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.
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.
It’s hard to stay organized when you have lots of projects on the go. Here are five tips to help you organize your brain and your digital life.
1. Keep your files organized
If you’re anything like me, you both download many attachments and create piles of files. But how do you make sure you can find them again when you need them?
All my show folders, organized
For me the trick is files nested inside each other and numbered. The master file for work, in my case, is called “contracts” which is followed by folders for each theatre season. Each season has every show I’ve worked on that season, numbered so that they stay in the order I did them rather than alphabetically. Inside each show’s folder are folders for schedules, breakdowns, set, rehearsal reports, props, etc. When I need to find a piece of information from a show in 2009, you can bet I know where to find it. This archival type system has proven extra useful in the case of Re:Union which is being remounted to tour this year. When an email attachment comes for a show, I save it directly to the show’s folder (which I create the day I say yes to the project) and I never have to worry about hunting through a giant downloads folder to find things. As a bonus, it keeps my desktop really clear. Job hunting contains nested folders for resumes and headshots. Invoices has nested folders for each calendar year. My goal is always to be able to find what I’m looking for as quickly as possible.
2. Keep your Inbox managed
There is nothing I find more frustrating when I sit down to work than having to sort through piles of emails to find the information I need or figure out what action needs to be taken. My solution? Keep my inbox as close to empty as possible. I do this by keeping a well organized folder system so that as soon as something is dealt with I can file it away. This allows me to quickly find the email for reference later, but helps me know that the only things in my inbox are the things I have not yet dealt with. It’s my own version of Inbox Zero. His system didn’t quite work for me, but it is what inspired me to this system.
Sorting emails: Current & Not Current
My email filing system for work is broken down to “Current” and “Not Current” and then I have folders for each show (tours get a nested folder for each city). When a show wraps, it gets moved from “Current” to “Not Current” which allows me to reference them as necessary without having them filling my inbox. Within the “Not Current” section I have folders for companies if I’ve worked with them more than once, just to limit the number of folders I look at in a glance. (I similarly have a “Friends” folder with nested folders for my friends by name.) This system has proven invaluable with shows that have later gone on to tour or been remounted in any capacity – I have all the original conversations about why we did things the way we did.
At this moment my inbox has nine emails in it. I’ve read all of them, but have not yet responded or taken the necessary action to consider them dealt with. But nine is completely manageable. I might even deal with all of them today. Pro Tip: spend 20 minutes unsubscribing from mailing lists you don’t care about (the kind that stores put you on or theatre companies that send 12 emails a week). The 20 minutes now will save you much more than that in time spent deleting emails later.Legally any “newsletter” type email has to have an unsubscribe button at the bottom, so it should be easy to do.
3. Keep an Up-to-date Calendar
When I was in Toronto last month I made plans to get together with a friend. I wrote it on one calendar, but failed to input it into my digital calendar. The day to get together came and I completely forgot that I had a plan because when I checked my daily calendar it wasn’t there. Thankfully my friend texted me to confirm plans and I was able to still go (I hadn’t booked something else at that time, thank goodness!). I’m a big fan of iCal, but that’s because it syncs so easily between my computer and my iPhone (and my iPhone is my lifeline for work), but there are lots of different calendar options.
Balancing rehearsals, a social life, and travel requires a detailed calendar
I have set up a series of different “calendars,” each with a different colour, and I use them for different purposes which allows me to see at a glance when I’m working and when I’m socializing in a given week. Take the extra 15 or 20 minutes to set up more than one type of calendar and colour code them – it’s totally worth it in the long run.
The important thing isn’t what type of calendar you use (you may even prefer a handwritten agenda). The important thing is plugging everything into it and then referring to it and being consistent about your method.
I have been using Dropbox for about four years now and I love it. I originally installed it because I was in a situation where I sometimes worked at home on my laptop, but other times I was expected in the office on a company computer and emailing files back and forth to myself was getting old and I just wanted to have the most up-to-date file in both places. Cue DropBox (or any other good sync software). I now have immediate access to every file saved in my DropBox folder (which is almost everything on my computer – I have a Pro account) from my laptop, iPhone, iPad, work computer or through the website to download from a computer I’m not installed on. This is huge for me. It means I have access to my files from anywhere. Out for drinks with a colleague who asks to see the set design for the current show? No problem. I’ve got it right here on my phone. What about my resume? Yup. It’s also right here. And there’s a handy “email file” option right in the app.
5. Use an RSS Reader
If you read any blogs or news, grab yourself an RSS feed reader. Google Reader is dead, but www.feedly.com is a great replacement (and there are other options too). Basically, every time a blog or news site that you follow posts something new, this reader holds that info for you to read without you having to remember to visit each individual site. I currently subscribe to 351 sites. Imagine if I had to remember to visit each of them on a daily basis? And some of them only post once a month, but if I had to physically hunt each day to find out when there was new info, it would add hours to my week.
Categories of subscriptions
Instead, I go to one place and it shows me all the new content, organized by categories of my design (though I often select to view all with the most recent first).Pro Tip: “J” automatically jumps to the next article and “K” jumps back to the one before. I often just skim headlines, only reading a handful of articles a day (guaranteed to be read in full: the newest GirlsWithSlingshots comic, any reviews in the Georgia Straight, and posts by blogs in the “Friends” category). I also use my RSS feeds to search for jobs for me. For example, anything posted on Craigslist in Vancouver or Toronto that uses the word “theatre” in the description will come to my reader in addition to anything posted by the Alliance of Arts & Culture or the CITT job board. I no longer have to search these things out, they come to me.
I’m not sure I thought that was a job title that would end up on my resume, but I’m so glad it has. After a crazy summer in Toronto, I flew back to Vancouver on Sunday and less than 12 hours later boarded the ferry to the Sunshine Coast to work with deer crossing the art farm on their annual Rainforest Circus. I’m living on the farm in an 85 square foot caravan. I wake up when the sun comes up and I go to bed when the sun goes down. It’s simple in that way.
Sunrise on the Sunshine Coast
There are no regular days on the farm – each day comes with its own set of challenges and thrills. On Tuesday morning the intern and I drove down to the beach at 8am for a pre-breakfast swim. Just because we could. On the night of the full moon we had a campfire where we roasted apples from the tree on the farm. Often when I look around I see one artist building an installation, a pair working on a scene for the circus, a group designing a display, someone else painting set pieces. From one direction is the sound of chainsaws and from another there are children playing. But we all stop to each lunch and dinner together. It’s communal in that way.
Over the course of yesterday and today we moved from the farm down to the forest to rehearse and started to put things into place. And again, I look around to spot three people at the trapeze, two working a scene, art being installed, a sound system being tested and so on. But me? I’m moving through all of it, making sure everyone has what they need. “Did you hear that we moved that scene over to the other clearing?” “If we put the vinyl flowers here, can the wire deer go at the top of the hill?” “What if I start the music when the last audience member makes it around that curve in the path?” Small pieces, coming together to make a beautiful whole. It’s creative in that way.
And I’m so content: I’m organizing people, being invited to collaborate creatively, and laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.
I’ve been trying to document the adventure a bit, taking pictures on my iPhone. But my photos do none of it justice. They do not capture the way the arial silks artist took my breath away the first time I saw her free fall in time to the music. They don’t capture the way sound moves through the forest. They don’t give you a sense of the smell of moss, dust, and nature. They try, but fail, to give a sense of the way the light comes through the trees. But here are some of my favourites.
Vinyl flowers – made from CDs, laser discs, and records.
Sandy holds up a nearly completed deer head – all that’s missing is the antlers!
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)
51. Gibsons (Sunshine Coast)
With my dear friend Mel outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
37. Roberts Creek/Vancouver
Kholby and I at the closing party for Ride the Cyclone in Nanaimo.
Eating cupcakes with my best friend, Jaime, in Edmonton
Lexi and I at the top of Grossmunster with all of Zurich in the background.
The whole family down in Mexico, together, for a week of sea and sun.
4. Puerto Vallarta
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.
Things in Toronto are busy. I realized yesterday that in the month of August I will be working on five different projects. But for now I want to tell you about two of them – the two that are a part of the 2013 SummerWorks festival.
Paradises Lost is a new Opera that is a part of the SummerWorks Musicals in Concert series. Based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s novella of the same name, Paradises Lost is set on the starship Discovery as it searches for a New Earth. From the official blub:
Paradises Lost follows the 200 year journey of the starship Discovery to colonize a new uninhabited planet. The ship’s ultimate destination will experienced by future generations, but the followers of Bliss — an emerging religion on the ship — believe that they should remain inside their spaceship heaven for eternity.
This is a ONE NIGHT ONLY concert on August 13th and it is very likely to sell out.
Adapted from the novella by Ursula K Le Guin by Marcia Johnson (librettist) and Stephen Andrew Taylor (composer).
Directed by Liza Balkan.
Cast: Neema Bickersteth, Lawrence Cotton, Adanya Dunn, Jordan Fantauzzo, Chris Isaak, Topaz Kelly, Keith Klassen, Derek Kwan, Tahirih Vejdani, Xin Wang.
Chorus: Ann Bisch, Lindsay Sutherland Boal, Alexis Gordon, Stew Granger, Allison Hess, Allen Levack, Lana Sugarman, Chris Tsujiuchi.
Accompanist: Tamara Saringer
Stage Manager: Lois Dawson
Sometimes a little white lie can turn into a grenade before you know it.
In a familiar urbanite home Sera (Marci T House) and Scott (Eli Ham) are hosting a dinner party for their friends Rushton (Awaovieye Agie) and Cassidy (Susan A. Lock) when a wine-soaked Anaar (Cherissa Richards) congratulates the expecting couple followed by moments of silences and death stares from across the table.
Eating Pomegranates Naked challenges this social circle’s position on womanhood. Directed by Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu and written by Andrea Scott. This Toronto middle-class drama-comedy makes its debut at the 2013 SummerWorks Theatre Festival.
We have seven performances at the Lower Ossington Theatre over the course of the festival.
Author: Andrea Scott
Director: Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu
Stage Manager: Lois Dawson
Producer: Renna Reddie
Performers: Eli Ham, Marci T House, Awaovieye Agie, Cherissa Richards, Susan A Lock
I’m now into month number three of the Ride the Cyclone tour. Add my five and a half weeks in Europe onto the front of that and that is a long time to be living out of one suitcase and one carry-on. There are some things you know that you are going to need like a computer, comfortable shoes, and enough clothes. But on top of all that, despite limited space, I’m so glad I have these things:
1. Portable Printer
This is the one item on this list that is fairly stage manager/production manager/producer specific, but having a portable printer with me on tour has saved me many hours and dollars. In every city there are new schedules, contact lists, copies of the script, and many other items that need to be printed. With my own printer, I print these things in my hotel room at 1am after Q2Q and don’t have to try to find a 24 hour Kinkos or wait until the next morning to go to staples and pay per page. I bought the HP Office Jet 100 color printer and couldn’t be happier. It takes up only a small amount of my suitcase (both in terms of physical space and weight) and when set to “draft” mode prints very quickly. I did not have my printer with me in Europe, and I wish now that I had. I spent many evenings fighting with the hotel’s printing stations, trying to get schedules to print. Doing it in my room is so much better! Also, having a color printer makes it very easy to make beautiful opening night cards.
My on-the-road talisman is my ducky, Cue, who makes every theatre feel like my home base. But bring something with you that makes wherever you are feel like home: framed photos of friends, your own pillow, a teddy bear, fridge magnets, an action figure, etc. A figurine also makes a great travel companion/something to take photos of when you are in places that you can’t always get a good selfie.
3. Spices (in baggies!)
While it is easy to eat out all the time when touring, it is so much healthier and cheaper to do some of your own cooking. We have been really fortunate on this tour to mostly be in hotels where we have suites with kitchens. However, it is not possible to travel with a full kitchen cupboard in one little suitcase. To remedy this, I have four plastic baggies: garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, and basil. Between the four of them I can add some flavor to whatever I’m cooking, but it doesn’t take up much extra space.
4. A pleasure item or two
What brings you joy? Figure that out and then bring that with you. Whether its an e-reader stocked full of books, a video game console, an external hard drive full of your favourite movies and tv shows, or a relaxing bubble bath, there will be time off that will need to be filled and having the option to relax while doing something you love can be a welcome break from exploring.
5. Sleep Aids
For me, this is melatonin, but I know that everyone has a different sleep aid preference. On tour you switch beds more frequently than some people change their sheets. You may also find yourself changing time zones and the constant “Oh, I guess we’re back to tech week….again” gets old. I highly recommend having some sort of sleep aid, especially for the first night or two in
Ever wondered who the folks are who stage manage the big TV events like the Oscars, Grammys, and other major awards shows? I know that I have. I always watch to the end of the credits to count how many they have (for example, most episodes of American Idol credit anywhere from four to eight stage managers).
Well now I don’t have to wonder any more since the LA Times ran a great profile of Dency Nelson, the man who has stage managed the Oscars for the last 25 years (among a long list of credits).
“An anonymous but critical piece of the Hollywood awards season machinery, stage managers like Nelson control the chaos of the live TV broadcast — they deliver the correct winning envelopes, ensure that the pop-up microphone actually pops up and, most delicately, orchestrate the flow of talent through the stage wings….”It’s like air traffic control,” he said one recent afternoon at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, where he was preparing for Sunday’s show. “Ninety percent of the people in the room don’t know my name, but when they round the corner and come into the wings there’s a smile, ‘Oh, that guy.’”"
All of our travel items have the Cyclone logo spray painted onto them
I’ve been in Calgary for four very busy days now and am having a hard time believing that my first week of Ride the Cyclone is coming to an end. It feels like we’ve been in Calgary both longer and shorter than we have. Because our appearance in Calgary is part of a festival, our load-in/tech time was limited and so there was no time to go through and Q2Q the show here. Instead, I got my first chance to ever see the lighting cues, costumes and props in a dress rehearsal as I called the show for the first time on the afternoon of opening. I was nervous and I was stressed about it.
That was Wednesday. Now it’s Friday (well, Saturday really….) and I have three performances under my belt and I’m starting to feel like I’ve got a handle on what is going on. Which of course means that it must be almost time to head to the next city and start over. But there’s also something exciting about that, especially this time because we have things technically that we just didn’t have time to really look at here in Calgary that I know we want to fix in Vancouver.
All bundled up for the cold Calgary nights.
Calgary has been really beautiful and really cold while we’ve been here. Today was down around -20 for a good portion of the day, and while my prairie relatives would think I’m weak for being cold in that, this Vancouverite is finding the cold to take some getting used to. I am getting good use out of the winter hat I picked up in Zurich and have good memories of exploring the city in search of something to keep my head warm! Sadly the picture on the right is a bit grainy from my iPhone camera so you can’t tell that I am covered in snow in it.When I snapped the photo yesterday it was snowing quite hard outside.
In addition to the cold we’ve been battling the dry air, higher altitude, and a nasty cold that has hit many of us working on the show – myself included. For me this is a show where I barely stop talking for an hour and a half, and I’m definitely not used to being the one worried about my voice, but Thursday night I nearly lost my voice and ever since I’ve been following all the advice the singers want to give me about keeping my voice healthy.
Rielle & Sarah with the Amazing Karnak in the background
The show itself continues to be wonderful. It’s a great joy to get to listen to a new audience discover it every night. Tonight someone snuck a photo during the show on their iPhone and then tweeted it. I figure that makes it fair game, so the first production still of the 2013 tour is to the left of this text.
Tomorrow my parents are coming to see the show since they are in Calgary on their way to vacation and then Sunday we head to Vancouver where our lighting designer is already busy supervising the lighting install and getting ready for our arrival. Vancouver is the only city on the tour that has seen a previous version of the show. I can’t wait to see how they respond to the new and improved version!
I mean, the Calgary Herald really liked it. They called it “an exhilarating blast of theatre with bite” and “ a wild ride, offering everything from emotional resonance to laugh-out-loud moments to hummable tunes that will have you singing the raunchy lyrics the next day.”
I cannot write a top five or top ten list when it comes to theatre in a year. How do I decide to include such an arbitrary number!? Instead, here are the shows I saw this year that made my heart beat faster, that moved me to action, that left me gasping, that pushed me to keep doing what I do, and that have stuck with me at the end of the year.
In no particular order.
Jonathon Young and Meg Rowe in All the Way Home
All The Way Home (Electric Company) website I had a hard time picking between All The Way Home and Initiation Trilogy, both from the Electric Company, when i was beginning to compile this list. I chose All the Way Home because it was one of those productions where not only was it excellent, but EVERYTHING about it was excellent. The cast, the design, the direction, and the implementation in it’s unique set up on the stage of the QE all worked extraordinarily well. I was moved to tears by this production and in it’s final beautiful moments I sat wanting to bathe in that beauty and not let it leave. Though that transience is part of what made it so special.
Tempting Providence (Theate Newfoundland Labrador at Gateway Theatre)website
I had been hearing one of my mentors sing the praise of this show for at least four years before I finally got my chance to see it live up to all the praise she had heaped on it. It is a play that is beautiful in its simplicity and specificity, with each movement, prop, and set piece carefully chosen to serve multiple purposes, but above all to serve the story. I saw this show shortly after a friend accused me of only liking big shows with spectacle to which I had responded that what I was most interested in was shows that work as a whole and make big choices – something this show did so beautifully. I searched for a photo from the production to include in this post, but the photos I found came no where near capturing the show’s simple beauty, so I decided against including one.
Stationary (Delinquent Theatre at Neanderthal) website
I had seen this show back when it was Parked! at Bridge Mix in 2011 and was so excited to see a longer version. By the time I was able to attend the show had been running for a few days and the festival was abuzz with delight at the talent of this young company. I was definitely not disappointed – even with high expectations – and have since purchased the soundtrack which I listen to frequently and continue to hope that I will get to see this show again. I saw the lives my friends are living on that stage – bachelors degrees, dead end jobs, and a desire for something more. I also saw an incredibly talented group of performers who showed themselves to be more than triple threats, adding multiple musical instruments to their repertoire. Is the show perfect? No. Not yet at least. But it is absolutely wonderful and from the look of things, the show is moving forward as a run in April 2013 at Presentation House has already been announced. As Delinquent Theatre says, “Real life is disappointing. Singing about it definitely takes the edge off.”
The God that Comes (2b Theatre & Hawksley Workman at SummerWorks) website
The night of debauchery that was The God That Comes was one of my favourite nights of the year. Everything about the experience – from the time the door opened – was created to enhance the spectator’s understanding and enjoyment of the evening. I went with my new SummerWorks friends at the last minute, paying for tickets since it wasn’t included in our program and we were so glad we went. We were greeted by attractive young men and women who fed us grapes (or decorated our bodies with grapes) and wine. We drank wine straight out of the bottle as we were encouraged to do as the incredibly talented Hawksley Workman told the story of Bacchus using The Bacchae as the primary source. It was part cabaret, part concert, and wholly theatrical. There is a moment near the end where Workman has a tall staff in one hand that he beats against the floor in time to the music, and as the lights changed with it I think my heart beat shifted to beat in time with the music. It’s playing at Club PuSh in a couple of weeks and I’m terribly upset that I will be unable to see it again. But rumor has it a concept album will be released and I will be buying that as soon as it is.
Rebecca Northan as Mimi
Blind Date (Rebecca Northan at the Cultch) website
This was a Blind Date that I returned to four times during its run in Vancouver for the simple reason that it had a great mix of heart and humor. While Mimi the Parisian Clown teased her various dates and pushed them out of their comfort zone, the level of care that Northan offered them during the performance was outstanding. It was also outstandingly funny. After my first night in attendance my face hurt from smiling and laughing so hard – an experience that I rarely have at the theatre. Northan is an expert improvisor who carefully shapes the path she wants the evening to take, guiding the men with an almost invisible hand until you return a few times and see the small ways in which she is able to guide the story to its intended conclusion.
Matilda the Musical (RSC @ Westend London) website
This was perhaps the show that I was most looking forward to this year. I have been a fan of the source material – Roald Dahl’s Matilda – since I was an eight year old bookworm. I was not a fan of the film version, but found that the play had the same heart as the book while adapting itself enough to make for a great musical. I knew all the songs going in, but found the staging to be breathtaking and ever so imaginative – which it had to be since the imagination as at the heart of the book. The cast were really outstanding and I found myself grinning for the rest of the night. Indeed, I find myself grinning as I sit here writing about how much I enjoyed the show.
I also want to mention the following shows that stuck out to me during the year:
Red (Vancouver Playhouse/CanStage), Hunchback (Catalyst Theatre presented by The Cultch & Vancouver Playhouse), Craigslist Cantata (Arts Club/PuSh Festival), Goodness (Volcano Theatre at Firehall Arts Centre), King Lear (Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-op), The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre at the Arts Club), Mary Poppins (Broadway Across Canada), God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment at Neanderthal Arts Festival & Vancouver Fringe), When it Rains (2b Theatre at SummerWorks), Bookworm (Corin Raymond at the Vancouver Fringe), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), and La Cenerentola (National Opera of Paris).
Finally, the theatrical endeavour which has been the most rewarding, encouraging, and mind-bending for me in 2012 has been the Obstructions series. For those of you unfamiliar, the companies who make up Progress Lab (Boca del Lupo, Electric Company Theatre, Felix Culpa, Leaky Heaven Circus, Neworld Theatre, The Only Animal, Pi Theatre, Radix Theatre, Rumble Productions, Theatre Conspiracy, and Theatre Replacement) have been challenging each other to up their game and re-examine their company aesthetics by testing the idea that creativity feeds on limits. Inspired in part by The Five Obstructions by Jørgen Leth and Lars Von Trier, the core artists of each participating company submit, a few at a time and under a cold spotlight, to a list of obstructions delivered by a shadowy emcee. The companies are then commanded to create their next production around those limitations. The obstructions for each company are developed in secret by their peers – a custom-designed set of obstacles that will prompt each artist to adapt to a new approach to making theatre. Their individual tendencies toward form, place, style, theme, design, period, story are exposed and obstructed, spilling the artist’s bag of tricks all over the stage and out of reach.
The performances that have been spawned by the challenges which take place approximately once a month are a huge highlight for me, as the theatre community gathers together with our patrons and pushes what we are capable of while creating some beautiful theatre. I missed the Pi Theatre and Theatre Conspiracy performances while I was in Europe, but attended the Boca del Lupo, Felix Culpa, and Radix Theatre performances. This series continues into 2013 and I can’t wait to catch more of the performances when I am in town. Because a show done on a set built entirely of carrots likely never would have happened without a challenge like this.
For the last four years I’ve been keeping track of what I see, and each year the number has been growing. This year I saw a staggering 174 different productions (some of them more than once) spanning the performance art disciplines in 10 cities and five countries. I saw a high school production and a West End Musical. I went to the Vancouver Fringe and the Paris National Opera. I saw magicians, musicals, and modern dance; ballet, busking, and butoh; Shakespeare, site-specific, and SummerWorks.
As with every year there are shows I regret missing, but there are way less this year. There were things I wanted to see in London that I didn’t make it to. I couldn’t see every show at PuSh. I missed Terminus at SummerWorks.But overall, I saw more great theatre this year. Of course, I also walked out of two shows this year (something I rarely do) and wanted to walk out of at least three others that I couldn’t walk out of due to political reasons or logistics.
Here they are, the 174 shows I saw in 2012 in something close to chronological order:
Waiting for Godot (Blackbird Theatre at the Cultch)
Never Swim Alone (TWU)
All The Way Home (Electric Company)
Red (Vancouver Playhouse)
The Idiot (Neworld/UBC at PuSh)
Amarillo (Teatro Linea de Sombra at PuSh)
Glory Days (The Boys Upstairs Equity Co-op)
Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner (Chelfitsch Theater at PuSh)
Gunmetal Blues (Playhouse)
El Pasado un animal grotesco (Grupo Marea at PuSh)
Craigslist Cantata (Arts Club Theatre at PuSh)
Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts/Touchstone Theatre at PuSh)
Calendar Girls (Arts Club)
No. 2 (Silo Theatre at PuSh)
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Pacific Theatre)
Bride on Credit (TWU)
Tempting Providence (Gateway Theatre)
Problem Child & The End of Civilization (Theatre at UBC)
I Love You Because (Intimate Productions)
Intimate Apparel (Arts Club Theatre)
The Silicone Diaries (Nina Arsenault at The Cultch)
Hunchback (Catalyst Theatre at The Vancouver Playhouse)
All Shook Up (Chemainus Theatre Festival & Gateway Co-pro)
Ignorance (Old Trout Puppet WorkShop at The Cultch)
Doubt (Pacific Theatre)
Goodness (Volcano theatre at the Firehall)
King Lear (Honest Fishmongers)
Kismet 1 to 100 (The Chop at Gateway)
A Vessel of Ruins (Taketeru Kudo – Tokyo)
Barber of Seville (Vancouver Opera)
Importance of Being Earnest (Arts Club)
Importance of Being Earnest (Gallery 7)
Flop (Delinquent Theatre)
Snooker (Camillo the Magician)
Fresco (BellaLuna Productions)
The Bombitty of Errors (20-Something)
Scar Tissue (Arts Club)
Henry & Alice: Into the Wild (Arts Club)
EndGame (Main Street Theatre)
A Last Resort (Rough House Productions)
Trial by Jury (VSO & Vancouver Opera Ensemble)
Aida (Vancouver Opera)
The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre)
100 Saints You Should Know (Pacific Theatre)
Blue Box (Neworld Theatre)
Bliss (Ballet BC)
High Society (Arts Club)
Godspell (Christ Church Cathedral)
Obstructions – Boca Del Lupo
Shelter from the Storm (Touchstone/Firehall)
Fantasticks (Gallery 7)
MacBeth (Bard on the Beach)
Wolf at the Door (Pacific Theatre)
Not Everything You Are (Stones Throw)
Obstructions – Felix Culpa
UnBoxed (Scarlet Satin)
Reasons to be Pretty (Matchbox Theatre)
Xanadu (Arts Club)
The Music Man (TUTS)
King John (Bard on the Beach)
Merry Wives of Windsor (Bard on the Beach)
Alter Boyz (Arts Club)
Armed (Xua Xua)
Mary Poppins (Broadway Across Canada)
Stationary (Delinquent Theatre at Neanderthal)
Coercion (Hardline at Neanderthal)
God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment.at Neanderthal)
The List (Bouchewhacked! at Neanderthal)
Tyumen, Then (Groundwater Productions at Neanderthal)
House of X (Wild Excursions at Neanderthal)
The Taming of the Shrew (Bard on the Beach)
Obstructions – Beautiful Karrats (Radix)
Sunday Service (Neanderthal)
Exhibit A (411 Dramaturgy at Neanderthal)
The Marraige of Figaro (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre)
My Pregnant Brother (Freestanding Productions at SummerWorks)
France or the Niquab (Old Pirate at SummerWorks)
Haunted (The Haunted Group at SummerWorks)
Artaud: un Portrait en Decomposition (TheatreRUN at SummerWorks))
Medicine Boy (Native Earth at SummerWorks)
Purge (Brian Lobel at SummerWorks)
One/Un (Orange Noyée at SummerWorks)
The God that Comes (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
When it Rains (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
Petrichor (Kitchenband at SummerWorks)
Barrel Crank (Suitcase in Point at SummerWorks)
Extinction Song (Voodoo Theatre at SummerWorks)
Dutchman (lemonTree Creations)
Wondermart (Rotozaza at SummerWorks)
Marine Life (Theatre Crisis and Aluna Theatre at SummerWorks)
Captain Ron’s Ship of Friendship/Atomic Vaudeville Cabaret (Atomic Vaudeville at SummerWorks)
The Frenzy of Queen Maeve (Live Lobster Theatre at SummerWorks)
Breath in Between (Breath Collective in Association with Crow’s Theatre at SummerWorks)
40 Days and 40 Nights (Nina Arsenault at Summerworks)
Your Side, My Side and the Truth (Compass and Trying Science Co-Production at SummerWorks)
Peachy Coochy (Summerworks)
We Will WeeTube (An Experiment with Theatre Replacement’s WeeTube at SummerWorks)
Iceland (The Iceland Collective at Summerworks)
Speed the Plow (SoulPepper)
Motor Vehicle Sundown (Andy Field at SummerWorks)
Midsummer Night’s Dream (CanStage)
Eurosmash! (Die Rotten Punkte at The Cultch)
My Marvellous Melcher Machine (James Melcher)
Pirates? (Quimera Collective)
Just Bust a Move (Nathaniel Roy)
Home Free (Staircase XI)
Riverview High: The Musical (Entrance Theatre)
In the Time of the Dream Warrior (Golgonooza)
The 1812 Event (Just Push Play)
Romance (Queer Arts Society)
Adult Entertainment (Squidamisu Theatre)
ReLapse (And the Other Leg)
Miss Cosmos (Bright Young Theatre)
Felony (Dreams Beyond 30)
First Day Back (10 Foot Pole)
Alpha (Compassionate Bone)
Three More Sleepless Nights (o.o.o.o.)
Weaksauce (Sam Mullins)
You Are Here (Allentina Francesca)
Hip Hop Shakespeare Live Music Videos (411 Dramaturgy)
Tales Told by Idiots (Not The Mermaid)
Lost in Twine (Looking for 143 Productions)
Underbelly (Jayson MacDonald)
Zanna, Don’t (Awkward Stage)
Psychopomp (Psyche Theatre)
Smudge (Two Wrongs That Write)
God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment)
Peter ‘n’ Chris Explore Their Bodies (Peter ‘n’ Chris)
Gadfly (Theatre of the Beat)
Guernica (Hidden Harlequin Theatre)
Fishbowl (Mark Shyzer)
How to Love (Idea Factory Entertainment)
Welcome to my Wake (INC – Ingrid Nilson Collective)
Little Lady (Sandrine Lanford)
The Histories AKA Will Shakespeare’s ImproMusical (GrinkeInk)
Riot (Carson Graham Secondary)
The Missing Piece (Theresa Hamilton)
The Best, Man (Urban Rogues)
Risk Everything (Squidamisu Theatre)
No Tweed to Tight (Ryan Gladstone)
Vincent (Spitfire Productions)
Bookworm (Corin Raymond)
Blind Date (Rebecca Northan at the Cultch)
Post Secret: The Play (TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti & Frank Warren)
The Spitfire Grill (Midnight Theatre Collective at Pacific Theatre)
Capslock: The Musical (Pipedream Productions)
Master Class (Arts Club)
White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (Elbow Theatre at The Cultch)
A Beautiful View (Ruby Slippers)
Zombie Syndrome (Virtual Stage)
The Unplugging (Arts Club)
Initiation Trilogy (Electric Company/Boca del Lupo/Writers Fest)
La Boheme (Vancouver Opera)
Dancing at Lughnassa (Capilano University)
Chelsea Hotel (Firehall)
Cozy Catastrophe (theatre Melee with Rumble and the Cultch)
Gold Mountain (Les Deux Mondes & unity theatre at The Cultch)
Dickens’ Women (Miriam Margoyles at The Cultch)
Go Back for Murder (SAMC Theatre @TWU)
Tomb with a View (Genus/Up in the Air)
Far Side of the Moon (Ex Machina @ SFU)
Matilda the Musical (Royal Shakespeare Company in the Westend)
Twelfth Night (The Globe)
NSFW (Royal Court)
The Effect (National Theatre)
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Zurich Opera House)
Jultrad-i-tion (Gotenburg Opera)
Don Quixote (Ballet of the National Opera of Paris)