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Pink Shirt Day 2014

My Pink Shirt Day Selfie

My Pink Shirt Day Selfie

I am a person who strongly dislikes the color pink. I don’t have a reason for it, but if you were to look around my home it would be pretty easy to confirm: there is no pink to be seen. But I own one pink shirt that I own for the sole reason of wearing once a year on pink shirt day.

I’ve written before about my experiences with bullying, and I don’t think I have any new insights, but I wanted to mark the day.

Today I’ll be spending the day in rehearsal for This Stays In the Room, a collective creation piece about shame and forgiveness. It’s still early in the rehearsal process, but so far I have thought about my bullies each day. But this, to me, is what forgiveness is: that I can think of my bullies and my experiences without continuing to give them power.Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean “getting over.” It doesn’t make everything that happened okay. But it takes away the power for those things, people and experiences to continue to hurt you in new ways.

Today I’ll be wearing my pink shirt in solidarity with the kids who are continuing to be bullied and to say that BULLYING IS NOT OKAY. Ever. At any age.

But I’ll also be looking for new ways to forgive, because that’s what moving forward is.

2013: Work & Other Adventures

The quote I chose to write on the wall in Calgary on our first tour stop.

The quote I chose to write on the wall in Calgary on our first tour stop.

2013 was a big year for me on the work front. It was also the first year that I had multiple confirmed projects (3!) get cancelled with only a few months notice. This certainly changed my year from going as I thought, but it also opened the door to some new opportunities.

I rang in 2013 with Atomic Vaudeville as I prepped to head out on the national tour of Ride The Cyclone. I can honestly say that I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I signed up to stage manage that show, but it led to an amazing four months that took me to Victoria, Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto (on hiatus), Winnipeg, Vernon (on hiatus), Saskatoon & Nanaimo. There are people from that tour that I miss on a daily basis.

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

That tour (with the help of my parents) also afforded me the opportunity to buy a condo. So when the tour ended at the end of April, I took possession of my lovely new home. I spent a week doing all the renos: new fixtures, new paint, tile on the kitchen walls, and so on and then celebrated my 27th birthday with a big ol’ party in my new home.

The wreckage that remained at the end of the show.

The wreckage that remained at the end of the show.

May ended with a trip over to Robert’s Creek on the Sunshine coast to work with The Only Animal for their part of the Obstructions series: Stupid Is As Stupid Does. My role on that show became unique from all other Stage Management I’ve done when I was asked to create a three-tiered wedding cake covered in red, white and blue roses that would be cut up with a chainsaw before being eaten. But it was a creative challenge I was excited about and I spent my evenings after rehearsal baking cakes. Our rehearsal of the cake cutting (with a practice cake) yielded hilarious results, including me covered in cake crumbs from head to toe. There may be some video of that kicking around, but sadly I do not have any of it.

Once that show was over, I jumped head first into working with the Vancouver Board of Parks & Rec on the annual Arts, Health & Seniors Gala that I’ve been coordinating for the past couple of years at the Roundhouse. This year the performances included a choir, puppets, and lots of video projects. But the funnest part of the event is always helping to serve the luncheon – especially the dessert. Everyone in the room gets so excited about dessert!

Summer was a time where two projects fell through. The way I looked at my remaining options was this: “I can stay in Vancouver and make no money sitting on my ass while my friends all work, or I can make no money going to Toronto and working my ass off with my friends and with other new connections.”  For me this was a no brainer, so I jumped on an airplane and made a temporary move to Toronto. Temporary contracts with Toronto Pride and Fringe Toronto got me off to a great start and opened the doors to all sorts of opportunities to both make friends and see shows.

The chorus of Paradises Lost.

The chorus of Paradises Lost.

And then the work started in earnest with two shows at SummerWorks Eating Pomegranates Naked and Paradises Lost. The first was the project that took me to Toronto in the first place, and the second was a glorious surprise that I didn’t expect, but I so enjoyed another opportunity to work on opera. I was frequently rehearsing seven days a week, but it was a blast. On my days away from rehearsals I was adventuring around Ontario to see friends but also associate producing Aim for the Tangent’s Mature Young Adults. In fact, I attended a rehearsal of MYA with suitcase in hand on my way to the airport to fly back to Vancouver.

My favourite photo from the circus this year.

My favourite photo from the circus this year.

12 hours after arriving in Vancouver I was on my way back out-of-town – on a ferry headed for the Sunshine Coast. I joined up with Deer Crossing The Art Farm to be the circus manager for the 2013 edition of the Rainforest Circus: Circus of Chance. That show was probably the most exercise I’ve ever gotten on a show, running through the rainforest from station to station.

Then it was a ferry back to Vancouver and straight to a production meeting and my first day of prep for Rumble Theatre’s Penelope. That show was a fantastic experience and truly disgusting – mostly because of the amount of junk food we went through every night. It also had a flaming BBQ. Which was fantastic when it worked (though sadly it didn’t always work – especially in week 2).

Next came NYET with Zee Zee Theatre and artists from across the country standing up and having a conversation about Russia’s anti-gay legislation. Such a fantastic night with an amazing group of artists.

Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Except in the Unlikely Event of War

Of course, NYET happened while I was in rehearsal for Sean Devine’s latest, Except In The Unlikely Event of War with Pi Theatre Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Theatre. Pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve had actual lines in a play and also the first time that I’ve had an audience cheer for me at the end of the show. Thankfully I didn’t have to memorize my lines as I could read them from my prompt script every night. And every night I cursed Sean just a little bit for writing me into the play.

Mom and I taking selfies up the mountain.

Mom and I taking selfies up the mountain.

After such a busy year, I intentionally took December off to rest and regain some balance. A trip to see family for the holidays and celebrating Christmas with a Doctor Who topped Christmas tree were just a part of it.

Which brings us to today. Today was supposed to be my first day on my next gig, but it was one of the ones that got cancelled this year. Instead, I’m writing this blog, reflecting on the year that has been, and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Expecting the Unexpected (Work Suddenly Wanted: Dec 1, 2013 – Feb 23, 2014)

I am a planner.  The further ahead I can plan, the happier I tend to be. So you can imagine my inner tension over trying to make a career of theatre, where things change frequently and without warning. Theatre: a world where contracts are only signed on the first day of work and until that time anything can happen. It’s certainly not a stable model on which to build a life. But this year was different for me. This year was booked up over a year in advance. Sept – June, with just enough weeks off to take some out of province/country trips to see friends (something I certainy don’t do enough of).

Sometimes I'm really classy when I'm working.

Sometimes I’m really classy when I’m working.

But then last night the unexpected happened. An email from a producer. It was longer, but the gist was: I’m sorry. The funding didn’t come through. The show is cancelled. And in a system as broken as the current state of the arts in Canada and more specifically BC, I shouldn’t be surprised. No matter how well planned a show or tour is they are at the whim of funding bodies with not nearly enough money for the number of proposals received. It doesn’t matter how far ahead the companies planned or even how carefully they planned to make the most of their money.That is the reality of theatre in Canada at any level. But I digress.

And just like that my plans go out the window. I adjust. I adapt. I re-budget.

The flip side of this, of course, is that this is potentially a very exciting opportunity to do something different. Yes, I need to work for financial reasons, sure. But I also need to work because I LIKE working. If I were to sit at home for three months I would go stir crazy.

So I’m asking for help.

I’m looking for work to fill my sudden gap from Dec. 1 – Feb. 23. I’m willing to travel to do it. Although I’m primarily a stage manager I also have experience as a production manager, event coordinator, social media consultant, teacher, FOH manager, technician, receptionist, festival coordinator, library assistant and one time I survived six weeks at Grand and Toy selling office supplies.

I didn’t expect to be here. But now that I am it’s time to embrace it. But maybe embrace it with a little help.

Where in the World is…

The past year has been a crazy one for me. I haven’t stayed in one place very long. As I get ready to leave Toronto and head to the Sunshine Coast to really dive into another fantastic project, I couldn’t help reflecting on the crazyness of this year. So here we go:

(Week 52 is equal to Aug 26 – Sept 1, 2013)

Christopher and I at Niagara Falls (on our way to Niagara on the Lake to see Light in the Piazza)

Christopher and I at Niagara Falls (on our way to Niagara on the Lake to see Light in the Piazza)

52. Vancouver

51. Gibsons (Sunshine Coast)

50. Toronto

49. Toronto

48. Toronto/Niagara/Niagara-on-the-Lake/Stratford

47. Toronto/Ottawa

46. Toronto

45. Toronto

44. Toronto

43. Toronto

42. Anacortes/Vancouver/Toronto

With my dear friend Mel outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

With my dear friend Mel outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

41. Vancouver/Gibsons/Anacortes

40. Vancouver

39. Vancouver

38. Vancouver

37. Roberts Creek/Vancouver

36. Vancouver

35. Vancouver

34. Vancouver

33. Nanaimo/Vancouver

32. Nanaimo

Kholby and I at the closing party for Ride the Cyclone in Nanaimo.

Kholby and I at the closing party for Ride the Cyclone in Nanaimo.

31. Saskatoon

30. Vernon

29. Winnipeg

28. Winnipeg

27. Winnipeg

26. Toronto

25. Edmonton

24. Edmonton

23. Edmonton

Eating cupcakes with my best friend, Jaime, in Edmonton

Eating cupcakes with my best friend, Jaime, in Edmonton

22. Vancouver

21. Vancouver

20. Vancouver

19. Vancouver

18. Vancouver

17. Calgary

16. Victoria

15.  Paris/Victoria

14. Gotenburg/Paris

13. Zurich

Lexi and I at the top of Grossmunster with all of Zurich in the background.

Lexi and I at the top of Grossmunster with all of Zurich in the background.

12. Zurich

11. Zurich

10. London/Amsterdam

9. Vancouver

8. Vancouver

7. Vancouver

6. Vancouver

5. Vancouver

The whole family down in Mexico, together, for a week of sea and sun.

The whole family down in Mexico, together, for a week of sea and sun.

4. Puerto Vallarta

3. Vancouver

2. Vancouver

1. Vancouver

 

I’m kind of looking forward to just being in Vancouver for the next two or three months. Sleeping in my own bed. Seeing those friends on a daily basis. But the amazing thing about being constantly on the go is the number of people who become a part of your life. I’ve had to change my cell phone plan to be unlimited Canadian calling because there are too many important people in my life, spread out all across this country.

The New Home: Before & After Renos

I’m back in Vancouver after my nearly six months away, have moved into my new place, and finally got the internet up and running. These are all good signs that I will be returning to blogging!

First, here’s a little glimpse at what’s been keeping me busy for the past 10 days: Home renos and Moving.

 

Living Room: It's still missing the new couch

Living Room: It’s still missing the new couch

 

Dining area and Kitchen: Complete with tile backsplash

Dining area and Kitchen: Complete with tile backsplash

 

Bedroom: I have missed my bed so much.

Bedroom: I have missed my bed so much.

 

The bathroom: Sophisticated with a touch of Silly

The bathroom: Sophisticated with a touch of Silly

 

I am so pleased with how it looks now!

The First Step to Being a Grown Up

I remember reading books as a pre-teen where the protagonists were in their early 20′s and did things like own houses, get married,  have real jobs, and have kids. And I remember thinking how far away that seemed. And now here I am at 26 with a real job that never quite feels like a real job,  but I’m finally about to check off the first thing on my being a grown up check list: I’ve bought a condo!

With the very generous help of my parents, I have purchased a one bedroom condo in Vancouver. It’s just blocks away from my old apartment and has everything I wanted (except a balcony, so if anyone wants me old little BBQ, let me know).  Most excitingly it has a kitchen three times the size of my old one, a dishwasher, and in suite laundry!

I signed the final paperwork this afternoon and take possession when I get home from tour at the end of April. It’s all very exciting.

The condo, looking from the living room towards the kitchen

The condo, looking from the living room towards the kitchen

Signing all the paperwork to make it official

Signing all the paperwork to make it official

 

In Anticipation: 2013 Resolutions

Wanted: As much fun in 2013 as I had in 2012

Wanted: As much fun in 2013 as I had in 2012

1. I resolve to focus more fully on the people I am physically with, putting aside my phone and the digital world so that I can really connect.

2. I resolve to buy a condo in the first half of the year and to have the money saved from my tour to pay for any renovations I want to do.

3. I resolve to focus more on the amazing and positive things that are happening than complaining about the negative.

4. I resolve to finally visit New York.

5. I resolve to be able to say “This was the best year yet” at the end of the year.

 

Purge

Before

I don’t know if you can tell from the photo above, but I am maybe a bit of a hoarder. I have a hard time throwing away cards. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, Valentines, Opening & Closing Night cards, graduation cards, post cards, and even letters have been finding their way into my “card box” for the last 10 years. That’s right, I haven’t thrown out a card in 10 years. But now I’m preparing for my move into storage and am feeling like I need to organize and purge some of the things in my house. So I spent an afternoon with the card box. I re-read all of them. Okay, I skimmed all of them. But I sat there and realized that with some of the cards, I couldn’t even remember who the person was who gave it to me. Of course, with other cards and letters I found myself crying softly as I remembered friends and family members who are no longer with us. It was a very cathartic experience.

As I read through, I pulled out the special cards – the ones where the writer had clearly put thought into what they were saying and that still effected me, even well past the circumstance that it was written for.  There were 12 of them. In that giant pile, only 12 had a message that really mattered. So I kept those 12, tied them with a pretty ribbon, and put them somewhere safe.  And the other 2+ feet worth got recycled.

After

And then I tackled the “important papers” boxes and filed all the actually important things, and got rid of that warranty for my first ever laptop and the copy of a reference letter from my high school principal (among other things).  I found the papers I was looking for (namely the current rental agreement for my apartment with the list of damage that existed when I moved in 3 years ago), but also have arranged things so that now I will always be able to find what I’m looking for.

And all of this organizing and purging has been so re-energizing.  Every time I sit down with something to clean out I feel better. I’ve taken out two large garbage bags, two large bags of paper recycling, one large bag of clothes to give away and  I feel so much better. It’s the one good thing about moving.

Fringe, Renovictions, & Neuvo Vallarta

The last two months – since I returned to Vancouver from Toronto – have been crazy.

Hanging out at the Fringe with volunteer (and SLIP-friend!) Jordan.

Upon my return I jumped straight back to work at the Fringe. And when I say straight back to work, I mean I caught an early morning flight, landed at 9am, and was in the office – still dressing in my closing night party clothes – by 10:30am.  Things were running full steam and the Festival this year was bigger than ever. I was so proud of the work that the Onsite artists did this year, and even pushed some of my own boundaries by giving a speech and presenting an award on the last night of the festival.  My final “shows attended” count for the festival this year was 44 (including Pick of the Fringe shows).

Just as I was attempting to recover from the Festival (and really, two weeks of not eating or sleeping right do require recovery), I got word that the building I’ve lived in for the past three years had been sold and the new owners wanted to meet all of us. The next day I was handed a piece of paper saying that I had two months to move out as they were going to be renovating the building.  Here in Vancouver, we call this “renovictions” as they often happen as a way for owners to get rid of longer term renters whose rent is below current market value so that they can crank up the rent. But they’d done all the right paperwork, so I’m now getting ready to move out in 5 weeks.  Thankfully when landlords do something like this, they give you some time rent free, so financially that’s helpful.

Even Cue got in the vacation spirit, lounging on the beach with a novel

And then a week later I met up with my parents and jumped on a plane to Mexico to really relax. My brother flew down from Mexico to meet us there.  I got home last night after a full week away and my body hasn’t stopped feeling like I’m still being rocked by the waves yet. I would spend many hours a day in the water, many more reading, and none of them working.  I read a novel completely for pleasure, two non-fiction books that were semi work related, five scripts for upcoming projects, and a couple of classics that I have in my Kindle app, but am sad to admit I had never read before (like Alice in Wonderland & The Jungle Book). It was wonderful.

And now I’m home, packing, organizing, and preparing to jump into the next couple of adventures – and don’t worry, there’ll be more on them soon.