This week I had the good fortune to sit down with one of Canada’s best playwrights, Jason Sherman, to talk about writing, the production process and anything else that happened to jump into my mind. It was wonderful (and most of all inspiring)! So, this week’s post will be a summary of the knowledge I was able to extract from this conversation.
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Monday, 15 April 2013
This week, most of my writing has been focused on producing material for Homestead Theatre Project’s website (which will be up and running shortly); mandates, founding member bios, etc. The goal we have for Homestead is to develop material that is exciting a relevant to the 20-30 somethings that would rather watch TV or go to the movies than the theatre. I have spent a lot of time thinking about why theatre is still important: what relevance does it have to the young adults of today? Why still make it? Pretty scary questions when your only source of income is from this industry, but in order to gain insight into the ways to keep it alive for coming generations, these questions must be asked and answered.
For weeks I’ve been walking past the Julie M. Gallery in the Distillery District in Toronto and hanging in the windows off Mill St. were two wall sculptures that are among some of the most magical pieces of art I have ever seen. Each time I passed, I would stop to admire the beauty of the pieces (if I had the money, I would have purchased them, but alas, they were $8000 each). The pieces were called Dancers and were created by Jiri Ladocha. They were sculpted from bent plywood and aluminum leaf and light danced off them like the Auroras. They are no longer in the window, but their effect on me still lingers.
|Wave by Jiri Ladocha|
Monday, 8 April 2013
One of the first things they said to us in theatre school was:
“If you can do anything else, you will do anything else.”
This little phrase has haunted and discouraged me for many years. I had always been a very good student and excelled in a number of subject areas (in fact, English was consistently the worst grade on my report card). Math, science and business were always my strengths. When I applied to university, I applied to the one theatre school I wanted to attend with Economics and Commerce at U of T as my second choice. I didn’t have a third choice. I made it into the UTM/Sheridan College acting program by the skin of my teeth (as I found out years later); I barely passed my audition and got in pretty much on academic merit alone. There were always other things that I could do, if you viewed it based on ability. In fact, looking at ability, drama theory was probably at the lower end of my achievement scale, but theatre and the arts still beckoned and I was determined (like most first year theatre students) to prove that I wasn’t one of those horrible statistics that would study it only to find a different career path upon graduation.
Still, at many times during my development, this sneaky statement would creep into the back of my mind and fill me with doubt – should I do something else? Was I only fooling myself? For many years, I did actually pursue other career paths, but none ever stuck for very long. I gave up the ghost on working in theatre. I was scared; I didn’t want to fail so I didn’t try. Oh, every once in a while I would find myself stage managing a production, but it was always secondary to whatever job I was doing at the time. Then, one day, my life imploded. I was left with a few boxes searching for a new apartment, new career and new life. I decided it was time to go back to my true love: theatre. I started pursuing a career as a stage manager and suddenly the pieces of my life started falling into place.