There Will Be Blood


I recently returned from the Toronto Fringe Festival where I had the pleasure of seeing 9 shows over 4 days. One of those shows was Morro and Jasp do Puperty. Spoiler alert: The show is about periods.

Right off the bat, Morro is freaking out on the toilet and then comes out to tell what I am assuming is typically a female audience member a secret. On my night, the audience member said that it was totally ok. So Morro asked her to tell everyone in the room. Suddenly it wasn't ok anymore.

We all laughed at the discomfort, of course, but something else stayed with me.


I both identify as a woman and have all the working ladybits that come with that biological designation.

A few weeks ago, I was in Toronto for work and I was also on my period. Since I have been getting periods for the better part of my life, I am well acquainted with the ahem ebbs and flows of my cycle. My day in Toronto would fall on my "heavy" day. No matter. I was prepared.

Work started at 9:30. I popped a Super Absorbent tampon in and added a liner for safety's sake.

11:15 break - everything normal on the southern front.

12:15 lunch - I was fortunate enough to have booked an audition with a prominent theatre company while I was in town and work was kind enough to let me go on my lunch break. I went to the washroom and, to my absolute horror, realized that I had had an accident. My underwear was completely soaked through. I had not had a situation like this since my teens and I was mortified. As if it was something I could control and my body had suddenly betrayed me. Fortunately, it didn't seem to have reached my pants. Doubly fortunate: since I had spent the night in Toronto, I had brought a suitcase and packed way too many clothes for an overnight trip.

I cleaned myself off, refused the kind offer from my coworker to let me borrow his bike, and walked to my audition. I mentally congratulated myself on choosing to wear dark grey pants that day and sauntered into the audition room. But something didn't feel right. They were behind schedule so I asked for the washroom.

Once again, I was absolutely mortified to find out that in the 15 minutes it took me to get there, not only was my underwear soaked through but it had also seeped into my dark grey pants, leaving a giant crimson stain. I was grateful I had another tampon in my bag but freaked out that I had left my clothes at the office.

I quietly panicked in the washroom stall. What about my audition? I couldn't just leave, could I? Actually, yes I probably could have, but they had already seen me. I couldn't reschedule since I would no longer be in town so instead I made the decision to go in and be honest about it. As I paced in the lobby, a gentleman walked by and said I could have a seat. I took one look at the plush seats and, as sweetly as I could, muttered a "Nope, I'm good."

Minutes later I walked in dead set on explaining my predicament, but I froze when I saw there wasn't a single woman in the group, only three men. I suddenly felt embarrassed and thanked the universe for the small favour of a plastic chair in the room. We had a brief chat as I clamped my legs together praying for... I don't know what. Not to be a woman anymore?

Now time to deliver my monologue, I felt grateful that the whole scene took place on a bus. "I'm going to be sitting down," I said, proud of my own quick thinking.

Oddly enough, I pretty much killed that audition about a young woman on a bus feeling awkward and embarrassed when the guy of her dreams walks in and sits down next to her. Gee, I wonder why?

High off a job well done, I heard the words tumble out of my mouth before I was able to stop them: "So, you also wanted me to read for another character in the script?"

No! Nonononono, stupid actor brain! We don't want to read for anything else, we want to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible.

But before I knew what was happening, I had new lines in hand and I was jumping around the stage, praying that they were just looking at me from the waist up. And... it went really well. Again, addicted with performance power, I heard the words: "You also wanted a song, didn't you?"


So I did a song. And it was lovely. I finally FINALLY said my goodbyes and made a beeline to the pharmacy next door.

At this point, the adrenaline rush was leaving me and panic was setting in. I grabbed supplies and ran to the pharmacy station.

"Excuse me, I need to talk to a pharmacists."

A bright-eyed, twenty-something asian kid proudly answered me: "Well he's busy at the moment, but I'm a pharmacy assistant. I can help you!"

Oh kid. I sighed and asked if we could speak in private. Behind closed doors I took a deep-breath as I explained my situation. How this had never happened to me before. That soaking through 3 super absorbent tampons in less than an hour felt excessive. I told him my worries looking for an ounce of reassurance.

His face fell as the eagerness drained from his eyes. "Um. I'm going to get the pharmacist."

I asked for the nearest washroom. In the backroom of the pharmacy, a staff member pointed me in the right direction. To my absolute dismay, there was no toilet paper. I ran back to the staff member who left to get more. I'm sure only took two minutes but it felt like two hours. He offered to put it in the holder for me as I quickly snatched it out of his hands. "No thank you!"

Back at the pharmacy counter, the elderly male pharmacist was finally able to see me. I quietly asked if there was a woman I could talk to. He tells me she wouldn't be in until 5. So I took another deep-breath and laid out my story once more, now with 4 tampons instead of 3. Without missing a beat: "You need to go to emerg."

"Excuse me, what?"

"That is excessive. You need to go to the emergency room."

I am now royally freaking the hell out wondering what to do next. I'm feeling wet, dirty and ashamed and now I'm worried that something might be really wrong with me. I rush to pay for my supplies but I am living in a fucked up sketch comedy show meaning the lineup for the cash register is all the way out the door. I decide to go to the makeup counter instead where the girl refuses to serve me because my things aren't from her section.

I'm about to cry and I plead with her that this? Is an emergency! She sighs and starts punching it in. Where the hell is the sisterly support? I hate her and her stupid eyeliner.

Stepping out into the world, I can't imagine myself walking back to work so I flag down a cab. I thank whatever deity there is that the seats are leather.

In the meantime, I call Telehealth Ontario and speak to a nurse who also tells me to go to the emergency room. I had hoped the pharmacist was just trying to get me out of his hair, but it looked like I had no choice but to go to the hospital.

At the office, I approach my male supervisor and explain the situation. He is incredibly understanding. He gives me access to a private washroom so I may once again clean up and change. He even offers to flag me a cab and get someone to go with me.

"Can it be a woman, please?"

Feminine hygiene product count: 5 in 1.5 hours. At this point, I've switched to the Ultra Super Mega Absorbent kind.

The emergency room at Mount Sinai was all kinds of alright. The staff was incredibly friendly and patient. Not to mention unbelievably attractive. All those doctor shows you see on TV? They were probably based on this place.

At this point, I'm feeling pretty miserable & scared but grateful that the staff here seems to be a majority of women. So of course the universe sends me the super hot twenty-something male nurse to deal with me.


He asks me what's wrong and I take a deep-breath as I look him directly in the eye. Hold onto your hat, we're doing this.

"I'm bleeding from my crotch. Like a lot."

For a split second, I see a shadow cross over his face, but he recovers quickly (Note to pharmacist's assistant: this is how a professional behaves). He is very kind and in good spirits. He takes my vitals, some blood samples and sends in the doctor. The coolest hippest woman I have ever met. Have I mentioned how great the bedside manner is at Mount Sinai? If you're ever in Toronto, you should go.

Feminine hygiene product count: 6 in 2 hours.

I'm given some pills to help reduce excessive bleeding and I wait for my test results. I wait a couple of hours and the doctor approaches me again. My test results are all... normal.

Excuse me, what? This whole thing is not "normal" to me.

The doctor tells me sometimes excessive bleeding just happens. And now I feel incredibly embarrassed. I'm told I shouldn't be. As I was flying out that night, it was a good thing I came in to make sure everything was ok.


I spent that entire nightmare of a day feeling varying degrees of shame and embarrassment. I kept having to talk to men and I didn't want to because I figured everyone of them would recoil in horror (and a few kind of did).

This whole situation made me realize that I still have a lot of issues around being a woman and periods in general. And if I feel this way, I can't imagine what it's like for a girl in a developing country. It took me well into my twenties to not be embarrassed to walk down the feminine hygiene aisle, to carry a box of tampons in my hands, to pay at a cash register manned by a, well, man.

Why is that? Because we don't talk about it. And feeling like I couldn't talk about it made me stress out even more.

Which brings me back to Morro and Jasp do Puberty.

Not only is this a super fun, funny and at times cringeworthy show, it's true bravery comes in tackling a topic that rarely gets any attention.

The show sold out most of its run at the Toronto Fringe and is getting extra performances as a Patron's Pick and Best of Fest before heading out to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Check out the show if you can or support their Indiegogo Campaign to help them get to Scotland.

Let's be more open about this so it can eventually be the best period of our lives.

*Yeah, even I groaned at that last one.*

Nancy's MUST-SEE List at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival


Long before I caught up with all my old friends at the Ottawa Fringe Festival and realized that I was not done with the hanging out, I had decided I would be heading down to the Toronto Fringe for one reason in particular. Well, two reasons actually.

My love for clown sisters Morro and Jasp is well-documented in this blog. I own a t-shirt, a cookbook and have seen every single one of their productions - even the tiny one in a props room at the Arts Court during Subdevision in Ottawa and Morro's Sorrow, a little seen one-person bit at the Big Comedy Go-To in London - except one: Morro and Jasp do Puberty. As luck would have it, the duo got into the Toronto Fringe ahead of their Edinburgh premiere and so I am heading down this weekend to finally catch it.

But that means I have a whole weekend to see a whole bunch of other shows too! Again, please remember this is a personal list. My tastes may not be your own and, to be fair, I haven't seen any of the shows below (more on that later). So without further ado, here's what else I'm hoping to see:

The Inventor of All Things Jem Rolls was at the Ottawa Fringe this year, but I put off seeing it once I heard he was going to be in Toronto but NOT in the program. You see, his show is a very late addition to the festival so unless you're using the website or the app to get your information, you'll have no idea that it's even happening. It's difficult enough to get people to see your show without having to fight with the promotional materials. Plus Jem is a regular on the festival circuit for a reason and I hear this show is his best one yet! It opens tonight at 10:30 p.m. Go see it!

Jem even has a real poster now! Well, real for Jem.

Caws & Effect Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting to see this show? I toured with these awesome ladies all last year and never got to see it because it was always sold out. Yes, I am buying a ticket in advance. And you should too. But only after I get mine.

SwordPlay: A Play of Swords Sex T-Rex's Watch Out, Wildcat! was one of my favorite shows last year. I really can't wait to see what this one is all about. Also Alec Toller is a kickass director who told his parents to let me sleep in his room in Ottawa when I was on tour and had no place to stay. Full disclosure: he was not there at the time so it wasn't awkward at all!

Peter n' Chris present: Here Lies Chris Apparently Chris dies in this one, so you better see it now before it becomes just Peter n'.

pool (no water) Not only did my previous company, Evolution Theatre, do this show in Ottawa a few years ago, this one is choreographed by Patricia Allison, the amazing lady behind my sweet sweet dance moves in Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

Let's Start A Country! I missed this one when I was at Zoofest a few years ago in Montreal and I was really sorry I did. This somewhat improvised production features Gerard Harris, Al Lafrance, the divine Holly Gauthier-Frankel, and they've traded in Shane Adamczak for Zach Zultana himself, Jeff Leard.

Lust & Marriage On my first tour in 2009, I met the wonderful Eleanor O'Brien and her caravan of super amazing women in Winnipeg where they performed Inviting Desire. She was one of the first touring performers to become my friend and we spent many a night drinking fancy cocktails in the caravan they used to live and travel in. I haven't seen her since so I'm incredibly excited for this opportunity now.

Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl Rebecca Perry, my non-doppelgänger, has gone from Confessions to Adventures in this new show about everyone's favorite musical barrista. Her first show sold out it's run last year so I wouldn't expect anything less this time around. Oh and apparently you don't have to have seen the first one to enjoy this one.

Meet Cute Another show by an awesome lady, Erin Norah Thompson's SLUT, also sold out at last year's Fringe. She's back again with this one and I definitely want to catch it if I can find the time.


With 148 shows at this year's festival, it can be hard to chose what to see. While I haven't seen any of the shows listed above, here are some that I have and can vouch for their enjoyment.

Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo Just saw it in Ottawa and it was the funniest show I saw at the festival.

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project I also just saw this one in Ottawa and it was recently nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for Best One-Person Show.

The Orchid and the Crow Probably my favorite show in Ottawa this year and the winner of the well-deserved Best Solo Performer Award.

2 Ruby Knockers, 1 Jaded Dick: A Dirk Darrows Investigation Do you like puns? Do you like magic? Do you like film noir? Do you like to laugh? If you answered yes to any of these questions go get yourself a dose of Dirk Darrow.

Anatolia Speaks A beautiful little show I caught in Vancouver last year about an immigrant woman addressing her ESL class.

For Body and Light Presents: Coming and Going I think this is the same dance show I caught in Edmonton last year. Though I'm not a huge dance person and so I can't comment on that aspect, I did really love how they incorporated spoken word into the whole piece.

Two Girls, One Corpse An adorable little show, part rom com, part murder she wrote. Supporting my hometown girls will not leave you disappointed.

High Tea These guys sellout, win every award and collect every star there is.

Pretending Things Are a Cock This show is exactly what you think it is. I saw it at Zoofest in Montreal to a packed house. Grab a drink, bring some friends and giggle like you are five years old because everything looks like a penis now.

Honey, I'm Home!


You told me you were good at running awayDomestic life, it never suited you like a suitcase

- Dead Sea, The Lumineers


It's been over 4 months since I last was in Ottawa. And almost 5 years since I lived in my own home.

About 7 years ago, with the help of my mom, while I was still gainfully employed by the Canadian Museum of Civilization (and no I'm not going to call it by that other name), I bought a condo. About a year later, I quit my job and began my journey as an artrepreneur. The thing is, the starting salaries for both artists and entrepreneurs are really not as high as you might expect them to be. Unable to pay for my mortgage, but unwilling to sell because we would make no gains from it, I started renting it out fully-furnished. And I hit the road. The rest, as they say, is history - or a few years worth of blog posts.

I've been lucky. Throughout all this time, I've only had 2 tenants and they have more or less keep the place in great condition.

I've always wondered what it would be like to be back, to be in my "stuff". At the moment, it feels kind of unsettling. Now that the place is clean, I've been avoiding unpacking. I know what life feels like in a suitcase. There's freedom in that. But closet space? Shelves? What do you do with that?



Maybe that's why I'm taking the first opportunity I can to jump on a train to Toronto. Yes, yes, I'm going to see Morro & Jasp, as well as Kat Sandler's new show, so can you blame me? But deep down, I know it's because I'm scared of settling down somewhere. I have no idea what I'll be doing as of July, so a small part of me says I just shouldn't bother. Thing is, I've spent years realizing that there is usually something very cool on the other side of that fear. So maybe, just maybe, it's time to unpack my bags.

Toronto the Good for Me?


Happy Canada Day! The Ottawa Fringe Festival closed on Sunday night with the usual fanfare (i.e. the wonderful Ross May on the bagpipes) and it was a much celebrated, yet bittersweet affair as this marked the last year of the Beer Tent in the Arts Court Courtyard. Dave Dawson gave a goodbye speech that combined the right amount of funny and nostalgia, while we toasted to what the future Son of Beer Tent might be. It was then and there that I realized I had 12 years of memories in that courtyard and it was one of the main reasons the Ottawa Fringe has always been one of my very favourites.

I am now spending one of my few days of non-Fringe activity this summer doing... Fringe related activity. It hit me this morning when I woke up that I head for Toronto tomorrow and I am incredibly nervous. Even though I lived there for almost two years, I've waited a really long time before bringing Roller Derby Saved My Soul to town. You may be asking yourself why; many of my friends there sure have. In my high school analogy of Canadian Theatre, Toronto is the cool kid whose opinion means I might get to eat at the best table in the cafeteria at lunchtime. And anytime I think about high school, I can't help but feel like the nerdy kid who doesn't quite know how to dress herself, but dammit if I can't help you with your homework.


I have no idea where this analogy is going except to say that Toronto theatre intimidates the fuck out of me. I am already nervous when I go to a new Fringe city because I never know if anyone is going to show up, but I am even more worried now because I have this idea that the people in Toronto who do come will all sit there with their arms crossed and judge.

This? Was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award?

All this to say, I am super stressed. My printing wasn't ready as quickly as I would have liked it to be and part of me wonders if I have completely forgotten how the show goes now that I've had a week off. I've finally found a place for us to stay for most of the festival and it's great, but I have to pay for it and it's only from the 5th to the 11th, so I still have to find room from the 2nd to the 4th. I'm literally shaking as I write this blog post, though that may also be from the coffee.

Tomorrow, the documentary team and I will be stopping by Ganonoque to interview the divine Julia Mackay about her incredibly successful Jake's Gift before I arrive in Toronto for my technical rehearsal at the Tarragon Extra Space. I will also be back with another blog post, this time my Must-See List for the Toronto Fringe.

City number 4, here I come!

With Love for Toronto Fringe

Red UmbrellaCreative Commons License Jonathan Kos-Read via Compfight

It's a pretty big understatement to say that the weather in Toronto hasn't exactly been the greatest. Record rainfall has caused a lot of trouble all over the city and many people are still without power. On Monday and parts of Tuesday, the Toronto Fringe Festival had to cancel a bunch of performances due to a lack of power and even performers who were stranded in the flood.

For a full list of which shows were affected, I recommend checking out Sharilyn Johnson's blog here. And that's not even counting the productions whose attendance numbers were probably also impacted by the weather.

I'm going down to Toronto tonight. A combination of things involving a need for a certain prop for my show, some new merch, and 8 blissfully distraction free hours where I can work on the train, have made heading down to the city a good idea. Now, I wasn't going to tell anyone I was going. I was just going to slide in like a ninja, take my things and go. But this situation with the cancelled shows has changed my mind.

Fringe performers really epitomize what it means to be an entrepreneur. On the Fringe, you don't get to "just" be an actor. You write, you produce, you learn to market, promote, pitch & sell your show. You become a communications professional with skills in media relations, social media and networking. You become an expert at budgets, event planning, logistics & production management. You also quickly learn, if you didn't know about it before, all about design and tech. And you will somehow make all of this fit into one suitcase because you have learned to be as economical and efficient as you possibly can. Oh and you are probably one of the most creative people anyone is ever likely to meet. In any other profession, your skill set would be earning you close to a six-figure salary.

For many, mostly touring performers, but I'm sure there are a lot of locals as well, this is their summer job. It's one thing not make your money back because people don't like what you are selling, but it is another thing altogether to have that opportunity to sell taken away from you. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the Fringe, the performers who had their shows cancelled or had really low numbers don't get that show back. It's gone and with it goes their ability to make ends meat.

So, tomorrow, I'm going to do my part and go and catch at least one show, if not two, and buy a beverage at the beer tent (because the Fringe itself also lost revenue). I highly recommend you go out and do the same.

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?

Theatre Marketing Done Right

I've been trying all week to jot my thoughts down about an event I attended earlier in the week, but it's been hard. Honestly, it was just such an amazing, balls-out, forward-thinking kind of thing that I've been worried I wouldn't be able to do it justice. Well, here goes nothing: Last Monday evening, I had the privilege of being invited to a pseudo-theatre launch for World Stage, Harbourfront Centre's contemporary performance series in Toronto. Now, the invitation in and of itself is not unusual for me, but this was a pretty special one.

Here, read for yourself:

As a social media influencer we’d like to invite YOU to a private party!

WHAT: A twitter-kegger-party!

Come out from the web-world and schmooze in person with fellow social media’lites and meet the artistic director of World Stage, @tinarasmussen.  Get behind the scenes details and information about the programming of this year's season, which starts in February and runs until May, and raise a pint to cheers the 2013 season!

WHEN: Monday, January 28th 7pm, beer and pulled pork (veg option too) 8pm, season presentation

WHERE: Tina's place

This was a special party for a veritable who's who of Toronto Theatre Twitterati (say that 3 times fast). There was food and drink, but as you can see, this didn't take place at the Harbourfront Centre. Nope, we were invited to artistic director Tina Rasmussen's home for an informal get-together to eat, drink and talk theatre.  The personal touch did not go unnoticed by everyone in attendance.


Getting to know Tina on this personal  level made her passion and enthusiasm for her season that much more engaging. This event let me know about a very wicked upcoming season (and if I was the type of person who could plan ahead, I would buy tickets for every show right now), gave me a wonderful opportunity to catch up with some old pals, meet some online theatre media from Mooney on Theatre, Torontoist and Charlebois Post, and of course, make new like-minded social media friends.

Artistic Directors take note! From my perspective, this was a massive PR success for World Stage Toronto. Not only did it get an 'influencer' like myself who knew nothing about the company to see it (and talk about constantly) in a very positive light, we also managed to get both @WorldStageTO and the event hashtag #theatrekegger trending on Twitter in Toronto.

Since some  marketing team from the Canadian Stage where in attendance and saw what a success this type of event can be, I look forward to being invited to a season launch BBQ at Matthew Jocelyn's house in the very near future #fingerscrossed #agirlcandream

Some of my favorite Tweets from the evening - follow the whole discussion at #theatrekegger:




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.

Mommy, What's a Botox?

I don't turn down free tickets to plays. So when a pal I hadn't seen in a while told me he had an extra ticket for a Panto at the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, I didn't even bother asking what we were going to see, nor did I go sifting through my old theatre textbooks to remember what exactly a Pantomime is. Though for your benefit, please enjoy the Wikipedia link above. Long story short though, expect a guy in drag, encouraged audience interactions, songs and a story filled with archetypes and gags you can easily relate to - how much material did they get off the Ford saga alone...

Imagine my surprise when I walked into what is probably one of the most beautiful theatres ever, surrounded by roving bands of children, and realized I was about to see "that Snow White show" I kept seeing posters for in the subway. Since my roommate and I are on this huge Once Upon a Time kick and I've always loved stories that mix-and-match all the fairy-tale characters I grew up with, I think I become more excited than the kids. Which is as it should be since most of the bawdy references in this show would go way over the heads of the pint-size crew in the audience anyway ("Mommy, why is Pinocchio's hard wood funny?")

Listen, I don't know who Ross Petty is, but after 17 years of putting on these shows - shows that apparently repeat themselves every couple of years because frankly, how many fairy tales out there can you really mess with? - they are an annual tradition in Toronto. And I can totally see why: the cast is obviously having a stupid good time up there and so was I.

Plot-wise, don't expect too much. Sure, you've got your Snowy White, your wicked Queen & your handsome, charming love interest who practically has a sparkle glued to his tooth every time that he smiles. But the 7 dwarves have been replaced by one 007 (because Petty unabashedly cashes in on every current pop culture trope he can put his hands on and it's cheaper hiring one actor instead of seven) and the evil Queen wants to strip mine the Enchanted Forest so she can horde all the Botox in the world and be the fairest of them all forever. Oh and our heroes try to save the realm through a beauty contest while a Don Cherry pig colour commentates and Red Ridding Hood yearns to be a Bond Girl...

Ok, so you kind of have to be there.

Seriously, you should be there. I haven't even scratched the surface of the cheesy good time you're going to have. I'd seriously consider going back just to see how a different audience reacts and how the cast plays off of them.

Special shout-out to my friend Bryn, who I had no idea was playing Red Riding Hood, and had one of the most adorable entrances on stage I've ever seen.

Thems the Breaks

I'm a control freak choosing to work in a business where I'd guess about 90% of everything is out of my control and nothing is ever guaranteed. I am a crazy person. Last week, I auditioned for & booked a commercial in French. I know, pretty exciting stuff! The commercial was actually being shot in English and French but they hired different groups to do each. Though I wouldn't have any lines, I was going to be the "Hero Girl" prominently featured at the end of the commercial.

Shoot day, I go through hair, makeup, wardrobe, then sit around and wait. When I finally get to set, they put me and Hero Girl English in mics because it turns out they've added some lines. A very sweet deal that means I would be getting way more money than originally anticipated. They film everything in English and have us watch to make sure we repeat things exactly as we saw them. Then they switch. I take my position on the set. Microphone & makeup is checked. We are good to go!

That's when I hear it: "The client wants to switch them."

'Them' being myself & the other girl in the background.

So I went from being a featured player in a commercial to being in the background in the blink of an eye. After two takes, I was told they wouldn't need me anymore & wrapped for the day.

Yes, I will still get paid my due, but that doesn't make any of it feel less shitty. And to top it all off, I found out that this sort of thing is normal and happens all the time (!) in this business.

After having a chat with an actor friend, I decided to bring this incident up because I want other actors out there to know, it's generally not about your talent or your professionalism. If this, *insert deity here* forbid, were to ever happen to you, it's probably not even about you. It can very well be because they are four hours behind schedule and can save a shot by using the same set of hands in both commercials but yours aren't black and we're pretty sure the viewing public might notice a discrepancy.

Thems are the breaks.

In the meantime, just be happy you've got rent covered for another month.

Play Hard, Work Harder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For probable

I've talked about Improv in these pages before. And I'm pretty sure I've talked about my desire to work more in French here too.  So imagine my surprise and delight when a friend sent me a link to some FREE French Improv classes in Toronto (they had me at "free" and it is ongoing if you're interested in participating). I went once and had a lovely time with a large group of civil servants, lawyers, teachers, ect but very few actors.  It was a lot of fun, but I didn't find it all that challenging.  At the end of the session, I asked the instructor if there was maybe something a bit more advanced that I could attend.  He told me my timing was perfect since a group of people have just gotten together to form the very first French Improv League in Toronto - Les Improbables. Long story short, I went, got accepted into the league and was even named, in the style of hockey-improv everywhere, assistant captain. (Side note for all my anglophone friends French Improv is very different from English Improv and I've written more about it here.) I can't tell you how much I needed this. I don't know why I never took improv more seriously in Ottawa. Possibly because the English teams in Ottawa intimidate me.  As for Francophones in the Outaouais region, they just  intimidate me in general - like they'll think I'm a  fraud or something because I'm an Acadian and not Québecois.

But here in this Toronto mecca of English, we are all outcasts and I find it easier to fit in.  The French comes from all over too.  We've got three Acadians, a bunch Quebecois, and a lot of people from France and the rest of Europe. It's quite beautiful, really, to hear us all speak in our different accents and I'm learning a lot of new words too... including the proper French term for "dildo" - "godemiché" if you're curious (it's improv, of course that came up - ba dum dum!)

We even had a pretty sweet article written about us in L'Express that came with a great photo gallery as well.

And now, after a few weeks of practice, we've got our first game coming up on Tuesday, March 6 at the Fox and the Fiddle - 27 Wellesley E - right across from the Wellesley Subway Station.  My team will not be playing that night, but I will be MC'ing the event.  It's been a lot of fun so far and everyone is super excited.  The room is great and Tuesday nights mean $5.50 beers and martinis at the FnF!

Oh and if you are curious, my team will be playing two weeks later on March 20th.

Here's the link to our Facebook event. It says 7 p.m. but I'm pretty sure the match actually starts at 8 p.m.

J'espère que vous vous joindrez à nous en grand nombre!


Une ligue d'improvisation théâtrale en français à Toronto? Oh que oui.

Les Improbables vous invitent à leur tout premier match: un retour au jeu pour certains, un baptême pour d'autres et une première pour bon nombre de spectateurs!

Deux équipes, pour votre plus grand plaisir, devront faire avec les contraintes de l'arbitre et vous offrirons des sketchs, des situations et des personnages plus colorés les uns que les autres.

C'est aussi une occasion de se réunir entre francophones et francophiles torontois: la pinte de Creemore et les Martinis sont à 5,50$! :)

Le mardi 6 mars 2012 à 19h Au 3e étage du Fox and Fiddle du 27 Wellesley Est (Au coin de Yonge, en face du métro Wellesley) Les Improbables vous présentent leur tout premier match! En échange d'un beau billet de 5 dollars.

Arbitre: Guillaume Touzel-Bond Juge de ligne: Heather Wong

Les équipes sélectionnées par Sonia D'Amico et Barbara-Audrey Bergeron auront donc l'honneur d'inaugurer cette toute première saison! S'affronteront donc:

(C) Sonia D'Amico (A) Mathieu St-Laurent Aurélia Peynet Laurent Balenci Madjiguene Diallo (+ Catherine Berthiaume et Edgar Aguilar Cardona)


(C) Barbara-Audrey Bergeron (A) Georges Raymond Alban Ferrieu Renée-Claude Thériault Yannick Ariel Bihan Torres (+ Marion Bonafos et Léticia)

Donc on se voit le 6 mars 19h! :)

Cool People Doing Cool Things

Meet Joanna Maracle. Joanna and I met last year when I auditioned for a student commercial project she was working on at Humber College.  Her skill level and professionalism really impressed me and I was thrilled when she later asked me to read for a short student film she was producing.  That last project, entitled The Sheppard, was a blast to work on (and having just watched a picture locked version of it, I can tell you it looks pretty damn good too!) and I would drop everything to work with that gang again.  That's why it's with great pleasure that I let you know of another project that Joanna is working on.

She is currently the Volunteer Captain for the Female Eye Film Festival, Ontario’s one and only annual international independent film Festival showcasing films directed by women, which will be taking place from March 28th to April 1st in Toronto.

She is currently looking for volunteers and would love to have you as part of her team.  If I wasn't going to be in Ottawa for rehearsals, I would sign up myself.  Details below:


THE 10th ANNUAL FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL, March 28th - April 1st, 2012 (Toronto, Ontario)

The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF), a registered not for profit organization, celebrates its 10th Anniversary edition, March 28th - April 1st, 2012.  The Female Eye is a competitive annual women directors film festival. The FeFF simply couldn't offer such a broad range of initiatives without the impressive skills and commitment of our volunteers. We are grateful for the ongoing contribution made by our many volunteer teams.

THE FEMALE EYE IS ACTIVELY RECRUITING VOLUNTEERS FOR THE FOLLOWING POSITIONS: Hosts: Program hosts are wanted for theatre screenings. Hosts greet the audience, introduce the film program and moderate the audience Q & A's with the filmmakers in attendance following the screenings. Film programs are 120 min in duration. Hosts must have a deep appreciation for independent cinema and must be knowledgeable in regards to the status of women directors.

Volunteer Coordinator: The Volunteer Coordinator ensures that volunteer information forms are complete and up to date with volunteer contact information, and assists the Volunteer Captain with her duties via the dissemination of information.

General Volunteers: The FeFF seeks ushers for film screenings, as well as, volunteers who can assist with the set -up and tear down of the media /registration suite, panel discussions, script readings, round table discussions and Best In The Biz Tribute Series.

All industry sessions take place at the Novotel Toronto Centre.(45 The Esplanade, TORONTO, ON).

Photographers: We seek creative and talented photographers to capture the energy of awards nights, panel discussions, opening and closing ceremonies, and more.

Drivers: The FeFF needs capable G class drivers with excellent records to help in the transportation outof-town special guests as well as the safe transport of festival equipment and supplies.

DONATIONS: We seek articulate, communicative volunteers who are able to solicit donations/gifts for the VIP Registration/ GIFT Bags.

STREET TEAM (PR & Marketing) The FeFF seeks individuals who can disseminate flyers, postcards and provide ticket give-aways to local businesses in the GTA two weeks prior to the event.

NEW Volunteer or a past Festival Volunteer?

If you are interested in volunteering at this years festival please email or

FEMALE EYE FILM FESTIVAL (FeFF) "Always honest, not always pretty" 10th Anniversary, March 28th - April 1st, 2012 Female Eye Headquarters • 905. 264-7731 50 Wallace Street, Woodbridge, Ontario, L4L 2P3, Canada

Running Away to Join the Circus

A few months ago, a friend of mine told me about these Vaudeville classes she was taking at "Circus School" - Centre of Gravity in Toronto.  My curiosity was piqued.  I've done clown work and stilt walking in the past, and I definitely want the roller skating I do in Roller Derby Saved my Soul to be very circus-like.  I checked out the website and found something that was perfect for me: Circus Conditioning and Flexibility Class.  Now, to be fair, my brain, the first time, totally read that as "Core" Conditioning and Flexibility Class (in fact, I didn't realize until right now when I looked it up for this blog that it was called something else)  and I jumped at the chance to get more ab work since I totally need it to get steadier on skates. The roommate and I signed up.  Turns out my roommate is a former gymnast (is there anything she can't do?) and she also wanted to get back into shape.

The class itself is really cool and the instructor is *sigh* very good.  We started out with some stretching, then some tumbling (where I swear the Mission Impossible theme was playing in my head the entire time), tried to balance some objects on our chins, got my first introduction to juggling, and then did a circuit that included balancing yourself on top of a ball as well climbing up silks and a low-hanging trapeze.

It was hard and I'm definitely feeling it today, but I'm proud that the roommate and I were able to keep up.  Not to mention some activities were a lot easier than I thought they would be like standing up tall on a big round ball.


This one made sense to me.  It's all core work and I've got a lot of experience there thanks to yoga and roller skating.  No, the one that did surprise me was the fact that I can juggle.  How that happened I really don't know, but it felt the exact same way it did the first time I put on roller skates.  Not easy, but with definite ease. Next up, juggling on roller skates?


Cool People Doing Cool Things

I've decided since I like promoting other people's arts projects to start up a new semi-regular feature on my blog which I will call  Cool People Doing Cool Things.  Just to be clear, no one has asked me to do this, these are just things that I find interesting, fun, and basically, cool.  These are things that I am going to check out for myself and, since my "readership" has just boomed recently, I feel a certain amount of responsibility to let you know about it too. This is for your own good ;)

So, for my first CPDCT, meet Corin Raymond.

I met Corin last year at the Hamilton Fringe Festival when he absolutely wowed me with his solo storytelling epic, Bookworm.  That's when I also found out he was a musician, and a pretty damn good one at that.  Weeks ago, Corin found out that The Rogue Studio, where he got his last CD mixed and mastered and all that fancy musician lingo, has always accepted Canadian Tire money at par.  Since then, he's been a man on a mission.  His goal, to raise all the money needed to produce his next album.  The response has been pretty great so far, but on Monday, the dream got bigger.  Taken from his Facebook page:

I'm gonna take this thing all the way-- I'm gonna break the record for non-Canadian-Tire-affiliated-Canadian-citizen-gathered stash of CT bills. I'm going to set a record which has never been and will not be repeated in our lifetimes. I'm going to make TWO beautiful albums as a result and I'm going to spread the joy of the experience every which way, all the way, and keep you in smiles all year long. I don't even know what the record is, but I'll tell you this: it's not gonna be able to see me for dust.

His enthusiasm is crazy exciting and I want to do something to help.  Now, I've already mailed in the little bit of CT money I found in my wallet (and god damn I wish it was more!), and I want you to do the same.  Go to your wallet, your old receipt drawer, your family members' wallets and fish out those little Sandy McTire's you've been saving up.  Come on, the $2.45 you've been saving up isn't going to do you much good and you know it, but it could make a world of difference for my friend Corin.

Send your Canadian Tire money here:

Corin Raymond 39 Oxford St., Toronto, ON M5T 1N8

Or just give it to me. I've started a collection at work and I hope to drop it off next week when I attend  the live recording of the album on the 24th.  You can also  RSVP here and attend yourself on January 24 or 25 at the Tranzac.

Follow Corin's progress and read more about his story on his blog here.

See You Next Year, Next Stage

Dear Toronto Fringe, Listen, we need to talk.  You know how I feel about you, right? You know how I try and love all my Fringe Festivals equally and with an open heart.  But, I've met somebody else and... I'm not really sure how to say this to you, but it's your younger sister, Next Stage.

I am so sorry and I hope we can still be friends.




The Next Stage Theatre Festival has come and gone (sniff) and I had a great time.  I spent closing day catching LOVESEXMONEY and Morro and Japs (because "sold out" is just a suggestion when you're me) and snuggling up in the super warm and cozy beer tent.  I enjoyed both shows a great deal and somehow ended up with an invitation to the cast party for one and an autographed poster for the other.  I'd let you guess which was which, but lets be honest here, if I got to hang out with Morro and Jasp, I'd probably end up like this:


It's better to get a signed picture. You can't disappoint a picture...


Neuroses aside though, damn Next Stage, you done good!

First of all, I applaud the location.  Factory Theatre is a great space and you managed to squeeze in comfortably spread out three venues and a beer tent all in one spot.  I love marathon fringing, but I am a lazy lazy person.  Give me the shortest distance between my wine and my theatre and I am a happy lady.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been getting a piggy-back ride up to the Antechamber while someone read the program bios to me aloud (note for next year?)  One of my issues with the TO Fringe has to do with how spread out everything is.  I got to meet way more people at Next Stage than I ever have at the Fringe because I could focus my time on new conversations instead of trying to figure out where the George Igntieff Theatre is located, how long it would take me to run there, and can I jog on a stomach filled with beer?

(for future reference: 15 Devonshire Place, 15 minutes & yes, yes I can)

Second, Next Stage was just so much easier to manage then the Fringe.  10 shows! I could see all of them if I wanted to.  And I saw about half, which isn't too bad for someone with two full-time jobs.  If I wanted to see half at Fringe, I'd have to catch over 50 productions... The ticketing staff in the super awesome and cozy heated beer tent (have I mentioned it before?) were great and got to know me on a first name basis.  Everything just felt more personable and welcoming.  Not to mention I really appreciated not being asked to "Tip the Fringe" all the damn time (Don't get me wrong, I get that the festival needs money, but if that's the case then make the buttons mandatory like so many other Fringes across the country seem to do).

Next Stage was just an all around really great little festival with some quality shows that broke box office records.  Congratulations to everyone involved and I will gladly do it all over again next year!


Next year?


Dear Toronto Fringe,

Hey you!  How are you doing? Listen, I may have been a bit too hasty before. I'm sorry. And I swear this change of heart has nothing to do with the fact that your kid sister just packed up shop and left town... because really what did I expect from a 5 year old? Right? Right.

Anyway, I know I may have said some things, but I wasn't really in my right frame of mind.  I think Morro & Jasp put some gluten in that desert I ate. You know how I get when I have gluten.

So, we're good right? Because I was wondering... do you have any plans in July?

Call me!



Throwing You A Bone

I go and see a lot of plays.  I need to.  It's part of my job.  I also read the program front to back (though a lot of times only after the show, as you will soon see).  I check out names and past projects.  After all, with directors and designers, I start to see a certain style.  For example, one of my favorite shows at the Canadian Stage was Studies in Motion, directed by Kim Collier.  It was one of the most visually appealing and stunning productions I had seen in years (the link I provided does include a promo video of the show, but it really doesn't do the play justice).  Then I went to see Red.  A few hours later, I was raving about CanStage to a friend, talking about how they have such visually appealing shows, like Studies in Motion and Red, without sacrificing story like some other theatre companies I know.  My friend kindly pointed out that it made sense since they were directed by the same person and I, uh, then read my program... Without realizing it, it seems I have gained a pretty substantial arts crush on Kim Collier, which is great because now I know that I really want to work with her.  I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't gone out to the theatre.

And if you are an actor you should be going to.  There is so much happening in Toronto right now all the time that it's really hard to keep up with everything.  I've already talked about Next Stage (and will again some more this week as I check out more shows), but I also wanted to let you know about another production that might be flying below your theatre-going radar.

The play is called Four Dogs and a Bone by John Patrick Shanley. It opens tomorrow (January 10th) night and runs until January 21st.

Four Dogs and a Bone is a comedy... scratch a little deeper and it's a tragedy. After John Patrick Shanley had his first taste of Hollywood with Moonstruck and Joe Vs. The Volcano he exposed the film industry for all its insanity, greed and dirty madness. There are four dogs and only one bone. Two ferocious actresses, a sleazy over-the-edge producer and a naive screenwriter from off-off Broadway all fight for control of a film. A sharp satirical tragic comedy that holds no prisoners in this dog-eat-dog world.

I love this play.  I love most of Shanley's work, but I really love this play in particular.  And if you are in anyway involved in the performing arts, you will love this play too.    It's produced by some brilliant artists who really embody what it means to be an actor - if you want to work, don't just wait for someone to hand it to you, go out there and do it yourself.  I highly encourage you to check them out.

See you at the theatre!

So You Want to Be a Reviewer?

No. Nononononononononononononono. NO. After my post on the Next Stage Theatre Festival, I received a tweet from the Toronto Fringe Festival asking to let them know if I wanted to review any other shows.  I didn't catch the message immediately, but I friend of mine did and he said he was looking forward to reading my work.

Uh, what?

Listen, I love going to the theatre, but even more so, I love talking about the theatre.  I love watching plays and then telling people about it.  I know what I like (or didn't like) and I have been working long enough in this field that I have the vocabulary to tell you why.  But there's the rub:  I work in this field and I would like to work in it some more. And unfortunately, saying critical things about a production or performance could rub the people involved the wrong way, no matter how well-intentioned the critique may be.  This could very well have repercussions on my future employ-ability.  I've seen it happen before.  A fellow blogger and actor was working in an education capacity for a theatre company when he wrote a review of their show he had just seen.  The review was intelligent and well-written and, although not negative, it was definitely critical.  And while the director of the show appreciated what he had written, the company administration was all up in arms that one of its employees could say something "bad" about them.  Granted, this was in the much earlier days of social media, but still...

So, from then on, I resolved to not review shows, but simply mention shows that I was looking forward to see.

And having said all that, I can now tell you I am also full of shit because here is my review of Modern Love, now playing at the Next Stage Theatre Festival.  Why?  Because I really enjoyed that show, I want people to see it, and I think that, buzz-wise, it may get overshadowed by the Morro & Jasp's and the Uncalled For's of this festival (because if I had a newspaper and needed a picture to represent the festival, I would use the four shirtless guys in a life-raft too).

Please note: though I work in arts marketing, I am not involved with this production and also paid to see it just like everybody else.


I have a running gag in all my actor bios: "In her spare time, Nancy can be found on the internet." It's not just in my spare time anymore.  It's my day job, my night job, my connection to everyone I know.  I'd rather send you a text than talk to you on the phone. I'd rather write on my blog than tell you what I've been up to lately. If I have to talk to you in person, can I have a drink first?  Those who know me, probably don't realize how much crowds of strangers and acquaintances make me anxious.  The internet, in many ways, was my salvation from all that.  Behind the screen, I have time to think and be witty.  I banter better. Sometimes, I even alliterate more.

So Theatre Caravel's production of Modern Love was not only right up my alley, it struck a very real chord.  A HI-larious chord filled with now obscure internet memes (because something that was popular a few months ago on the internet is like an eternity IRL), blanket forts (BLANKET FORTS! Sidebar: ever since I started watching Community with my roommate, I have been constantly pushing the very real need to build a blanket fort in our apartment) and a whole lot of heart. Gosh, the number of times I've gone trolling for dates on the internet only to get completely overwhelmed by the process and  freak out to the point of actual embarrassment when somebody answered...  Sigh. I'm lonely too.

Aaaaaanyway, not only that, but the humour and heart in the show reminded me a lot of my own one-woman show.  In the very early drafts of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, I had also toyed with including multimedia elements to the piece.  I ended up scrapping that idea when I realized that a) the story really needed to be fleshed out more and b) I didn't know who I could get to do the multimedia work for me.

But I still love the use of mixed-media in theatre pieces when it's done well.  And in Modern Love, it's done very well.  I have to applaud Jessica Moss for making her interactions with the screen elements look so seamless and so tight, because I know for a fact that that shit is not easy to do (you can say 'shit' in a review, right? This guy does it all the time).

So, folks, Jessica Moss was speaking my language.  And if she didn't already have a beer in hand when I briefly had the chance to meet her last night, I would have bought her one myself. (Oh and if that wasn't enough to make me love her, this interview pretty much sealed the deal.)

Did I have some nitpicks about the show? Sure. Sometimes everything felt a bit rushed, there wasn't any breathing room for the gags to land, and I ended up missing many more because people were laughing so hard.  But that's a minor quibble after I realized that this was opening night and therefore probably the first time this show played in front of a full-house in its current incarnation.  That will probably even out with the rest of the run.  Part of me would love to see it again later on, just to see how it develops.  I'd also love to see how it would grow and change with new technologies...

Modern Love was a good night out and you have quite a few more chances to catch it in the Factory Theatre Studio Space. So please, do as I did:  Step away from the screen, put the iPhone on Airplane Mode (because God forbid I actually turn it off), and go have a laugh, will ya?  Jessica Moss, she is good people.  And if you're lucky, you might just catch me in that deliciously heated beer tent in the courtyard next door.



Oh and Jess, I feel that way too.

The Next Stage

Sure, the Fringe is still months away, but the cold winter months have their own little festival gems.  In a couple of weeks, Vancouver and Ottawa will have Push and Undercurrents respectively, Montreal is currently taking a walk on the Wildside, and here in Toronto, well, we take things to the Next Stage. Checking out the Next Stage show list, I wish I could see everything, but my time and, more importantly, my funds are limited.  I have yet to score the number of any theatre  invitations in this city like I used to in Ottawa, but all in good time.  So without further ado, here's what I will be seeing at the Toronto Fringe's big brother festival. (Not to be confused with the Toronto Fringe Big Brother Festival where they put cameras into the homes of your favorite Fringe artists and the footage is streamed online.)

Please note that I know absolutely nothing about these shows and am basing my choices solely on promo blurbs.  Everything presented at the festival is probably pretty good since most of these shows are remounts of favorite fringe shows and/or proven performers.  Really, you can't go wrong with any show; this is just what I want to see.



Great title, cool promo shot, and I was in a student film with one of the actors.  That normally would have been enough to get me out, but then my roommate, whose theatrical opinion I dearly respect, told me this was the best script she'd seen in a long time.  That endorsement took LOVESEXMONEY from a "probably going to see it" to "absolutely must see this."


I sleep in a Morro and Jasp t-shirt so... Listen, I have an unreasonable crush on these clowns and I would sit there as they read through the phone book.  Let's just say I am not going to miss this show.


It's a one-woman show, which I love, and it seems to talk about social media so my interest is piqued.  Plus a friend of mine is seeing it tonight and I told her I'd go with her.  See you there?



The subject matter speaks to me and I'm going to try and catch it if I can.



GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW. Or you are not my friend anymore.  I love Uncalled For and HYPNOGOGIC LOGIC is their best show yet.  I've seen it three times.  I've brought friends to see it.  I was even asked to be a part of it this time around, but I am too swamped with work.  And that makes me sad because I love this show so much.  I love this show so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant and then fall asleep snuggling and wake up and get it pregnant again.  That's love, man and it's all good.  So, you know, go out there and feel the love... what was I talking about again?  Oh yeah. You should totally go see this show.

And if you like, let me know in the comment section if there is something else that I absolutely can't miss and why.  See you at the (Factory) theatre!