2012 in Review

Oh 2012, we had some good times didn't we? I realized that I have a tendency to focus on what's missing in my life instead of focusing on what I've accomplished so end of the year introspectives are a great way for me to remember all those things I actually got done. And man, did I ever get shit done in 2012!

But other than regaining my financial independence, let's see what else was worth celebrating:


A lot of firsts this past year: first time to NYC, Vancouver and my first ever cruise, which coincided with my first ever visit to Bermuda. Oh and let's not forget my first trip to Swift Current & Saskatoon, SK. Travelled twice to Moncton, NB to visit family, which is once more than my annual Christmas visit and, of course, spent plenty of time on the train between Ottawa - Toronto - Montreal.


If someone had told me a few years ago that most of my income would come from Twitter, I... probably would have asked you what Twitter was. In all seriousness though, I'm really impressed at how quickly my skill set in web & social media grew this year. I learned how to use Dreamweaver and taught myself HTML. I got into podcasts and created a series for the Ontario Arts Council that is still up and running today. I currently produce, host and edit the whole thing from my laptop. I figured out crowdfunding and how to leverage my social media networks to make it successful. I also hired a great guy to create a website that really represents me and what I do. Because if you're going to work in social media, you damn well better have a web presence to back it up. Oh after a few years of knowing each other online, I finally met social media maven Rebecca Coleman in person and she let me speak to her class on my experience. That was pretty darn cool.


Well the year was off to a slow start, but by March I was present for the beginnings of Toronto's only French improv league, Les Improbables. The team has grown tremendously in the last few months from the cramped space on the third floor of the Fox & Fiddle, to bi-weekly sold out shows at the Supermarket in Kensington Market, to having our own professional style jerseys. If you haven't checked us out already, you really should!

In April, I got to perform in another one-women show, the terrific Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, which got some lovely recognition over at The Visitorium's Big Stoopid End of the Year Post.

Still trying to turn this into a meme...

I got invited to perform Roller Derby Saved My Soul in Swift Current for the Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival, which lead to a one-off performance in Ottawa that sold out. Oh and speaking of RDSMS, it was nominated for FOUR Les Prix Rideau Awards and actually won for Outstanding Fringe Performance. And there was the little Indiegogo Campaign That Could where I raised well over my $5000 goal. I learned a lot from this campaign and I look forward to a wonderful opportunity that's come up where I will get to share that knowledge with people. But more on that in an upcoming 2013 post.

I also booked three commercials: one for Manulife Financial and one for Comcast in English and one for the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities in French. In all of them, if you blink, you might miss me. The one for Comcast is below.

And there was also a a couple of cool little student film with some folks at Humber and also Niagara College that I'm looking forward to seeing.

In addition to all that, 2012 was a year of preparation in my acting career. I took plenty of classes, got some new headshots, put together a demo reel, set up this swanky new website and found myself a new agent. All things that make me feel like I will be hitting the ground running in 2013!

Oh and let's not forget the podcast interviews! One with 2AM Theatre and one with Off Stage; both of which I'm very proud of.


I completely gave up any semblance of working out around the time of Mary Mags because if you're going to play a homeless alcoholic, why bother going to the gym? A theory that totally bit me in the ass when I got asked to do RDSMS shortly thereafter. I was completely out of shape and I knew that could be very detrimental to my upcoming performance so I hired a personal trainer who really turned everything around. She challenged me in ways I didn't even know were possible.

I've come to the realization that working out is actually a lot of fun when you find what suits you and have goals. For me, it's fitness classes and Zumba in particular. I've enjoyed it so much that in November I got my Zumba teacher training certification and I am now working towards additional accreditation, as well as a CanFitPro Fitness Instructor Specialist Certification, which I will be completing in 2013.

Not only did it affect me physically, but mentally as well. It forced me to take a good long look at what I've come to realize are some pretty major self-image issues that have contributed to a lot of depression and anxiety in my life. (For a very insightful read of self-image issues, I highly recommend my pal Kris Joseph's blog post dealing with this very matter.) With the encouragement of my wonderful support network, I have now been seeking professional help for these issues and I am moving my life in a new direction.


Speaking of support networks, I may have hinted at it a few times in this blog, but I met someone this year. In these pages, he's known as the DB (for Dear Boyfriend though he recently pointed out that it could also stand for Douche Bag, which Oops!) He is handsome, funny, talented and incredibly kind. We communicate like grownups but play like little kids. He believes in me, supports me unconditionally and frequently reminds me that, in his own words, I am a "smoking hot babe."  Sometimes when I wonder how I got so lucky, he'll turn around and tell me that I deserve good things in life... Yeah, I'm not letting this one go anytime soon.

So, who's up for 2013?

Back to Business

I love having a blog. I love sharing my experiences in the world of the arts, but I also know that there are certain things that I just can't share because it could jeopardize future opportunities or current negotiations. Well, I've finally settled a whole bunch of those things in the past week and I am pleased to finally be able to talk about. Last week, I signed with a new agent. I am now officially represented by Teri Ritter at Hines Management. I'm excited at the new opportunities this is going to offer me, but the news doesn't stop there.

After talking about it for more time than I care to mention, I finally went ahead and got myself one of the most important tools any actor today could ever have.

So without further ado, please check out my very first demo reel:

I've talked to so many producers in the last few months and seen so many audition breakdowns that said they'd be doing their casting process through demo reels. It's a great way for them to get to know an actor's range without a lengthy audition process. Heck, sometimes even after an audition they want to see a demo reel.

Getting footage can be pretty hard, but not impossible. For me, it really helped to talk to a professional who knows what he's doing when putting together a reel. If you'd like to get one of your own, I highly recommend you contact Rick Rose at He's the one who did mine and I couldn't be happier.

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.

Tips on Choosing a Student Film

I love the fall: the fashion, the colours, the abundance of student films requiring actors... Yup, one of the great things about being a union actor living in Toronto is that every single film school in the GTA has an agreement with ACTRA, allowing you to work on some pretty cool, demo-reel worthy projects with some up-and-coming young filmmakers. But hold on: just because there are plenty of films for you to work on, doesn't mean you want to be working on all of them. As a good friend of mine so carefully reminded me, "You are not desperate." I've had some really great experiences working on student films, and I have had some pretty crappy ones too. I don't blame the students because they are still learning, but that doesn't mean I want to donate my valuable time to be their teaching guinea pig.

First of all, I usually find all my student film auditions through This is a great site for both Union and Non (ACTRA offers a certain level of protection against scam auditions. For all you non-union folks, use your judgement. If it feels off, best avoid it altogether.) Under casting, I search for Female, ACTRA only contracts & Paid/Lo No. You can also find some student auditions through the Casting Workbook (which requires a yearly membership, but is required if you have an agent) or the ACTRA Apprentice site. That last one is rarely updated but if you put in your email address you'll get notified whenever it does.

So how can you separate the good from the bad? It can be tricky, but here are a few things I try to keep in mind: (Please note, these are my personal views. In no way are these hard and fast rules.)

  1. Breakdown: A well-written breakdown can tell you a lot about the professionalism of the film being produced. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. A detailed, properly spelled breakdown tells me that they have a clear vision for their project. They know what story they are telling and their characters are fleshed-out human beings. They know when they will be shooting and for how long. They are committed to doing it well and aren't just looking for a school credit.
  2. Script: Though the script might not be finalized, do they have something you can read? Most of the time, you can tell from the sides if the writing is good and interests you. If you read it and your first reaction is Oh dear God, NO!, you might want to reconsider. Remember, contrary to what the little voice inside your head is saying, it is ok to turn down an audition.
  3. School: Not to lump everyone in one basket, but some film schools are a bit more recognized than others for a reason. Also, know where they are located and how you will be getting out there. I don't have a car and some shoots do take place in the greater GTA. If I decide to work on a project that's located off the main transit line, I expect transportation to be included (see the breakdown for more).

How these rules came about: I once applied to a very vague audition breakdown about a couple cleaning out a dead family member's home. No audition date, no shoot dates, no sides available because it would be a cold read. I applied late one night only to be asked the very next morning to come audition at 6 that same day on campus, but they didn't give me any precise directions on how to get to this out of town school.  I emailed back and tried calling the number they had left but no one answered. This should have been my warning right there. Eventually someone did get back to me and I schlepped all the way out to the audition for 6. A half a dozen other people were there waiting, all told to be there for 6. I read over the sides and the copy of the script on the table while I waited and my heart sank at the incredibly bad writing. I went in, did the audition once and the three people behind the table applauded (???). Then they told me the shoot dates, which coincided directly with a trip I was taking out of town so I wouldn't be able to do the film anyway. #fail

A few weeks later, I found out that they did want to cast me in the project and would work around my schedule. Unfortunately, due to the unprofessionalism I had experienced, I decided it really wasn't worth taking a day off work to be in a project that didn't inspire confidence.

Recently, I found out that I was cast in a student film that shoots in November and I couldn't be more excited about this one. It fit all my criteria above, the sides were interesting and fun to prepare, and so far the crew has been incredibly professional and keen in their emails. There are some really great projects out there, but it needs to be as much a right fit for you as it is for them.

If you have any other tips or student film stories, feel free to share them in the comments below.


Remember last week how I was saying I need to trust that I am ok right now without a day job? (If not, click on this link and go read about it, I'll wait.) Well, since then I've had a theatre audition in Montreal, followed by two commercial auditions in Toronto.

Now, for the theatre audition, I spent 3 hours prepping a routine with a stage combat trainer, on top of practice on my own, and the regular scene work involved with getting ready for an audition. I went in there feeling ready and felt I gave a solid performance. While I don't think I booked the gig since I haven't heard back from them, I was incredibly proud of the work I did and discovered a new interest in stage combat (quarterstaff in particular) that I will likely pursue. With all the prep work and the travel time to Montreal, there is no way I could have gotten all that done while working a 40-hour work-week.

On top of that, I not only got a callback, but booked one of the commercials I auditioned for. So this week included a wardrobe fitting, the second commercial audition, and a shoot for commercial number one and callback for commercial number two tomorrow. Again, not sure how I would have gotten all of that done with a day job.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying day jobs are a bad thing if you've got one. I'm just saying that I'm really glad that I didn't panic about my current situation and jump right into another day-job scenario.

******************************* In other news, only 6 more days left to support Roller Derby Saved My Soul. Just click on the image below to contribute or share the link with your friends.

And We're Back

My day job is done and I have returned from a much needed vacation feeling refreshed and ready to go. Ok, that last part is a lie. Although my vacation, the first in almost three years, was pretty incredible, I have come home feeling anxious and overwhelmed about the various projects I have on the go and things I feel I "need" to do.

I try and counteract this feeling by waking up at the same time I did when going to the day job and, after a few snoozes, getting right to work. Mornings are filled with emails and research, afternoons with auditions and prep work, evenings include shows (both through Summerworks and Pilot Week at the Comedy Bar) and other social obligations. And somewhere in there I try find time to work out, clean the apartment and eat.

So far so good. The anxiousness usually leaves me early on, but unfortunately it keeps coming back. I've got a lot of things on my mind, but I try dealing with them all one at a time. Giving myself a schedule definitely helps. So does avoiding taking on additional responsibilities.

Since I don't have the day job anymore, it's very tempting to take on every small job that gets thrown my way. I'm on the call list for a variety of promotion companies and, since there are a lot of events happening during the summer, have been getting regular work offers over the past two weeks.

I need to trust that I am ok right now when it comes to money, for the next little while anyway, and that I chose this life change because I wanted to work on my own projects, not someone else's.

In the meantime, expect more frequent blog updates as I navigate these new waters and, if you haven't done so already, please check out my fundraising campaign for Roller Derby Saved My Soul by clicking on the image below. 14 days and counting!


In exactly one week, I will be done my work at the Ontario Arts Council. Though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't counting down the days, I have to say it still has been a pretty worthwhile experience. I learned a lot of new web-based and social media skills, managed to save up some money and pay down some debt, and, of course, met some pretty amazing people. A few months ago, when I had just started in my position, I had the opportunity to sit in on a theatre panel in order to observe the process. One of the members of this panel was, and still is, a pretty prominent Toronto playwright and actor who is originally from Ottawa so we had lots to talk about.  Fast-forward to April and opening night of Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety. Turns out that he was in town and good friends with my director so he came to see the show. Afterwards, he let me know, in his own words, that I was "fucking brilliant". Upon my return to Toronto, we had lunch and he asked if I would be interested in working together in the future.

Gee, let me think about that for a minute.

Which brings me to today, where I am one of half a dozen performers who will be getting together this afternoon to workshop a new screenplay he wrote.


And to think, none of this would have happened if I hadn't had my day job.

Thank You, Swift Current

I can't believe it's been a over week since I first arrived in Swift Current, SK, to do two performances of Roller Derby Saved My Soul. I had (with one minor exception) a crazy good time. One patron told me that in all 5 years of the festival, my show was a definite highlight for him. Oh and of course the Swift Current Roller Derby Team, the Redneck Betties came out and absolutely loved the show!

I even had a friend drive 3 hours from Saskatoon to see the show (she tells me it was worth it), before hitching a ride with her and spending the weekend at her home. Let's just say I finally understood why they call it the "Paris of the Prairies."  Seriously, Saskatoon is a beautiful city. I will definitely be back.

But enough about the Toon, this is about the Current.

The Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival, which is held at the Lyric Theatre is really nice. The venue is beautiful, the concession sells popcorn and homemade pies, you can eat and drink during the shows, and local acts are presented in conjunction with the touring performers. I even got some media attention.

Check out this interview I did for Southwest TV News. You get a great explanation of the festival and some clips from my show, as well as Son of Africville, which I also had the pleasure of seeing. I'm at the 1:17 mark, but the whole video is worth watching (see if you notice the part were my roller skate decided to go for a solo trip off the raked stage). Oh, and when the festival organizer mentions that usually she just messages performers on Facebook? That's totally what happened to me. Another win for social media!

To any fringe performers out there, you should definitely keep this one in mind when planning your travels next year.

And for those of you who would like to support Roller Derby Saved My Soul, the fundraising campaign is ongoing!

Never Again, Howard Johnson

I'm not a very picky person. I can deal with a lot of things that are thrown my way and I'm not often one to complain. That said, the service and quality of the Howard Johnson I stayed in in Swift Current, Saskatchewan was so poor that I feel the need to forewarn anyone who might be tempted in going there or to any Howard Johnson in the near future. First up, let me please state that I had a wonderful time doing my show in Swift Current and do not blame the festival in anyway for the poor quality of the accommodations. I know that the rooms were probably heavily subsidized for the performers and, as a small festival with a small budget, I can see how you would take what is offered to you. Howard Johnson is a recognized brand and, after watching a Mad Men episode, I was pretty excited to go there myself.

Let's start with my arrival: I arrived at the HoJo at around 1 a.m. The Festival Producer showed up with my performer package and my confirmation number for the motel. I am given a key to my room and the producer leaves. As I'm heading towards the room, the desk clerk comes running out telling me he gave me the wrong room, as someone is already in that one. 15 minutes later, he realizes that they do not have a room for me as the entire place is booked. He then spends the next 30 minutes calling every motel nearby to set me up with a room that he says the HoJo will pay for as it was their mistake. He also pays for a cab and gives me a free breakfast voucher for the morning. This guy was awesome and I appreciate the extra effort and initiative he put in. That said, he informed me that they would have a room available for me the next day and I would have too come back.

I was set up in the brand spanking new Motel 6 across the street. So new that it had only opened a few days prior and I was the first person to stay in my room. This place was great: shiny, new and clean.

Back to the HoJo the next day, I enjoy my complimentary breakfast and speak to the manager about the great service I got the night before as I wait for a room to clear. Timing was tight as I had to rush off to my tech rehearsal and I asked the daytime desk clerk if it would be possible for me to get a late check out tomorrow at 2 p.m. No problem was the response I got. I dropped my bags in the room, noticed a sunflower seed shell on the floor, figured someone missed a spot and headed to the theatre, not returning until very late that night.

At this point, after a tech rehearsal, a performance, a few drinks and very little sleep, I just want to go to bed. There are two of them in my room. As I lifted the covers of the first one, I immediately noticed that these sheets had not been cleaned. There were crumbs of some sort under the covers. Feeling frustrated, I tried the other bed. It was better though I only noticed in the morning that there was no fitted sheet on the bed, only a regular sheet they had put down instead on top of the mattress. In addition, I found ants in the bathroom and killed a few of them before finally going to sleep.

In the morning, slightly put off, I went to the front desk to get my free breakfast voucher, since it clearly states that guests receive a free breakfast for each nights stay. The man at the front desk, the same one that confirmed my late check out time, refused to give me one stating that you don't get a free breakfast if your room is comped. I don't know why I didn't mention the bed situation then and there. I think I just didn't want to make a fuss. Besides the omelet I paid for was better than the free breakfast special. I should note that the staff at the restaurant also thought it was weird that an overnight guest was not getting the free breakfast.

Back in my room, I decide to work out to my roller derby training video. I lay down on the floor to do sit ups and leg lifts and such, quickly realizing that the sunflower seed shell I previously mentioned wasn't just a case of one spot that was missed. Crumbs and small rocks started sticking to my body as I sweated. The carpeted floors probably had not been vacuumed in days.  After my work out, I hopped in the shower, only to have to climb right back out as a male staff member was trying to get in to clean (finally?) my room. He rudely asked me if I was leaving as I stood there dripping wet in a towel. I explained to him that I had asked for a later checkout time. He asked when and mumbled an apology as he left.  Back in the shower, I quickly noticed hair of various colours stuck to the shower walls. My roommate will tell you that if there is one thing that really grosses me out, it's other people's hair once it has shed from their bodies. Ugh.

I packed up my things and went to check out. I waited a good 15 minutes as no one was around the front desk. At this point, my ride has arrived and I just want to get the hell out of there. Plus, when someone finally did show up, it was the same unhelpful guy from before, so I just left.

After this experience, you can be sure that I will never again go to a Howard Johnson in the future if I can in any way help it.  If you've had any experience with this chain, please feel free to leave your comments below.


Coming Home Again

After a 3 and a half hour flight and a 2 and half hour drive, I found myself at my assigned motel in Swift Current, Saskatchewan at 1 a.m. ready to fall into bed. Unfortunately, the motel double-booked itself and no longer had my room or any other available. I then spent the next hour waiting while they called around to find me a new place, on their dime of course. This morning, before my technical rehearsal, I have to move out of this lovely brand spanking new Motel 6 (it just opened this past weekend and I am the first person ever to use this room) and back into the Howard Johnson (as they now have a room available and don't want to pay for two nights at a competitors location). Fingers crossed for me that it all goes well from now on. Because, you know what? It's been going pretty amazing thus far.

My indiegogo campaign for Roller Derby Saved My Soul is off to a phenomenal start. In less than a week, I've raised over $1500. If you would like to contribute, please feel free to do so by clicking the image below. I've currently received donations as low as $5 and as high as $750. Every little bit helps!

The remount of the show in Ottawa also totally blew my mind. We sold out the Natalie Stern Studio at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama. In fact, we had to add seats to fit everyone in.  This is where I need to take a moment to thank Bruce Bissonnette and the Ottawa Theatre School for making any of this happen.

Though I want to thank everyone who came out, I do want to give a specific shout-out to my friends Brian and Dan who each brought in some very large groups. I feel incredibly grateful for the support you have given me.

Finally, I also want to take a moment to thank my friend Jen and the Capital City Derby Dolls. They were out in full force Monday night. Not to slight any other teams, but the CCDD has been an absolute joy to get to know. They represent what, to me, Derby and this show is all about: a friendly and inclusive place where someone who doesn't feel like they quite fit in anywhere else can find a home. They are a very competitive team, but still they let me join them for practice and were very patient with me and my skill level.

So thank you, all of you, for making my Ottawa homecoming a little bit brighter and reminding me that, even though it's been 9 months since I last performed it, there is still a lot of magic in Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

Swift Current won't know what hit them.


New Beginnings

So, here it is: the new website! Do you like? I like! First of all, a big thank you Jeremy Crittenden of Critty Design for getting this baby out of my head and into the interwebs.  I'm still uploading content, so feel free to check back frequently to see what neat new things I might have in store. But this isn't my only new beginning. This week, I quit my day job. After almost 9 months, I will be leaving the Ontario Arts Council at the end of July.  Let me tell you, it was not an easy decision to make. I have gone from having nothing to becoming accustomed to a certain level of comfort. But my arts practice has suddenly picked up and I'll be damned if I'm not going to ride that wave.

I've got new headshots, a new website and a heck of a lot of inspiration from some pretty amazing acting classes I've been attending since last September. Roller Derby Saved My Soul was invited to take part in the Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and I'll be doing a special one-off performance in Ottawa before I head off.  I've been working my butt off for the past month to get back into Derby-show shape (as opposed to alcoholic homeless woman shape which was much easier to achieve).

And although I didn't get a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (not because it was a bad application but because they only funded about 12% of the 200 people who applied), I set up an Indie Gogo campaign to help me redevelop the piece and take it on tour next year.  I'm simply floored at how well that has taken off, raising over $1000 in a day. I would be very grateful if you could take a moment to support the campaign, either through a contribution or by sharing it with your friends. Please know that every little bit helps.

I'm ready to commit to this art form once more. Join me for the ride, won't you?

Big Changes and Events Coming Soon!

A friend messaged me on Facebook recently to ask if I was still alive. When I answered that I had been taking a break from social media, she quickly wondered how that was possible since "you ARE social media." I just got tired, you know? I spend approximately 15 hours a day at two joe jobs that revolve entirely around social media. The vast majority of my life is spent in front of a screen and I just don't have anything witty to say about it anymore.  I wonder if people who work as cooks or cleaners for a living then go home and realize that the last thing they want to do is cook or clean?  These days, I just want to sit in the sun with my new e-reader (ok, still a screen, but at least it's got me reading fiction again) and hang out with the people I love.

Plus, I'm getting my shit together and re-branding this site. By mid-June, expect a brand spanking new website from yours truly.  There will be a few blog posts before then, mostly about the London Fringe Festival, which I plan on attending, but until then I leave you with this tidbit of juicy news:

Les Prix Rideau Award-winning, critically acclaimed Roller Derby Saved My Soul RETURNS!

I've been invited to participate in the Summer Chautauqua Theatre Festival in Swift Current, SK.  The festival organizer was looking up successful Fringe shows that she would like to produce, read good things about RDSMS online and contacted me directly through Facebook (contrary to what I've been saying above: gogo social media!) asking if I was touring this year and would I like to bring the show to her festival.  Though the official line-up hasn't been released, I can tell you that I will be performing on Thursday, July 5th at 9 p.m. and Friday, July 6th at 6 p.m.

That said, since I haven't performed the show in almost a year, I will be heading up to Ottawa to rehearse with my director, Tania Levy.  Which means:


Roller Derby Saved My Soul - PWYC - July 2nd, 2012 (Holiday Monday) at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama - See it again or for the very first time.

Time TBD - If there is enough interest, I may do two runs of the show that day. If you'd like to see the show, please let me know in the comment section if you would like attend a matinee or an evening performance.

Here Comes the Fall

I am in a terrible mood. The post-show crash has finally hit me and I am going through one massive case of withdrawal. I wish I could take a vacation, sit on a warm sunny beach somewhere with a few books and finally take the time to read for pleasure. But instead I'm back at work feeling cranky and cross-eyes from editing too much HTML code. I've got no auditions of projects lined up for the next little while and it is uber frustrating and easy to fall into that OMG I AM NEVER GOING TO WORK AGAIN trap.

So, I'm going to do what a friend suggested I do. Today I am taking a moping day to grieve the end of a beautiful show.


Well, the fifth annual Prix Rideau Awards celebration has come and gone and I am pretty thrilled with the results, even if I do say so myself. Roller Derby Saved My Soul walked away with the Outstanding Fringe Production Award and I couldn't be happier.  After a wonderful matinee of Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, I quickly ran out to get my hair and makeup done, got dressed and rushed over to the Shenkman Centre where some people had trouble recognizing me when I'm not in my hobo gear.

It really was a perfect evening. A huge thank you to the awards' organizing committee, as well as the fabulous Jes Lacasse who dressed both myself and my director, Tania Levy.

Oh! And for those of you who've been asking when you might actually get the chance to see Roller Derby Saved My Soul? Stay tuned!



For immediate release

Ottawa, April 23, 2012 - Founded in 2006 to celebrate, encourage and promote French and English locally produced professional

theatre work and its artists, the Prix Rideau Awards is proud to announce the winners for the year 2011.

In 2011, 36 English productions and 12 French productions were juried by two teams of local arts professionals. Nominations were submitted by secret ballot and tallied by independent accountants. A total of 19 awards were presented Sunday, April 22nd, during the Prix Rideau Awards Gala, at the Shenkman Centre for the Arts, in Orleans.

The winners for English-language productions are:

Outstanding Production

Twelfth Night, St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival Outstanding Direction

Joël Beddows, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre Outstanding Performance, Female

Beverley Wolfe, The Lavender Railroad, Evolution Theatre Outstanding Performance, Male

Andy Massingham, Exit the King, Third Wall Theatre

Outstanding Design

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

Ivo Valentik, Set Design, Speed-the-Plow, Plosive Productions Outstanding New Creation

Julie Le Gal, Andy Massingham and Kevin Orr, Bifurcate Me, Theatre 4.669 Outstanding Adaptation / Translation

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

Roller Derby Saved My Soul, Broken Turtle Productions

Emerging Artist Award

Katie Bunting, ActorThe winners for French-language productions are:

Production de l'année

Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte Mise en scène de l'année

Joël Beddows, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte Interprétation féminine de l'année

Micheline Marin, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium Interprétation masculine de l'année

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

Conception de l'année

Guillaume Houët, éclairages, Frères d’hiver, Théâtre la Catapulte Pierre-Luc Clément et Olivier Fairfield, environnement sonore, Taram, Théâtre du Trillium

Nouvelle création de l'année

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

Prix artiste en émergence

Marjolaine Beauchamp, dramaturgie

Derrière le Rideau Award

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

Two Places at Once

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

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

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

The Shepherd Official Trailer from Tenebre81 on Vimeo.

Can't wait to see the whole thing!


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

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

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


Mary M's Infinite Playlist

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

Here's what I came up with:

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

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

[youtube] Who finds the money? When you pay the rent? Did you think that money was Heaven sent?

[youtube] She looked at him and he felt a spark tingle to his bones. It was then he felt alone and wished that he'd gone straight and watched out for a simple twist of fate.

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

When You Were Young - The Killers[youtube] You sit there in your heartache waiting on some beautiful boy to save you from your old ways.

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


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

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

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


Saving Your Voice

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

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


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

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

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


Sober Mary

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

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

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

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

See you at the show, yes?


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

Arts Court Theatre  2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON 

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


Wax On, Fuck Off

To steal a title from a friend's great Fringe show: The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over. This is the part where I want to quit. Let's say I try something new like, oh I don't know, roller derby. And let's say that when I try this new thing, I am moderately good at it from the start. This is good. This is encouraging. Then let's say someone else is impressed and points out that I am "really" good for someone who's never done said thing before. That's usually the point where my Ego jumps in and starts telling me that yeah, I am really good for someone who's never done this before. Maybe I've just discovered my life's purpose? Maybe I'm some kind of prodigy who will soon be wowing the world with her circus-like acrobatics in her one-woman reinterpretation of Starlight Express... you know, hypothetically speaking.

So the early ease with which something came to me, pushes me to try harder, but then that's when the real work begins and  my Ego jumps back in going "Whoawhoawhoawhoawhoa. What the fuck is this? Why can't you just get it right away? What is wrong with you? Wow, you suck!"

Then I get more and more frustrated with myself, cursing my weak inner thighs that keep trying to close my knees in on each other, instead of staying open - because dammit, there goes my dream of being the James Bond villain who breaks men's next with her powerful abductors - and I just want to quit.

Because if I can't get it perfect on the first go then what's the point of trying, right?

Well, at least I'm self-aware enough to realize that's what I'm doing.

The Part Chooses You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We'll make it work."


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

Arts Court Theatre 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa, ON

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