Tag Archive: Summerworks

SummerWorks 2013

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 poster

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.

Chorus rehearsal

Chorus rehearsal


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

pom poster


Eating Pomegranates Naked is the very first play by playwright Andrea Scott.  From the official blurb:

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

2012 in Review: Shows I Saw

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:

  1. Waiting for Godot (Blackbird Theatre at the Cultch)
  2. Never Swim Alone (TWU)
  3. All The Way Home (Electric Company)
  4. Red (Vancouver Playhouse)
  5. The Idiot (Neworld/UBC at PuSh)
  6. Amarillo (Teatro Linea de Sombra at PuSh)
  7. Glory Days (The Boys Upstairs Equity Co-op)
  8. Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner (Chelfitsch Theater at PuSh)
  9. Gunmetal Blues (Playhouse)
  10. El Pasado un animal grotesco (Grupo Marea at PuSh)
  11. Craigslist Cantata (Arts Club Theatre at PuSh)
  12. Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts/Touchstone Theatre at PuSh)
  13. Calendar Girls (Arts Club)
  14. No. 2 (Silo Theatre at PuSh)
  15. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Pacific Theatre)
  16. Bride on Credit (TWU)
  17. Tempting Providence (Gateway Theatre)
  18. Problem Child & The End of Civilization (Theatre at UBC)
  19. I Love You Because (Intimate Productions)
  20. Intimate Apparel (Arts Club Theatre)
  21. The Silicone Diaries (Nina Arsenault at The Cultch)
  22. Hunchback (Catalyst Theatre at The Vancouver Playhouse)
  23. All Shook Up (Chemainus Theatre Festival & Gateway Co-pro)
  24. Ignorance (Old Trout Puppet WorkShop at The Cultch)
  25. Doubt (Pacific Theatre)
  26. Goodness (Volcano theatre at the Firehall)
  27. King Lear (Honest Fishmongers)
  28. Kismet 1 to 100 (The Chop at Gateway)
  29. A Vessel of Ruins (Taketeru Kudo – Tokyo)
  30. Barber of Seville (Vancouver Opera)
  31. Importance of Being Earnest (Arts Club)
  32. Importance of Being Earnest (Gallery 7)
  33. Flop (Delinquent Theatre)
  34. Snooker (Camillo the Magician)
  35. Fresco (BellaLuna Productions)
  36. The Bombitty of Errors (20-Something)
  37. Scar Tissue (Arts Club)
  38. Henry & Alice: Into the Wild (Arts Club)
  39. EndGame (Main Street Theatre)
  40. A Last Resort (Rough House Productions)
  41. Trial by Jury (VSO & Vancouver Opera Ensemble)
  42. Aida (Vancouver Opera)
  43. The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre)
  44. 100 Saints You Should Know (Pacific Theatre)
  45. Blue Box (Neworld Theatre)
  46. Bliss (Ballet BC)
  47. High Society (Arts Club)
  48. Godspell (Christ Church Cathedral)
  49. Obstructions – Boca Del Lupo
  50. Shelter from the Storm (Touchstone/Firehall)
  51. Fantasticks (Gallery 7)
  52. MacBeth (Bard on the Beach)
  53. Wolf at the Door (Pacific Theatre)
  54. Not Everything You Are (Stones Throw)
  55. Obstructions – Felix Culpa
  56. UnBoxed (Scarlet Satin)
  57. Reasons to be Pretty (Matchbox Theatre)
  58. The Alchemist
  59. Xanadu (Arts Club)
  60. Titanic (TUTS)
  61. The Music Man (TUTS)
  62. King John (Bard on the Beach)
  63. Merry Wives of Windsor (Bard on the Beach)
  64. Alter Boyz (Arts Club)
  65. Armed (Xua Xua)
  66. Mary Poppins (Broadway Across Canada)
  67. Stationary (Delinquent Theatre at Neanderthal)
  68. Coercion (Hardline at Neanderthal)
  69. God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment.at Neanderthal)
  70. The List (Bouchewhacked! at Neanderthal)
  71. Tyumen, Then (Groundwater Productions at Neanderthal)
  72. House of X (Wild Excursions at Neanderthal)
  73. The Taming of the Shrew (Bard on the Beach)
  74. Obstructions – Beautiful Karrats (Radix)
  75. Sunday Service (Neanderthal)
  76. Exhibit A (411 Dramaturgy at Neanderthal)
  77. The Marraige of Figaro (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre)
  78. My Pregnant Brother (Freestanding Productions at SummerWorks)
  79. France or the Niquab (Old Pirate at SummerWorks)
  80. Haunted (The Haunted Group at SummerWorks)
  81. Artaud: un Portrait en Decomposition (TheatreRUN at SummerWorks))
  82. Medicine Boy (Native Earth at SummerWorks)
  83. Purge (Brian Lobel at SummerWorks)
  84. One/Un (Orange Noyée at SummerWorks)
  85. The God that Comes (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
  86. When it Rains (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
  87. Petrichor (Kitchenband at SummerWorks)
  88. Barrel Crank (Suitcase in Point at SummerWorks)
  89. Extinction Song (Voodoo Theatre at SummerWorks)
  90. Dutchman (lemonTree Creations)
  91. Wondermart (Rotozaza at SummerWorks)
  92. Marine Life (Theatre Crisis and Aluna Theatre at SummerWorks)
  93. Captain Ron’s Ship of Friendship/Atomic Vaudeville Cabaret (Atomic Vaudeville at SummerWorks)
  94. The Frenzy of Queen Maeve  (Live Lobster Theatre at SummerWorks)
  95. Breath in Between (Breath Collective in Association with Crow’s Theatre at SummerWorks)
  96. 40 Days and 40 Nights (Nina Arsenault at Summerworks)
  97. Your Side, My Side and the Truth (Compass and Trying Science Co-Production at SummerWorks)
  98. Peachy Coochy (Summerworks)
  99. We Will WeeTube (An Experiment with Theatre Replacement’s WeeTube at SummerWorks)
  100. Iceland (The Iceland Collective at Summerworks)
  101. Speed the Plow (SoulPepper)
  102. Motor Vehicle Sundown (Andy Field at SummerWorks)
  103. Midsummer Night’s Dream (CanStage)
  104. Mojo (ItsaZoo)
  105. Eurosmash! (Die Rotten Punkte at The Cultch)
  106. My Marvellous Melcher Machine (James Melcher)
  107. Pirates? (Quimera Collective)
  108. Just Bust a Move (Nathaniel Roy)
  109. Home Free (Staircase XI)
  110. Riverview High: The Musical (Entrance Theatre)
  111. In the Time of the Dream Warrior (Golgonooza)
  112. The 1812 Event (Just Push Play)
  113. Romance (Queer Arts Society)
  114. Adult Entertainment (Squidamisu Theatre)
  115. ReLapse (And the Other Leg)
  116. Miss Cosmos (Bright Young Theatre)
  117. Felony (Dreams Beyond 30)
  118. First Day Back (10 Foot Pole)
  119. Alpha (Compassionate Bone)
  120. Three More Sleepless Nights (o.o.o.o.)
  121. Weaksauce (Sam Mullins)
  122. You Are Here (Allentina Francesca)
  123. Hip Hop Shakespeare Live Music Videos (411 Dramaturgy)
  124. Tales Told by Idiots (Not The Mermaid)
  125. Lost in Twine (Looking for 143 Productions)
  126. Underbelly (Jayson MacDonald)
  127. Zanna, Don’t (Awkward Stage)
  128. Psychopomp (Psyche Theatre)
  129. Smudge (Two Wrongs That Write)
  130. God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment)
  131. Peter ‘n’ Chris Explore Their Bodies (Peter ‘n’ Chris)
  132. Loon (Wonderheads)
  133. Gadfly (Theatre of the Beat)
  134. Guernica (Hidden Harlequin Theatre)
  135. Fishbowl (Mark Shyzer)
  136. How to Love (Idea Factory Entertainment)
  137. Welcome to my Wake (INC – Ingrid Nilson Collective)
  138. Little Lady (Sandrine Lanford)
  139. The Histories AKA Will Shakespeare’s ImproMusical (GrinkeInk)
  140. Riot (Carson Graham Secondary)
  141. The Missing Piece (Theresa Hamilton)
  142. The Best, Man (Urban Rogues)
  143. Risk Everything (Squidamisu Theatre)
  144. No Tweed to Tight (Ryan Gladstone)
  145. Vincent (Spitfire Productions)
  146. Bookworm (Corin Raymond)
  147. Blind Date (Rebecca Northan at the Cultch)
  148. Post Secret: The Play (TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti & Frank Warren)
  149. The Spitfire Grill (Midnight Theatre Collective at Pacific Theatre)
  150. Capslock: The Musical (Pipedream Productions)
  151. Master Class (Arts Club)
  152. White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (Elbow Theatre at The Cultch)
  153. A Beautiful View (Ruby Slippers)
  154. Zombie Syndrome (Virtual Stage)
  155. The Unplugging (Arts Club)
  156. Initiation Trilogy (Electric Company/Boca del Lupo/Writers Fest)
  157. Debts (ItsaZoo)
  158. La Boheme (Vancouver Opera)
  159. Dancing at Lughnassa (Capilano University)
  160. Chelsea Hotel (Firehall)
  161. Cozy Catastrophe (theatre Melee with Rumble and the Cultch)
  162. Gold Mountain (Les Deux Mondes & unity theatre at The Cultch)
  163. Dickens’ Women (Miriam Margoyles at The Cultch)
  164. Go Back for Murder (SAMC Theatre @TWU)
  165. Tomb with a View (Genus/Up in the Air)
  166. Far Side of the Moon (Ex Machina @ SFU)
  167. Matilda the Musical (Royal Shakespeare Company in the Westend)
  168. Twelfth Night (The Globe)
  169. NSFW (Royal Court)
  170. The Effect (National Theatre)
  171. Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Zurich Opera House)
  172. Jultrad-i-tion (Gotenburg Opera)
  173. Don Quixote (Ballet of the National Opera of Paris)
  174. Le Retour (Odeon Theatre of Europe)
  175. La Cenerentola (National Opera of Paris)

SLIP 2012 – Day 10

Tatania, Candice, Wesley, & Jordan building the tower.

I have a minor fear of acting warm ups. Okay, that isn’t totally fair: I’m scared of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and take risks and for me, acting warm ups fall into that “outside the realm of my experience” zone. In an effort to make this experience painless as possible I decided to take the morning warm up in a totally different direction. I swung by Loblaws and picked up two packages of toothpi

SLIP 2012 – Day 6

After 10.5 hours of sleep last night I was refreshed and started off today feeling like I could take over the world. I’m even becoming more comfortable with our morning warm ups.

In our conversation about what we saw last night, the idea of being seen came up again. When we talk about being seen in a performance, we are talking about the idea that our presence in the room was felt by the performers and changes the show – that our presence is a necessary component of the show. There are certainly some shows where the proscenium curtain could be in the whole time and the performance could happen just as it has every other time, and nothing would change. I don’t mean “does the performer talk directly to the audience?” because I have also seen shows where the performer is talking to the audience without ever seeing them, while some shows that have no direct address feel very seen.

The comment that resonated this morning as we talked about this topic for the fourth or fifth time was this: “How much is the work a reflection pool for the audience?” or to put it another way, “Is this play asking questions which the audience must answer for themselves or showing them a piece of their own soul?” Have you ever been at a performance where you felt seen? Or where you wished you’d been seen? I was at a site-specific piece recently where I desperately wanted to feel like the performers were seeing me, that my presence (and the presence of my fellow audience members) was informing the show.

This morning we were joined by Mani Soleymanlou, creator and performer of One/Un to talk about his piece, process, and my take away from our converstaion with him was three-fold.

One: Always make sure your collaborators are artists. Be prepared to tell them that their ideas are better than yours. Be prepared to throw their ideas away.
Two: Know when to stop rehearsing. Be precise on stage, but not “rehearsed.”
Three: If we all decided to stop working with people who worked unethically or who are assholes in the room, change would happen and it wouldn’t “have to be that way.”

After lunch, our focus was on fundraising. Jacob Zimmer, Julie Tepperman and Alexis Da Silva-Powell joined us and we began with the question “Why do people donate to the arts?” We talked about types of fundraising, tools for fundraising, and previous successful strategies. Then we did a group exercise – my favourite part of each day. Today we were divided into groups and given a ridiculous show concept (a burlesque Charlie & The Chocolate factory, a new musical about Louis Riel, a 3-hander farce written by an established playwright in collaboration with a grade 6 class, etc) and then asked to create the foundation for an online fundraising campaign, target some corporations, and list some people you would make personal asks to and why. It was a great exercise and it was interesting to hear the feedback about everyone’s proposals.

It was a three show night, seeing Breath in BetweenWhen it Rains, and Petrichor. What are the chances of seeing two shows in one night that feature people killed by being struck by lightning? Odd. I’ve seen a lot of shows at SummerWorks that feel kind of half-finished, which is not what I expected coming in, but I suppose that I simply didn’t have a good sense of what SummerWorks existed for.  I now see SummerWorks as a type of “work in progress” festival – a middle step between the Fringe and a full production.

SLIP 2012 – Day 5

First of all, 2.5 hours is not enough sleep to get going into a 12 hour day. Just a piece of advice for your life.

Sunday was, thankfully, a shorter day. We we joined in the morning by Deborah Pearson who curated the Live Art series to continue our ongoing conversation about Live Art. What I took away from our conversation with her were two key points.

1. People put their defenses up when they feel inadequate. In a Live Art setting, this means that if people are uncertain of how they area expected to behave, they won’t participate at all.

2. Using the term Live Art makes it easy to dismiss. Let’s call it experimental theatre instead.

Debbie gave us the names of some experimental theatre artists who are working internationally, including her own work with Forest Fringe in the UK, Dickie Beau (who apparently has great videos online) and Mammilian Diving Relfex.

Jordi, our program coordinator, managed to get some tickets for Dutchman set aside for us during the afternoon. I was very excited to see this show because it is being done here site specific on a bus. While I ultimately felt that it was not successful, I really enjoyed the experience of being on the bus with them. I am looking forward to taking that experience back to my Onsite program in Vancouver.

After Dutchman I met up with the lovely Nancy Kenny and Pat Gauthier to see One/Un which was one of my top five of the festival. Pat had to head straight back it Ottawa, but Nancy and I were able to go for drinks and get in a real visit.

SLIP 2012 Day 4

Day four was a combination of the most rewarding and the most frustrating day thus far. In the morning we were joined by Adam Paolozza from Artaud: Un Portrait en Décomposition – our first visit from one of the artist mentors for our program. A few of the nuggets that I gleaned from our conversation were:

– Sometimes it doesn’t start with the money. Do the work and sometimes the money will come.
– In a rehearsal process, don’t always do eight hours a day: discover the rate at which you’re stimulated and productive.
– Breaks (between workshops and rehearsals, between weeks of rehearsal, etc) are essential and healthy to the artistic process [note: this is completely what I experienced on Re:Union with our workshop a month in advance of the beginning of rehearsal. By bringing the whole team into the room early we were able to create a language and a style to work from so our first official day of rehearsal had a foundation underneath it and we weren’t starting from zero.]

In the afternoon we discussed grants and how to write them with a professional grant writer. It was that odd combination of exhilarating and exhausting and at the end of the day I wanted to go home and get to work on my Canada Council grant application. Hopefully that enthusiasm will carry over to a couple of weeks from now when I have a bit more time.

That session ended with a reminder that nobody cares about your art. Perhaps a little bit harsh, but certainly true on many levels. I know many people felt a bit dejected at the end of the day, but we headed over to the Lower Ossington Theatre for Brian Lobel’s Purge, a part of the live art series that deals with the concept of unfriending someone on Facebook while also exploring the death of his ex-boyfriend. It was a really moving piece and lead to many conversations about the economics and politics of friendship, while also underlining the value of friendship in our lives.

After Purge I was sent to another live art show: Motor Vehicle Sundown. This is a half hour long headphone piece takes place in a car and was the source of a large part of my personal frustration with the day. When I arrived at the venue I was informed that they were running a few minutes late. The festival has a timeliness policy so I was surprised, but I understand how easy it is for things to get behind. But when it reached half an hour past our scheduled start time and no one had communicated what was going on, I felt my frustration going. Finally the volunteer arrived to take myself and my partner down to the car, but the FOH manager wasn’t ready and once ore we found ourselves waiting without explanation. It was almost 40 minutes after our scheduled start time when we finally walked down to the car. The volunteer instructed us to put on our headphones, get in the front seat, and push play on our mp3 players.

We did this and began to listen to the stories and follow the instructions, but we quickly found that we had been given wrong instructions. We weren’t supposed to be in the car yet, and oh, we were supposed to get into the backseat first. About 7 minutes in we gave up on the piece. Our frustrations had gotten to the point where we were no longer able to just experience and enjoy the piece – we were angry and knew that if we restarted, everyone else would be that much further behind. Time to move on.

Myself, Wesley, & Candice with our wine and grapes.

For our final show of the night, many of us headed to the Theatre Centre for The God That Comes, a collaboration between 2b theatre and Hawksley Workman based on the story of Bacchus. This show was by far the highlight of my day. As we waited for it to begin, we drank wine from the bottle and a beautiful young woman draped us with grapes (ever so appropriate for an event about the god of wine!) The show is still a work in progress, but I was delighted to discover that it will be coming to Club PuSh this winter, so Vancouver – don’t miss this show!

After the show, at around midnight, a handful of us made our way back to the house where I was staying and spent some time getting to know each other and laugh – not realizing until too late that it was five in the morning and we needed to be up and useful in only a couple of hours.

SLIP 2012 – Day 3

I find it very easy to listen in a room. I find it much easier to listen than to speak my mind. This is especially true in rooms full of opinionated people. Because of this, I made my goal for today be to ask a question and voice an opinion. I’m so pleased that I did both, although I feel that my question went entirely unanswered!

This morning we talked about performance art, and especially the performance art that is coming out of London, England right now through conversation with Brian Lobel, Debbie Pearson & Tania El Khoury. Here are just a few of the things that were said that stuck with me (and are sadly paraphrased from my notes):

“Art is really boring. There is nothing inherently interesting about it.”
“Ambiguity is the difference between live art/good theatre and a popular story where we all need to feel the same thing at the end.”
“Let a little idea hole big meaning – Let others read the big things in it.”
“Sometimes we get paid, sometimes we don’t, but faith in yourself as an artist makes investing in yourself worthwhile.”
“Our work is about relating to others. Otherwise it is masturbation.”
“[Getting in with a company] is not about going to the top of the ladder, it’s finding the right person who will be excited about you.”
“The pickier you are, the more successful you will be.”

There is so much in there and at 2am I cannot even begin to unpack it now, but I’m so glad that I have it to think about for the future.

In the afternoon we met with SummerWorks AD Michael Rubenfeld and GM Lucy Everleigh to talk about producing the festival and the work that excites them.

The evening was full of shows – four of them to be exact – as well as numerous run ins with friends. It’s what makes it feel like a real festival, I think – the running into people you know at every venue you show up at. The final show we saw tonight – Haunted – was my favourite of the festival so far. I think that the reason it was my favourite was that it felt the most like a completed piece rather than a work in progress.

Alas, I must sleep.  We’re back in the room in 8 hours and tomorrow we are being joined by the first artist whose work we have seen – I wouldn’t want to be tired for that!

SLIP 2012 – Day 2

Budgets, budgets, and more budgets

I love budgetting. I know it’s weird, but I get this strange thrill of playing with the numbers in microsoft excel and making the numbers add up the way that I want them to.  The moment things balance is a really magical moment for me. But I know that is not everyone’s experience with budgets and I was excited today to hear what other people were learning and what stuck out to them. It was so wonderful to hear people realize that budgetting could be an artistic endeavour and not just an isolating, frustrating process.

One of the exciting parts of today is that I had a chance to have lunch with my artist mentor, the lovely Renna Reddie, and talk about what I want in life, how she’s ended up where she is now, and what will make our partnership a success. I was quite delighted when we looked at the time and realized we had to leave RIGHT NOW so I could get back to the workshops.  To me that’s a sign of a good conversation!

And there’s nothing like seeing three shows to kick off a festival! Yup, I had a three show day today.  I saw Your Side, My Side & The Truth at 5, My Pregnant Brother at 7, and France or the Niquab at 9. They were three very different shows and I can’t wait for tomorrow morning when we will get to discuss My Pregnant Brother as a group.  As I sat watching it tonight, I flashed back to the first time I saw that show, just over a year ago, at the Neanderthal Arts Festival in Vancouver.  I was there as an usher and was sitting directly in front of the brother referred to in the title, as well as their mother, as they watched the show for the first time. It was a really moving experience, because I don’t know if there is anything that exposes you more than the moment that the person your work is about sees your work for the first time.  Even when it is created with their permission, the first time they see it there is a special electricity in the room. Which made this time watching it almost a let down. But I can’t wait to hear what everyone else thought!

To wrap up the night, we all headed over to the official SummerWorks opening night party which included a tonne of performances – music, live art, and things I’m not sure how to define (I heard from a friend a story of a unique hand washing, for example) – but was mostly an opportunity to get to know the other SLIP participants better as well as to network with other people connected to the festival. Other than being overwhelmingly warm I had a great time and was not ready to leave at midnight, but tomorrow will be another action packed day and I don’t want to miss a moment of it because I’m too tired.

SLIP 2012 – Day 1

New notebook, procured this morning, with my new SummerWorks motto on it.

I don’t know if the rest of you can understand the terror that goes through my mind when I hear the words “group physical warmup.” Laying on a disgusting floor and concentrating on my breath is not actually a physical language that I speak and the whole “count as a group to 21” gives me shivers.

“Always do  what you are afraid to do.” Right. Yes. Onto the floor I lie.

In another “get to know you” exercise we were asked to each draw a self portrait in 10 minutes and then explain it to the group in one minute. I am terrible at drawing, so I went with a pie chart: 85% kick ass, 15% crippling self-doubt.

All in all the day was a bit of a whirlwind: meeting the 13 people I’m going to be spending the next week and a half with, conversations with some Toronto theatre professionals on the subject of Professional Etiquette, and then drinks with the whole group and a chance to get to know the others.

My takeaway for today: when someone asks how you are, find an answer other than tired – no matter how true it is. If you need to be honest about it, try an answer like “Today has been rough, but I love what I do.” or some other answer that infuses the truth of a difficult situation with a glimmer of joy and graciousness.

Tomorrow: Budgetting! Group photos! Seeing shows! The opening party!

SLIP 2012 – Day 0

See! I totally found Factory. Now I just need to do so again tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of the SummerWorks Leadership Intensive Program aka SLIP and today was all about preparation.

I get really anxious in new situations, especially if I feel unprepared for them, so I knew I wanted to spend some time today getting myself ready for tomorrow: figuring out public transit from my friend’s house to Factory Theatre, from Factory to the LOT, and from the LOT back to my friend’s house. Armed with my weekly TTC pass, iPhone, and a sharpie-drawn map I began my journey. Now let me be clear – I am pretty bad with directions. It took me more than two years to figure out north, south, east and west in Vancouver, even when working in a venue that uses those four terms instead of upstage and downstage. I’m not holding out much hope for figuring out Toronto in the next two weeks.

My very first attempt to get out of the neighborhood, I got on the streetcar going the wrong way. I didn’t figure out that I was going the wrong way until I pulled up the maps app on my iPhone. Thankfully I was right near the end of the line and it turned around and I got going the way I needed to. Hooray! Factory Theatre: found. Again on my way to the LOT I found myself going the opposite direction from what I needed (once more due to my trusty iPhone map). Jump off the streetcar. Cross the street. Jump on the streetcar heading the correct direction. Breathe. Lower Ossington Theatre: found. SummerWorks seven show pass: acquired. Number of minor freak outs: only one.

Amanda and I at High Park, ready for some outdoor theatre!

To wrap up the day, my lovely friend and host Amanda and I made our way to High Park to see CanStage’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was certainly a very Toronto way to spend the evening, and it was delightful to open the program and learned that the show had been designed by a friend. As the sun set over the park I felt the temperature go down for what seemed the first time since I arrived in Toronto four days ago. Lovely.

Now it is getting late and I’m going over the mental check list for tomorrow.

Festival kit: check
iPad charged: in progress
iPhone charged: once the iPad is done
Notebook ready: yes, but if I get up early I’m going to go buy something special
Re-reading everything about tomorrow: done

All that’s left is to get some sleep and go into tomorrow ready for adventure. And hope I don’t get lost on public transit on my way there.