Tonya Jones Miller shares an incredibly personal and incredibly true story about her mother in Vietnam. Go see it and then spend the rest of the night in disbelief wondering if that really happened. Answer: Yes, it really did.

Bursting Into Flames

Caught this one in Toronto as well. Marting Dockery is an excellent story teller and this was one of the first pieces of fiction I saw him do. Once again, he blew me away in what quickly became my favourite of all his shows.

Keith Brown: Exchange

Another one I saw in London. Keith is both super charming and super magical. This is a great show, good for the whole family. Sidenote: If you hear me yelling "Burn the witch!" at the Fringe grounds, Keith is around.

The Stuff I Missed the First Time Around


I wanted to catch this one in Edmonton last year, but fell victim to burn out and bad timing. John Huston is a mainstay on the Fringe circuit and always impresses with his performances so I'm looking forward to this one.

Three Men in a Boat

Missed this one when I was in Toronto because it was selling out ALL THE TIME. While I wish the same for them here, could everyone wait until I have my ticket before you go? I really don't want to miss it again.


The Super Incredible People Who Are Doing Super Incredible Things

The Elephant Girls

Margo MacDonald. That is all.


Oh wait, I did have something to add. Her promo photos for Shadows in 2010 were outstanding and she really outdid herself again this time around.



Hannah and George

Even if I hadn't seen a workshop version of this piece at the Fresh Meat Festival. And even if it hadn't been charming as fuck. And even if it didn't include the wonderful Madeleine Hall who both worked for me that one time and blew me away with her acting skills during an event I saw at the Clocktower. And even if their posters and publicity materials were some of the best ones I've seen so far this year... I would be going to see this show because of one Kevin Reid. Let's be honest folks. If you are in anyway involved in theatre or Fringe, Kevin was right there, front and centre (quite often literally), supporting you and your work and then writing incredibly nice things about it. So get off your seat and go see a show by a man who not only discovered in his 40s that a life in the theatre is actually what makes him happy but turns out he's also really good at it too.

Japanese Samurai Don Quixote Challenging Against English Giant Windmills!!

I will see this show based on the title alone.


Kate Smith is an incredible performer who created a really lovely Fringe show a few years ago that I still bring up to this day (and not just because she was naked in it that one time). Will Somers impresses me more and more each time I see him on stage. His piece with David Bennedict Brown at last year's Fresh Meat Festival was one of my absolute favourites. Add Cory Thibert, director of On the Fringe as a videographer to this project and you've got a killer team I'm looking forward to checking out at this year's festival.


Speaking of Cory Thibert, he's also directing his May Can brother from another mother Tony Adams, as well as Chelsea Young in a show at the Bronfman Amphitheatre. If that wasn't enough, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that amphitheatre is outdoors. I love it when the traditional venue system is challenged!


Martin Dockery again teaming up with RibbitRePublic's Jon Paterson. Also known as that super talented guy I spent weeks travelling with in a van as we toured The Little Prince out west. Long time Ottawa Fringers might also remember him from his fantastic take on Daniel MacIvor's House. Brian Carroll will also tell you that he is one of the reasons every single show at the Ottawa Fringe Festival now gets a review. Go see this show and then talk to Brian. Seriously, talk to Brian, it's a good story.

Sh!T I'm in Love with You Again

First the title totally caught my eye. Second, the name Rachel Elie. She was here with JOE: The Perfect Man, a hilarious show that taught me that there are different types of clowns out there.

The Inventor of All Things

Jem Rolls is back! And I'm told this time it's with something different from any show he's done in the past. Guys, there's actually a poster! With a picture! I spent an entire summer with this man and I am genuinely surprised and absolutely delighted to see where this one goes.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo

I'd be remiss if I didn't include this one since I am billeting the actor. Jeff Leard's The Show Must Go On was one of my favorite shows on the Fringe; one that I thought about a lot as I did my own children's theatre tour. He's a fantastic performer and I'm hearing great things out of the London Fringe about this one.

The Orchid and the Crow

From Daniel Tobias, one half of super mega group Die Roten Punkte. Every once in a while, you hear the other artists talk about a show they saw that absolutely everyone needs to see. This is that show.

I Think My Boyfriend Should Have an Accent

Emily Pearlman is back with a solo show! It's been a long time since we've seen this. I fell in love with her alone on stage talking about her tapeworm so I'm incredibly excited to see what she has cooked up this time around.

Supervillains Don't Wear Stilettos

Ok, I think I lied. I am involved with a show in some way. This show was originally part of the Youth Infringement Festival and I was a writing mentor for the group. Sock n Buskin picked it up as their Fringe show so it had to drop out of YIF. I am excited to see how everything turned out for these young playwrights and budding directors.


Wow, not including the other categories, that's already 10-12 shows that I absolutely need to see. And I haven't even mentioned the return of Sterling Lynch with Autoerotic, Rick Kaulbars promising me a bawdy good time with "Finished Girls" A Tale of Colonial Sex Trade, local Fringe favourite Richard Hemphill's Junior Sleuths, Tim Oberholzer's final Ottawa performance in Whose Aemilia?, Jayson MacDonald's Mars, and countless other shows that I'm sure I've either missed because I've been staring at the program too long or will pick up along the way. This isn't so much a list anymore as it is a rehashing of the program.

Well, there is a lot of ground to cover, so what are you waiting for? On your mark, get set, FRINGE!

A Day in the Life of an Edmonton Fringe Performer

Opening day for Roller Derby Saved My Soul *Please note that this probably isn't a typical Fringe performer day. Most performers wouldn't be caught dead waking up at this hour.

7:30 a.m. - alarm rings but I don't hear it

8:30 a.m. - wake up thanks to the sun and have a minor freak out because I missed my alarm

9:00 a.m. - make breakfast for the billets while they double-check my show programs

9:30 a.m. - write part two of my Edmonton Fringe MUST-SEE list, send program to printers, double-check show sound design on my computer, run lines, review choreography

12:30 p.m. - wonder why I'm getting hungry again because I just ate 3 hours ago... oh

12:45 p.m. - coffee instead of lunch

1:00 p.m. - shower

1:15 p.m. - pack my bag for the show tonight: costume skirt, shoes, shorts, t-shirt, socks. Mental note  to buy prop popcorn & booze bottle later today. More flyers and posters. I think I have everything.

2:00 p.m. - waiting for a bus to Fringe grounds. Yay, free bus pass!


2:15 p.m. - still waiting...

2:30 p.m. - ZOMG where is the f'n bus?!?

2:35 p.m. - finally!

2:55 p.m. - quick bite with Tara Travis of Til' Death

3: 15 p.m. - pick up programs and get some actor coaching on character transitions in my show from the divine Ms. Travis

3:45 p.m. - put on roller derby skates and flyer the main fringe box office. Try not to check ticket sales every five minutes

3:50 p.m. - check ticket sales

5:30 p.m. - feeling tired from all the skating and flyering. Meet with Emily Pearlman of Countries Shaped Like Stars. She walks with me to the Liquor Depot to pick up what I will use as a prop bottle in the show.

6:00 p.m. - back at main box office, transfer alcohol out of the bottle, put skates back on and continue flyering

7:00 p.m. - losing my voice, realize I haven't eaten in a while, still 30 tickets available for tonight's show, haven't changed my outdoor wheels to show wheels yet, start shaking... maybe I should stop flyering now. Text message to director: Would you be mad if I stopped flyering?

7:15 p.m. - eat protein bar, change into costume, change wheels

8:00 p.m. - walk half a kilometre to the venue, in costume, dragging two suitcases, a backpack and an additional bag

8:05 p.m. - greet venue tech who says I can't go in until 8:30. No problem! Flyer folks leaving previous show.

8:10 p.m. - realize I forgot to get popcorn. FUCK! Drop everything in front of theatre door and run back to fringe grounds. Cut through a family photo taken in a park, run across the street, jump over train tracks, pass the living statues, through crowd trying to watch the buskers, mumble words of missing props to passing fringe performers who ask where I'm going in such a rush

8:15 p.m. - cut in line in front of a small child in order to get popcorn

8:20 p.m. - run back

8:25 p.m. - arrive at venue, sweating and panting

8:30 p.m. - technician lets me in having no idea what just happened.

8:31 p.m. - chuckle at the opening night "catastrophe" together. Hey, it could have been worse. I could have forgotten my laptop with all the sound cues on it.

8:32 p.m. - realize I forgot my laptop with all the sound cues on it. FUCK! Call billet in a panic.

8:33 p.m. - billet picks up the phone and I blurt out the problem. He's not home and tells the people around him what happened. I try not to yell "Please stop explaining and JUST GO!" He thinks he can get on his bike, go home, and come to the Fringe in enough time...

(Sidebar: Unbeknownst to me, billet was at a friends' home where said friends had just announced their upcoming nuptials in November. They had literally just all raised their glasses for a toast when I called. I ruined the toast and still they were kind enough to offer my billet a drive.)

8:35 p.m. - director texts me that of course I should stop flyering and eat something and sorry she didn't get back to me sooner. I call her back, put her speaker while I am setting up the stage for the show, and crazy laugh/cry at the situation. Venue techs continue being awesome. Local roller derby team volunteer arrives and is also awesome.

8:40 p.m. - billet texts that he has the laptop and is on his way

8:45 p.m. - laptop arrives just as doors are being opened for the audience

8:50 p.m. - we have sound!

8:55 p.m. - dance party backstage to pre-show music

9:00 p.m. - Roller Derby Saved My Soul opens at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

10:00 p.m. - I need a drink.


Roller Derby Saved My Soul plays until August 25th at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Opening night was reviewed by Vue Weekly and received 4 stars. Get your tickets now!


Nancy's MUST SEE List at the 2013 Ottawa Fringe

The Peptides were amazing! I'm slightly hungover. Can it be? Fringe already? I guess that means it's time once again for Nancy's MUST SEE List at the Ottawa Fringe. Going through the Fringe program, this year was harder than most to narrow it down to 10 shows. This is a very good thing indeed! Little disclaimer: unlike in past years, I actually haven't seen any of the shows in the list below so none of these are reviews, just shows I'm looking forward to for various reasons. What I'm saying is that these shows could suck. They probably won't, but that's the beauty of Fringe and boxes of chocolate: you just never know what you're gonna get.

But first, if you happen to have a basic understanding of French, I hope you will check out my show, Dolores. As my wonderful director, Tania Levy, puts it: 'I think the show's accessible to people who understand but don't speak French. Otherwise, it's a visual event.' Good stuff!

Now with that shameless plug aside, here's what you really came here to find out:

Assassinating Thomson Monster Theatre is back, this time with a solo show from Bruce Horak. Now if the company pedigree wasn't enough to bring you out, how about the fact that the performer is legally blind and paints the audience during the production? Very few shows make me break my cardinal fringe viewing rule (never go see a show that runs over 60 minutes because it wrecks havoc on your marathon viewing schedule), but for this one, I'll have to make an exception.

We Glow Ok, fine, two, two shows make me break my cardinal fringe viewing rule this year and here's the other one. My uber Fringe crush Emily Pearlman is back, this time with uber talented Brad Long. I really need to learn how Emily gets all the best boy partners... Anyway, it's site-specific, which really tickles me these days and it's directed by Kevin Orr, who gave us the wonderful Bifurcate Me not to long ago. I just hope I will get to see it as much of the schedule conflicts with mine.

The Bike Trip & The Pit Fer cryin' outloud... another over 60min show? And yet, another one well worth it. Martin is an incredible storyteller and last year's Wanderlust sold out before he even got to town so you might want to buy your tickets now. And his other show with partner Vanessa Quesnelle is sure to be a treat as well. I saw Vanessa in a solo show at the London Fringe last year. She is a delight to watch.

HappinessTM & The Tragicall Histories of Nick Wade (And Other Fuck Ups) You guys... it's a May Can Double-Bill! After the sweetness of Subdivision, I... just can't, you guys. I can't even explain it. They make my heartbone hurt. Oh and if that wasn't enough, the second show is also from Jonah Allingham's Backpack Theatre and includes the stage debut of the biggest fringe fan on earth. I'm just going to go see the shows and then be all awkward around them at the beer tent.

Superhero Showdown I saw Rock the Arts at the annual Ottawa Theatre Challenge a few years ago and they had one of the funniest pieces I had ever seen in a long time. I really can't wait to see what the puppets have in store for us now. Oh and bring the kids because this one is family friendly.

Sappho... in 9 Fragments This picture:

Credit: Robert Piwko

slut (r)evolution A late addition to the festival (so late she's not even in the program), Cameryn Moore returns to Ottawa with a show I can't wait to see. Oh and if you missed Phone Whore, you're in luck! She'll be presenting it at the Gladstone for One Night Only on June 22nd. She's an absolute inspiration for me as the hardest working lady on the Fringe today.

Die, Zombie. Die! Richard Hemphill is hilarious and the set is made of people. I'm pretty sure real-live zombies were harmed in the making of this production.

Chesterfield Guys, after Die, Zombie. Die! my bloodlust will not be quelled. I want to see a couch eat people... preferably people I don't like, but I'm not picky.

Under the Mango Tree I love me a solid one-woman show and from what I've been told this one is pretty fantastic. I honestly don't know anymore than that, but I'm looking forward to it.

Be A Man This show just won funniest show at the London Fringe Festival, is directed by the wonderful Jon P, and it has a lot of funny guys in it... I'm in trouble.

******************************* Oh gosh, this list is already getting too long and I have things to do before I open my own show tonight. I'll just leave you with a couple more mentions ok?

******************************* Red Bastard - I'm not a fan of bouffon, but I'm told this guy is one of the best. And dammit if he didn't sell me on his show last night.

Cathedral City - someone told me this is the best damn thing Kurt Fitzpatrick has ever done.

In the First Place - props for using such a unique venue as the Bytown Museum


Ok, that's all I can do for now. Happy fringing everyone! And let me know what you're seeing in the comment section below!

So Long and Thanks for All the Industry

Farväl Maja_Larsson via Compfight

Well, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival likes to end things on a high note apparently. Yesterday was the very last day of the Industry series and things were off to a very good start with the Pitch Sessions. Eight theatre companies from across the country gave ten minute pitches to a room filled with Industry delegates and the general public. I was incredibly keen on seeing this as I have never had to pitch my show for future presentation before and I definitely learned a lot. The best part was that each show pitch was different from the last and yet I wanted to see every single show that came up. It's hard to pick a stand-out show, because they all looked amazing, but I think I'm going to have to tip my hat to Rick Miller for Boom, which is going to premiere at the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary in January, because I'm really interested in the use of multi-media and performance. He is going to be doing things that I never thought were possible on stage.

Check it (and someone please produce it in a town near me):

Another Industry lunch (which BTW, thanks for feeding us!), a quick chat with my wonderful director, Tania Levy, updating her on Broken Turtles' progress so far at the festival, a panel, a quick detour for an Ottawa Fringe rehearsal & interview with Rogers TV... Then back for another event, this one pairing Industry delegates with Compass Point students so we can learn from each other... More food... And finally SubDevision! SubDevision was so much fun. And since I spent the whole night running around with my pal Kevin at The Visitorium, I recommend you head over and read what he had to say about it now. (And yes, Kevin, you got the order right ;)

Folks, though the Industry series came to a close last night, the festival is still going strong until Saturday, so be sure and catch some of it while you still can. I'll probably be stopping by the festival bar in the evenings and, of course, I'll be there for the closing night festivities this weekend.

A huge thank you to Patrick Gauthier and Emily Pearlman for producing such a wonderful series. I've made some really great connections that will serve me well going forward. This series feels like it was a real stepping stone in my professional theatre career and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Now, I feel like I'm supposed to be working on something... Oh right: next stop, Ottawa Fringe!

Welcome Back, Magnetic North!

June in Ottawa. That special time, every second year, where the month is just jammed packed with so much theatre you might explode! With JOY! People, I love me some theatre festivals. While Ottawa Fringe is just around the corner (eep!), the Magnetic North Theatre Festival sweeps in like an older sibling jazzed to show you all the cool things they learned while they were away at school. It started, officially, on Friday with an invitation to For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again at the National Arts Centre. Those in attendance with me absolutely adored this one. Really, nothing wrong with this production, but it just wasn't my cup of tea... or I should say that for me "the tea was very good."

Peter and Valerie press photo

Speaking of tea (and totally mixing my references), you know who makes a great cup (even if they only paid $2.99 for a box of 100 tea bags)? Lovely couple by the name of Peter and Valerie. As you can imagine, I'm a big fan of site-specific theatre these days and Peter and Valerie is a wonderfully interactive and entertaining experience... well, as entertaining as a wake can be, I suppose. For the first 30 minutes or so, I felt that same awkward feeling you get when you're politely sitting at a distant relatives house while they show you photos of people you should know because your parents knew them. And for the other half, I felt like a gossip detective (a profession I totally just made up) trying to piece together the pseudo-mystery, at least to me, of this man's life. I am absolutely not doing this show the justice it deserves with my words, but suffice to say I would go back again just to see if things change with a different audience. Unfortunately, I can't. And if you don't already have your ticket, you can't either because I hear the entire run is sold out - not hard to do when only 9 people can see it at a time. But if you are one of the lucky few with a ticket, come find me at Club SAW and tell me, please, did she tell you what was on that letter?

Oh and speaking of Club SAW, I forgot how much I enjoy that venue as an artist bar. I almost didn't go last night, but I'm so glad I did. This space should be used more often: live performances, various nooks and crannies to mix & mingle in, a wonderful outdoor patio, a cheap bar AND hot dogs! What more could you want?

The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is off to a promising start. The Industry series starts tomorrow. Really looking forward to the War of 1812, God That Comes & A Brimful of Asha... OH AND ZOMG YOU GUYS! MORRO AND JASP! MORRO AND JASP AT SUBDIVISION! I have my tickets. How about you?

You Are Crazy If You Don't See This Show

This one! This one right here! Is there something in the water or do I just keep winning the theatre ticket lottery? After the stellar lineup that was the undercurrents theatre festival in Ottawa, my next audience-member adventure took me to Laws of Motion, an indie theatre production at Merchants of Green Coffee in Toronto. (Couldn't find it anywhere on the website, but the show is at 8 p.m.)

I'm a big fan of smart television with strong story arcs that build over an entire season (Season 1 & 2 of Veronica Mars anyone?). I love it when creators build on their vision and don't try to dumb it down for us because they think we might be too dim to understand (Season 3 of Veronica Mars aka 'How Networks Ruin Everything You Love'). Watching Laws of Motion is like watching the best season of your favorite TV show in a live and compact 90 minute format. It leans back with a perfectly paced wind-up so it can lovingly sucker-punch you in the heart. If you had taken 5 minutes to think about it, you probably could have seen it coming, but you were too invested in the unbelievably engaging characters in their incredibly well stylized world to think of anything else except the moment in front of you. So you sit there, like a bystander on a subway platform, unable to do anything except feel ALL THE EMOTIONS when shit gets revealed and comes to an incredibly satisfying conclusion.

Oh and if you're still on the fence after the reading this, let me tel you that even though I see a lot of theatre productions in any given year, trust me when I say that this show also has the best acting I have ever seen on stage in a very long time.

Bravo, Small Elephant Co-Op, for showing me how a group of incredibly talented people can come together and make brilliant work happen for themselves. You've not only told me a fucking awesomeamzingholyshitballsitsgoodstory, you've also inspired me to get back to work and make things happen. That and go out and read everything ever by playwright Ashlin Halfnight (which is the coolest name that wasn't included in the Lord of the Rings trilogy).

My only regret with this show is that I don't have time to go see it again, so please go out there and do it for me, will you?

undercurrents theatre festival: Just Go!

It's only it's opening weekend, but I'm going to call it right now: Best. undercurrents. Ever. It's been a long time since I could gush about a whole slew of shows in one sitting. Major kudos and congratulations go out to festival organizer, Patrick Gauthier, for assembling a stellar line-up of shows that practically scream upgradeyoursingletickettoasixshowpassrightnowZOMGWHYAREYOUSTILLSITTINGTHERE!

On Friday night, my adventure began with Little Iliad (which also played at World Stage Toronto). I loved it and later on a friend asked me why they should see it. I spent about five minutes ranting about my joy at seeing the incorporation of theatre and new media/multi-media done well (and seriously, most of the time I just kept wondering how they were doing that), the solid acting, the story, feeling like I wasn't actually watching theatre, but creeping in on someone's conversation, the fact that it's a super short show, so why not take the chance? By the time I was done, I think I had convinced two other people to see it.

Then it was off to Bread. Another super short show, but what it lacked in length it definitely made up for in sweetness. Ruby and Seth are moving out of the neighbourhood, but they've invited us over to teach us to bake bread before they go. I shouldn't have been surprised that this show goes straight to your heart and stomach since it was directed by the queen of whimsy herself, the most divine Emily Pearlman. Only ten people get to make bread with them at the time and the spots fill up super quickly so make sure you reserve in advance.

And your yummy bread will be waiting for you when you return from your next show.

I ended the night with Little Orange Man, a show I had seen almost three years ago at the Calgary Fringe Festival when it was called Gnomeward Bound. I was super excited to see the updated version since the original was a real sucker-punch to my heart and a reminder of the kind of theatre I like to see and create. It definitely did not disappoint. For those of you who saw the show, all I have to say is: coatrack, amitrite?

So that was day one. Started day two with Ladies of the Lake. Patrick Gauthier stated at the post-show talkbalk that this was probably the prettiest show to ever fill the studio space. He's not wrong. The design team have done an absolutely brilliant and seamless job. This is also probably one of the most polished shows I've ever seen at the undercurrents festival.

Then it was off to SKIN. To be honest, I was worried about this one. With a program description that starts with "What if you don't feel comfortable in your own skin?" I thought it might be a very heavy show, but I was wrong. It was incredibly funny, honest and featured an ensemble of multi-talented women that work so cohesively together... SKIN is a very special show that struck a chord.

Ended this night with The Public Servant, probably my favorite show at a festival already filled with favorites. But I may be a bit biased since I've worked in the public service in the past and so has my mom. The show was so funny and true to life. Opening monologue aside, the main character was me. The first day excitement, the clothes, the projects, the cutbacks, the voice mail... I laughed until I wanted to cry. The cast is so good! It's some of the best work I've seen Sarah McVie do. And my arts crush on Jennifer Brewin, which started at the Next Stage Theatre Festival (The Peace Maker was my favorite show at that festival too) just keeps getting stronger. I'm going to have to see more from Theatre Columbus.

Oh, I guess that wasn't the end of my night, since the festival had a great little party for everyone set up in the lobby. There was food, dancing and the return of Two Little Birds Theatre with Recess.

Another show in the works?

Last but not least, ended the entire festival on a high note with Hip-Hop Shakespeare:Live Music Videos! I missed it at the Ottawa Fringe last year and man, oh man, was I glad to correct that mistake. It's absolutely phenomenal. Personal favorites included Melanie's Lady M and David's Rich 3. Go see it! Go see it! Go see it!

Seriously though, why are you still here? Get your butt down to the Great Canadian Theatre Company RIGHT NOW (unless you're reading this on Monday, then wait a day) before all the good theatre is gone.

New Year - Next Stage

NSTF-Brochure-front-cover-cropped-small1-578x583 I was all set to write a blog post on how things went last year and what my goals are for 2013, but I've had to put that on hold for a little bit because ZOMGYOUGUYS! The Next Stage Festival starts back up today! It feels a little early in the new year, but after spending almost two weeks home for the holidays, I think some theatre is just what the doctor ordered.

Plus, I had a really amazing time there last year and I'm even better prepared this time around having just bought myself an 8 show pass. So without further ado, here's the stuff I plan on checking out and why you should too. (Please note this is solely my personal opinion based on knowing practically nothing about the shows being presented - because research is for people who hate surprises.)


Unfortunately, I probably won't be seeing this show, but only because I had the privilege of seeing it at the Toronto Fringe Festival already, but I wanted to mention it because it's a wonderful show and Laura Anne Harris is absolutely delightful in it. I'd be curious to see what she does with it in the Antechamber, which is a very different space from the Tarragon Theatre stage I had seen it on and, at a shortened running time of 30 min, I'd love to know what she kept in. You should definitely check this show out and buy your tickets fast because the performance, as I remember it from last year, is very small and will in all likelihood sell-out. Besides, how often will you get the chance to get this up close and personal with a Hollywood legend?


I love Game of Thrones SO MUCH and Throne of Games really does something to satisfy the inner fantasy geek in me. Every performance will consist of a brand spanking new improvised episode based on the series and I am still trying to figure out how I could possibly attend every single one without going back into debt. I'll be checking out the first episode tonight, but if anyone has extra tickets and would like a date, please feel free to call me.


I wanted to see this one at the Toronto Fringe last year, but it sold out, so I'm glad to have the chance to go now. I took a workshop with Martha Ross a few years ago and had an absolute blast. Really looking forward to seeing her on stage.


Planning my own memorial before I die to hear all the awesome things people will say about me? The narcissistic control freak that I am loves the premise for this show (Note to self: potential activity for 2013) and it also features my friend, the very talented Pierre Simpson.


At the other end of the spectrum, I'm not usually a big fan of political theatre, but Natasha Greenblatt's name has been bounced around me a lot lately and she's got a really great director & cast backing her up, so I will be giving this one a shot.


Speaking of names that get bounced around a lot: Jordan Tannahill. This guy is probably one of the hardest working indie producers in town and I can't believe I've yet to see one of his full-scale productions. Especially since I am a big fan of the use of multi-media and theatre. Thank you, Next Stage for helping me rectify that situation.

This is what I've got on the schedule so far, but it doesn't mean I won't be seeing anything else. I just haven't really heard much about the other shows yet, but I'm sure a few trips to the beer tent will change all that.  Feel free to let me know what you will be seeing and why in the comment section below. In the meantime, if you don't catch me at the tent in between shows, I'm probably at Sadie's Diner down the street indulging in some gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes.

As always, I'll be seeing you at the theatre.

Cool People Doing Cool Things

Meet Mikaela Dyke. She is currently one of my absolutely favorite people in the whole wide world. And I just so happen to be lucky enough to get to live with her too.

She is funny, entertaining and quirky in all the right places. She's an independent artist who inspires me everyday because she is able to live fully doing what she loves best. She's really smart, a hard-worker and incredibly multi-talented. Not a single day goes by that I do not learn something new about her; whether it be the fact that she speaks Russian (among many other languages), used to do gymnastics for years, or can reprogram a computer just by looking at it.  She always knows the right thing to say when a boy breaks my heart ("Fuck that guy!") and makes sure I don't do things like burn down the apartment, which she tells me would be inconvenient.

And did I mention she's funny? If you live in the Greater GTA and you happened to laugh at something today, chances are Mikaela Dyke made it happen with her magic laughter creating powers.

But, if you live anywhere else in Canada. You also know that Mikaela Dyke is an incredibly gifted dramatic actress.

In 2009, in one of my annual "must-see" Fringe lists, I wrote the following about a play called Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid:

I saw this show in Winnipeg on a whim without knowing anything about it or anyone in the cast and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very original show with an interesting concept that never got too hockey or sentimental. I believe this was due to some very strong acting from the lead actress whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. In the spirit of Fringe, take a chance on this show.

That actress who's name I unfortunately forgot? Yup. Mikaela Dyke. I'm not going to forget that name again (mostly because it would make things awkward at home), but you won't either Toronto, after you see what all the fuss is about in Dying Hard, next week at the Tarragon Extra Space.

I had the privilege of seeing this show in Ottawa, before the two of us had even entertained the notion of being roommates, and I was simply blown away. And I'm not the only one. Dying Hard has toured coast-to-coast, picking up awards and accolades in every. single. city. Seriously.  You can check it out below, along with all the proper show details.

I will be seeing this beautiful show next week. Of course, since I live with the lead actor and principal creator of this piece, I was offered a complimentary ticket, but I turned it down. Why? Because this one is worth paying for.

See you at the theatre!


The Theatre Elusive in co-production with A Vagrant presents:


"There's whole families here wiped out. It's time for someone to make a noise." ... One of the Calgary Herald's most memorable theatre moments of 2011.

Six true stories from a community struggling to survive the ravages of industrial carnage. Taken from archived interviews, Dying Hard reveals the strength and grace of Newfoundland fluorspar miners in spite of the extraordinary hardships they faced.

Based on interviews taken by Elliott Leyton in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. Adapted for the stage by and featuring Mikaela Dyke Directed by Dahlia Katz

Dates: March 13th - March 17th, 2012 - 8pm March 17th - March 18th, 2012 - 2:30pm

Tickets $25, $20 for students/arts workers.

Box office: 416.531.1827 Online:

***Winner - Best in Fest - Halifax Fringe Festival 2010*** ***Winner - Best Performance - London Fringe Festival 2010*** ***Winner - Best Female Performance - The Beat Magazine 2010*** ***Winner - Outstanding Solo Performance - Ottawa Fringe Festival 2011*** ***Winner - Best Female Performance - CBC Winnipeg 2011***

"★★★★★ - Pure Storytelling Magic" - Calgary Herald "Larger than life... Strikes a chord of classical tragedy." - CBC Ottawa "Her performance is a wonder" - CBC Manitoba "Riveting." - Ottawa Citizen "Intense, if not stilling." - The Telegram, St. John's "I challenge you to see this show" - The Coast, Halifax

I'm a Person, Not an Afterthought

I spent the weekend in Ottawa this past weekend where I saw some delightful shows, including Cyrano de Bergerac and a slew of undercurrents offerings.  Trust me, everything was well-worth seeing but I'm going to opt-out of general reviewing to talk about something that really stuck with me: Carmen Aguirre's Blue Box. There isn't a huge age-gap between us, but when I grow up I want to be Carmen Aguirre.  She is a strong, beautiful, earthy and sexually charged individual who has been through a lot and knows how to laugh at herself. She is an incredible storyteller weaving together a tale of her revolutionary days in Chile with her encounters with a man simply dubbed the "Vision Man" (for reasons explained in the show) throughout the years.  It was this latter story that stayed with me the most.  At one point, after traveling from Vancouver to L.A. to be with this man, she is left waiting at the airport, promptly ignored, left alone with the man's roommate and sticks it out for a good 48hours before a girlfriend wisely informs her to immediately get her ass on a plane back to Canada.  By the time Vision Man calls her up to know where she went, she gives him the most beautiful put down I have ever heard.  From memory, it went something like, "Put your hand down between your legs because you will realize that you have no cojones. You are not a man. I know this because I am a Queen. And do you know what a real man does when a Queen takes time out of her busy schedule to come fuck him for a week straight? A real man shows up early at the airport with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a box of chocolates in the other, he takes her into his arms and doesn't let her go. A real man takes responsibility."

There was more and it was brilliant, but I don't want to stray too far from her words and you probably get the point.

And this hit me because for as long as I can remember I have been dating these baby boys who pretend to men, who treat me as an afterthought and leave me feeling like something is wrong with me because I can't seem to be worthy enough to warrant their full attention.  They fuck around on me, ignore me in public, never even bother to spare a kind word my way and I act like I'm ok with that because I don't want to appear needy or clingy. Cowards who are so frightened by any sign of real emotion that I shut down, learn to love what they love without them making any effort to enjoy the things I do, make myself small, and pretend there is nothing wrong in order to appease them.

To them I say: Fuck you and fuck that shit.

You know what I realized this weekend? I am an awesome, smart, funny, ambitious, interesting person who looks better than she ever has. Any person I choose to spend my valuable time with should treat me like the catch I know I am.

Don't get me wrong, I am not looking for a long-term relationship or a marriage proposal or even a subservient to cater to my every whim. I am looking for an equal. Better yet, I am looking for respect. I think, however, that it is high time I take it back for myself instead of waiting for someone else to give it to me.

Little boys and cowards need not apply.

And that, is the power of the theatre.

You Are At Work

Ok, this is that part about reviewing that I didn't care for...  Alright, I'm going to get this over as quickly as possible before moving on to me favorite topic ("ME!" she says, a false sens of pretension dripping in her voice.) Last night, I had the chance to see Living with Henry at the Next Stage Theatre Festival.  I was pretty keen to see this one since the subject matter appealed to me.  As the friend accompanying me pointed out, a few years ago there were so many movies and stories about people getting HIV/AIDS and dying from it that it's refreshing to see someone talk about it and where it's at today.  Because the disease isn't gone, but sometimes it seems a bit forgotten.  There are a lot of enjoyable moments in Living with Henry: the lead carries the show well; his Mom is a solid actor and I really enjoyed her singing voice; I love the way they portrayed HIV as a big, tough bald guy; there's an awesome tango number in a bathhouse and OHMYGODSOMUCHPRETTYTOLOOKAT... *ahem* - but as a whole, the show just didn't do it for me.  I think part of it is because the show tries to be too much at one time.  It wants to be funny and serious and musical and dance-y and it has so much potential material to pull from and gets tossed into so many directions that it just can't get really good at one thing.  Again, Living with Henry definitely has something to offer, I'm just not sure I was the right person to receive it.


Ok. Moving on. Yesterday, I also had the privilege of attending a general theatre audition for four different summer stock theatre's in the province.  I thought it was really great they got together for these auditions.  Some people might be intimidated by having more people in a room, but I thrive on it.  Not to mention it's a pretty big time-saver for me.  I was feeling pretty good about the audition and, yes, it did go very well, but that's not what stuck with me at the end of the day.  When I walked into the room, one artistic director apologized because they were ahead of schedule and they didn't want to rush me.  I said it was no problem, it would just get me back to work faster.  And that's when, with good humour, he replied:

"You are at work."

I don't get speechless very often, but that one threw me.  Of course I'm at work!  Auditions are just as much part of the job as the job itself.  Just because you are not getting paid for it, does not mean you don't have to work. These people don't know me. They've never seen me perform before.  I can't coast and save up all the "good stuff" for when they hire me.  No.  I have to prepare.  I go to class, I learn and rehearse a monologue, I print resumes and headshots (all of this on my own dime) so that I can walk into a room and comfortably, for lack of a better word, "work" it.

It's been a while, but I was grateful for the reminder.

More Reviews!

I know it's just a three show run, but it's still really nice to get reviewed. These new ones, as well as all the others (that's three links - one for each word), will fit in nicely when I do grant and festival applications over the next year. So yes, the show opened last night to a fairly large and supportive crowd at the Arts Court Theatre. Though I felt a little shaky since we didn't get in a full run the night before at the tech rehearsal and had all these new bits that were incorporated into the show, I'm pretty sure only director Tania Levy and myself noticed. The reviewers sure didn't.

Here's what they had to say:

First up, one of the fine ladies of said some very nice things, including "For a truly outstanding display of acting, Roller Derby is a show not to be missed." - Kate Lalumiere,

Full review can be found here:

And then my favorite theatre chud (and one of the most eminently quotable theatre reviewers in town, even though he doesn't like being called that... theatre reviewer, not eminently quotable... though I didn't ask... maybe he doesn't like that either... ANYWAY) was back in his usual seat in the front row for a THIRD time no less and nicely explains some of the new additions to the show, while mentioning what still makes it all work, including such gems as: "...Nancy makes a funnier drunk every time I see this show." Years of practice, my friend. Years of practice.

You can read more from Kevin Reid at The Visitorium here:

Only two more chances to see Roller Derby Saved My Soul in Ottawa!

Hamilton Fringe - Midway Point

Well, here we are, more than half-way through the Hamilton Fringe Festival and I have to say that I have been thoroughly enjoying myself.  The staff and volunteers have been incredible and accommodating. You can tell how much they love Fringe. I've seen 7 productions so far, most of them chosen at random, and not a single one has disappointed. They were:

An Inconvenient Truthiness Book Worm Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter (which I saw, but my stage manager missed - however she caught Far from the Tree, which I have yet to see) Dirk Darrow: NCISS Minced When Harry Met Harry (which I had already seen in Ottawa, but was worth seeing again) Waiting for the Go

Though I normally don't review shows, I do want to point out three that really spoke to me on a personal level. I was moved both by the stories and the heart-filled passion I saw on stage. This first was Minced, which is a local show that's selling out, so it doesn't really need my "endorsement" as such, but I still totally wanted to mention it. The other two were the beautiful Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter and Book Worm. All three shows deal with family in incredibly touching and funny ways.

(Sidebar: Funny how I often see a particular theme in a bunch of shows at Fringe Festivals over the years. Last year, it was performers who give birth to unnatural objects like grown men and ducks; this year, it seems to be family. It's probably just where I'm at in my life right now, being the star of my own movie, family just seems to be very important to me these past few months.)

Of particular note, Book Worm. My stage manager and I randomly chose to see it, since it was on at 5 pm when we were arriving into town. I'm not usually a fan of outright storytelling, but from the moment he opens his mouth, Corin Raymond has a way of drawing you into his tale. You understand immediately why he loves reading stories out loud and I'll be damned if the entire room (ok, me) didn't want to be the girl on a beach in Spain who got to hear Farenheit 451 in its entirety until sunset. With a stage presence probably born out of a career as a musician, I simply could not believe that this was his first time (fourth performance ever) on stage telling stories.

I was thrilled when I found out that the list of books he talks about could be found at the back of the program. Book Worm makes you want to go out and read every single one. I looked at the program for the first time and that's when I finally caught it: Dramaturgy by TJ Dawe.


Well this explains a lot. If you know who that is, you know I'm not kidding when I say that Book Worm can expect sold out houses when Corin tours it next year on the Fringe circuit. You heard it here first.

************************ But enough about other people, let's talk about me!

Yes, I've seen 7 productions, but I've had 4 performances of my own to great critical acclaim. Only two reviews and both of them very positive:

"Every Fringe Festival should hope to have a show like Roller Derby Saved My Soul." - Ryan Trepanier, Community Reviewer -

"Kenny mesmerizes as she exits her cocoon and drinks and rolls her way to new levels of self admiration. This is a must see: comedy, romance, violence and victory." - Katie Penrose & Tamara Kamermans, The View

The View also gave me the Best in Venue nod, but I think the best present so far was during my interview at the Nicklebrook Fringe Club.

It was made out of my name. The "N" is the backboards, the "a" is my hand, the "nc" are my eyes, and the "y" is my ear and chin strap.

Can it get better than this?

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.

Stats, Stats, Stats

I've been inspired by Mr. Sterling Lynch's recent post on his blog's traffic numbers (and absolutely fascinated as well!). He was right: I do find it useful to compare his traffic numbers to mine. After some investigation, I've realized that I'm doing pretty well. Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, I've also decided to publish my blog stats to all of you in the hopes that it might be useful to someone else. I currently don't have any other statistic program running on my site and so my statistics all come directly from Wordpress.

Since 29/08/08 I have had 11, 769 visits to this site. Now, this number is relatively small compared to Sterling's, but that's because I wasn't really all that active on my blog until about March 2008, which is when I started pushing it more by linking the notes to my Facebook account and updates. My individual site visits hit over the 1000 mark in June. In fact my busiest months have been June 2009 - 1,880 and July 2009 - 2,152. This makes sense for a few reasons. First of all, it was around this time that I started using Twitter to promote my blog. It was also during the Ottawa and Winnipeg Fringe Festivals, where I was writing practically everyday and was getting tons of pingback links through their sites. My busiest day was 22/06/09 with 206 visits - right smack in the middle of the Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Not counting this one, I have 117 posts and 235 comments. I don't respond to every comment like Sterling does, so this number is actually pretty close to reality. That said, because he replies to the comments on his site, Sterling encourages discussion, which then brings in more comments and more page views. I can learn from that.

Search engine terms to find my blog usually have to do with some variation of my name or the blog title. Though I was interested to see that a lot of people found me by searching for "Countries Shaped Like Stars" (which sends you to my review of the show) and "Gladstone Theatre Ottawa" (which puzzled me because I went through 5 Google search pages and found nothing about this blog). What terms a person used to find my site is a great source of enjoyment for me. You can find some real gems there including: "hairpulling catfight", "so", "la in me love you long time 9" (not making that one up), "vehicle registration plates in manitoba", and "im struggling upcoming artist?"

Visitors have been referred to my site mostly through Facebook, Twitter and a link from my old blog incarnation. The rest come from something called Alpha Inventions (which I haven't fully figured out) and my friend's blogs. In order of popularity, I get most of my friendly traffic from the Adorkable Thespian, The Many Faces of Wayne, The Ottawa Arts Newsletter, Reverberations, and finally Movement (Welcome to the party, Sterling. Nadine, I owe you a drink.)

Finally, my top 5 most popular posts and pages are as follows:

Nancy's Must See List at the Winnipeg Fringe - 428 Upcoming Appearances - 396 About Nancy - 386 Nancy's Must See List at the Ottawa Fringe - 373 In Loving Memory of my Friend - 161

I'm not surprised by these numbers and they do corroborate Sterling's theory that "When people like a blog post, they often want to know more about the person writing the blog post." I encourage you to read the rest of his theory on the effectiveness of social media tools with regards to personal interactions with the writer. I pretty much completely agree with him on that point.

All in all, this has been a very interesting exercise. Based on the information collected, I'm quite certain that I have approximately 35 to 40 regular readers who check my site everyday for new stuff. When I write a new post, that number easily doubles or even triples.

I'd like to think that this readership also translates into my business world (attendance at shows, networking opportunities, ect.) but I have no way of verifying that information.

So, thank you dear readers, I definitely would not be here on the interwebs without you.

Shining City Promo/Reviews

More links will be added as they come in. Did you miss the interview I did with Richard Gélinas on CHUO 89.1? Well you are in luck. Here it is in full with host Mitchell Caplan on Click Here. It even includes a segment from the show. Check it out here! (It may take a while to get the link and you may have to sift through some ads, but it was the best I could do in finding a free server host for the very large file. If anyone has a better idea, I'm all ears!)

If you'd prefer to see our faces, then go visit our friends at Ottawa Tonite (a great new resource on local arts and entertainment!) and check out the rehearsal footage video created by Cheryl Gain, which also includes an interview with director John P Kelly.

(Cult)ure Magazine and the EMC News also have some great preview articles. (Apparently the print version of the EMC runs for a page and a half, has three photos and is on the cover - if anyone could get me a print copy, that's be grand!)

As if that wasn't enough, (Cult)ure Magazine also has a lovely review of the piece, which you can find here.

I also highly recommend you check out the glowing review the show got from Patrick Langston and the Ottawa Citizen. You may do so here.

Evolution Theatre's Arabian Night

The reviews have been pouring in for Evolution Theatre's Arabian Night. See what everyone is saying and then call Cube Gallery to reserve your tickets - 613-728-1750 The show runs from Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm and half the tickets for Friday and Saturday night's performances are already gone.

If you want to stop on top of what Evolution Theatre is doing, be sure to join our facebook group!

See you at the Theatre!


Photo by Tim Ginley - Stewart Matthews (front) and Richard Gélinas


Patrick Langston - Ottawa Citizen "Emily Pearlman('s) physical expressiveness always delights" "Richard Gélinas... does his best work in these disconnected roles" "Evolution Theatre to its credit continues to take risks with its play selection."

Read the full review here.


Alvina Rupretch - CBC Radio "A VERY (capital letters hers, not mine) interesting play. Good ensemble work. And it’s sure that no other company in Ottawa is doing what Evolution dares to do. So do take a chance and go see it. It's very good."

Listen to the full review here, after the Drowsy Chaperone review


Wayne Current - (Cult)ure Magazine "One of the strongest casts assembled this year."

Read the full review here.


Lesley Buxton - The Wellington Oracle "The acting is first rate." "This is an important production..."

Read the full review here.


Erika Morey - Apt613 "Most noteworthy, however, was Kate Smith’s riveting performance..." "...take advantage of the opportunity to see high-calibre experimental theatre right here in the city..."

Read the full review here.


Nadine Tornhill - Local Blogger "Emily Pearlman and ... Kate Smith are some of this city’s strongest performers." "Evolution Theatre is never boring."

Read the full review here.

Flyer Her? I Hardly Even Know Her!

Since I can't count on the reviews to help bring in the crowds, I am left with two options: flyers and word of mouth.  Now, word of mouth requires having an initial audience to see your show and spreading the word around. When we arrived in Winnipeg, we tried to set up a volunteer appreciation show.  I would have loved to have one early on in order to fill the venue, but unfortunately all they had left was this coming Friday (which, don't get me wrong, is fine because the volunteers need to be appreciated; I just wish it would have been earlier). So, that leaves us with the flyers.

The often undisputed "God" of the Fringe, TJ Dawe wrote a one man show entitled Totem Figures, which he toured on the circuit last year.  I didn't get to see it when it was in Ottawa, but someone was kind enough to point me to a podcast of the piece.  Part 2 has a really great bit about touring the Fringe for the first time and the gruelling task of promoting your show through flyers.  A big thank you to the friend who forwarded this to me.  I find hope in it.

Flyering is an art form in and of itself.  Some veteran performers have mastered the art of the quick pitch.  For example, jem rolls can be heard saying: "I'm British and say things that make you laugh." Wham, bam, thank you, mam.  Others have reviews they can push.  Gemma Wilcox got a double-whammy this year and can simply throw a "5 Stars from the CBC and the Winnipeg Free Press" out with her flyers.

For me, it's a little more difficult.  First of all, no one knows me here, so I am not a familiar face.  Second, my show can't really be summarized in ten words or less (Hell, I had trouble coming up with 60). Third, I don't have a star rating I particularly want to throw out there. And finally, I've never done this before.

So, I sought out professional help.  And who's more professional that a former psych nurse? The affable Rob Gee had these tips for me:

  • Don't flyer people coming out of a show.  They are probably in a rush to go somewhere or still digesting what they just saw.  You will not have time to speak to them and will basically waste a flyer.
  • Do flyer people waiting in lines.  They have nothing better to do than listen to you.
  • Have at least three variations of your pitch so that the people at the back of the line hear something different from the people in front of them.
  • Take a break every once in a while.  Remember, your priority is to your show.  Don't burn yourself out with flyers.

Other good pieces of advice that I picked up:  know which page in the program your show is on, wear sensible shoes, plan which lineups you will attack ahead of time.

My pitch usually turns into a long conversation.  At first I felt guilty about "wasting time."  Then I realized that I actually enjoyed these talks and that people would probably be more likely to remember me by them.  We all have our methods.

Over the weekend we drained our first batch of flyers and ordered more.  Fortunately, the fine people at Industry Images had them ready for pick-up by 11am on Monday.  I've pretty much been flyering non-stop from noon to showtime every single day.  I'm starting to run into a lot of the same people now.  I'm tired and it was recommended that I don't do any flyering today.  Personally, I haven't seen it result in higher attendance numbers so far, so I didn't argue.  That said, I've got 5 more shows and a whack of flyers to get through so I will probably jump back into it later tonight.

Un p'tit coup de coeur...