Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Impressario at Home

I didn't know for the longest time what I was going to write about today. I have told all I need to about the upcoming shows here at Grinder, things are pretty quiet at the Fergus Grand these days, and my whole "Naked Theatre" concept is still off being worked on in the far recesses of my mind. Thus stumped, I decided to let this post sit for a couple days (since blogger has now introduced the scheduled post I can write these articles in advance so as to avoid missing a posting on any given day).

Sure enough, today's topic has found me - me.

I don't like talking much about myself on this blog. Yes, I know a blog is supposed to be a personal reflection, but we have so many great things going on at Grinder, I'd much rather talk about those, and the people who are working hard to make those things happen. I also like to inform and educate about what others have to say about theatre, hence my links to other blogs. I'd even rather talk about The Naked Theatre, for while it is my idea, its development won't come about without input and co-operation from a great many people. I just don't think my life is all that interesting outside of Grinder Productions.

But like I said, the topic chose me, so today I will give you a glimpse into my life; as a producer, writer, director, marketer, designer, technician, actor, and everything else I do at Grinder, and what happens when I finally do call it quits for the day.

For starters, it's a lonely road sometimes. I can often spend hours alone during the day. We don't have any employees at Grinder, and most of the rehearsing gets done at night when everyone else is off work, so the bulk of my job is done in isolation, quite uncharacteristic of most other theatres. It has forced me to become quite skilled in many areas, and I have the hard way to think twice before I do something, when there isn't anyone else around to ask for an opinion or hold up the other end of the riser.

You might think it would be exciting, producing plays for a living. While it does have its moments, there are also periods of interminable boredom, and plenty of moments when you just wish you could go away. Lots of times you wish you could just start over, and, knowing what you know now, avoid whatever pitfall is producing inexorable amounts of stress. As you might have guessed from my previous postings, if I could have started over on this summer I would have replaced as many of the plays with men in them for as many all-female casts as I could find, thus avoiding sleepless nights, upset stomachs, irate directors, irate actors, un-prepared actors, ruined friendships (though no marriages!) and a whole host of other unpleasantries.

Despite the challenges around finding male actors, and despite the lonely times, people do abound in my life, and I'm forever wondering who it was that I just waved back at across the street. And I never have to seek out advice about what I should be doing both onstage and off: nearly every day I'm handed free advice about what shows to do, who is a "good" or "bad" actor, and just what I should be doing with all the free time I supposedly have (usually it's "Get a real job!" or some other words to that effect). It seems that no matter the source, everyone has the cure for whatever ails Grinder Productions. Some people even see ailments that I didn't even know were there, or were things I thought weren't actually problems but unique features of our company (we are named after the power tool - seriously).

Fortunately I've managed to figure out that you can't please everyone, and now I've stopped trying, which has decreased my stress levels considerably. I still listen to all the advice I get - much of it is quite valid and well-considered, given by people who genuinely have my best intersts at heart - but now I've learned to take it all with a smile and a grain of salt.

Time Management is another prickly area, and one that I've struggled with. Do you work a 40-hour week, a 60-hour week, an 80-hour week, or do you simply work until the job is done? And how does one keep six to ten projects in prep, production, rehearsal or performance at any one time and manage to keep track of it all and ensure everything is done on time?

I have to admit, it used to be easier when we had big "build and paint" days, where people would just come out with their tools and we'd have a big work day and the set would be built one day and painted the next. It was also easier when we had dedicated props and costume people who were trained and experienced, whom you could just hand a script to and stand back. Now I just build alone, for the most part, as well as paint, find props, costumes, build soundscapes, or do whatever needs done. It would be nice if we had a few more people in the technical areas, but even then it wouldn't make things happen much faster, at least not right away. A willing hand who's untrained by enthused is always welcomed, but nothing makes my life easier than a trained, trusted friend whom I can count on to get the job done with minimal supervision.

Nonetheless, somehow I manage to get it all done, or at least I am able to delegate it out to others (we do have some of those "trained, trusted friends" after all), and I've finally figured out that I'll never have everything done by the end of the day, so there's no shame whatsoever in calling it a day at 5pm if you've been working since 9am, even if there's no rehearsal you have to go to that night. As for deadlines, I make sure to leave myself as much of a "grace" period as possible, and one really big organization document makes sure that everything that needs to get done in a given week is accomplished.

Yes, there comes a point where I do stop working, however briefly. I try to take it easier on the weekends now, though there are still often things to do. I've tried a few times to take some sort of a vacation, but I don't think the company is in quite that good a shape just yet, so the fish are still safe for yet another summer. Once we get through the summer there might be a few days where I could be out of cell-phone range, but that's just talk between me and the world's greatest girlfriend at this point, though one can always hope.

Of course, these are still the early days of Grinder Productions. We've made it through five years, which is something of a milestone in business (and a considerable milestone in theatre), but I fully intend to keep this company in it for the long haul, and for the sake of the next five, ten, twenty, thirty years I'm willing to work a few late nights and suffer through a few casting nightmares. As time goes on, of course, I'll want to have some more time for my other loves (one in particular, of course), and I will always be looking for new ways that I can grow, both personally and professionally, to become something more than just your friendly neighbourhood impressario.

Now you know,


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Middle Ages Opens Tomorrow!

Just a reminder that the second show in our Belwood Summer Theatre season opens tomorrow night at the Belwood Hall. Get your tickets now for this very funny show. You'll laugh, you'll snicker, and if you're a sucker for a happy ending you'll certainly have a good time. I don't often like to brag about shows that I'm actually in, but in this case I'll make an exception, and not just because it's my job to talk up the shows here on the blog! I really do want everyone to come out and see this one. It's been quite a stretch for me - this isn't the type of character that I normally play (and a bloody towel isn't the type of costume I normally wear). I think that we're really starting to hit our stride at the Belwood Hall - this will be show number 4 for Grinder out there, and as we continue to find more and more ways to make the most of the space I think the good thing that we've got going is just going to keep getting better and better.

The Middle Ages. One week only, at the Belwood Hall. Call 519-780-7593 for tickets, or get them through the website, or you can take your chances at the door, but if you do that you had best come earlier in the week - I think that by Saturday night the "buzz" around this show will be ringing through the streets of Belwood.

And if you can't get a ticket because they're all sold out, then why not check out First Kisses, our other show at the Ennotville Summer Theatre, now into the second week of a three week run at the library?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sensational Elora Website

We're a part of this - check out the Sensational Elora website here for all the details about this event. I hope that you can take in some of the many activities that are taking place this October, and not just come to our show (which you were going to do anyways, right? right?)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Theatre Ideas: Read You Some Tony Adams

I can't say it better - actors need to get their butts off the stage and into the marketing office and the scene shop and go begging for props, then maybe they would understand that theatre doesn't exist solely for their creative indulgence.

I still think we're way ahead of the curve at Grinder, but it looks like others are waking up to the new reality as well. This has lots of bearing on The Naked Theatre.

Theatre Ideas: Read You Some Tony Adams

Friday, July 25, 2008

Where have all the Cowboys Gone?

I woke up this morning to the sound of the phone ringing (never a good thing). My directors and most of the people who know me know that I'm not a morning person in the slightest, so before 9am is not the time to tell me something, especially something important, so when I do get a call from a director that early I know before I answer the phone that it can't be good news that I'm about to get.

Sure enough, it was another low-blow for Grinder. Yet another male actor quitting a show after initially making the commitment (and in this case coming out to rehearsals for a couple of weeks!).

It's been, quite frankly, an epidemic this summer, of men dropping out of roles after they have committed to them and rehearsals have begun, and men simply saying "no" to being in productions.

I've tried blaming myself for this in every way possible (just ask the world's greatest girlfriend). I have racked my brain to come up with every conceivable way in which my company may be so distasteful to the male gender as to prompt their exodus.

But I just pick the shows, I let the directors have a free hand in the casting - it's their choice who they would like in their shows. I may suggest people, of course, but they are the ones making the contacts, so I don't think it's me personally.

What else could it be? Okay, so we don't rehearse in air-conditioned comfort, but most rehearsals are at night. Our shows aren't all that huge, but I know that many actors really enjoy shows where the connection with the audience is more intimate and personal. We're not scary people here at Grinder, I don't allow intimidation, and I always encourage people to go out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome.

So I may have to concede to Jules on this one. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't all my fault.

But what else could it be? And why is it only the men?

Now yes, I do understand that people have careers and mortgages and their kid's braces to think about before they agree to take on a role. But if someone is smart enough to earn a living and support a family then you would think they would be able to figure out if they had the time to commit to a show before the agreed to the role, instead of two weeks into rehearsals.

And we have had a few bona fide medical emergencies this summer - you can't help those. I was told very early in my career that you shouldn't miss a single rehearsal (let alone drop out of a whole show - that was unthinkable) for anything less serious than a death in your immediate family. I've chosen to live by that advice as much as I can in my own work - I've been so sick at rehearsals that I've had to step outside to throw up, and I've missed more than a few funerals - but I can't in good conscience ask as much of my company members, because it does tend to scar you for life. So I do absolve the people who've lost their mothers, who have went under the knife, and I'll even throw in anyone who went into rehab or suffered a marital break-up (actual, not threatened) as having allowable excuses for leaving a show.

As for everyone else...

I'm angry at these men.

I'm confused.

I want to know why.

Why do they commit, and then back out? Few of these gentlemen are bad people, as far as I'm concerned - none of them are boors or jerks or lazy - most are the sort you'd be happy to have as your neighbour or dentist or best friend.

As much as I hate to suggest this, I think fear may be an element.

I think there's a certain amount of trepidation involved, but that's a completely natural, and healthy, part of any production - you don't want to be too cocky going into rehearsals or you'll fall flat on your face in performance. But for some reason the men this summer haven't been able to overcome their fear enough to see the projects through.

Again, I ask why? Why does the thought of memorizing some lines and getting onstage strike such fear into the hearts of men? As a friend pointed out to me, little girls get onstage all the time. I've seen some very petite little girls, and teens (traditional the most insecure age) make absolute fools of themselves onstage in front of thousands for the sake of their performance (be it theatre, music, or dance or whatever). Look at that kid who won "America's Got Talent" a while back - she performed for an audience of millions, and while she may have been afraid, she was able to overcome her fear and not just perform, but leave her audience in amazement. Why can't a grown man who earns $50K a year give 20 people an evening of laughter and joy at the Ennotville Library on a Friday night?

I doubt that any of the men who quit this summer would agree they did so out of fear. Fear is a near-impossible emotion to admit to, and there are a number of other factors in the decision to back out that could be plausibly blamed (I've heard some pretty plausible and implausible explanations over the years). In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a few men got their hackles up at my insinuation that fear is somehow motivating their decision to quit.

Frankly, I don't care. I have to admit, I am angry. When someone, anyone, quits a production, especially after rehearsals have already begun, they do irreparable harm to the show. They hurt everyone else who is involved, especially their fellow cast members. Yes, they do hurt me personally (some of these men have been my friends whom I have worked with on many other shows), but I'm willing to take those lumps, because it will even itself out over the course of many shows - I've had far more good times than bad here at Grinder, and it's getting better and better as the years roll on.

But I can't stand by and watch the ones left behind, suffering, scrambling to pull a devastated show back together. So many of the best women in Grinder have been left alone onstage this summer by the choices of their male counterparts. I have tried my best to help out, to find replacements, to even step onstage myself where I can, but the very fact that we have this problem in the first place must prompt me to action, so that we can reduce the chances of this happening in the future.

Next summer, there will be very few onstage opportunities for men. Out of seven shows, there will be only three parts, at the most, and one of those will be a 10 minute walk-on. Between now and then I'll be doing some serious scouring of my shows in Fergus and Elora this winter, stripping out as many of the male roles as I can. (There are very few places where cross-gendered casting is allowed or appropriate, but I think there's one show where we could get away with it, to hilarious effect) I do this so that I may allow the brave, dedicated, extremely talented women who love doing shows at Grinder Productions a chance to shine. On the rare occasions where we need a man onstage we'll try and find one, but if not, I'll happily step up to the plate, if the ladies will tolerate me.

Onwards and upwards. I'm off to find some men to fill some roles. Call me if you're interested.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

First Kisses Opening Night

It's opening night of First Kisses ladies and gentlemen!

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to tell you that this is perhaps the "best-kept" secret of this summer's season - it's such a delightful play, and I just stumbled upon it by accident.

Stacey and her cast and crew have been working very hard to bring this play to life. Please come out and see this delightful romantic comedy, I know you'll have a good time.

Tickets? Call the box office at 519-780-7593, or click on the "buy tickets" icon here on the blog.

I'm bringing my date to the show - are you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Conventional Wisdom

I've been doing some more thinking on The Naked Theatre concept, and today I'd like to explore a few of the conventions we hold dear in this business. Some are creative, some are quite business-oriented, but all are just "what we do," the standard operating procedures for life in the theatre. The question I ask first is "why." Why are we doing these things these ways? Is it the best way, the only way, or is the way others have chosen and we have followed? The question I ask second, to quote Peggy Lee - "Is that all there is?"

Read-throughs: Why do we read-through the script at the first rehearsal? Is it to give everyone a chance to find out what the play is about? Is it a chance for the director and others to hear the script read aloud? Is it merely insufferable curiosity on the part of the actors to find out what happens in the play they are doing? Could the actors read-through their scripts before the first rehearsal, on their own time? What effect would this have?

Learning lines: Actors have a lot of trouble doing this, and they seldom, if ever, wind up letter perfect, much to the consternation of playwrights. There are a plethora of ways to learn lines, but is there one method that will actually work? Is the work ethic of an actor and the effort they invest in learning lines more important than any particular methodolgy they employ? Does the emphasis on learning lines leave too little room for any actual "acting" after the lines are down?

Set Decoration: All sets are built with a certain degree of verisimilitude in mind. Verisimilitude is the "likeness to life" of a particular set - is it natural or abstract, and to what degree? Too often in the theatre we strive for utter "realism," something as close to real life as possible (the prevalence of realism over a number of other very worth "isms" is the topic for another post). If we are going for realism though, why do we allow ourselves to utilize conventions that call attention to the frankly "staged" nature of the play? From papier-mache props to sets with no roofs to masonite floors painted to look like oak boards and plywood flats painted to look like mountain views we constantly flount our theatricality in the audience's face: we are a play, and no matter how "real" you and I think it is, it will remain a play until it is over, when it will be nothing. Show we allow this hybridization of the real and the unreal? Should realism be as utterly real as possible, or does a play stop being a play when there is nothing left to the audiences' willing suspension of disbelief? Is it a cop-out to put a light switch on the wall that does not actually flick up and and down? Is it a cop-out to put a light switch on the wall that does flip up and down but is not actually connected to any of the fixtures providing light onstage?

More to follow, as the Naked Theatre odessey continues.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Introducing Brighton Beach Memoirs

The final show at the Belwood Summer Theatre is one of the largest, most complex we've ever done in a summer season (barring of course last year's mega-production of Noises Off). It's Brighton Beach Memoirs, by the great American playwright Neil Simon.

Almost everyone knows who Neil Simon is, for he is one of the most commercially successful playwrights in history (the most successful, of course, is William Shakespeare). He is perhaps best known as the author of The Odd Couple, which was both a hit on stage and screen, but he has also penned many other plays, such as Lost in Yonkers, Rumors, Barefoot in the Park and I Ought to be in Pictures (produced last summer at the Ennotville Summer Theatre). So popular are his works that the licensing agents who hold the non-professional rights to his plays see fit to charge an extra $50 per performance for each of his plays (on top of the $75 per performance they have already boosted their base rate to from $35 just a year ago - but that's the topic for another post).

Brighton Beach Memoirs is one of Simon's most autobiographical works, a frank portrayal of himself as young boy growing up in the 1930's in Brighton Beach, New York, in an immigrant Jewish neighbourhood. Standing in for Simon is Eugene, a boy "almost but not quite 15." who narrates the story as it unfolds and plays an active role in what is happening (whether he realizes it or not). Eugene lives with his father, mother, brother, his aunt and her two daughters, all in the same cramped wooden frame house. Like most kids his age he is obsessed with baseball (or more specifically the Yankees), girls, of course (though he wouldn't dare say it to them) and his father, whom he sees in an almost heroic light, working hard to provide for the seven people in his household.

But things aren't going well, and as is usually the case in Simon's plays, tragedy lies just around the corner, and once things start to go wrong the situation keeps getting worse and worse. In true Neil Simon fashion though, laughter comes in at the last second to save the day, and the result is one of the most touching, endearing plays that we have in Belwood this summer.

Tickets? You know you know how to get them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Goodbye to the Belle

Last Saturday saw the final performance of The Belle of Amherst, perhaps the most unique production we've ever put on in the Ennotville Library. For three weeks Sara Dunbar dazzled as Emily Dickinson, creating an aura of believability and charm that fit perfectly with the intimate staging and the library setting which, with only minimal adjustments, was able to very accurately reflect Emily's family home in 1883 - after all, by 1883 the Ennotville Library had already been standing for almost 40 years!

I would like to say a huge thanks to Rachel, Pam and Sara for bringing this show to life. The passion, dedication and perseverance of these three ladies was perhaps the most fitting tribute to Dickinson and her work. They have proven that there's no project too deep for us at Grinder, no play we can't get into, work through, and understand well enough to bring it to life onstage.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Same Time, Next Year

It's been a while since I introduced another show to you, so today I would like to tell you about Same Time, Next Year, the final show in our Ennotville Summer Theatre season.

Same Time, Next Year is a romantic comedy based around an extra-marital affair that two people carry on, one weekend a year, for nearly their entire married lives. They do so in the same California hotel room, and it's about the only thing that doesn't change over the course of their liaison. Against the backdrop of cold war, civil rights, the women's movement, and a potpurri of other forces which shaped the twentieth century they carry on their illicit affair. They are completely open and honest with each other about their spouses and the challenges the face from year to year, and while they don't always get along they always manage to find each other in the end, and despite being framed in the guilt of being cheaters in their respective marriages both George and Doris retain a loveable charm that reminds us of our need to find true love and companionship, not just heated moments of lust that fade to memories over time.

This is a fairly well-known play, and given that, and its somewhat salacious pretext I thought long and hard before I included it in the season. To be sure, it is funny. Very, very funny. And reading it made me feel a great connection to the material that I don't get very often, so that was enough to convince me that it was a winner. I hope that audiences will enjoy this show - it is being directed by Arlene Callaghan, who's last show at the library was Talley's Folly, last summer's unqualified "hit" show, so we can safely expect another stellar production this time around.

I'll have more to say on this show, hopefully some pictures too, as we get closer and closer to opening night, which is August 14th, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Belle of Amherst closes this weekend!

Just a reminder that Saturday will be your last chance to see this amazing one-woman tour de force about the life and works of Emily Dickinson. I've already said all that I can about this show, it's just so awe-inspiring that words can't describe it. In the hands of Sara Dunbar as Emily and Rachel Behling as her director this show has gone places no Grinder show has ever gone before.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Relatively Speaking Wrap-Up

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to the cast and crew of Relatively Speaking, along with all the people who came out to kick off our second season at the Belwood Hall. A big thanks to director RD Branton for seeing this project through, and to the entire cast and crew for all the hard work. For those of you who didn't make it out, you missed a wonderful show....

.... but don't worry, you can redeem yourself by coming out to the next Belwood Show, AR Gurney's The Middle Ages, July 31st to August 2nd. It's just as hilarious a show, the Saturday matinee is back, and you'll get to see a very rare sight - Grinder himself, onstage, in a variety of compromising costumes.

Don't ever tell me I haven't suffered for my art.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Naked Theatre

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the creative process and how it is evolving, both in my own mind and in the world at large. Certainly today's artisans, be they working in theatre, visual arts or really any medium, are being faced with a world that is metamorphosizing right before their eyes, with monumental changes being brought about (some would say being forced about) through climate change, energy consumption, political dis-enchantment and a host of other factors. In simple terms it means that the world as we know it is changing.

In the past it seemed that the artisans were among the most prepped to absorb change - in fact they were many times the vanguards of it. This time I'm not so sure.

We're faced with a world where everything is subject to challenge. Do we need this? Is there another way to do that? Do you really need to drive 100 km to see your third production of "No Sex Please, We're British"?

Sadly, I think that this time artisans in general and theatre people in particular are ill-equipped to deal with change. We have clung too long to traditional beliefs about "good" and "bad" plays, citing over and over again a show that did well many years ago, even though the rules of the game have long since changed (try putting a live cow onstage at the Grand now!). We have become stuck in ruts of expectations about what it takes to put on plays and what we can expect of our audiences, who no longer have to choose simply between us and the cinema, and who no longer have as much patience for lacklustre production values or four-hour long plays as they once did (there was a time when if a play didn't last more than six hours you demanded your 5 cents back).

Can theatre survive the impending darkness of a world without oil, plagued by violent weather, poverty, hunger and the entire concept of Western civilization entering a period of decline? Well it's survived everything else in the last ten thousand years (give or take), so it stands to reason that theatre will survive us all once again. What I don't know, though, is how.

I have entitled this post "The Naked Theatre" not simply because it would get your attention, but because I would like to use the label and motif for a new project I am undertaking. No, I'm not about to start producing nudist theatre (see the anthology Theatre au Naturel for that), rather I am going to start searching for new approaches to doing what we do in the theatre, be it writing, directing, acting, producing, whatever. I'm interested in stripping away existing pre-conceptions, re-examining the "tried and true" methods of doing things, and understanding the causality of creative and financial success or failure in today's theatre. My ultimate goal is not just to uncover some of our discontents. What I want (and need) both as a creative artisan and a pragmatic entrepreneur, is a clear, clean, beautiful new model for doing what we do, one that is "naked" of predjudices, free of the ill-fitting garments of the past (though perhaps not ready to discard those garments entirely) and most importantly completely unashamed of being seen as she truly is.

I undertake this project for no other reason than I have an overwhelming desire for some answers to questions that have been bugging me for a long, long time. I hope that the fruits of my labours will make me a better artisan and producer. I'll share my progress as regularly as I can on this blog (it's not like I have a lot of time on my hands right now!), and who knows, maybe when it's all said and done someone will want to publish it (I have to admit, The Naked Theatre sounds like the perfect thing to be listed on a university syllabus somewhere). In any event, it should be an interesting ride.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Relatively Speaking - Catch it!

Relatively Speaking closes in two days! Do not miss this fun-filled British extravaganza of slippers, sin and other related mayhem. No matinee on Saturday, so you've got to get out to Belwood tonight or tommorrow night. Don't miss this rare opportunity to see some of Grinder's best onstage together in this amazing production, directed by RD Branton, the auteur behind last summer's sleeper hit, Norm Foster's "The Melville Boys."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Canadian Theatre Blogs

We made the list of "Definitive Canadian Theatre Blogs!"

Okay, I don't know that it's much of an honour, or was gathered using a particularly exhaustive methodology, but now who knows who's reading all about what we're doing at Grinder Productions. I think we're onto something special here, and I'm glad that we can now share it with a wider audience.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First Kisses Pictures

Just a few pics from the rehearsals of First Kisses. Featuring Rachel Lehman as Mary and Trevor Fedyck as John, directed by Stacey Ingham. This charming romantic comedy is perfect for couples of all ages, and opens July 24th at the Library.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sensational Elora

I haven't had much to say about our participation in the "Sensational Elora" festival just yet - the summer has been far too hectic. But plans are underway nonetheless for our involvement in this event. Please see their website for the (nearly completed) list of events and organizations that are participating in the festival this October.

I'm pleased to say we'll be at the Elora Centre for the Arts October 3rd and 4th with a production of "Art," a play about, well, art, or more specifically, just how much would you be willing to pay for a white painting?

It's funny, it's insightful, and of course, it's still subject to change, but it's safe to say that we'll be there this October.

Now if anyone is free this July 10th, they are having an Open House at the Elora Centre for the Arts at 7pm, where they will go over the list of events, talk about marketing, and answer some questions. Since we have an opening ourselves that evening in Belwood for Relatively Speaking I can't make it, but if there were some Grinder member out there who would be interested in going in my place I would love to have someone from our company there. This is going to be a great opportunity to talk up the show and the company, and it's only one night, which means you've got two more nights to come to see Relatively Speaking....

Let me know if you're interested in attending on behalf of Grinder, and you should all check out the Sensational Elora Website (linked in the title of this post). It sounds like it's going to be two weeks of food, fun and friendship in Elora this fall.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Theatre Ideas: Resource #5: Grassroots Theater

An interesting find here, sounds like it would be a good fit with Grinder and where I want to ultimately take the company. Ever since Samuel French decided to double it's royalties costs and the cost of everything else has shot through the roof I've been doing a lot of thinking about how we can create sustainable theatre projects without the crippling rental and royalties costs. Since there's no such thing as a "guaranteed hit" at the box office any way to level the playing field before a show gets to an audiences is something that interests me a lot. This could be such a work. If anyone's got a dusty copy of this sitting around somewhere I'd love to take a look at it.

Theatre Ideas: Resource #5: Grassroots Theater

Friday, July 4, 2008

Relatively Speaking... it's a good time

Just one more week before this one opens folks! I know that a lot of you are fans of British Farce, you won't want to miss this. RD and the cast and crew have been working hard to bring this very, very funny play to life. Just three performances only, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 10th - 12th at 8pm, and the Belwood Hall isn't that big. For those of you who were there last year you know that the place can fill up fast - get your tickets soon to avoid disappointment!

You know you know how...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Belle of Amherst - Opening Night

It's finally here everyone - opening night! A huge congrats to Rachel, Sara and Pam and the whole "Belle" team for bringing this show to life. I can assure you it is a joy to watch and I hope everyone comes out to see it sometime before it closes on July 19th.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Farmer's Daughters

Just wanted to make a brief note today to say thanks to Joanne, Zoe, Ashley and my Jules for a wonderful run of Farmer's Daughters. I can't think of a better way to get back into the swing of productions than working with these wonderful ladies. Thanks for putting up with all my idiosyncracies, and for never wavering in your commitment. Let's do it again sometime.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day from Grinder Productions

It's Canada Day! Time to blather on about the deplorable state of Canadian Theatre once again, and how it's all going to the dogs, with playwrights who will do anything but let their works be produced to arrogant, power-hungry artistic directors ruling over their theatres like tinpot dictators to apathetic audiences giddily running to escapist commercial fluff while the ground-breaking, internationally acclaimed works in their own backyards are left to languish...

Well, I could blather on like that, but I won't. Not today at least. We have so much to be proud of in this country's national dramatic canon and community. If you're reading this blog that makes you a part of it too. Let's make sure that we all work together to make theatre in Canada even better.