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Hello all!

Just a reminder of the upcoming free Improv workshop being taught by the lovely & talented Karen Lucas on October 19 at 7pm.

Karen has been saying yes to improv for over sixteen years. She performs regularly and teaches workshops with Waterloo’s long running improv troupe Theatre On The Edge. Karen has also run an improv camp for children and designed workshops using improv to promote self discovery. The tools learned in improv are great for the stage and for life!

This workshop is Improv for actors (and wannabe actors). Learn some basics of improv and how to use those skills to navigate the challenges of live theatre. We’ll cover the basics of improv and then get into some fun applications for the actor. How to get through a scene when someone has forgotten their lines, prop or set malfunctions, or other unexpected happening on stage. This workshop will be fun and functional!

Karen is also one of the founders and driving forces behind the Royal Medieval Faire, this Saturday at Waterloo Park. The faire draws on the improv skills of its performers as they create a magical medieval day in 21st century Waterloo.

This year, the Royal Medieval Faire will take place on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 from 11am – 6pm in Waterloo Park West. Admission is $5.00 per person, $2.50 for children 10 & under. This event is suitable for all ages and has something to offer everyone. The admission covers everything in the park except vendor merchandise, food and beverages. It is a great day for the entire family and those interested in history and the arts.

The Improv workshop will be held at Karen’s studio space at the Globe Studios, at 141 Whitney Place in Kitchener. Her studio is unit 13/14 (the bright yellow doors), towards the loading dock end of the building.

There are still a few spaces available for this workshop, so make sure you book yours today!

Don’t forget our Props & Gripping workshop on November 16th and a quick heads-up on the January workshop – Set Design with Chris Rovers on January 18 – details to come!

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I have had a few people ask if TenBareToes has parts for kids. At the moment, no, I don’t have any shows planned that will need child actors.

That being said, knowing how much fun it is to act as a kid, I’m passing on an audition notice I found today.

Growing In The Arts School of Dramatic & Cinema Arts is putting on a production of Bubba Begonia, You’ll Be Sorry

Auditions are September 9 & 11.  See the show link for details and best of luck!

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While I work out the details of our next production with the theatre, I’d like to announce TenBareToes’ upcoming monthly series of workshops.   I have asked a number of the local theatre gurus to design a workshop series for us and they have delivered.

Starting in October, we have Karen Lucas leading an Improv workshop on the 19th at 7pm at the Globe Studios at 141 Whitney Place in Kitchener.

To borrow from Wikipedia, Improvisational theatre (also known as improv) is a form of theatre in which the improvisational actors/ improvisers use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously. Improvisers typically use audience suggestions to guide the performance as they create dialogue, setting, and plot extemporaneously. Improvisational theatre performances tend to be comedic, although some forms are not necessarily intended to be comedic.

Many improvisational actors/ improvisers also work as scripted actors, and “improv” techniques are often taught in standard acting classes. The basic skills of listening, clarity, confidence, and performing instinctively and spontaneously are considered important skills for actors to develop.

Karen has been saying yes to improv for over sixteen years.  She performs regularly and teaches workshops with Waterloo’s long running improv troupe Theatre On The Edge.  Karen has also run an improv camp for children and designed workshops using improv to promote self discovery.  The tools learned in improv are great for the stage and for life!

Following that is Props & Gripping from Adrienne Steer, Property Mistress and Head Grip for our recent production of The Taming of the Shrew on November 16, also at 7pm.  I’m waiting on confirmation of the location for this workshop – keep an eye here for details.

Further down the pipe is Set Design with Chris Rovers in January, Character Development for the Actor with Jonathan C. Dietrich and more.  Details to follow regarding these and other workshops!

If you are interested in participating in either of these workshops, please contact info@tenbaretoes.com.  Spots are limited and will be on a first come-first served basis.

The Globe Studios: View Larger Map

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One week down! And by all reports, the show was well received by all who saw it. We even had a quick review by the Kitchener Record, which was lovely to see.

However, in a situation we knew was coming, I had to stand in for Brian. He has a band, d’Archangel, that had gotten a gig in Toronto for Saturday night.  I was able to sub in for him, so we decided to run with that.

My biggest personal concern was the fight at the start of act 4.  I had done it a couple times during rehearsal, but ultimately, I am no Brian and didn’t want to screw up.  I drilled it at home for most of last week, drilled it with the cast for Friday & Saturday and eventually left it to the cast & fight director to see if it was safe.  They said it would be fine.

It was.  It was slower than they normally do it, but it was good and acting made up for some of the rest.

What I didn’t expect to have to be afraid of was Nick.

Nick & Brian have a scene in the show that involves a plate of food.  Petruchio (Nick) tastes the food on the plate that Joseph (Brian) is holding and proclaims it burnt.  They have some business to do with the plate of food and Nick & I had gone over it a few times to make sure I knew the cue lines for the various bits.

When we got to the show itself, Nick bit off a piece of the chicken (that was doubling as mutton) and starts to proclaim it as burnt.  He realises that he has bit off too much and is having trouble talking.  It is entirely within character to spit it out and then continue his line.  The decision he makes is to spit it back on the plate (no one eats from it again that scene) and go on.

He misses the plate.  Pretty much entirely.

He didn’t miss me.  From my eyebrows to my clevage, there was chicken.  Fortunately, neither of us wound up giggling (that happened a LOT later).  It did mean that much of the rest of the business wound up by the wayside and gratefully, the audience didn’t notice that it was something different.

When I got off stage and into the green room, Nick was there already and looking pretty sheepish.  When he explained what happened, I had to smother giggles to make sure the audience didn’t hear us (the show was still going on).  I was still fishing chicken out of my cleavage 10 minutes later.  Much teasing happened on both sides and I had a new nickname now.

I love live theatre.  Stuff like this makes it always a challenge and rarely boring.

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My cast & crew rock my tiny world.  I know I keep saying that, but they really do.

Last night was the final dress rehearsal before the preview tonight.  There were a few minor glitches, but overall, it was glorious.  I spent most of the show watching as opposed to taking notes as a director.

I am so happy.  The cast took to the stage, costumes & their props like ducks to water.  Somehow, my technical crew pulled rabbits out of their hats and gave me a gorgeous stage as well as a functional fountain, the scene change hell act that’s coming together smoothly, and costumes that are truly gorgeous.

Tonight is the preview.  According to Producer Mike, we’re going to have some members of the media there. It should be fun.

I have brilliant people working with me.  I am the luckiest woman on the planet.

Come see them.  The show is brilliant – it’s fresh, lively and they are so good.

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You have to understand – there’s a reason I direct.  There is a rush I get when things start to come together.  When the characters become more visible than the actors; when the chemistry on stage starts to sizzle; when the actors start riffing off each other – that’s when I can feel my heart rate elevate and my breath comes faster.  Tonight, that state was more common than not.

Not too coincidentally, tonight was the first night that we had costumes.  Not all of them, but they’ve started arriving (and oh sweet baby gods, they are wonderful).  Tranio (Ciaran) suddenly was a couple inches  taller and every bit the cock of the walk that I wanted him to be – wearing his new coat and apparently having 3 tails to his coat gives him that extra oomph.  Petruchio (Nick) walks differently (as expected) when he’s wearing his costume pants as opposed to shorts or jeans – the strut changed.  I think my favourite of the night was Kate (Polly) – twirling when she wasn’t in character and being more aware of her physicality in a big poofy skirt and corset.

It was glorious.  More of the characters came through – I can’t begin to explain clearly the difference. There were still line flubs (a month before – yah, that still happens) and blocking mishaps.  There were also inspired moments of improv, improvements on what we had before and just more energy overall.

I got pictures – I’ll put some up tomorrow (for now I must get some sleep!)

There are reasons I direct.  Getting to be there when the show starts to switch from lines & blocking to the organics of a story is absolutely one of them.

Get your tickets – this is going to be a sweet show.

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I don’t think I have ever done a show that didn’t develop a “show plague”. For all that we take care of ourselves and we’re all grownups, stuff happens.

Shrew is no different. Last week, Nick texted me saying he was going to be home thanks to a burgeoning bug. Tonight, he was at rehearsal, but this started the cascade of “I’m sick” messages – Costumes Adrienne has a cold she’s recovering from, Brigid & Adam are both fending off throat issues and I’m sure there are others in the offing. One of the dangers in working in your Real Life job and then working in the evening preparing and rehearsing is you occasionally get sick – and when one of you get sick, more do.

At least it’s happening now, earlier in the process – it could be opening week.

To my cast & crew – get what rest you can and get better. I am by no means done with you!

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(Today’s author is Jonathan C. Dietrich – Grumio from the production.  I asked him to tell me a story about his acting experiences for the blog.  Enjoy!)

I recently realized that the summer of 2010 will mark my twenty fifth year of doing community theatre. Along the way, I have learned how actors need to be able to deal with the unexpected.

When I was 10, I joined a youth company in Stratford, and our first production was Oliver. During the scene in question, a fellow actor was required to deliver a couple of heated lines, then turn and storm down a flight of stairs leading off the front of the stage. On one evening, the scene had taken place a little closer to the edge of the stage than ever before, and when he turned, he stepped right off the stage! There was a huge gasp from audience, cast and crew. My fellow actor quickly stood, looked up at the characters he was just fighting with and bellowed, “And fix those blasted stairs!” It was perfect. He stayed in character, accepted and acknowledged the situation, and incorporated it into the show.

While I was studying Drama at the University of Waterloo, I played the Porter in a production of Macbeth featuring Jonathan Goad as Macbeth. Young Siward cautiously approaches the stage from the audience. Waiting for him there is a very confident Macbeth, laughing and swinging his sword around. Just as Siward stepped on the stage, and the fight about the commence, Jonathan’s sword slipped from his hand sliding upstage away from the audience. Without hesitation Jonathan lets out a great laugh as if it was planned. Without taking his eyes off of the enemy, he both taunted him and retrieved his weapon.

In my first production with Kitchener Waterloo Little Theatre, I learned that this type of quick thinking is not always easy. I was playing in a production of the Hand that Cradles the Rock, and it features two scenes in which I was required to answer a phone call. The first call occurs quite early in the show, and the second much closer to the end. It being theatre, there was not actually a working phone, rather just a prop and an off stage ring.

One evening, after picking up the phone for the first call I confidently started carrying on my half of the conversation for the second phone call. It wasn’t until I was done that call that I realized what had happened: I had just cut out the middle half of the play! My fellow actor on stage was stunned. Stage management, who was trying to follow along in their script, was frantically turning pages. There was an awkward silence that felt like forever, then we worked it out. The two of us on stage carried on with a couple of improvised lines followed by the lines that should have happened after the first call. After stage management had turned back a bunch of pages, we were back on track.

I felt horrible, and was sure that I ruined the show for the audience. Afterwords I learned that few had realised what had happened, and most had chalked it up to a bit of bad writing, and maybe a small slip up on one of the actor’s parts. whew

Since then, I have honed some of my improvisation skills with the help of our local improv comedy troupe Theatre on the Edge, where the unexpected is the expected. I have also had the joy of playing in two British style pantomimes where the audience is encouraged to be unexpected. Even when you are prepared for the unexpected, you can be surprised. During one performance of KWLT’s recent production of Aladdin, there was a technical issue.

I was in drag playing Aladdin’s mother, it’s a Panto tradition, and gave the cue for the music to start for my rendition of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. There was silence. I addressed the audience, “This is a great number. You’ll love it. We’ll do it a capella if we need to”. After another few seconds with no sound, I looked up to the booth. There was a thumbs up, and I started. The real magic happened when the entire male chorus entered and provided the orchestral part with “ba ba ba da da”s. We were all having so much fun: the audience, the actors on stage, and the rest of the cast and crew who crammed into the wings to watch! It was honestly the most magical moment I have ever had on stage, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the unexpected.

Hopefully nothing too unexpected comes up during the run of Taming of the Shrew, but if it does I hope I can handle it with grace and style. Here’s to another twenty five years.

- Jonathan C. Dietrich

(@jcdietrich)

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[livejournal.com profile] mister_robinson made us look good!
the_nita: usual shot when I'm directing - since I'm *not* looking at actors, I must be working on the script. (Theatre)
I'm going down for the One Act auditions tonight.

Need to figure out what I want to bring as an audition piece.

Funny or tough (as in difficult, not as in personality)?

Hmm.
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the_nita: usual shot when I'm directing - since I'm *not* looking at actors, I must be working on the script. (Girl)
I'm much girlier. And feel somewhat crippled.

My nails are longer. Red. Really red.

How do women do this and do *anything* for themselves?

The things I do for theatre..
the_nita: usual shot when I'm directing - since I'm *not* looking at actors, I must be working on the script. (Default)
to using sleep aids when I'm coughing all night long to get me unconscious is that I'm still dopey at 9:35 the next morning. Having real trouble staying awake today.

I'm thinking I need to bring the pills with me to rehearsal and take them then, as opposed to when I get home from them.

Really enjoying the FASS rehearsals this year. Combination of watching [livejournal.com profile] robsgoatfarm enjoying himself directing, and getting to just sit with [livejournal.com profile] latrell and make comments sotto voce through rehearsals - we're supposed to after all, we are the deities giggling over the foibles of mankind. I'm getting also to do some work with Josh, the current president. He's fun to act with - been a while since I've done FASS where I got to work off & with someone who was coming up with bits of business, as opposed to being there to hold up and "fix it if they get in trouble" other actors who's strengths, bluntly, lay elsewhere. I'm enjoying it.

Speaking of which - if you are coming to see FASS this year, either let me know so I can get tickets for you, or contact the Humanities Theatre Box Office at 519 888-4908. If you order through the Box Office, tell them you're coming to see Anita Kilgour (there's a little contest the producer is running to see who can sell the most tickets).

Tickets:

  • General Admission: $8

  • Thursday Night Special: $6



Hope to see you there!
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Come - see me be the Devil I can be... )
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the_nita: usual shot when I'm directing - since I'm *not* looking at actors, I must be working on the script. (Theatre)
So I'm in FASS again.

And this time, I'm the devil.

We're contemplating schtick that basically means I'm changing costumes to suit the 7 deadly sins. Given that I'm going to have minimal time to change, and I'm supposed to be "lounging on a couch, watching 'tv' (aka, the mortals), that limits things slightly.

Soooo..

What's your idea of what the devil would look like?
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