Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recent CPC Features

Rebecca Ugolini interviews Alisa Palmer, the new head of English-language theatre at the National Theatre School, in FEEDING THE YOUNG. Palmer, after a vigourous career, finds that now is the time to give back and help in the shaping of a new generation of theatre artists.

In PRETEND IT'S GOING TO PRINT, Sue Edworthy, a well known Toronto marketing expert, talks about mistakes made by emerging companies in their PR and how to solve them. This is a must read not just for tyros but for many pros who are still getting it wrong.

Keith Waterfield and his accomplice, Alain Mercieca, started out by saying, "Let's fuck and do art." And so was born HOW TO ENTER VAUDEVILLE, Waterfield's first-person description of the coming together of forces to create The Waterfield Follies.

When we asked Matt Gorman to write about the trials and tribulations of a small company in a very big market, he offered us his lovely and almost elegiac REMEMBER...EVERYTHING which explains what Cart/Horse is up against even as it prepares its next production.

CHOICES are what Deepali Lindblom's life are all about. The choice of career, country to live, training and performance. As she prepares Satringa she tells, in a lovely first-person piece, about the journey.

In AN ARTIST PERFORMS, theatre people from across the country celebrate that one moment when their  lives changed - when they saw a performance they knew would make them for the rest of their lives: Rammstein, Maude Guérin, The Raging Grannies - we are marked.

Michael Delamont set out to be funny in his first-person piece OF VAUDEVILLES ALL ATOMIC, CABBAGES AND DRAGQUEENS - as he set out to be funny in is his solo God is a Scottish Drag Queen. However, journey don't always turn out the way you expect. Scottish Drag Queen changed with time and his essay, here, takes a decidedly poignant turn.

Djanet Sears calls herself the daughter of Lorraine Hansberry, and in NOTES OF A COLOURED GIRL she shares her reasons for writing for theatre with breath-taking and invigorating style.

In RE-OXYGENATING THE SHAVIAN FLAME Shaw Festival Artistic Director Jackie Maxwell speaks to Christian Baines about stretching the limits of the company's mandate, its audience's expectations and, at the same time, creating art that challenges and explores social issues.

Gordon Mack describes the incredible gestation period (and fund-raising period) for one of Vancouver's most exciting and popular outings ITSAZOOS Debts. In THE HORROR OF INEVITABILITY the writer/director shares the journey of a complex show that actually made it to success.

In 500 DAYS AND NIGHTS OF RISK David C. Jones profiles an event that has helped move acting students towards real-life work situations: Risky Nights.

There are a few things Bill Millerd - the artistic director of The Arts Club in Vancouver - wants you to know. Things are going well, the expansion of the company is working and, despite the bad news from Vancouver Playhouse, theatre in Vancouver is doing quite well, thanks much. He is not, as the title suggest, THE LAST MAN STANDING.

It is not a role you take on lightly, but - the way actor Chris Moore tells it - he and the artistic director of Persephone, in Montreal - just asked ONE REAL QUESTION: WHY NOT? when deciding on Hamlet. In Moore fascinating first person, he talks about the very beginning of the process of prepping for this magnificent (and frightening) character.

As director Miles Potter prepares one of the most anticipated (and maybe significant) openings of the 2012-13 season, he takes us behind the scenes to prep and rehearsal for Michael Healey's Proud in THE PLAY (NOT THE CONTROVERSY) IS THE THING. His description of the process is delightful and funny and shows that even during heated debate, actors, writer and director can find their bliss. 

In FOR THE CHILD TAKEN, FOR THE PARENT LEFT BEHIND Teesri Duniya artistic director Rahul Varma explains the weight of the company's next production - Where the Blood Mixes - and the journey both work and playwright took to bring a deeper piece to the stage.

The Harvester poster
Paul Van Dyck tried out his new play, The Harvester, at the Montreal Fringe and learned a few things about the work and how it should evolve. Before he performed the work at the Atlantic Fringe, two months later, he applied his lessons. See what they are and what every writer must learn in his first-person piece THE GROWTH OF THE HARVESTER.

In BEHAVE YOURSELF, PLEASE...A MONKEY IS WATCHING YOU, Mike Czuba, a polyvalent theatre person, explains the genesis of his piece Satie et Cocteau and the theory - both musical and theatrical - which went into the creation of the work.

 In THE LITTLE FESTIVAL THAT COULD you get artistic director Ian Farthing's fascinating tale of changing his life and - yes - falling in love with a small town. Moreover, that small town took him to their hearts and developed a bond with Shakespeare that fuels both the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival and Prescott, Ontario too.

As director/producer Anthony Sherwood tells us, there are other stories to tell around the drama of the Titanic that James Cameron did not seem to get to. Beyond questions of class, there was the very real question of race. In his piece TAKING ON HISTORY Sherwood explains the genesis of Titanic: The Untold story.

INTRODUCING METACHROMA is precisely what it says - an introduction of this exciting new company by its members and - have a look - the ensemble comprises some of the best actors in the country.

Brad Fraser has always been concerned with what happened at the Tarragon - the so-called Healey Affair. In a short play, presented at Wrecking Ball in June 2012, Fraser imagines a conversation in TITLE AT END.

In a fascinating piece - CODPIECE DAUGHTERS - on shows past and present, Vile Passéist Artistic Director Dan Bray talks about using female actors in male roles and concepts of gender in early modern theatre. 

The on thing you need when you're about to launch a highly anticipated festival is a sense of humour and Sarah Segal-Lazar has that in spades as she shows in her first-person piece WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING (TO PLAN A FRINGE) - a five-step program for the hopelessly Fringe-y.

Miller in Hardsell / Vendu
You will not find many articles more fascinating than Rick Miller's first-person piece - LES DEUX SEUL-ITUDES - on going from Stratford to Le Carrefour in Quebec City, from MacHomer to Vendu, from English to French. In the journey he deals with widely varying criticism, fatigue and even a changing political landscape.

It's been a bumpy but happy ride, Greg Wanless tells us on his 30 years with Thousand Islands Playhouse in REACHING MIDDLE AGE - a wonderful first-person piece about getting and holding a theatre.

Ann-Marie Kerr began as the director and - when a happy miracle happened - ended up acting the solo role in The Debacle, which began its life in the Atlantic region but continued on to being a jewel of the Festival TransAmériques. In MUSICAL CHAIRS - MOVING FROM DIRECTOR TO ACTOR IN A SOLO SHOW, Ms. Kerr writes about the journey.

In KILLING CURIOSITY Joel Ivany is back to tell us about his new Against The Grain Theatre production, Turn of the Screw, the ambiguous, troubling Benjamin Britten adaptation of one of the most controversial novellas written. There's a governess, spooks and children who may have been through a horrific experience.  

8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived was a gorgeous little Fringe play, last year in Montreal. However, playwright/soloist Michaela di Cesare took criticisms to heart and decided to improve her work and give it a new life. In FROM ONE-WOMAN SHOW (IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD) FRINGE SHOW TO TRUE TEAM EFFORT she tells us how.

Guy Mignault went to Toronto for an interview, thought nothing of it, then realized that he was starting to want the job he was being offered - artistic director of a French-language company in a city IN AN OCEAN OF ENGLISH

In On collaborations, handling the spice and writing a Bollywood play à la Québécoise called Poutine Masala Stéfan Cédilot describes the happy and improbably series of events that went into making an extravaganza for one of Montreal's most popular alternative houses.

MOVING INTO THE THEATRE AND OTHER THINGS ON MY TO DO LIST is, to our mind, a truly extraordinary first-person account about bringing Handel's Semele to the Canadian Opera Company. Mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, offers a blend of humour and trepidation, excitement and angst that makes for a spell-binding read.

In MOTHER AND ME Itai Erdal speaks about the moments around his mother's illness and death and about how the event nurtured his his piece How to Disappear Completely and how theatre and film helped him to cope. 

Edward Roy takes us into the heart of the matter in THE UNSPOKEN his first-person article about directing his own play, Beyond the Cuckoo's Nest at YPT. The play is reaching a young audience and discussing a problem many of us don't even think exists until adulthood: mental illness. 

Semele (photo: Karl Forster)
QUIET ON THE SET...AND...REMEMBER! is Axel Van Chee's very personal piece about going to a press conference for the first time - backstage meet-and-greet for the Canadian Opera Company's Semele - and sweating out how to do it even as he remembers his first experience at the opera. As with all of Van Chee's writing, it shows an intimate knowledge of and a joy in the world of opera.

Trevor Barrette is a very young man who had music and a story and lyrics and, finally, a musical which needed a production house. In WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE IN LOVE? he talks about the genesis of To Be, his work, and the happy marriage he found with Persephone Productions.

Chafe and Phillips (photo: Don Ellis)
In DRAMATURGY OF DISAPPOINTMENT writer Joseph Shragge writes about finding a path for his play, The Heretics of Bohemia, during the production's unusual rehearsal process. Think: puppets.

Robert Chafe talks about the journey his play Oil and Water took from a thrilling and heart-breaking true story to waiting for rights for the story to meeting its fascinating protagonist, Lanier Phillips. There is nothing about LANIER REMEMBERED that will leave you untouched.

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