Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I've tried to maintain a degree of professionalism throughout this experience, but after viewing tonight's performance I feel like I have enough distance to just come out and say it...

I truly love this show.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Subscriber Night

October 6: Pre-Show Chat with Factory Theatre subscribers

Though the theory seems to be that people in the theatre industry enjoy nothing more than to be up in front of people, this does not apply to me. I actually experience quite a bit of anxiety when asked to speak in front of people, and avoid it when I can. So when Michelle (Manager of Donor and Audience Development with the Factory) asked me if I could come speak to the subscribers for about 10-15 minutes before they viewed the performance of True Love Lies, my reaction was mostly fear. But I was also pretty flattered, and saw this as a way to give back to the production, as well as a great opportunity to connect with the Toronto theatre-going audience.

Once I was up in front of everyone in the Factory Lounge, I was shocked at how quickly the time went by! I started by talking a bit about the job description of an "Assistant Director" (Note: If you're reading this blog, you have a pretty clear idea of what the role was for this particular production.) Everyone was lovely - they seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying and asked some really great questions which propelled us into other areas of discussion. And as it turns out, I have an awful lot of thoughts about this experience and was happy to share them with a receptive audience. After the formal q & a was complete, I was able to speak one-on-one with several individuals and continue to answer their questions, which I also really enjoyed. I was happy to have had the chance to connect with the group, and happier still that Michelle seemed pleased.

What's Next?

I wasn't able to stay to see the show that night and I am just DYING to see it again. Our stage manager Sherry sends out "Show Reports" after each performance via email and I have been reading them hungrily in an attempt to stay connected. I think the distance will prove useful though. I'm excited to watch it with a truly fresh pair of eyes, and to see how it has developed during my time away. Next week.

Will be sure to report back!

A little bit about Opening Night

The whole experience was a little surreal. Opening was the first time I allowed myself to be part of the audience rather than an observer of it, as I'd been hiding up in the balcony all through previews. I was sitting amongst an audience filled with people experiencing True Love Lies for the very first time. Strangers on either side of me were laughing, a man in front of me covered his mouth in shock as the play's first surprise -- and then kept it there for most of the show. I felt like an undercover spy, and there was a glow of satisfaction with each remarkable reaction.

The actors were on. They gave a great performance, integrating the conversations from the past few days of rehearsal, while continuing to find new moments and discoveries on their feet. I was so very proud, as traditionally on Opening Night it is not only considered acceptable, but is almost assumed, that nerves will get the best of you. Our whole team was calm, cool and collected and gave what I thought was our best show to date - particularly in act two.

It was, however, a bit bittersweet as Brad was too ill to attend. He dropped by the theatre early in the afternoon to give the actors some final thoughts to carry with them into the performance, went home to take a nap, and did not wake up until quarter past 8 still feeling terrible. At his request, I called him at intermission, and then again at the play's conclusion to let him know how everything went. We toasted him in the greenroom and at the party following the performance.

What a truly celebratory evening. The Factory is such a warm, cosy place - both the people who work there, and the environment they work to create. I felt a true sense of pride and honour to be part of not just a fantastic production, but a great company as well.

Though most of my responsibilites have now been fulfilled, I refuse to leave just yet.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Opening Night!

I actually don't know what to say. I know I'm supposed to be really excited -- and I am -- but, I'm also pretty sad. Opening Night is a milestone. After tonight the company we've created becomes split: the director and designers leave, while in a way, the journey of the cast and stage management team really begins as they embark on a month of performances.

As I just sat penning the traditional cards of congratulations, I realized that I'm less prepared than usual to really let go. I can't believe this is it. The entire experience has been a joy. I feel so lucky to have been part of it.

I'm completely proud of the work, and hope as many people as possible see it. I can't think of a single person who wouldn't be able to relate to something that happens onstage.

Sending deliciously positive Opening Night vibes towards King and Adelaide... be there soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


(left to right) Artistic Director Ken Gass, Assistant Director Briana Brown and Lighting/Set Designer Bretta Gerecke.
Photo by Brad Fraser.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Entering the Home Stretch...

All reports indicate that the first preview on Saturday went extremely well. The actors, stage management team and Brad all seemed very pleased.

Today is our day off, and a much needed and deserved one at that. Everyone was simply exhausted by the end of the day yesterday. What a week! I hope we're all taking it easy as we launch into the last few days of rehearsal before opening on Thursday. (!)

We spent yesterday afternoon talking through the script - a return to tablework, but in the comfort of the greenroom instead of the rehearsal hall. Without the table. We reiterated objectives and intentions scene by scene, as well as overall character arcs and growth. It felt good to clarify, and make adjustments to the choices made four weeks ago to represent all that we've learned about these characters and this play since that time.

An audience is the most important ingredient in theatre and obviously we've been aware from the start of the process that having an audience is not only inevitable, but the end goal. But I think taking the intimacy of the work that we've been doing in the rehearsal hall out in front of an audience was a bit of a jolt. The private has become public - people are able to engage with the work, shouting out their opinions of the characters and situations being presented onstage in the form of laughter, silence or the occasional shock-induced inhalation.

And so we embark on a delicate dance. We must juggle the worlds of public and private, ensuring we remain a step ahead of the audience, while concentrating our efforts on finding ways to invite them in, and stay.
Preview number 3 tomorrow night. Looking forward...