Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First Posting of 2008

Happy New Year from Grinder Productions!

I'd like to talk to you today about the many activities we have going on this month. While January is traditionally the slowest time of the year for theatre we still have a lot going on. I would like to list those activities so you're informed about what's going on, but this is also a way for me to stay on track, and remind me of my promise to you, so I'll work hard to sheperd all these projects through to their completion. This is very important to me. As some of you may recall, we were unsuccessful this past fall in our attempt to produce The Gifts of the Magi, our planned Christmas Show. The intended replacement for that show, Holiday Cheer, was also unsuccessful. That's two strikes in a row for the company, so you can understand why I would really like to have some success this month. So without further adieu...

January Events

1. Auditions for Agatha Christie's The Hollow: On Saturday, January 12th at the Grand we're going to be holding auditions once again. Unlike past years where they were totally "open" and we were casting for everything that was coming up, this one is strictly for The Hollow. What I really like about this show is that in addition to the great story and traditional Agatha Christie tongue-in-cheek humour the cast is a 50/50 split between men and women, which really helps when there are so few men who traditionally come out for theatre. It also means that a couple more very talented women will get a chance to shine that would otherwise be denied them.

2. Week-end at the Elora Centre for the Arts: We have the ECA booked for a weekend of January 25th - 26th. Originally we were going to produce "The Blue Room" in this time slot, but it's too late to pull that together now (though I am still interested in seeing it done, perhaps in the March time slot). Nonetheless, the place is ours if we want it (as far as I know!) so why not do a show and try and make some money? So instead of one event, we're going to go for three.

On the Friday night, I will stage a one-man show entitle "Bad Words," a compendium of scandalous, sacriligous, scintillating tidbits from the world of English Literature, from the Anglo-Saxon riddles to Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Pope, Whitman, as well as a bevy of 20th century writers. Should be fun to create, and I think that will gel nicely with the Elora crowd.

On Saturday (and possibly Sunday) during the morning and afternoon I would like to stage a short variety show for Children, entitled "Come Play with Us." This will be a chance to reach out to a new audience, and I'll be looking for people who would like to participate in this; singers, dancers, actors, acrobats, magicians, musicians, story-tellers, really any sort of act. I would like to bring an improv element into the show, and lots of audience participation.

And finally, on Saturday night, I would like to organize the Grinder Single's Party! Well, not quite, but in anticipation of our "Anti-Valentine's Day" event coming up in February (more on that later) I'd like to do an event that is as much about seeing a show as it is about meeting people. This would also be an excellent opportunity to reach out to a new audience, especially men - the majority of people who come to plays are women, and the majority of people who are active on the singles scene are men (about 3:1, according to plentyoffish.com, an online dating site, but unofficial, unhappy men often put the ration closer to 1,000,000:1). The show itself will be entitled "Love Notes" and will be a movement piece set to music. If you've ever seen Morris Panych/Wendy Gorling's The Overcoat I'm thinking it will be something similar to that, except I'll likely use contemporary songs (their show was set to Shostakovich), and I don't know how many other people I'll involve, maybe just myself, or I'll add one other person. Before and/or after the show I'd like to set up ample opportunity for "mixing," thus the billing as a single's party.

3. Summer's Coming: While not a January event, (this will go up February 2nd, if I can book the venue for that day) we will be spending a lot of time this month working on an event that will be used to kick-off our Summer Programming. The show will feature 5-10 minute dramatic readings of selections from all the shows we have coming up this summer, as well as some other entertainment, perhaps a few songs, some comedy bits, generally anything that will remind people of summer in the dead of winter. I don't know, maybe we'll barbecue. I'm not sure about this part yet, but if I could find a decent backtrack of the right country song (again about summer) then this might be the point where I make my singing debut before a paying audience. Karaoke for the drunken revellers is one thing, but after Gifts of the Magi (where I was preparing to sing) I have realized that this is something I have to do for myself at some point, and actually sing in a situation where it counts for something. I'll never be a musical theatre master (and I have NO intentions of pursuing that) but I would like to have that tool in my repetoire, as I think it's very important to be a well-rounded artisan in this business.

4. The Grinder Store. No, I'm not opening a dress shop! One of the few good things about the past month off is that I've had a lot of time to explore the possibilities of the internet in general, and Facebook in particular. I've found applications on there that will let me do a lot of things, like making and selling products. So I'm going to develop a line of Grinder clothing, mugs, mousepads, pens, etc and sell them through my Facebook page. I have also been able to link my account at lulu.com to Facebook, and there I am selling my Tech Theatre 101 manual, and I'll add in my plays as soon as I can figure out the formatting challenges. Facebook even has a "Ticket Selling" application - we can now have an online box office that doesn't cost us anything! I'm going to get us set up with Paypal too, so that will make buying a ticket even easier for our customers. Finally, I'll be talking to our website guru about getting all this functionality (or at least the links) on our webpage as well, which I would like to give a make-over in its own right this month. I hope that there's also a way to add this blog into the website, and yes, you can already find it on my Facebook page, where you can sign up for the RSS feed.

Well I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but as you can see there's a lot that I would like to get done this month. Will it happen? I don't know, honestly, but I think that's a good thing. If I knew I could do it then it wouldn't mean very much when it was all over. Grinder has been built on doing things that I didn't know if we could do, and before last month we'd been able to do a lot of things that nobody thought we had any business doing, so I'm up for the challenge. I hope you'll join us, it should be a lot of fun!

Talk to you again soon,

Eric

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