The Day After

Months of writing, then rehearsing, and finally over. The first run of my new play, Dear Mama, has come to an end.

It has been an absolutely fabulous, terrifying, exhilirating and rewarding experience. I knew going in that it would be risky to create a piece of theatre so close to myself. On top of that, opting to perform it myself placed me in a position even more vulnerable as an artist. Any failure really could be pinned to me. How thrilling!

What has been truly amazing is the response the little show has received. Each performance was followed by a talkback, each of which had its own flavour and was filled with thought provoking discussion. What can we do for little girls to help avoid them becoming hyper-sexualized? What is it that drives parents to push their children to perform? And is it possible for your child's skill to be developed and nurtured in a way that pushes them, but still lets them be a child? Just some of the amazing points of debate that arose.

What has been even beyond my wildest expectations has been the way the piece is continuing to resonate with people days after the fact. CBC reviewer Joff Schmidt offered his praise ( ) and many other audience members have written me or blogged about the show and how it has them thinking. It is extremely humbling to know that at least some bit of what I'd hoped to achieve artistically - pushing audiences out of their comfort zone, and forcing them to think - has succeeded. 

None of this would have been possible without the support of our creative team - Megan Andres, my fabulous director and dramaturg, along with Leah Borchert and John Norman.

Below are some production photos by Leif Norman taken at the dress rehearsal for the original production. More are available here:

The Little Things

Last Friday marked my first night teaching the Friday Night Drama group at PTE School. This is a new project for me, working with a special group of adults with various abilities. This was the first time in ages that I have been nervous to teach a class; not because I was unsure of my preparation, but mainly because i was anxious with anticipation of the group, their dynamic, and whether I would fit into their circle.

We did a range of work on drama exercises, focussing on imagination. We began with a circle, talking about imagination and creating an imaginary place together. We then got up to walk around, creating our own imaginary beach, eventually finding an object, and sharing it with the group. The imagination game was very successful, every member of the group participating. We moved into other imagination-based exercises. As the group got more excited, I sensed myself getting excited too, veering from my plan into exercises with varying levels of success.

Several times through the class I found myself simply grinning with joy at the enthusiasm of these individuals, and how happy the simple theatre games made them for those 2 hours. I recently read an interview with Robert Lepage in which he stated that these days there is too much acting and not enough playing; this class reminded me of exactly this, the joy that comes from playing.

Overall, my fears were for nought, as the group really took to my style of physical imagination  and games. I'm really excited about my continued development with this group over the coming weeks, and may share more of my trials and tribulations.

Photo: Autel @ Gas Station Arts Centre - photo by Leif Norman