Luck of the Draw

A few years back, I wrote a short story (actually, its a little long for a short story. Its more of a novella), based on a story I told Gwen on Christmas Eve when she was three.  Being three, and it being Christmas eve, she wasn’t much for listening (she was literally vibrating at the time).  A couple of years later, I still had the outline of the story and I decided to put it on paper.  Then I revised it again.  And then I put it away.

Last night, I found the last version while doing some tidying up around the house, and flipped through a couple of pages.  It dawned on me, as I was reading, that the story might make a decent comic book or graphic novel.  I think it could work.  I’m going to start looking at converting the story to a comic script.  Sadly, though, since I can’t draw, that’s the extent of where I can go with it. Maybe I’ll just write it, and then see if I can find an artist later.

One play down

This week I finished the first (quite rough) draft of the one-man play I’ve been writing. The next step for me is to put it aside, complete the first draft of the other play I’m working on (The Commandment), and then I can come back to this one and start the revision process.  Though I want to start sending the play out to people and soliciting feedback right away, I think that I need to resist this urge.  I would rather get some distance from it, then come back to it and try to read it freshly, and see what my opinion is of it.  Sending it out right away seems more like an exercise in attempting to get positive “good for you, Phil” vibes from people rather than an exercise in getting actual feedback.  I know the play isn’t ready yet for someone else to see it.  So, those of you who have expressed an interest in seeing it will have to wait a little bit longer.

In other news, this period of not rehearsing anything has been very good for me. Prior to this I’ve gone from one project to another and between acting and work, the constant “go-go-go” has been taking its toll. The last couple of weeks have given me time to write, and do a little video gaming (moderately, though that is because I don’t have any new ones. The “moderate” gaming will likely end in a couple of weeks, as some new games will be coming out), and just generally relax. This is my “recharge” period since once we get to the fall, work starts with Keystone Theatre as we begin working on our Production of the Belle of Winnipeg, a production based on the silent film genre. This project has been in the works for about 3 years, and it will be good to finally be able to present it to an audience, so I’m really looking forward to it.

And its over

Well, now that’s over.

Out of Character closed on Sunday night, to an enthusiastic crowd.  There were very few backstage (or onstage) shenannigans, and the show was probably one of the best: it clipped along, the entire cast was “on”, and there was a great energy from start to finish.

The show, overall, was a good experience.  We had a lot of fun, and I learned a lot (which is always good).

I have done a bit of thinking on the Fringe BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) experience, however.  I love the concept of the BYOV.  I love the idea of creating site specific theatrical productions.  The downside, however, is whether the BYOV is really a part of Fringe.  In most of the “regular” venues, shows rotate on the schedule, never performing at the same time, and often with a day or two in between performances.   Since the shows all spend time in the same theatre, when one show is letting out, another show is getting ready to go in.  The audiences mingle and word of mouth happens.   Also, if a show happens to be sold out, people may hang around and buy tickets for the next show. Actors mingle before and after shows, connections get made, and ideas get shared.

With the BYOV, however, the show exists in a bit of a vacuum. People come to the location specifically for the show that’s performing. Its usually not in a “traditional” theatre space, so people might have trouble finding it.  Audiences don’t mingle with the show letting out or coming in, its rare to meet actors from other shows (unless they come specifically to see the BYOV show).  Being away from the other venues, means that you lose out on some buzz generating things, such as the audiences mingling, vying for the Patron’s Pick, or the Best of the Fringe.

I’m certainly not complaining though.  BYOV shows are always exciting, often experimental, and never quite what you expect.  And this was an incredible experience.  I just think that to get the full Fringe experience, its best to be in one of the “main venues”.

Another great thing that happened over Fringe, was that I got a much needed kick in the pants on the writing front, and gave myself a goal to have two shows written and ready, so that I can submit one of them for next year’s Fringe Lottery.  I’m also starting to wonder about trying to do a Fringe tour, but that’s on the back burner.  Right now, the concentration is on the writing.

Dungeons & Dragons, the Zombie Apocalypse and more

A while back, D.J. From Monkeyman Productions asked me to direct a one-act play as a part of a double-bill of his plays entitled MONKEY SCI-FI HORROR THEATRE (which is appropriately typed in all caps.  Only all caps. Ever).  I said yes, and so I am directing Dead Man’s Party, a play about Dungeons & Dragons and the Zombie Apocalypse.  Which, you have to admit is pretty awesome.  If a play about Dungeons & Dragons would be pretty cool, and a play about the Zombie apocalypse would be awesome cool, then a play combining both would be super awesome cool (what can I say, I gotta let my geek flag fly).

This last Wednesday, we had our first reading of the play and next week we will begin rehearsals in earnest.  I quite like this play, and so I’m very much looking forward to having it as the first entry on my directing resume.

For those interested, MONKEY SCI-FI HORROR THEATRE runs May 22-23 and 29-30 at the Imperial Pub (54 Dundas Street East, not far from Yonge Street) with special LATE-NIGHT second performances on Saturday nights at 11pm!

In other news, on hoping to be appearing in a BYOV in the Fringe Fest this July.  Details on that when they become available.

On the writing front, I’m working on a one-man play right now.  This is going to be a long-haul kind of project, but I’m liking the process so far.

Historical Drama

Something I’ve been mulling over, in regards to a play I’ve been researching.  The play is a historical drama, and in addition to the research and the many books I’ve been reading, I’ve really been struggling with the issue of historical accuracy over dramatic expediency.

The particular setting that I am working on is the Upper Canada Rebellion.  This is one of my favourite “episodes” from Canadian history, and its one that so few people know the facts about.  And that’s where I am finding myself torn.  Part of me simply wants to write a historically accurate account of the events leading up to and surrounding the rebellion.  But the writer in me understands that history is not drama. Although it might be dramatic, it is not, on its own drama.  The Author is required to add the drama, which requires providing an order and a spine to the jumble of events, which they do not possess on their own.

And so, I find myself walking a fine line between honouring the history, while trying to embellish enough to make the play into a drama.

And I don’t yet know how to that. I’m mulling it around in my head.

Eventually, though, I need to stop mulling, and start writing.

Soon.  Soon.