Saturday, December 15, 2012

Theatre For Thought, December 15, 2012

Or What to Get the Struggling Actor in Your Life
joel fishbane

Snow is falling, carollers are singing and cities everywhere are a-glow with lights. The politically correct people of the world are wandering around with “Happy Holidays” on their lips, but let’s call a spade a spade: it’s Christmas-time and everyone knows it. And whether you're giving someone Hanukah gelt, Kwanza contributions, or winter solstice souvenirs, chances are you’re wandering through the stores with your hand on your wallet.

So without further ado, here’s six suggestions for theatrical gifts for the performer in your life who doesn’t have everything…

6. Headshots
All actors need new headshots all the time. This is an expensive fact of life for the busy artist – so why not help them out? Find out who their favourite photographer is and surreptitiously get a gift certificate – they’ll thank you, I guarantee it!

5. Food
Artists are physically incapable of turning down a free meal. So now’s the time to take them out for dinner or, better yet, cook them one of your own. 

4. Company – 2011 Concert Version
For musical theatre devotees. Neil Patrick Harris and a cast of all-stars unite with the New York Philharmonic for a concert version of Stephen Sondheim / George Furth’s seminal musical Company. Featuring the likes of Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer and Christina Hendriks, this version was broadcast into cinemas last year. 

Theatre practitioners accustomed to dramatic analysis of Shakespeare’s work have a fascinating new viewpoint in this book which concerns itself with the question of how early theatre companies carried the mnemonic load associated with performing several new plays a month. A treatise that sheds light on the historic even as it provides new insights to those producing theatre today.

2. Acting Classes, Playwriting Workshops, Artistic Seminars
Give an artist the gift of training by allowing them to take an acting class, explore their playwriting skills or perhaps just learn how to market themselves as an artist. Check out places like the Quebec Drama Federation (Montreal), the TAPA blog (Toronto) or Playwrights Theatre Centre (Vancouver) for a list of workshops, classes and opportunities in your area. 

1. Theatre Tickets
The best gift for the poor, struggling artist who, like me, doesn’t ever get to enjoy the thrill of media comps. Give them an IOU for a weekend at Stratford or Shaw or take them to one of the many splashy musicals happening right now across the country. Winter is also festival time, so if you want something off the beaten path, take a look at the schedules for Centaur’s Wildside Festival (Montreal), GCTC’s Undercurrents (Ottawa) or the Next Stage Festival (Toronto). If you’re close to the 1000 Islands Playhouse, they’re offering gift certificates until the 24th. And if you’re out in Regina, you might want to give the gift of Carmen Aguirre - Globe Theatre, in association with Nightswimming, is presenting her one woman show Blue Box in February.

Merry Christmas! And for those that don’t celebrate it, Happy Government-Mandated Statutory Holiday. 

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