Thursday, July 28, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
I made it home...in 3 and half hours...
The subtitle to this should be..."Will I really have another vodka cooler?"
Don't high school girls drink vodka coolers?
And then I remember the day I was sent sides for an audition and I thought I was auditioning for the teenager...and it ended up that I was called for the "young" mom.
I was 21.
How embarrassing was that?
See what happens when I have Vodka Coolers?
I am a bit giddy/maudlin right now...which is an interesting mix...oddly enough.
I decided to come back to Stratford to get some work done...George is fancy-shakespearing it at the park so he couldn't come back with me.
Oh, I didn't capitalize the s in shakespeare to honour the person who walked up to me when I hosted the Doras and said, whilst...yes, I said it... whilst looking down their nose at me...that it was the Stratford Shakespeare Festival...not the Stratford Festival.
It was just rehearsal for eff's sake.
This same person accepted an award two years ago at the Doras...and walked away from the mic pontificating "Aren't we professional actors....can't we speak properly without a mic?"...whilst looking down his nose...at all of us.
Hm...will I have another vodka cooler?
Anyway, it is dark and here I sit....
Do you know how long it took me to rotate this picture?....wow.
Anyhow, it took three and half hours to get here.
The traffic stopped on the 427 for fucks sake...which is a 10 minute walk from my TO sublet for those of you who are not from TO....I went off road, bitches...I navigated with my blackberry and the compass on my car...because I am fancy that way....yes, it took a long time...but it was a gorgeous drive.
I am presently on my back deck....like in the above picture...but it is quite dark now.
Anyhow, I wrote this so I could show you this...
My friend, Lori...in Belgium...fancy...sent this album cover to me.
Oh my god...I would love to mash this with something.
My show is finished.
And I am a week away from my two previews at Buddies...will you come?
I talk about Jesus...Lady Gaga...Michael Jackson...a 7 foot drag queen...Jesus...the captain of the football team from highschool (before I was a 'young' mom...that sounds wrong...) and so many more.
I am really excited and quite proud of the show I am gonna do...and I would love you all to see it first!
So, if you got time next weekend...come down and I will polish off my heels and my foul language...
The fun we will have....
Where is that last cooler...
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Can you take it?
That is me, DONNY OSMOND, and Maureen Riley.
I love the first pic because Maureen is gazing ever so lovingly at him...
Maureen and I had planned to meet for drinks last night a while ago...and then when I got offered tickets to the show I wondered if she would like to come...maybe she would not be into it.
Here is our email exchange....
I hope this excites you as much as me...but my friend offered me AWESOME tickets to the fricken'
Donny and Marie opening tomorrow night!!! Wanna meet me at the Four Seasons Opera thingie place at 7:25pm tomorrow night ?
(There is also a party after...we might meet them...)
Sent from my crackberry.
Ummmmmmm. Yes please!!!! This is effing awesome.
Done and done.
See you there.
Sent from C3PO ...
I loved most of all that her email came to me from C3PO.
So, we met out front of the fabulous Four Seasons Opera Place...I have never been in there before and TOTALLY love that the first thing that I am seeing there is DONNY AND FREAKIN' MARIE!!!
Maureen was dressed as a fashionable girl about town, of course, and I was dressed like Susan Anton in the 70's....look it up if you will.
We were both very excited.
Got my AWESOME tickets, from my dear friend Grant, and was in line behind Marilyn Dennis...in my head I went all high status for a second and wanted to remind about when I met her last year at "love, loss and what I wore" and try to get my ass on her TV show to promote MY TV show and Buddies previews of my UK show (Which is on July 23rd and 24th...don't forget...here is the link for online tickets... http://www.ticketweb.ca/sn l/Search.action?query=sharron+matthews+superstar
or call $16 975 8555...see what I did there?) but I didn't want to make a big ass of myself just before the show and have to suffer through the shame for the entire show.
Maureen and I got to our seats and met a lot of peeps from the business... Sean Tasson from the St. Lawrence, Kevin Levesque (the fabulous Miss Conception), Paul Bellini, Kelly Cameron from Broadwayworld.com...so many people...
Maureen and I both decided that if they sang a " A Little Country, A Little Bit Rock and Roll" we would shit our pants.
The lights went down and the young and talented Jeff Madden came was introduced by Aubrey Dan to sing the anthem...I love that...he sang it like a bird, of course.
And then the count down to the show started...we all participated ( you know how I love the participation) and the curtains opened and there they were at the top of a sparky staircase...in sparkly clothes.
DONNY AND MARIE.
It bears mentioning here that I watched every episode of their TV show.
Saw every show that they did at the CNE, as well as the Osmond Brothers.
I owned their barbie dolls.
I loved Donny and Marie...well, mostly Donny...but Marie as well.
These people put on a show...VEGAS STYLE!!!
There was lots of shiny things...dancers...projections...high heels...purple outfits...
One of my fave things was a mash up that Marie did of "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith into "Boots are Made For Walkin"...while playing a specially made glittery guitar with a big silver M on the front..and she wore a sparkly ( love the sparkles) cowboy hat...and then she had minions come onstage after and change her shoes while she talked...and give her water...she guzzled the whole bottle (I have done this same thing...cabaret shit is universal...and I love it.) and then threw the empty bottle in the wings and said, "You thought that mormons couldn't drink."....oh Marie...now, I love you even more.
The best part was...they sang their ASSES OFF!!!
There really did...I was throughly charmed, impressed and won over...not that it was a long journey...I do love them.
She did the first solo set and his was in the second act...he did "Close Every Door"...he sang "Go Away Little Girl" and "Puppy Love"...and the cougs in the front rows were freaking...and so were the cougs that were sitting in our two seats...I heard someone singing along near me when I realized it was Maureen.
He also did a rocking, singing and dancer version of the Osmond's "Crazyhorse" and a lovely ballad he wrote for his son.
He was also awesome AND personable AND sang the shit out of everything.
Then they sat on stools and sang all of their duets..."I'm Leavin' It All Up To You"..."Make The World Go Away" ....and others...it needs to be said here that I never really thought about how weird these songs were to be sung by a brother and sister until this moment....I had a moment of pondering and then I remembered...IT WAS FREAKING DONNY AND MARIE!!! WHO FUCKING CARES!?!?!?
I was thoroughly, musical, entertainment....ly....spent at the end....SPENT I TELL YOU!!!
Maureen and I did not shit our pants when they sand "Little Bit Country..." but we ALMOST did.
And they closed their show with the song that they sang at the end of their TV show...and we both held hands and cried.
Amy, from Flip Publicity, who was sitting behind us said that we were a very entertaining part of the evening...your're welcome, I say.
Maureen and I dragged our asses (and our free posters) across the street to the Hilton for the party...because Maureen was getting her pic with Donny....I was shy and unsure...yes, I was...you guys don't know EVERYTHING ABOUT ME!!!
Anyways...we waited with Avery Saltzman (founder of the Harold Green Jewish Theatre) and his fabu partner Kevin...Avery...that ass...told me that I wasn't writing on my blog enough...so here it is you son-of-a-bitch...and while my back was turned Donny walked in the room and Avery disappeared...he and Donny had done "Joseph" together...and Avery is trying to book Donny for a fundraiser...so I didn't mind.
And then Maureen grabbed my hand and said..."We are getting our picture"....side note....please look in any publicity stills from the party...Maureen is cagily wandering around in the back of ALL OF THEM...and then she put herself in front of him and said "Can you please do a shot with us?"...He, of course, says yes, because he is a lovely guy...a really lovely guy...and I begin to stammer and make an ass of myself...but I don't care...I got my fucking picture with Donny Osmond....thanks, Maureen!!!
Go and see this show...it is so much fun...I have never given so many standing ovations in one night.
THANKS DONNY AND MARIE!!
Sunday, July 03, 2011
This article (below) was posted on the Toronto Star Online today.
I am actually copying it onto this page because it has become VERY HARD to find it now at the Toronto Star Online...I hope it is because the paper is embarrassed.
It is like the writer is encouraging patrons and audience members to NOT come to the theatre...to not be adventurous or have independent thought when choosing a play or musical to see at the festival...to only go to pieces that are endorsed by critics...to not take a chance on something different...to basically go against the whole spirit of what the festival is.
It is ALSO like the writer is turning artists away from trying something new, exciting, dangerous or inde-freakin-pendent.
Have any of us had the good luck to stumble on a show that was unexpectedly interesting or found a show that featured a performer who was amazing in a piece that was may not...by accident?
I have added my thoughts to the article below each part...my thoughts are in italics.
How to spot the duds at the Fringe festival
By Bruce DeMara Entertainment Reporter
Jul 02, 2011
1. Avoid dramaturgy. References in the program attesting that the production has been “dramaturged” are almost always a bad sign. Dramaturgy is the process of having an author’s original work savagely dissected by fellow artists and reinterpreted in ways that make it a contradictory, irretrievable mess. Fringe productions should be fresh, spontaneous feats of derring-do. If you have to dramaturge the darn thing, do it post-Fringe. Dramaturgy often means turgid drama.
SM: Seeing the word Dramaturgy might mean that the playwright went to a professional dramaturg, of which Toronto has many fabulous examples ...Iris Turcott, Stephen Colella, Mary Francis Moore...for help to make their show tighter, more concise, have a better flow...for many reasons.
I also didn't know that the definition of Dramaturgy was "having an author's original work savagely dissected by fellow artists, etc..." I think professional dramaturgs would disagree.
2. Even decent shows can be a downer if they’re in a crappy venue. So imagine you’re leafing through the program when a show grabs your interest: Low Riders, a semi-autographical musical featuring a troupe of transsexual ex-biker “little people.” Your finger hastily scrolls down to check times and venues and — argh! — it’s at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Backspace (an airless box up a long flight of stairs) or the Factory Theatre Studio (down some stairs, then up some more to another uninspired space) or the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (hard to spot from the street, even more stairs, a few odd turns and a so-so theatre if you’re lucky enough to find it). Other venues can be even less promising. The Ladies Polar Room at the College Street United Church? Venues in church basement settings often feature ancient living-room furniture with broken springs as seating.
SM: At the Edinburgh Fringe last year there were fabulous and INVENTIVE shows in a VW Van, a public toilet and a swimming pool. I have attended fabulous, intimate pieces at both the TPM backspace and the Factory Theatre Studio space. It is the Fringe...not the freaking Winter Garden. We have a limited number of spaces in Toronto. If someone would like to help the theatres get funding to build more, I am sure we would be all for it...but we are creative and work with what we got. That is why we are artists.
3. “Minimalist” production values. No set, no lighting, no costumes. Just two actors on a bare stage, morphing between characters with baffling rapidity. Three steps stage left (or right, it doesn’t matter) apparently denotes a scene change. A change in facial expression, voice or body language would help. Or how about putting on a hat or using a prop to indicate you’ve gone from playing a 7-year-old girl to an ancient Phoenician god? We love theatre but we’re not mind readers.
SM: I find this highly offensive. Maybe the artist cannot afford a set, lights, costumes or props...maybe the artist is new to the business and does not have the contacts to outsource these things...that is what the fringe is for...for the audience to use their imaginations. For artists who might have no other chance to have their shows produced in a space like the Tarragon or TPM. Also, does the writer realize that there are very tight change overs between shows...and artists cannot afford the time to put up a complicated set...sometimes it is 10 minutes. And "change in facial expression"?...Please.
4. Overly ambitious productions. A program that promises an “eclectic multimedia blend of theatre, dance, music, puppetry, visual art and feminist dub poetry” is sending out multiple warning signs.
SM: Our artistic options are getting smaller and smaller. I WISH I could write my dance, theatre, multi media, puppet piece with some feminist stuff in it...that would be fucking awesome.
5. Cheap sets, i.e. those made of Styrofoam, cardboard, etc. Sure, Fringe productions are cheap, dirt cheap. But, with the odd exception, a set that appears to be constructed of material from a discount art supply store or from the detritus of an overturned garbage can is rarely a promising sign.
SM: Again, as with #3, I find this highly offensive. How do you know what an artist can afford...or what we can do with an overturned garbage can? Haven't you seen "Stomp"?
6. One name everywhere. Writer/director/producer/actor/lighting and costume designer. If one name is ubiquitous throughout the program, someone is usually spreading themselves very thin, too thin for the result to be enjoyable. Steer clear.
SM: Maybe they could use a dramaturg.
7. A variation of No. 6. Two names everywhere. Or three. Two or three co-writers, co-stars, co-directors, co-producers, etc. will often result in much backstage back-stabbing and in-fighting for creative control. Tension is so often the fuel that makes live theatre crackle with energy. Just not this kind of tension.
SM: What the eff does this mean? This just sounds stupid. And this is a stupid, gross generalization. It isn't like people are cutting each others throats backstage...this isn't "Showgirls".
8. Flyers. Whether you’re standing in line or lounging at the Fringe Club behind Honest Ed’s, strangers will try to force you to take promotional material for upcoming shows. It may be as humble as an uneven square of plain white paper with blurry lettering or as slick as multi-coloured laminated cardboard. (Your pockets, purse or backpack will soon be stuffed with them. They will seem to multiple like rabbits.) It gets tricky because sometimes the cheapest promo material turns out to be for the best shows and the fanciest ones are for the biggest duds. Look for excerpted reviews, e.g., “Best of Edinburgh Fringe 2010.” And ask around. Fellow theatre lovers are great at sharing both hot picks and train wrecks.
SM: Yes, we must only go to shows that are suggested by reviewers or claimed to be "Best of...".
How the fuck else do you expect to artists to sell their shows? With ads in papers? With billboards. Everyone knows they will get a flyer at the fringe.
This article seems to mock the very spirit of the amazing Toronto Fringe Festival.
I think Bruce DeMara owes an apology to the Toronto Fringe.
I, with the generous help of many donors, took my show to the mother of all Fringe's last year...the Edinburgh Fringe. I spent an amazing three weeks there and was very proud to trumpet how fantastic our Toronto Fringe was and is.
I saw many shows...the best were the ones that were independent...not promoted by a large producer... had a crappy space (I saw one performer who did her show with a full band on a stage the size of a postage stamp and had duct work right over her head)...had no set...could only afford to bring themselves...was written, produced and performed by the same artist.
Please, Toronto Fringe audience members, pay no attention to this article and be brave and make bold choices about what you are gonna see.
I bet you will be pleasantly surprised.
The Toronto Fringe runs July 6 to 17. Info at fringetoronto.com
Postscript (P.S. I have never officially written a postscript before so please excuse if this is not appropriately fancy)
I have received many emails and comments about this post...which always makes me happy...mostly because it means someone is actually reading my shit. Also because it means that people give a shit about the arts.
I received such an email from a writer from the newspaper in which the offending article occurred. This writer has supported me greatly whenever I have asked for a boost (and it has always been greatly appreciated). I feel it would be only right to do the same kindness. The writers at this newspaper are not allowed to comment on each others articles but this writer wanted me to know that they had nothing to do with the writing of this article, and actually spent a great deal of time opposing it. This same writer felt quite embarrassed that it appeared at all.
Mostly, I am very happy that all of our thoughts about this article have not gone unnoticed and maybe, next time, it will not be written at all. Let us go to these features instead that take about the great things to expect from the fringe.