This summer if you want a great show, a fantastic meal, and a night out that will leave you feeling optimistic and happy in these strange and uncertain times head on down to Stage West Calgary and catch Red Rock Diner. Director and choreographer David Connolly has assembled an energetic, youthful, fun, and talented cast for this tribute to the early music of rock ‘n’ roll.
“We’ve received submissions from every province in Canada and from Canadians from around the world. We’ve received scripts from China, Tasmania, Australia, Ireland, many states throughout the U.S., and so on, and I think that Canadians are catching on to the idea that this is their festival.”
Michael Halfin, Artistic & Executive Director NNPF
“Telling and hearing stories keeps us in the emotional and intellectual company of one another. I think deep down, people desire to know they can rely on other people, and stories and theatre can offer that by creating a like-minded culture.”
Dale Sheldrake, Director Valentines’ Day
I’m very excited to announce that my play, Valentine’s Day, is one of twenty-four plays being produced from Wednesday, July 25th to Sunday, July 29th at the 2018 NewMarket National 10 Minute Play Festival. The NNPF is a festival dedicated to Canadian plays and the diverse voices of this country and takes place forty minutes north of Toronto in Newmarket Ontario. [Read more…]
We’re only a few weeks away from the Uncensored, Unexpected, and Unforgettable Calgary Fringe and I’ve just finished making my list of want-to-see theatre which I’ve highlighted below. This year’s festival runs from Friday, August 3rd to Saturday, August 11th, mostly in Inglewood. I say mostly because three of the shows are at Lunchbox Theatre and you’ll need to allow some travel time if you’re going between Lunchbox and Inglewood.
If you’re a frequent fringer then plan on buying a Superpass. Superpasses offer substantial savings and come in packages of five, ten, or twenty. It’s a great way to see lots of shows or get a group of friends together and share the cost. You can buy individual tickets, superpasses and check out the complete fringe schedule at the Calgary Fringe Website. [Read more…]
To fall in love with Asia is one thing. To fall in love in Asia is another. Both have happened to me.
The Star Ferry to Kowloon at night. Lights of Hong Kong behind me. It’s a gift. A dream. A curse. The best thing. The happiest thing. Yet, also the loneliest thing in the world.
Anthony Bourdain – Parts Unknown – Hong Kong
The Hemingway Solution – that’s a title for a short play idea I’ve had – the Hemingway Solution is of course suicide. There’s always, “the Hemingway solution” so says one of my characters in my, as of yet, unwritten play.
Thoughts of death and suicide are not abnormal. We’re mortal after all. It would be strange not to ponder our own mortality. And once you have an adult mind you can imagine all sorts of “what if” possibilities. “What if I could fly?” “What if I had magical powers?” “What if aliens are already among us?” “What if I am an alien?” “What if I died?” [Read more…]
“We’re also a night where everybody in the theatre community comes together to celebrate the work which we’ve done throughout the year. And whether they’re nominated for a Betty or not – whether they win a Betty or not – we are all there to celebrate the outstanding work that has been done throughout the theatre season, because it’s a hard thing to create theatre. It’s a hard thing to create art. They are a celebration that we have a community and that we are a group of four hundred to five hundred people who have come together and decided that this is our life’s work – hence the professional thing – this is our life’s work, this is what I chose to do for a life and the gift of my art is something that has value.”
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“Have fun and be creative. If you won’t find it interesting to read why is your audience going to find it interesting to read? If you don’t like the way it looks, chances are your audience won’t like the way it looks. So, trust you and do what you want to do. Marketing is the place where you can be creative and do your own things. Financial people have to follow a budget – have to follow numbers, but marketing is that world where you can have your creative juices flow, if you will.”
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“We’re all in this world together, and it’s always easier to deal with what life throws at you when you have a good support system. Many of us take our friends and families a little bit for granted. If people walk away from this show and talk about it or go hug a friend, then I’ve done my job.”
Urban Stories Theatre supports local playwrights who write about social justice issues and helps these playwrights go from first draft to finished production. The company is made up of a core group of local artists who oversee all productions and workshops.
Urban Stories and the Knox Theatre Collective are presenting, The Just Acts Youth Edition from June 5th to 8th at Knox United Church. The Just Acts Youth Edition is a showcase for young writers to develop and present their work on stage.
Helen Young is the Artistic Director and one of the founders of Urban Stories Theatre. Her theatre, film, and television work goes back more than 30 years and includes acting, singing, dancing, stunt work, writing, teaching, and directing. I spoke to Helen about her thoughts on theatre’s place in our culture and this year’s festival. [Read more…]
“There’s an artistic epiphany in my play John Doe Jack Rabbit. There’s a moment where the TV’s broken and they’re stuck in this cabin and they’re on the lam and this one guy Gordy is reading a book – it’s this trashy horrible romance novel called Ravaged at Rush Hour. But then he gets so sucked into this book – as if he’s never read a book before – and he has this moment where he’s like, the person who wrote this book wrote it down so I would know what it feels like to be Jessica in the cab or whatever it was, right? And that was one of those things. That’s what playwriting is about. What art is about. This is what it’s like to feel like I feel, and I put it into this painting for you to grasp that concept, or I put it in this play for you to go – wow that’s what’s going on in your head.”
Neil Fleming is a multi-talented, award winning Calgary designer, playwright and television producer. In our hour and a half chat last Friday Neil and I talked about all kinds of things including playwriting, depression, Chuck Wendig, poltergeists and ADHD. The purpose of our getting together was to talk about Neil’s playwriting and specifically his current play, Spare Parts, which is being workshopped at the Stage One Festival of New Canadian Work at Lunchbox Theatre this week. [Read more…]
“Is life a search for truth? I think ideally it is. I think people that go off into the light happily – however you want to say it – those are the people that have somehow discovered the more profound fundamental truths about life. I always tease people and say, “No one is lying on their deathbed saying they wished they’d worked at the office more or wished they’d partied more.” You know generally what gives people a sense of peace and meaning – again because we’re talking about aging meaningfully – is that they made those profound human connections. They struggled, but they overcame. They had loss, but they healed from that. They were transformed. And I think the happiest people are the ones who live most truthfully.”
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I’m happy to report that my play Valentine’s Day is part of the Crew Cut Finals at this year’s Short+Sweet Festival in Sydney Australia. One hundred and sixty plays were produced over the eight weeks of the festival with the top plays advancing to the People’s Choice Showcase, Crew Cut, Wildcard, and Gala Finals.
Valentine’s Day is one of eleven plays being presented on Thursday March 29th and Friday March 30th at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills. The play is about Tom who remembers the day fifty years ago when he met the love of his life Heather. The production is being directed by Sarah Purdue and stars Les Asmussen as Old Tom, Jayden Muir as Heather, Abbie Gallagher as Karen, and Murray John Curtis as Young Tom.
Short+Sweet Sydney 2018 The Crew Cut Finals
Valentine’s Day [Read more…]