Archive for November, 2007

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Chemainus Christmas (part 2)

21 November 2007

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I miss Katharine, Vespa and Linnell. I don’t miss Toronto at the moment, but only because I like where I am. Come January, I will be happy to get back to my adopted city and to my favourite trio. Meanwhile, other than being so far away from the targets of my hugging, and coming down with a cold, this has been a pleasurable experience. Besides the lift I get on a daily basis from the scenery (and by that I mean Nature, not the play’s set design, nice as it is), the people have been very nice, and I get to work with talented people at the theatre. Some could become real friends, if any of us puts in the effort to keep up a relationship beyond the run of this play.  

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Miracle on 34th Street is a classic story, a bit sappy but serviceable, with humour that helps to balance the sentiment. I think we do a good job, especially with an adaptation that I find clumsy in too many places. How I would like to rewrite the script, both to clean it up and to punch up the comedy! Zing! Boffo! Wheee!

I move set pieces a lot in this production, and change costumes almost as often. In Act 1 alone I play a parent, a radio announcer, a limo driver, and several other unnamed fellows.

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I also play Mr. Macy (of Macy’s department store, situated in New York City at *ding* 34th Street). 

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In Act 2, Mr. Macy returns, but I spend most of my time as Judge Harper. The freedom I’ve been given with this character has led to him easily being the most fun. And naturally, the most silly. 

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Eager to do Shaw, Stoppard, Panych, Albee, Pinter, McDonagh et al, I was afraid I would tire of this simple Christmas show quickly. But although we have over fifty performances still to go, I find that I am so glad to be working, and on stage, and in such an attractive place with good people, that my fears are greatly abated. And if the flukes of life make such a thing advisable, I could see myself working here again.

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2007 BC

1 November 2007

My first job in Canadian theatre is not the splashy Irish musical “Ha’penny Bridge,” which I lost at the movement audition. It is not one of the esteemed Toronto companies like Tarragon, Soulpepper or Canadian Stage, nor either of the great festivals elsewhere in Ontario, The Stratford Shakespeare Festival and The Shaw Festival. All of these, except for the lost cause “Ha’penny,” are significant aspirations of mine.

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No, the first onstage acting job Canada has given me is a production of “Miracle on 34th Street” located over 4000 kilometers away from my new Toronto home. Chemainus is a quaint and picturesque little town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

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The Chemainus Theatre Festival operates year-round, and does surprisingly good business. We are expected to sell out for much of our eight-week run.

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In addition to the gratification of working on a play, Vancouver Island has some pretty amazing scenery. This is what I see from my bedroom window:

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The next two shots are from The Malahat, a mountain between Chemainus and BC’s provincial capital, Victoria.

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Here’s a view across islands in the Strait of Georgia to the mainland. In the distance is Mt. Baker in Washington State.

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WIthout personal transportation, my views are usually limited to what is in walking distance. But before I leave in January, I hope to explore Victoria, Nanaimo, and more of Vancouver Island. Meanwhile, although I miss Katharine and our cats, I’m happily doing theatre, and my lodging even has a house cat who likes to curl up on me. Not bad at all.

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