I’m writing this from 39,623 feet, currently somewhere above Wisconsin (if the television screen in front of me can be believed). I’m on my way home to Vancouver and am already finding myself missing the people I met over the past eight days. One of the main reasons for my trip was to try and tour some theatres & get some interviews, but I was not able to arrange for either of those things to happen. The opinion of the theatre artists I met in Toronto was that this is not abnormal – for someone to reach out to local companies and not receive any sort of response. While I found that situation a little bit discouraging I did not let it spoil the trip for me in any way. I learned a lot about the Toronto theatre scene from the artists I met and shows I saw and I see a number of ways that the things we discussed over the course of the week may come into play in the work I am doing in the near future.
Here are just a few of my highlights from the trip:
- Meeting Amanda & Brittney for the first time after over a year of online friendship and hitting it off so well that all of a sudden it was 3am on a Monday night and we were still giggling. As discussed recently on the 2am Theatre website, Twitter and an online relationship lets you jump past the initial feeling out of the friendship and just be friends.
- Seeing Catalyst Theatre’s Frankenstein at CanStage and then spending the entire rest of the week figuring out why we loved it so much despite dramaturgical issues. I now completely understand why my Vancouver friends are still talking about this show two years after it came to town.
- Getting a tour of the Harbourfront centre.
- Exploring Toronto on foot & Public Transit: St. Lawrence Market, King Street, Queen Street, Yonge Street, Bloor street, Bay street, (basically all of downtown), Kensington Market, Roncesvalles, the CN Tower, Union Station, and much more.
- Going to see a show I knew nothing about because someone I knew from online was going to see it and then leaving with her & her boyfriend at intermission because the show was just that terrible. Instead we went out for coffee, tore the show apart, and got to know each other better than we ever would have if we stayed to watch the whole play.
- Getting kidnapped by Amanda and taken (along with Brittney) to Niagara Falls in the middle of a lightening storm. We were so excited that we created a hashtag for the trip, laughing all the while at how big of geeks that made us. And then a racoon popped out of a garbage can. And Brittney did a toe dance.
- Nancy Kenny coming up from Ottawa for the weekend. Another internet friendship brought offline.
- A midnight stand-up comedy show called the Canuck Cabaret run by Nancy’s friend Paul Hutchinson in a closed movie rental store complete with ukelele songs and light twirling.
- Seeing If We Were Birds at Tarragon Theatre with Brittney & Nancy and then attempting to digest what we just saw (no pun intended).
- Visiting the Harry Potter Exhibition at the science centre with Brittney. It had all sorts of props, costumes & set pieces from the movies. We got to sit in Hagrid’s chair and pull up a shrieking potted plant. Sadly there were no photos allowed within the exhibit, but the attention to detail – right down to the buttons & clasps & textures & fonts & shading of feathers – blew us away. Can you imagine if theatre props paid that much attention to picking the right font for an on stage document? One of the most interesting things was looking at some of the costumes for Viktor Krum and noticing a recurring image of talons. One jacket had talon style toggles as the fastener, another cape had a full talon attaching it to the sash. It’s the kind of thing that in theatre, because there are no close ups, might not ever get noticed, but still ties things together so beautifully.
- Being asked by the lady at the Harry Potter Exhibit if Brittney & I were best friends who had known each other forever and then owning up (through gales of laughter) to having met for the first time a week earlier.
- Making gluten free, dairy free cupcakes & brownies with coconut cream icing. And having them actually taste REALLY good.
- Visiting with Amanda until we fell asleep in the middle of what we were saying.
- Creating a stop motion animated movie about the trip using only paper, tin foil, straws, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, paper, feathers & a pen we happened to have in our bag.
I had an amazing week, but Vancouverites, let me put your minds at ease: I don’t want to move to Toronto. Vancouver is home. I would love to have more opportunities to spend time in Toronto whether on vacation or through work. I want to spend more time there, I want to work there, I want to learn from the theatre community there, I’d love to be there even for a few weeks a year if for no other reason than to see the people again. And hey, there are now at least three couches I can crash on when I decide to return to the city. But it isn’t home.