FRC’s 2016-2017 Season

Last night, Front Row Centre Players held our annual season announcement gala!

Finally.

As a member of the Board, I have been sitting on the show selection for next season since December. And while it may be one of the worst kept secrets in Calgary community theatre, I am really glad that the cat is officially out of the bag! We are going to have a fantastic season. Seriously. I am so excited about our shows. I am so excited that our shows are going to push some boundaries and are just regular musical theatre fodder. And I am SO EXCITED that my friend, Danielle, gets to make her directorial debut on her dream show!

Each year, as part of the show marketing, we have a poster designed for each show (common practice for every theatre company).  It can be a trial for our marketing team. Sometimes posters work, sometimes they don’t. It’s a tricksy undertaking. This year, it was my great pleasure to design and complete the show posters as well as our season poster for the 2016-2017 season.

Now, I have designed posters before (mostly in a past life when I was still playing roller derby), but this was a very challenging (in a good way) project. I was able to work my graphic design muscle and grew my digital skillset. I am much more comfortable in Illustrator now. It was great. It also is inspiring me to continue working in digital for a few most art projects* I have on the horizon.

Here’s the result (and our next season!)

I worked really hard on these and I am proud of the results.  Each show has its own design and aesthetic, but the four of them work pretty cohesively together.

Are they perfect? No, of course not.  This is me after all. There are definitely things I would change. There is always room for improvement. But I don’t really look at any of them and think that they are a bag of shit, so I feel like this is progress. 😉  And I’m not gonna lie, my ego is pretty happy that these little colourful things that germinated out of MY brain and out through my little sausage fingers will be gracing all of FRC’s marketing materials for the next year and a bit.

Hopefully I’ll get to do it gain for the 2017-2018 season too!

*SEA CLOWNS!!

The Overcommitment Monster

I have been debating it for a while, but I am going to retire from props. Well at least temporarily. I need a sabbatical I think. It just doesn’t provide me with the same joy as it used to. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I am building awesome props (like I did for She Kills Monsters – which opens on Friday! Go see it!), I am in the zone and I completely love it. It exercises my problem solving and creative muscles. But prop induced stress, managing props, making props lists, figuring out rehearsal props, working on props budgets, etc. etc. aggravates and bores the shit out of me.  Ugh, I dislike it so much.

Plus, I am overcommitting myself in general. After this season is done, I will have worked on five (possibly six) shows as well as being FRC’s Inventory Director, co-producing FRC Season Launch Gala and designing next season’s show posters. It’s a lot.  And as I am finally learning, way too much.

Next season will be different.  It has to be if my plan for going back to school full-time in the winter semester comes to fruition. Sacrifices will need to be made. The first two will be props and the number of shows I am willing to commit to next season.  Right now, the magic number is three (doing things that aren’t props).  That’s considerably less than what I have done in recent years; however, it’s a necessity. I am starting to burn out which isn’t awesome. I just need to remind myself that I don’t need to do ALL OF THE THINGS – even if a show or project is awesome. It’s ok to just be an audience member. That’s going to be a challenge for me, but one I am determined to meet head on.

In other news, this video is amazing. I can’t wait for May 6th!

[embedyt]https://youtu.be/682_yjauxso[/embedyt]

Oh, and for those keeping track (or ya know, following me on Tumblr), yes, I am still obsessed with Chris Evans and his magical beard.  Seriously, that beard is DIVINE .

Uhm, Hai?

So yah, its been a while.

For the last few months of 2015, I was in a weird place. On one hand, things were really awesome on the theatre end of things.  Tommy was getting ready to move into the theatre.  Catch Me was cast and started rehearsals. I agreed to prop a proper play called She Kills Monsters about D&D that I am very excited about. I get to make some rad things and the play, itself, pretty much depicts me and my life when I was 22 or 23 years old.  We also decided on the 2016-2017 season for FRC.  It was pretty stellar couple of months on that front.

On the other hand, the remainder of 2015 had me in a really not-so-awesome place. I don’t really discuss mental health or depression or anything like that.  Not here and not really with anyone in my life. I just don’t. Its too private and too in-my-head. It’s too… well, my shit and not anyone else’s.   So I’m not going to change that particular behaviour now. All I will say is that there was a lot of really dark and ugly stuff in my head for the month of December and into the early part of January.  Now, most folks probably wouldn’t have noticed because I am a fucking amazing actress, a great faker, and stunning liar when it comes to putting on a happy face when I am actually in a seemingly endless pit of emotional despair. Still, as usual, I pulled (mostly) through.  I am too stubborn to be swallowed up by it for too long. Fact.

Now we are in a fairly shiny-and-new year, things are better. I am still out of work, but I have returned to school.   I am doing some academic upgrading through SAIT with a longer goal of returning to do a really-real program once I have improved some of my grades.  It’s a crazy awesome thing that happened on a whim at the end of December.  I just thought “Fuck it, why not?” and submitted my application.   Like I said, its crazy, but it is awesome! I am only two weeks into the semester and so far, so good.  I am taking English (which I love), Chemistry (which I think I love) and Math (which I am trying love).  I am learning things everyday and I could not be happier about it.  Learning is the BEST.  And honestly? It’s probably the main thing that yanked me out of my portable hole of angst.  So, its cool.

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So That Time I Blocked A Scene…

Yesterday, I attempted to block my first scene.  Ever.  It was a small scene with three actors. Thankfully, I was blessed with three very awesome and patient humans who really tried to make the experience fantastic and easy. I can’t even imagine trying to do it with other actors (thank you again, DR, BR and TK!).  And of course, JZ and LW were there to support me (you guys are my favourites!).  It was a great situation for a neophyte like me to be in.

Unfortunately, it did not go well as I expected hoped. Yes, I am harder on myself than I need to be, but I struggled with intention and insecurity. Then the scene just ended up looking so… boring.  But! JZ (as we had agreed before the rehearsal) jumped in to save a floundering me.  So all is certainly not lost, but the scene is definitely still a work in progress.

After rehearsal, I felt crushed (strong word, I know, but it fits). I let a whole shitstorm of insecurity and other self-condemning bullshit wreak havoc in my brain.  Yah, it was awesome. [eyeroll]

But now that I have had some time to think and stew about it, the rehearsal also didn’t go as bad as I originally thought. (Yes, JZ, JD and JER, I know, I know.)  It wasn’t great, but that is OK. I mean, I am learning, right?  The first time I drew a portrait, it looked like balls. And now I am a fucking superstar when it comes to my portrait work.  Maybe with some time, patience, listening and more learning, I will improve.  And perhaps, maybe, just maybe, I would be willing to try it again. (Who am I kidding? I will try it again. I am a masochist.) It really was a valuable learning experience for me.

In hindsight, the three things I took away from it:

  1. 1. All of the Directors I have worked with are/were Performers.  Like ALL of them.  I couldn’t even think of a single Director that I have worked with that didn’t also perform at some point.  This is a huge realization that I had in the shower this morning.  They have a very special insight into how this directing thing works because they have been on the opposite end and have a greater understanding of the Actor brain/process.  I am coming into this thing not truly understanding either so it will likely take me a lot longer to process and learn.
  2. 2. Come to rehearsal prepared. Overprepare if you have to. I thought I understood the scene and I thought I was prepared. But I really, really wasn’t. I should have taking much more time preparing and understanding what I wanted to get out of the scene.
  3. 3. Ask Questions and Pay Attention.  I am in a great situation where I am/will be the Assistant Director to two really awesome Directors and two even more awesome humans.   After yesterday, I didn’t really have a strategy for what I am doing as an Assistant Director. I pay attention in rehearsal, but I don’t ask questions when I don’t understand something or I don’t try to figure out where all of the ideas come from.  I need to be more engaged in the learning process.  Hell, maybe even a bit obnoxious. (You have been warned JZ and CB!) Learning is an active process – my artwork has taught me that time and time again – so I need to start being more active as a mentee.

But TL;DR…

I blocked my first scene, it sucked, but that’s ok. And I will probably do it again.

Tech Week of Show One… Done!

I have been a bit MIA over the last few weeks.  A lot has been going on. A lot of difficult things.  Getting ready to be unemployed as well as trying to get all of my shit together for Drood tech week. It was a classic case of Past!Kris fucking over Future!Kris.  She’s such an asshole. 😉

Tech week has come and gone. It was probably one of the toughest tech weeks that I have gone through in the last few years.  Very long hours and loads of stress.  But the Droods team is amazing and dedicated. Instead of cutting set pieces for time, we rallied and made shit work even if it meant staying at the theatre until 4 or 5 am on multiple days.  It was exhausting, but seeing the set in the space kind of made it worth it.  I am extraordinarily proud of the set that JZ and myself came up with – we collaborated really, really well – and even prouder of the folks that helped make this ridiculously ambitious thing a reality.  We have received many compliments on the set and that feels really awesome. Especially given where we were on Monday of tech week.  I would even go so far as to say that I am 95%* pleased with my contribution to the set. Crazy, right?

But, I will say this, as an artist, seeing something that gestated in your brain, then came out your fingers, then was made REALLY LARGE and put under a bunch of theatre lights for hundreds of people to see…. it is very surreal.

Awesome, but, surreal.

Now that Drood is in – you should buy tickets! – I can turn my attention to Tommy (first run of Act I tonight! Yay!) and Catch Me If You Can… and ya know, maybe find a job, clean my house, take a nap, or something.

*Only 95% because there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Otherwise, its all entropy and stagnation. I don’t give a shit who you are.

Uhm, Heathers the Musical..?!

heathers

It’s confessional time!

As I have mentioned before, I LOVE Heathers the film.  I will thunderdome anyone who says anything negative about it because it is so much a part of my existence (I am look at you, DR! 😉 ) And I adore the music from the musical.  I am very excited to be a part of the production that Cappuccino Theatre is putting on early next year.  So, in spite of not seeing the stage production yet, there is already much love for this musical.

But then….

I started watching a bootleg version of the original stage production on the Youtubes.

Friends, I can not tell a lie. I am barely into Act I and I am BORED TO DEATH (no pun intended).  The characterizations are weird – especially Veronica. She is more of a bubblehead that I am comfortable with. The blocking and choreography are so boring (especially given the source material). And the stagecraft? Ugh, it is so visually dull and uninspiring.  I mean, they got the Heathers-Cubed and Veronica colour palette right, but that’s about it.

And don’t get me started on JD. Just don’t.

I feel bad saying that it is boring or anything negative – especially since the music is so amazing and its, well, Heathers.  But man. It hurts my brain and my soul.

On the flipside, this just means that our version is going to be FRICKING amazing in comparison.  Especially given who is on our team. Most of the people on the team couldn’t make an ugly, boring, or uninspiring show if their lives depended on it, so, yah, it will be rad.   That fills me with hope.

Because, that original production…. dang.

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JCS Shenanigans!

[embedyt]https://youtu.be/l-pDWIRRmgg[/embedyt]

Ah! Jesus Christ Superstar shenanigans!  This video makes me so happy! This was one of my hardest and most rewarding experiences on a show so far (mostly cuz it was my first time producing). I learned so much and met all of these crazy, wonderful humans.  I can’t wait to see a bunch of them on Friday!

So yah, it was tough, but I definitely look back with fondness…especially when I have this kinda stuff to remind me. 🙂

The Mystery of Whosit, Whatsit?

 

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

We have a cast for The Mystery of Edwin Drood and tonight is our first readthrough!  I am particularly excited about this because:

1. The cast is awesome. Some of my favourite humanoids are in the cast. This fills me with happiness and joy.

2. I haven’t read the script yet. I generally (unless there is a need*) do not read scripts for any of my shows until first read.  That way, I can hear it in the voice of the actor we have cast. Its a little ritual I have started since my early beginnings in community theatre. I had the Anything Goes script for almost a year before I cracked it open. This show is bananasauce with the Choose Your Own Adventure aspect of it and I am really keen to see how it all puzzles out.

4. I have no REAL responsibility on this show!  Well, that’s not true, I am responsible for making some pretty fantastic drawerings. But that’s it. I don’t have to worry about budgets, or schedules, or people, or regular ol’ show drama bullshit! REJOICE! VICTORY! VIVA LA FRANCE! EXCELSIOR! ….. until November.  I am sure as shit going to enjoy this respite from Producerly shenanigans. Yessiree!

5.  I am going to enjoy this project. Not only do I get to combine creative forces with JZ again, but I have been doing a lot of research into Victorian illustration, some Arts & Crafts movement, a bit of William Morris, and some Art Nouveau (cuz, why not!?) and gads, I love it so much.  So pretty.  It really renewed my interest in Art and Design History.  I am a bit of a nerd about these things and really need to take more classes. I am so excited (dare I say giddy?) to just be drawing again.  It is going to be rad.

6. Flippy flaps. ‘Nuff said.

*I should probably read that Tommy script before tomorrow night’s creative meeting. :S No one tell JZ.

Goodbye 2014-2015!

Saturday night, we closed Anything Goes and the 2014-2015 season…!

This was a good, but strange season for me.  On one hand, I worked on five completely different shows, worked with some truly fantastic humans, and I had the good fortune to spread my wings and do some stuff that veered nicely off my normal props path.  It was really fantastic to try new things – something I am definitely taking into the next season.

But on the other hand, it was probably the most emotionally draining season I have had thus far.  I attribute this mostly to acting as Producer on two back-to-back shows. Now don’t get me wrong, both of those shows were amazing and I am EXTREMELY proud of my teams and the cast, crew and orchestras for each – the people on each of those shows have a very special place in my teeny Grinch heart (read: You are all fucking awesome!)

Each show taught a great deal about what a Producer should and should not do.  There were some successes and some definite failures on my part. But I am still very much a newbie Producer who was pretty much winging it. Ok, well, that’s not entirely true. Without my unrelenting barrage of questions and harassment the guidance of DS and JZ, I am pretty sure both shows would have been epic disasters. (Thanks, boys!)  That was definitely a saving grace for me.  I won’t admit this to either of their faces, but they are good mentors.  😉

At any rate, I might not be an awesome Producer right now, but I know that I have the potential – so that’s something.

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Anything Goes… It Really Does

 

Anything Goes

After an arduous* tech week, my last show of the 2014-2015 season is open! We opened on June 12th and with each performance, it just keeps on getting better and better.

Its a very ambitious show.  Every single piece of it was put together in a spectacular way.  From the set, props, set decoration, set paint to the lights and sound to costumes, hair, makeup, to the direction, choreography and music.  And above all, the performances of my beloved cast and band which make all of the other stuff come alive.

Each piece of this epic puzzle work together in a fantastic mish-mash of awesome.  And I am not even saying that because I am astoundingly biased! 😉 Its just an awesome show. Period.  And if you are in the neighbourhood, you really should come see it. It’s opened until June 27th!

Now that Anything Goes is open, I can start looking forward to next season.  I am officially doing five shows next season in 2015-2016.  And it will be amazingly varied from scenic illustration, to my good ol’ props/set dec standard, to producing (again) and assistant directing TWO shows.  The diversity of next season will be fantastic. I am pretty eager to stretch my skills and abilities. Especially the assistant directing gigs. I am going to be mentored by two of my favourite humans – JZ and CB. I know I will learn a lot from both of them. And with any luck, it will kick start my desire to direct my own show in the future (we need more lady directors in our community, we really do).

Oh and then there’s the little summer project that I was recruited for last night.  I am co-producing a feature-length indie film (!!!) with another one of my favourite humans, KM. But that’s all that I can really say about that right now. I’m sure I will be able to divulge more as the summer and project progresses.  And really, I am just excited because it is such a different thing from producing a theatre show and being such a film nerd, well, it’s rad.  It’s a bit terrifying, but kind of awesome.  And hell, anyone who knows me knows that I always like to do stuff that scares me a bit, so this is right up my alley.

*Well, just from a human perspective.  There were some struggles. The actual tech and week were amazing.