Tag Archive: Victoria

Sep 10

Victoria – Last Show

So it finally happened: the last show of the tour.

 

I went out with a bang.  The tech went smoothly; I rocked the show, I don’t know what else there is to write.

 

39 in Victoria

 

What to do except sum up the tour (at least for now)?

 

The Cons

  • Smaller houses than planned for
  • Disappointing financial returns
  • Some organizational problems within the various festivals (e.g. my previous post)
  • Probably cannot afford to do another tour for at least two years

 

The Pros

  • More than 400 people came to see 39 outside of Japan
  • Made innumerable and innumerably valuable Fringe friends in each city, some of whom I hope to collaborate with, in Canada or Japan, over the next few years.
  • Fulfilled a lifelong ambition to do a Fringe tour
  • Great enthusiastic feedback from almost all the other Fringe artists who came to see 39
  • Saw more than 35 plays over a four-week period; more than I’ve probably seen in my entire lifetime so far, thanks to free tickets from other performers
    • Out of those 35, only three or four were absolute stinkers
    • Out of those 35, about ten were brilliant and jaw-dropping

 

The pros, my friends, far outweigh the cons.  Thank you to everyone who was a part of the 39  2010 Summer Fringe Tour!

 

That includes the creative team, the stage crews, the techs, the Fringe volunteers, the Fringe organizers, our WONDERFUL AND GENEROUS donors, and, of course, my stalwart Stage Manager/Production Manager: Ramona.

 

Huzzah!

Sep 05

Fourth Show

There was some scheduling weirdness yesterday, and It’s Raining in Barcelona finished right when we were supposed to load in, leaving only fifteen minutes for both their strike and our setup.  Not their fault: like in London, there was some kind of scheduling SNAFU, but it’s a bit maddening.  I’m not an actor who is super precious with warm-ups or anything, but I do like to stretch the pipes (larynx, you perverts) before I go on, and this left me no time to do that.

 

That may be why the first bit of the show was a little loose.  However, I managed to pull it out of the fire, and we had our best audience yet (in size as well as responsiveness).

Our Victoria hosts, Jed and TJ, came tonight and at least told me that they enjoyed the show.  I had another couple of laughers, which was great as well.

 

My only complaint about the audience is that someone was drinking Starbucks in the front row (I’ve had a front row drinker in every show so far), and I had asked Front-Of-House to make announcement about that, and they hadn’t.  Otherwise, they were superb.

Sep 05

Victoria – Fifth Show and Fuck You

Fuck you, Victoria Fringe organizers.  Actually, you are generally nice people, and kudos on organizing such a great Fringe.  But you’ve hit this performer where it hurts: his house, and he’s upset.

 

For my other readers, let me give you some context:

 

So here I am, doing my show, and other than a disappointing opening night, am actually getting better houses than I did in Edmonton.

 

Two days before my fifth show, the Fringe announces that they’ll be running a fundraiser in order to help manage some of the financial problems caused by last-minute pulled funding.  Totally cool.  I’m down with that.  Performer and Fringe superstar Chris Gibbs generously offers to do a benefit performance of his show, Gibberish, at $20 a head with proceeds going to the Fringe.  Super!  Great idea!  Pats on the back all around.

 

Except.

 

Except.

 

Except that they slot this show in on Saturday at 8:00pm.  There are other Fringe shows on during that time, including mine, which is 60 minutes long and starts at 7:15.  I don’t think I need to say that this is considered a ‘prime time’ slot, and as such should be one of my better-attended shows.

 

Oh, did I mention that for two days, every single house manager was plugging the show to every single Fringe audience?  My house manager even plugged it to my Saturday audience, even though there was no way for them to make it at that point!  It was just salt in the wound.

 

Wound?  What wound?

 

I went from audiences of around 30 people (even at my late shows) to an audience of 9 on that Saturday night.  Other performers reported audiences being halved for their shows between 7:00 and 9:30 that evening.

 

I gave a pretty good performance, but an audience of 9 doesn’t have the critical mass needed to feed the fire, and the house was absolutely silent.  After working so hard flyering and schmoozing to build the audiences even to a modest 30, it was a huge, deflating, letdown.

 

Look, we know when we join the Fringe that we are competing against the other shows and performers.  But even my performance that was up against Martin Dockery’s juggernaut Wanderlust had 30-something people in the house.  The point is that the fundraiser had an important advantage that the other shows didn’t have: they had the house managers pushing it, and pushing it hard!

 

I think it’s obvious that I have no problem with the Fringe running fundraisers, but we performers paid money to be in this festival, and we had no idea that the Fringe itself would counterprogram us.  I think what they did was incredibly unfair and was essentially raising money for the Fringe at the expense of a number of Fringe performers.

 

I heard some grumbling from some of the other Fringe Artists, but I’m not sure if anyone complained officially.  I will certainly be complaining when I get back to Japan: this was a douchy thing to do.  If any other Vic Fringe artists are reading this, please let me know, either via comments or a direct message/email, if you will also be complaining.  I think a relatively large number of us were affected, and a complaint endorsed by all of us (maybe even copied to the CAFF) would be more effective than a lone curmudgeon complaining on his own.

Sep 03

Third Show

Another great, high energy show today, with an even bigger house than yesterday (at least from what I could see).

 

A few things marred tonight’s show, most of them to do with the show before us taking a fuck of a long time to load out and clear the dressing room for me.  Now don’t get me wrong, they were as nice as could be, but aside from being a cast of 20 which filled up the dressing room nearly ten minutes past the point that I needed to get in it, they made a mess.

 

The venue’s one backstage washroom looked like it had flooded and had fake blood and dirt on the floor; I had to mop it in order to use it without tracking fake blood onto our WHITE set.

 

Just as I was going to take my place in the wings, one of the zombie show personnel noticed a red spot on the ass of my white pants… it turns out that there was fake blood on the chair I’d sat on to put on my boots.  The two remaining zombie folk did their best to scrub it off my butt, but the result was still a red stain that was visible from the audience (an audience member mentioned it after the show), and it left a small red mark on the seat of the chair.

 

The UVic students who mostly people the zombie production were super nice, but I can’t tell you how stressful this was—I didn’t get to the wings until the house manager was actually making the announcement that starts the show, and was all too aware of the remaining pink stain on my ass.

 

Despite this, I had a great show and still adore all the super nice zombies.

Sep 03

Victoria – second Show

Running on two consecutive nights of 4 hours of sleep or less, and a whole day of zipping all over Victoria, I found myself standing backstage as the clock crept closer and closer to 22:00; our curtain time.

 

I’m still not satisfied with the first few moments of the show.  I think I had it at some point, but I’ve never felt good about it since we opened in Edmonton, after our July tour break.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s not working anymore, and I’m not sure what to do to fix it.  But I did pump as much energy as I could into it, and I didn’t flag… not then, and not at any point in last night’s show.

 

I had thought the audience would be loaded with fellow Fringe artists; but it turns out no one I knew was there at all.  No matter: it kept me chugging through at full blast, despite a front-row sleeper mid-way through the play.  In general, the audience was responsive and attentive, and I felt I had certainly earned the applause at the end of the show.

Sep 02

Victoria Review

Monday Magazine has reviewed “39”.

 

Three stars, but I don’t know what the James T. Kirk crack is about, unless it’s the crack the reviewer is smoking.

 

Not a terrible review, though, considering how I felt about Monday’s show.

 

http://www.mondaymag.com/articles/entry/2010-fringe-reviews-f

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I call this photo “Bones… Spock… you’ve got to help me!”

Sep 02

Opening Night in Victoria

I’m writing this in a Starbucks, in a Chapters, which redeems itself by having free wifi and an occasional Daniel Lanois song playing in the background.

 

It’s taken me two days to get this up (we opened on Monday night), because we tend to get home quite late due to the necessary late night schmoozing we need to do every night.  In Victoria, a bunch of local bylaws prohibit us from handing out flyers to hip people we see walking down the street (soliciting: $x00 fine), so our only chance is to crash other shows’ lineups and flyers the people who come to the Fringe Club after 22:00 every night.

 

Monday began for us with our technical rehearsal, which meant that we were at the space from about 14:00ish (sometimes they let you in early) to about 20 minutes before the 18:45 show tech-ing.  This gave me about 10 minutes to prepare before I went on.

 

David Bukach, a local photographer, was in attendance, photographing the show in exchange for free  tickets, so we FINALLY got good photos of the show with projections and stage lights.

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Each space in each new town that we perform in has its own quirks, and the Metro in Victoria is no exception.  It’s a real Theatre venue, so it has practicals and headsets and specials that were hung especially for us.  The drawback here is that the gap between the lip of the stage (as defined by the lighting) is about 4 meters from the audience, which is double the distance we’ve had at any other venue.

 

Tech-ing just before the show sounded great!  And it was from a setup/takedown point of view, but it turned out that it wasn’t so good for me.  In retrospect, I think I needed more time to process the distance between me and the first row of seats. 

 

Being an out-of-town company, our opening show was also sparsely attended (if forced to guess, I would say about 9 people), which will hopefully change as word begins to spread to the local audience (we have a good buzz among the other artists and volunteers, it seems).

 

These two factors (distance and small house) may have contributed towards what I felt was a very… something… show.  I’m still not quite sure what happened.  I did not give a low energy performance: I pushed it, and I felt actually hit some moments better than I ever had before.  The audience wasn’t bad: they were quiet and attentive (a bit too much so; most of the jokes fell off the edge of the world).  But I felt like I never quite reached them, never quite connected with them.

 

(Another small drawback of the space is that the aisle for the audience is not centered with the stage, which can be confusing when one is standing at the forward extreme of the stage with no reference points; I found myself wandering a little too far stage right at times.)

 

I have my next show tonight, and I really hope that having had a day to let the opening performance sit will help me really knock this one out of the park, no matter how few or how many people are there.

Aug 26

BC Ferry RECAP

I’m writing this on the Ferry over to Victoria just to create a quick recap (in pictures) of the Edmonton to Victoria leg of our trip.

 

We drove out of Edmonton two mornings ago in our touring van: Vanessa.

 

We said a fond farewell to our host in Edmonton, Lois Pawl, as she loaded us up with extras and treats as she had during our entire stay (three or four french toast breakfasts during the two weeks we were with her!).  We bid farewell also to Caesar the Greyhound.

 

After almost heading towards Calgary by mistake, we righted our course and beelined for Jasper National Park.

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Ramona was overjoyed.

Jasper National Park

 

We continued through, stopping constantly to see the sights, including…

 

The Athabasca Falls

 

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Mount Kitchener

 

Jasper National Park

 

The Athabasca Glacier (that’s it in background)

 

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And then, we finally arrived at our campsite and Ramona set up our magic tent that only takes two minutes to set up (including pegging down the two cables on the side), and two minutes to fold up… and can be done by one person.

Jasper National Park

 

We had an amazing campsite.

 

I’ll post more later.  I don’t have  access to the other photos right now.