Thursday, October 14, 2010

Types of rehearsals

Always begin with a read-through. Some directors don’t do this,
especially if they’re doing a classic – everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, don’t
they? While your budding star-crossed lovers may know the gist of the story they likely
don’t know many of the details – bringing those to light is why ... (click here for the full article)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The rehearsal schedule

Falling behind is one of the most common pitfalls of rehearsing a play – it’s too easy to quickly
become bogged down in pointless nit-picking or become so engrossed in the play at the outset of
rehearsals that the last few days are spent rushing through the material at the end. There are many
ways to divide up a play for rehearsal purposes, but simply having a rehearsal schedule on paper
before you begin is... (click here to read the full article)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to divide a play into beats

Running through the entire play over and over at each rehearsal is a crude and inefficient way to
prepare a play for production. It can have merit when you’re working with a very inexperienced
cast, and you will need a few run-throughs at the end of the rehearsal process before tech week
to help everyone get a sense of the flow of the piece, but you can bring out a lot more truth and
comprehension in the play if you can explore small sections of it in depth.
But there are many different ways to divide up a play. A common way is to divide the play into
“French” scene – each time a character enters or exits it marks a new scene, and you simply
schedule rehearsals to work on the one or more scenes that feature the same group of actors.
This can get a bit confusing, especially... (clicker here for the beats of The Constant Lover)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Theatres are organized

All theatre, be it community, professional, educational or anywhere in between, has a
bureaucracy, an imperfect organizational structure that everyone involved in a production must participate in to some degree in order to do their jobs. Unfortunately job titles and the duties assigned to them vary wildly from company to company, and of all the jobs listed...(click here to read the rest of the article)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Production Schedule

Production Schedules are vital to the success of any production. They provide everyone with an “at a glance” view of the entire production. Despite the temptation to do so in smaller companies, Production Schedules and Rehearsal Schedules should not be economized into the same document, as this tends to be confusing for actors who... (click here to read the rest of the article)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Technical Script Analysis

How you analyse a script has a lot to do with what job you’re doing on the production. This analysis is meant for stage managers and technicians, and should form the starting point for their work on the production. The break-down below shows a common method of organizing the information gleaned from the script. These lists can be added to or modified...(click here to read the rest of the article)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Production Team

Few theatre companies, amateur or professional, have one person for each and every job that needs to be done on a production – most people wear two or more hats. In the professional theatre there are some union jurisdictional lines that can’t be crossed, but in amateur productions it’s not uncommon to see the actors helping to put up the set, the person doing the lighting design also running the sound board, and the director handing out programs. The list that follows of positions on the production team is extensive, but it is by no means exhaustive... (click here to read the rest of the article)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to highlight lines

This is where the study of the play begins to differentiate based on what role you are playing in
the production. Since most people begin their theatrical journeys as actors, I’ve decided that an
actor’s primer for highlighting lines would be as good a place to start as any.

Why highlight your lines?

You’re not going to have the script in your hands when you step on stage... (click here to read the entire article)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Read the play again

Okay, I’ve read the play. I know what happens. I have experienced the play as much like an
audience member as I can without actually seeing a production. Now what?

Read the play again.

Why? Because now I need to understand the play, and everything it contains. This time... (click here to read the full article)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Read the play

Every piece of theatrical advice and instruction that I have ever come across always begins with
the same three words – read the play.

It seems so obvious – how can you possibly act, direct, produce or stage manage a play that you
haven’t read? Yet there are a great many people who call themselves theatre professionals who
don’t bother to read a play before they begin rehearsals or start working on some technical
element. These are often the people who... (click here to read the entire article)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Welcome to Theatre Resources

Thank you for joining me on my journey. You can learn more about me and about how this
project came into being by checking out my expository little epistle,
How it all started.

This website is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge about theatre. It’s for everyone who makes
theatre, from writers to actors to directors to the person running the follow spot, and everyone in
between. It’s for amateurs and professionals, students and teachers, and even audiences. It is for
anyone who has to courage to honestly admit that they still have something to learn when it
comes to theatre and stagecraft.

The site is broken down into the broad topics of theatre... (click here to read the complete article)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An important announcement from Grinder Productions

Hello everyone,

It is with the deepest sadness that I must announce today that Grinder Productions has suspended operations, effective immediately.

The reason for this is simple: I cannot find and keep enough male actors to do any shows this season. This is not a temporary problem, but one that has plagued me for years. It is not fair to ask the few men and many women who have agreed to do shows this year to rehearse without full casts.

I am deeply sorry for doing this to all of you. If you are receiving this email it is because you have some stake in our company, as an actor, community partner, or friend, and I would like to apologize to anyone who is hurt, upset, disappointed or otherwise inconvenienced by this decision. I would like to extend a special apology to Tim and Sade, the two extremely talented, enthusiastic young people who were to run our summer camps who are now unemployed. If you know of anyone looking for two great camp counsellors this summer I highly recommend them.

Bronwyn, please accept my resignation from the Trillium Grant Committee, both in my capacity as chair and Grinder Productions as a member of the collaborative. I will personally still be happy to act as a consultant to the collaborative if my expertise is required, and I will also be available in the fall to conduct the technical workshops if the committee would like to hire me for those.

Kasey, please cancel our contract for the Belwood Hall this summer, and advise me if any money must be paid.

Believe me everyone, if there were any possible way for me to carry on I would – theatre is my lifeblood, and it defines every aspect of who I am. But I’ve carried on in futility for years now, even in the face of overwhelming rejection. I’ve never been able to interest enough actors in my shows. I’ve never really found the inner peace I need to sit down and properly prepare a show for the stage. And I’ve never heard the applause from a sold-out house at one of my shows. I may have given a few people a good start, and helped others on the road to their dreams, or so I hope. But personal success has always eluded me – the emptiness in my soul that made me start Grinder Productions has never been filled, and I must live with the fact that it possibly never will.

Jules has insisted that I leave the door open for Grinder’s return in the future. Though I don’t know how I will ever find the faith and trust in others that it takes to put on a show, Jules’ eternal optimism for a brighter tomorrow gives me hope that one day I will put on plays again.

I’ll keep the grinder@grinderproductions.org email address active as long as I can afford to, though the website and blog may fade away, or be changed to offer different content. I will keep the phone going as long as I can as well.

I will keep my Facebook page, and I will continue to write on Helium.com. I encourage all of you to visit Helium, and read my articles and How-to Guides. Though small, this will be my sole source of income for the time being.

I’m going to take some time off this summer to write, to farm, and decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I wish all of you the best of luck in your future endeavours, and once again, I am truly sorry for doing this to you, and for all the inconveniences you’ve ever had to endure for the sake of Grinder Productions. I am deeply thankful and deeply grateful to you all.

So good-bye for now, but maybe not forever.

Eric Goudie
Julie Goudie

Thanks for the comments, everyone...

Good, bad and ugly, it's been nice to get some comments this past week here on the blog. When you blog and blog and blog and blog and you're not sure whether or not anyone's actually reading it can get a bit disconcerting once in a while if you don't get the odd bit of feedback.

(Luckily for me blogging fulfills the natural need within me to write, with a minimum of structural constraints and little or no censorship)

Please don't hesitate to keep the comments coming, even if you're a hater - I do appreciate people's ideas and feedback, but I especially like to hear about constructive, pragmatic things that make things better here at Grinder.

And if have any ideas about topics you think I should include in future posts feel free to let me know about that too!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest Post from The World's Greatest Wife

I was going to simply make a comment in response to the recent comment Grinder received but I have been allowed to do a guest post instead.

When I read the comment I was disgusted that someone would say such terrible things and not express their feelings directly. If someone has a problem with someone or something the only decent and adult thing to do is discuss them openly so the problems may be resolved.

I have worked with Grinder for many years now and am thrilled to say that it got me back into theatre after many years away from it and I love it again. The fact that I love it means that I would rehearse almost anywhere, just so that I can do it.

Grinder is not a big company with lots of money to throw around, yet it works hard to allow local people to get on stage and show off what they can do. It’s a company that has been in the community for years and struggles to keep going in these hard economic times.

Eric runs Grinder out of a love for theatre and his love for allowing others to get on stage or back stage and do what makes them come alive.

He puts up with people backing out at the last minute, people not learning their lines as they have committed to and trying to run a company during hard times. I have always felt that if I commit to something I should see it through; I guess the joke is on me because that does not seem to be the way things work anymore.

Perhaps what Grinder should do is just stop producing plays, forget about trying to produce local theatre and forget about giving kids and adults the chance to be on stage. I’m sure that’s what our commenter would like to see happen, but when someone has a passion that drives them to do what they love, I’m guessing it will take more than some hard words to make them give up on their dream.

I’m sure I should be writing this when I have calmed down from reading our other commenter’s remarks but I decided that I needed to share my feelings on the matter honestly and as I was feeling them.

Perhaps our commenter would like to try following his or her dream without the support or funding of a big company.

I’m impressed to see that Grinder is taking the comments in a professional manner and using the hurtful things said to grow and make the company stronger.


I wrote this about a week ago after reading the now famous comment and I have since calmed down and Eric is now allowing me to post my remarks. I'm sure everyone will say that I'm biased because I'm married to Eric but I want everyone to know that I have more than once told Eric that maybe he needs to give it all up because of what he has to put up with. Yet each time he comes back fighting and refuses to give up on what he believes to be a great company. Maybe we all need to stop and think about what we would do for a job we love. I get up each morning, drive an hour to work, work in an office doing stuff I don't really like and each day I wonder why there isn't a better way to spend three quarters of my life. I sure don't love my job but I sure wish I could say I did. Maybe then I would be more willing to put up with bull****!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not to prosyletise, but...

Here's an article on Helium on a subject that's near and dear to me and the world's greatest wife.

Understanding in vitro fertilziation (IVF)

FYI, there's no news right now, nothing to report whatsoever. I won't say "stay tuned" because I can't promise that there would be anything to report much before the first day of kindergarten - that's the nature of these things. We've decided that being open about the process is an important step though, because too many people aren't aware of the extent of couples who deal with fertility issues, and it isn't talked about enough, even amongst fellow patients.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Standby, Mackenzie - Chapter 6

Day four of rehearsals dawned bright and sunny, as had been the norm all week long. By 9am the Main Street in Sheridan’s Falls was already filling up with tourists and teenagers, all of the scantily dressed for the hot day to come. Dressed in her “show blacks” because Trudy was taking her picture today for the front-of-house photos, Mackenzie attracted more than a few quizzical stares as she walked down the main street towards the theatre, coffee in one hand, her stage management toolkit in the other.

“You’re a smoke short of finally looking like a real techie,” joked Steven, who was sitting on the front steps of the theatre having a smoke. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, both covered with dirt and paint from the shop.

“So how’s the stage managing workin’ out for you?”

“It’s okay, I guess. I never know what the next thing will be that I’m supposed to already know, but I think I’m staying ahead of things.

“That’s good. That’s very good. And you’re sure you’ll be needed today?”

“According to this CTA thing I’m technically not allowed to not be here.”

“Damn.”

And with that Steven tossed the rest of his smoke onto the street and went inside. Mackenzie followed, but went straight into the auditorium to get ready for the day. She double-checked her preset from the night before, set the running props and food props that couldn’t be put out beforehand, made the coffee, changed the jug on the water cooler and had just finished tidying up the production desk when the actors walked in. They made some small talk, and then some more.

Mackenzie looked down at her watch. Ten after. Where was Frank?

The actors began to look concerned.

“I’ll go and see if I can find him. Marlene probably needs something signed.”

Mackenzie went out to the box office, and found Marlene busily working alone, processing the online ticket orders while marking off a section of the auditorium for a large bus tour audience.

“Trudy will be in to do pictures at 2pm, just like you scheduled,” she said without looking up. “I don’t want another fiasco with the union like last time.

“Actually I’m looking for Frank. It’s ten after and I haven’t seen him since I got here this morning. The actors are starting to wonder where he is.”

“He’s in a meeting with Steven. Probably forgot the time. Just go and knock on his –

At that moment Frank’s voice rumbled through the entire theatre. It was muffled, but unmistakably his. Just then the door to Frank’s office upstairs opened, and Steven came out, almost running. Frank came after him.

“And I don’t want any more *#!$ing excuses! This is un-professional! You and Juan had better get your )*&^%^ together and get this $#@*ing thing built before Sunday or I’m going to cut you a new *&^%*^%%&!!!!”

By now Steven was at the door, and almost ran over Trudy as she walked in. Frank came down the stairs.

“What!” he screamed at Mackenzie as she came over to him.

“Uh, we’re ready. Everyone’s here.”

“Tell the kids I’ll be right in.”

Mackenzie was shaking as she made her way back to the auditorium. She’d never seen Frank that mad before. It was a different kind of angry, not the usual surly growling but a more dangerous, explosive sort of rage. Yet, it sounded to her as if it were a controlled rage, as if he was calculating just how mad to get. Luckily the actors had heard his outburst too, so Mackenzie didn’t have to explain anything.

It wasn’t until after lunch when Trudy was taking pictures that Frank told the cast what had happened.

“Steven and Juan are having some trouble finishing the set.”

The actors wanted to know what kind of trouble – Frank replied the kind of trouble that gets fixed by a good swift kick in the butt, which is exactly what Steven had gotten this morning. The actors thought this was funny, and nothing more was said about it.

After an afternoon that Mackenzie thought would never end there wound up being a ton of prop and costume notes for her to do, and it wasn’t until around 8 o’clock that she finally finished cleaning up and getting set for the next day. True to form, Bret strolled in just as she was finishing sweeping the stage, and Mackenzie half-wondered, half-hoped, that he had been waiting for her and watching her in the darkness of the auditorium.

“So was I right about the set, Macky?”

“Yeah, you were right, but I don’t know the details. Frank screamed out Steven this morning, and then told us at lunch that they were “having trouble” with the set, but that Frank’s yelling had fixed it.”

“Well, it might,” Bret conceded. “But I don’t think Steven and Juan will be out of the woods just yet. If I know those two, the ‘trouble’ they were having with the set was probably called a pint of draught, or perhaps Mary Jane.”

“Mary who?”

“Never mind, kiddo. I’d say we should go over there and help them, but maybe it would be better if you got some rest, ‘cause I think tomorrow Steven is going to want you to do some of the painting.”

“Why me?”

“Because he and Juan don’t like painting, and they’re likely going to pull an all-nighter tonight to get this done. Bring a change of clothes with you tomorrow and after rehearsal you and I will go, finish the set, and get it painted.”

“But I don’t know the first thing about set painting! Or set building for that matter.”

“It’s easy, as long as you’re not hung over and you actually stick at it. Tell your folks that you probably won’t be home tomorrow night, or the next, or for the next week for that matter. Once they load-in you’ll probably be here straight through.”

Friday, June 11, 2010

Welcome to Canterbury... again

This was going to be our 1st main stage show at the Ennotville Library. Now it's the our first show at the Belwood Hall. This is Chaucer Uncensored!

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were completed in the final few years of the 14th century. They are a collection of stories being told by a group of pilgrims on their way to the Thomas Becket shrine in Canterbury, England. What makes the stories unique is that they are told largely by and about the common people of the time, not just the usual kings and queens.

We've taken three of the most-loved and funniest tales and rewritten them for the stage, in thoroughly modern English - this play is just as easy to understand as a typical bedroom farce.

The play is directed by Alan Quinn, who has also co-written the show, adding the British colloquialism that give it an even more farcical flavour.

Chaucer Uncensored runs July 8th, 9th and 10th at the Belwood Hall. Call 519-780-7593 or visit www.grinderproductions.org for tickets and information!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

When the Cows Went Berserk

It was a dark and stormy night in late October 2004. The old Grand stood much as she does now, except with far worse lighting. A vast set covered the stage, dwarfed only by the endless vista suggested by the scrim beyond the large bay window upstage centre. Someone said it was one of the biggest, most elaborate sets they'd ever seen on the Fergus stage.

Two young actors huddled in the cramped backstage, waiting for the lights to go down. A young man and a young woman, both playing roles well above their age, but filled with the plucky determination of youth. Alan Jackson's "Remember When" filled the theatre as the lights went to black.

That night Grinder Productions was born. That night it wasn't a staged reading, pieces of paper stuck to a wall, or some pathetic techie's asinine ramblings over his fourth pint of Guinness. That night we performed a play. It was called Home Farm.

I don't think Home Farm is the best play I've ever written (though a few other people do), but it's always held a special place in my heart, and it's one of the few plays that I promised myself that I would bring back when the time was right.

Well the time is now. Since we've been forced to change Chaucer Uncensored to Belwood, move around a couple of other shows, and do nothing less than re-think our entire business model I think it's high time for the most wholesome, honest play I've ever written to make its return.

Home Farm (or life before the cows went berserk) is the story of one day in the life of a modern family farm. It's a "typical" fall day, though of course there's no such thing as a typical day on the farm at any time. Filled with warmth, charm and even a little humour, Home Farm is as much about family, fellowship and love as it is about country living - think Dan Needles "Letter from Wingfield Farm" meets Thorton Wilder's "Our Town."

The show opens on Thursday, June 24th at the Ennotville Library, and runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to July 3rd. For tickets and information please call 519-780-7593 or email grinder@grinderproductions.org.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Directions




I write this as I'm sitting on the dock in Rosseau, whiling away the hours until I can pick up the world's greatest wife (who looks simply ravishing in a poodle skirt, by the way) from her company's annual meeting.

Cottages dot the shoreline. A young family fishes on the next dock over, and then a loon's call echos over the water. You don't get much more Northern Ontario than this.

Even though I'm far from home, noticeably exhausted and have narrowly avoided not one, but two wet and runny bombs from the seagulls periodically swirling overhead I'm oddly enough in a largely peaceful state of mind. Large bodies of open, calm water seem to have that effect on me, as does the quiet majesty of the boreal forest that seems to rise effortlessly out of the granite.

A par of mallards land just behind me, and begin foraging along the shore. A pair of loons surface just a few feet from where I sit. A blue heron glides over the water, disappearing in the instant she lands in the foliage on the opposite shore.

This is a peaceful place, on the dock, and it's made for a peaceful place in my mind. I don't think I've been this tired but still this happy since I walked down the aisle (which if you're keeping score was one year ago this past Sunday).

So what does all this inner and outer tranquility have to do with Grinder? Everything.

Up here in the clear northern air there's nothing but pure, honest truth. The truth about Grinder is that it isn't the runaway success it should be, can be or deserves to be.

In 2010 we've been plagued by people quitting shows, either just before rehearsals begin, or just after, and we've been unable to interest enough actors in being in our shows.

In 2009 we were plagued by poor attendance. I was very, very hurt when one actor I'd worked with before told me they wouldn't do a show with me again in a different venue because "you don't get enough people there for it to be worth it."

In 2008 we finally gave up trying to do shows at the Fergus Grand Theatre, a building that I've put 15 years of blood, sweat and tears into, because we simply weren't selling enough tickets to be able to risk a contract in Centre Wellington's premiere live performance venue.

In 2007 we ruined some lives.

In spite of our failures, we've had some victories too. We raised a little money for the cancer centre at Groves. We've paid thousands in rent, to the Township of Centre Wellington, to the Elora Centre for the Arts, and perhaps most importantly to the Ennotville Library. We've given many young people their first taste of theatre, be it acting, directing, or in a design/technical capacity, and we've inspired some of these young people to pursue professional careers. A few of these young people have even already found some success on the professional stage, screen, catwalk or behind the scenes.

And yes, two people met, became friends, fell in love and got married. Perhaps that is the most amazing victory of all.

So this is the paradox I've been struggling with: how can our victories (however numerous they may be) justify the shame and hardship of my entrepreneurial failures? I've spent most of the last year grappling with this problem in one form or another, and I'll admit I seriously considered giving it all up, and going and spending the next 40 years of my life making money doing something I hate, like everybody else.

But here on the boat dock it finally starts to make a little sense. I usually take Grinder's failures solely as my own, since on some level, no matter what actions any individual may take, it was ultimately I who agreed to them coming on board. Yet I usually see Grinder's successes as belonging to everyone, because I know that no matter how hard I may work putting on a show is a collaborative effort, and the most successful shows are most often those with real collaborative efforts from all involved.

What I realize now is that my attitude may be politically correst but it is pragmatically flawed. If success is collaborative then so is failure, and if I allow everyone to cherish the victories then I shouldn't wallow alone in the agony of failure and defeat.

I can't do it all alone. But what I can do is change how things are done.

So here's my idea. Grinder Productions is going to move from being a community theatre company to a sem-professional theatre company. What this means is that from now on everyone working on a show (as an actor, director or major production personnel) will sign a contract, and they will be paid a portion of any profits generated by whatever show they are in. They will be paid even more if they meet a series of "qualifying criteria" - basic expectations of professionalism like learning lines and showing up for all rehearsals. How much money each participant makes ultimately depends on how many people are involved in a given show, and how hard they are willing to work to make it a success.

So that's the new plan. We'll try it for the summer and see how it goes. I hope it will solve some of our biggest problems and make our shows more fun to be in. And yes, to be honest, I hope it will finally mean that I can earn a living wage from this, and meaningfully contribute to my family once again. And maybe by the time my 2nd anniversary roles around it won't take Lake Rosseau in all it's splendour to make me feel at peace.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's official... I'm hated

I usually get excited when someone leaves a comment - it means that someone out there is actually reading this thing. But this morning I finally had someone who dared offer more than a platitude.

Apparently I'm a horrible theatre company. I'm disorganized, I don't care about my casts and everyone in the theatre community hates to work with me. I'm supposed to stop complaining and get my act together before I lose what few actors I have left.

The comment was left anonymously, but it was by someone who had done one show with me, and had such a horrible experience that he or she would never be back.

The timing couldn't be worse, as this morning I was planning on telling everyone exactly what we are doing to fix what's wrong with Grinder, which is exactly what the commenter says needs to be done - I've been upstaged on my own blog.

The words hurt - give me sticks and stones any day over this. The only thing that hurts more is that the commenter does have a valid point - I am a screw up, and Grinder is in trouble - it doesn't matter that the fix is on the way. As for not caring about my casts nothing could be further from the truth, but if it's possible to see things that way then it's just further evidence that change needs to come.

After much deliberation, I've decided to allow the comment to be published, for now. I think it's the right thing to do, and I hope that it will prompt more of you to respond as well.

Do you agree with this person? You can hide behind anonymity here, so you might as well be honest.

Do you disagree with this person? Have you had a good experience with Grinder you might like to share (I could really use that right now).

To the person who wrote these words, thank-you. Your points are taken - where I feel you are right I concede, where I feel you are wrong I respectfully disagree. Tomorrow I will tell you and everyone else what we've done to change things at Grinder, a change that was already afoot before you expressed your thoughts but one that I think will address many of your grievances. In the meantime I'd be interested in hearing your ideas for specific ways that we can make Grinder better, perhaps so much better that you would consider coming back and doing a show with us once again.

Today, for the first time, someone has had the guts to tell me I'm hated. I'm sure they're not alone, and I'm sure it won't be the last time I hear such vitriol - both succes and failure come with their detractors, so no matter which way things go I'm going to have to live with this experience and others like it.

And now it's time to pick up the pieces...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Living the Dream

Charles Dickens said it best - "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

We're now well into rehearsals for our summer season, with several shows on the go right now, and many more just on the verge of getting started. As the world's greatest wife has been reminding me, we're doing much better at this point this year than we were last year, and she's right - I'm very pleased to see how well a show like Chaucer Uncensored is coming along, and how we're already mostly cast for shows later in the season like Wild Angels and The 18 Carat Boob.

But of course it can't all be roses - we have our challenges, just like every other year. It seems the Grinder "casting curse" is still alive and well - getting and retaining actors remains our largest stumbling block this season, and it's been the cause of more hair-pulling and sleepless nights on my part than anything else. Particularly frustrating to me is losing someone for a role once rehearsals have already begun, something that the folks at Chaucer have had to face not once, but twice - for the exact same role!

Now don't get me wrong, I don't blame anyone who is forced to drop out of a show - people have their reasons, and who am I to judge. But even so, most people have exceptionally good reasons for not continuing, usually work or family commitments, and I agree those have to come first.

But it's still frustrating.

It's frustrating to feel like everyone else's well-being takes priority over your own. It's frustrating to feel like your passion, your livelihood, your raison d'etre depend on the whims of others. It's frustrating to be turned down time and time and time again by people with better things to do. It's frustrating to feel like you're that hobby people have that they can just never seem to find the time to get around to.

So that's my venting for today - yesterday was a particularly busy day at Grinder, hence my feelings this morning. I really do love what I do - I get up every morning living the dream. I get to put on plays while everyone else is stuck in an office, a classroom or a shop and I'm very, very grateful for it. As I embark on another week I'd like to put the difficulties of the weekend behind me, and look forward to the wonderful adventures that lay before me, the world's greatest wife and the many, many people who love to make magic with us here at Grinder Productions.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Actors still needed

We still have some roles available for this summer for interested actors.

Now that shows are getting into rehearsals the opportunities are diminishing, but there are still some spots left.

In the Belwood season there are still some very juicy roles up for grabs in William Shakespeare's Cymbeline, some of the best roles of the season in George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, and even a couple of roles left in The 18 Carat Boob.

In Ennotville things are moving too fast to give you an accurate break-down, but there are both main stage, lunch and after-hours roles still open. Our greatest need is for people to appear in the After Hours series.

I hope this whets a few appetites. If you've been thinking of joining us this summer I encourage you to come on out. All it takes is a few hours of your time every week, and you get to be a part of something incredible. And feel free to spread the word - Grinder is not an exclusive club, and anyone who has the desire to perform with us is welcome to come on out.

Call 519-780-7593 or email grinder@grinderproductions.org to get involved today!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Leave the Horse at Home

Last night was our first rehearsal for Godiva's Children, the second Main Stage Show at the Ennotville Library. While I'm always happy to get a show into rehearsals, I'm also always a bit nervous about hearing a new script read aloud for the first time. Godiva is an original - it has never been done before, and it's never been given a workshop or reading.

As for the story of Godiva's Children, well, that might just be this production's little secret. After all, everyone knows the story of the original Lady Godiva, right?

Godiva's Children opens Thursday, July 8th at the Ennotville Library and runs to July 17th. For tickets and information please call 519-780-7593 or visit the website at www.grinderproductions.org.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Have a great long weekend everyone...

... and I'll talk to you all again on Tuesday. Please raise a glass with me this weekend for our summer 2010 season!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Actor's Toolbox

We've got a lot of new faces this season at Grinder, so I thought today I'd point some of our newbies (as well as some of our veterans) to the resources we've assembled for you in The Actor's Toolbox.

Just head on over to www.grinderproductions.org and click on the "Toolboxes" link. There you'll find a number of pages devoted to actors, directors and production personnel. Many of these pages are still under development, but the actors pages are largely complete. There's info on learning lines, creating characters, proper theatre etiquette for rehearsals and performances and so much more. You can also suggest favourite resources of your own for inclusion in a future update.

Knowledge is power! And this information isn't just specific to Grinder. Theatre is theatre no matter where you go and this collection of tips will help you prepare for almost any play. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Welcome to Canterbury

Our 1st main stage show at the Ennotville Library is now into rehearsals. It's called Chaucer Uncensored.

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales were completed in the final few years of the 14th century. They are a collection of stories being told by a group of pilgrims on their way to the Thomas Becket shrine in Canterbury, England. What makes the stories unique is that they are told largely by and about the common people of the time, not just the usual kings and queens.

We've taken three of the most-loved and funniest tales and rewritten them for the stage, in thoroughly modern English - this play is just as easy to understand as a typical bedroom farce (and we even have beds).

The play is directed by Alan Quinn, who has also co-written the show, adding the British colloquialism that give it an even more farcical flavour.

Chaucer Uncensored open June 24th and runs to July 3rd at the Ennotville Library. Call 519-780-7593 or visit www.grinderproductions.org for tickets and information!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Heart of Eden

This show is the first in our "Mostly Music" lunchtime series at the Ennotville Library. You may remember it from a couple of stage readings we gave last summer - this is the first full-blown production (and I hope it won't be the last).

It's a feel-good romantic comedy about two young strangers who meet by accident in the park one sunny day. It's also a musical, filled with funny, feel-good tunes.

The Heart of Eden stars Andrew Simmons as Mike, a more hapless than hopeless romantic and Danielle Cranston as Eden, a girl who's irrepressible spirit is the sole driving force in her life.

The show runs for one performance only, Saturday, June 24th at noon at the Library. Bring your lunch and stick around for our 2pm matinee of the hilarious farce, Chaucer Uncensored.

Call 519-780-7593 or visit www.grinderproductions.org to book your seats or for more information!

Monday, May 17, 2010

And we're off!

The Grinder 2010 season is officially underway.

Last night I attended the first rehearsal at the farm of Chaucer Uncensored, and today I'll be holding the first rehearsal of Heart of Eden. With these two shows now into rehearsals the pre-production period of our season has come to an end. Now it's a race to opening night, June 24th at the Library.

I can't help but feel excited, be it very professional of my to say so or not. Theatre is what I do, it's what I love, it's who I am, and having the chance to make theatre once again is a wonderful feeling. After not having rehearsed a show all winter I've sorely missed the give and take of a good rehearsal, and while I was just an observer last night it still got me revved up for what's to come.

And there's a lot of shows coming down the pipe. By this time next week no fewer than five shows will be into rehearsals, so expect the reports to come fast and furious about our progress. The box office should be up and running by the end of this week, so ticket sales will be starting again soon as well.

I'd like to thank everyone who's agreed to come on board with us this season, and to encourage anyone else who would like to come on board to get in touch with me, as we've still got plenty of room left for people to get involved.

Have a great summer, and I'll see you at the theatre.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My letter to the editor in the Wellington Advertiser

If you're interested. The title is "Lots of Theatre."

Lots of theatre

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dare to be Different - Speak!

Our motto is Theatre that Dares to be Different - much maligned, much over-interpreted, for better or worse that is our calling.

Today, I'm asking you to be different, and instead of just reading this, I would like you to leave a comment, or at the very least get connected as a follower of the blog.

Some days it feels like I'm working in a vaccuum, that there's no one out there who's actually hearing me. On the blog it's not really so bad, as I don't require a response, but to all the people out there to whom I have sent casting offers and you have not responded back to me, yes, that is a bit hard to take.

So, purely in the interests of my own sanity, I'm soliciting your feedback, on anything and everything Grinder. Maybe it's a show you saw, an event we participated in, or something you've seen here on the blog. I want to know what, if anything, has struck you about what we do.

Some ideas:
What do you think of Grinder?
What do you like, what do you dislike, and why?
What's your great idea for putting bums in seats?

Or anything else you'd like to spout off about - no restrictions, just looking for thoughts. Maybe the fodder of future blog posts?

Datre to be Different!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stanby, Mackenzie - Chapter 5

Day two of rehearsals was much like the afternoon of day 1 – long and boring. The monotony of running the same parts of the play over and over and over again made it hard to stay awake, and Mackenzie found herself caught asleep on her feet a couple of times, forgetting to reset the props, having the scene start, and then the actors having to mime their actions, with Frank glaring her down.

Bret had been right about the costumes. At lunch Mackenzie raided the costume shop for a cloth tape measure and a couple of old measurement sheets that some costumer had left long ago, and she was managed to fake her way through some of the rudimentary measurements required.

Bret’s props were bang on as well, and Mackenzie wasn’t sure how she felt about taking credit for something that she’d only partially done, but Frank and the actors barely seemed to give the props a second look. Instead they just picked them up and started working with them like they’d always been there.

Now sound? How was Mackenzie supposed to know that by the start of rehearsals tomorrow that Frank wanted the sound track finished and ready to go? Mackenzie knew a very little bit about costuming from her community theatre shows, and she had learnt a lot on the last show about props, but she didn’t know the first thing about the sound system. She had called sound cues before, and she’d heard Marvin calling sound cues, but beyond that she didn’t even know how to turn the sound board off and on!

When Day 2 mercifully came to an end all Mackenzie wanted to do was hit the bar with Frank and the actors, or better yet without them, but she knew that was a luxury she couldn’t afford, so she reset the props for the morning, pulled costumes for the fitting, wrote up a schedule and posted it for the day and had just finished sweeping up the stage when Bret strolled in.

“Are you ready to do some sound, Macky?”
“I’m starving.”
“Then let’s get started over at Sammy’s. Bring your prompt book and a notepad.”

Sammy’s was the greasy spoon next to the theatre that was run by a Polish Immigrant family. It was always open late, and it was about the only place in town where you could order a banquet burger and large poutine at 11pm and nobody would judge you for it. While they were waiting for their food Bret and Mackenzie went through the script, making a list of all the sound effects.

“You’re also going to need scene change music for in between each scene, and for the tops and tails of each act,” said Bret.
“How do you know –“
“Let’s just keep our eyes on the ball here, Macky. You see that line there, where Dan says ‘Hear that one old girl mooing away last night?’ That means Frank will probably want the sound of cow mooing to start long before he says that line, like right from the half when the house opens.”

After supper they went back to the theatre, up to the booth and sat down at the computer, where the two of them searched the internet for the sound effects, and the theatre’s library of music for scene change and other material.

“Did Frank say anything about underscores anywhere?”
“Frank hasn’t said anything to me about sound. How do you know this is even what he wants?”
“Well, actually, I don’t know what he wants. In fact even he probably doesn’t know what we wants for the show yet. But what he needs right now is a CD that you can use in rehearsal so the actors can hear the sound effects and music and get used to them. Later on he’ll probably want to change a bunch of stuff, which is why I’ve put it all into a neat little folder on the desktop of this computer so that next week Juan can quickly find it and be half done instead of starting all over from scratch.”

After a couple of hours of cutting and pasting they had a CD burned and labelled and ready to go for the next day’s rehearsal.

“I wonder how the set is coming,” Mackenzie asked. “Do you think we should go over and check on the guys before we go home?”
“No,” said Bret. “The guys won’t still be working this late. You should get some sleep, because tomorrow Frank is going to hit the roof when he finds out how much work is still left to be done on the set.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hallelujah

We are all like icebergs, aren't we?

The part of us that rises above the surface, the part of us that everyone else can easily see is but a small tip of what lies beneath.

Some of us think of the hidden part of ourselves as the private, others as the keeper of our true selves. For some it is a refuge of secrets, delusions and lies, while for others its a well of inspiration, strength and, when necessary, refuge.

Few people try to understand the hidden parts of others, and most of us don't really and completely understand our own hidden parts, if we're really honest with ourselves.

So what the heck does this have to do with the never-ending roller-coaster of Grinder?

Well, for the sake of extending hackney-ed metaphors consider the hidden parts of me, you and everyone who has a stake in this company or has ever been invited to have a stake in this company as the rails of the roller-coaster, constantly being laid a split second before they are rushed over in a constantly changing, non-stop, never-repeating ride.

I write this because after 25 years I decided that keeping all of the hidden parts of myself hidden were doing me more harm than good, and as I now sit on the precipice of middle age I've seen some positive payoff from that decision. Sharing something, however small, of yourself, something you normally wouldn't, is cathartic. Yes, a release.

I didn't call this blog "Grinder's Grumblings" for the sake of cute-sy alliteration. As much as it is the megaphone through which I gleefully proclaim the ongoing triumphs of Grinder Productions it must be more than that. It must be a true reflection of the journey. As much as I cheer the highs I need to also acknowledge the lows, and release them.

Todays "lows" are nothing in particular - there are no crises that weren't there before, no earth-shattering news, not even much self-pity to wallow in (another thing that's rapidly drying up on the precipice of middle age). They aren't even all that specific, just the weight of a week of sleep-deprivation and rejected acting invitations turning a rainy Friday afternoon into Monday morning's blog post, a frantic attempt to work through bleary eyes and do something, anything, that could count as productive.

Yeah, I'm a little annoyed at all the people who've let me down and not responded to my offers to be in shows this summer - I will admit that. But annoyed enough to never want to hear from them again? - NO!

Sometimes the silence of unanswered emails is deafening. I don't know if everyone realizes that - good or bad, either is better than not knowing, both on the business level and on the personal level. Yes, rejection hurts, but I really do need to know one way or the other, or at least that you're still thinking it over.

Knowing means I can move on to the next iceberg, hoping and praying that what I see above the water is a true indication of what lies beneath.

There. Catharsis. Release. Hallelujah.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Roles Still Available for the summer

E-mail me or call 519-780-7593 if you're interested! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Job Posting - Director of Children's Programming

Summer Job Posting: Director of Children’s Programming

Grinder Productions is Centre Wellington’s most diverse live theatre company. We are seeking an energetic, positive, out-going person to assist us with our Children and Youth programs this summer. Most of the work involved in this position will be conducted at our signature summer venue, the Ennotville Historical Library, a 19th century community hall located in the tiny Hamlet of Ennotville, Ontario, between the town of Fergus and the city of Guelph.

This position will have two areas of responsibility.
1. Cast, direct, design, produce and assist with the promotion of our Children’s Series, 10 one-act Children’s plays, one each Saturday from June 26th – August 28th.
2. Conduct two drama camps for kids ages 8-12, one in July and one in August. Each camp will be four weeks long, and cover the basics of theatre/performance. May conclude with a small show.

The Ideal candidate for this position will have:
• An exceptionally positive attitude
• The ability to keep track of a large number of projects at one time
• Previous experience in Children’s theatre
• Previous experience in theatre production
• Previous directing experience
• A Police check (PRC) may also be required (we’re looking into this)

Start Date: The week of May 23rd
End Date: The week of August 22nd
Remuneration: This position will pay $200 per week.

You will need to attend auditions on Saturday, May 29th in order to cast the shows. One or more meetings will also be required for production planning and curriculum development.

Please e-mail your resume and/or portfolio no later than May 10th to:

Eric and Julie Goudie
Creative and Executive Co-Directors
Grinder Productions
Telephone: 519-780-7593
E-mail: grinder@grinderproductions.org

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where Corn Don't Grow Sample - Comments Welcome

Where Corn Don’t Grow
A drama in 1 act
By Eric Goudie
2nd Draft © April 2010

Time: The present. An afternoon in winter.
Place: The kitchen of a farmhouse in rural Ontario.

The Smyth family’s kitchen is old, poorly cleaned and heavily used. A door at right leads out to the barn, and an opening left leads to the rest of the house. There is a table and chairs pushed up against a wall, with seating for three. The floor is peeling linoleum, and a large window offers a view of the barnyard beyond.

At rise, Samuel is sitting at the kitchen table drinking a beer and reading the newspaper, while in the background the Travis Tritt song “Where Corn Don’t Grow” is playing. Samuel is about 50, unshaven, and wears dirty, faded overalls, a ball cap, and work boots.

After a moment we hear the sound of a car pulling up, and then a moment later Cedric and Michaela enter. Both are high school students, with Cedric in Grade 12 and Michaela in Grade 11. They drop their school bags and remove their coats and boots in silence, then Cedric picks up his bag and exits to the rest of the house, barely casting a glance at Samuel. Michaela goes over to the sink and starts doing the dishes.

After a moment, Samuel looks up at her, then turns off the radio.

SAMUEL: What are you doing?
MICHAELA: The dishes.
SAMUEL: Why are you doing the dishes?
MICHAELA: Can’t I do the dishes?
SAMUEL: You sure as hell can, hon. How was school today?
MICHAELA: It was fine Dad. And don’t call me hon.
SAMUEL: Why not, Michaela?
MICHAELA: Because you used to call Mom that.
SAMUEL: So?
MICHAELA: So I’m not Mom.
SAMUEL: You look a lot like her, you know, hon.
MICHAELA: Dad…
SAMUEL: Oh, okay – hon.
MICHAELA: Dad! Knock it off!
SAMUEL: Can’t you take a goddamn joke?
MICHAELA: Who asked you to try and be funny.

A pause. Eventually Michaela goes back to doing the dishes.

SAMUEL: Why are you doing the dishes, Michaela?
MICHAELA: Since when do you care about dishes?
SAMUEL: I’m usually the one who does them, so I’m wondering why you’re feeling so generous today.
MICHAELA: Maybe I felt like doing them.
SAMUEL: Bullshit.
MICHAELA: Fine then, don’t believe me.
SAMUEL: I don’t. And what’s up with Cedric?
MICHAELA: What about him?
SAMUEL: He just waltzed in here and walked through without saying a word to me.
MICHAELA: And that’s different from every other day how?
SAMUEL: He wasn’t saying anything to you either.
MICHAELA: Maybe he’ll have something to say to the both of us later. After supper.
SAMUEL: After supper?
MICHAELA: I don’t know. I’m just saying he might.
SAMUEL: Okay, what the hell is going on here?
MICHAELA: What do you mean?
SAMUEL: You’re hiding something from me. So is Cedric. It’s something bad. Something bad happened today at school, didn’t it? One of you did something. Which one of you was it? Am I gonna get a phone call? Did they get the cops out?
MICHAELA: Dad, it’s nothing like that. Nothing like that at all.
SAMUEL: No cops?
MICHAELA: No Dad, nobody called the cops.
SAMUEL: Then which one of you is in trouble?
MICHAELA: Why do you think one of us is in trouble?
SAMUEL: Because you’re always getting into trouble, both of you, and usually they have to call the cops.
MICHAELA: We’re not always getting into trouble, and they only called the cops a couple of time because a couple of people over-reacted.
SAMUEL: Your brother was dealing drugs. And he set that fire in the girls change room, remember? They called the cops both times.
MICHAELA: That was a long time ago. He was in Grade 9.
SAMUEL: Well you’ve been in hot water since then. Remember when you got caught cheating on that exam?
MICHAELA: They didn’t call the cops.
SAMUEL: But they did when you beat the shit out of the girl who ratted you out. You damn near killed the little bitch.
MICHAELA: Now you’re over-reacting.
SAMUEL: And now one of you has gone and done something else bone-headed. Come on, no more stalling – I want to know what happened, and which one of you needs their ass kicked.
MICHAELA: I’m telling you the truth Dad – we’re not in trouble. It’s… it’s… it’s something different. I’m going to go up to my room now – until dinnertime. I have a lot of homework to do.
SAMUEL: Like hell you do. Sit down and tell me what happened.
MICHAELA: I really should get to work. I may not even have the time to come down for dinner.
SAMUEL: Sit, down, Michaela…
MICHAELA: Dad, I –
SAMUEL: (violently) SIT DOWN!
MICHAELA: Yes sir.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jobs this week

It's going to be a busy week here at Grinder.

I've compiled a to-do list of everything that I'd like to get done before Friday: write a bunch of stuff, work on Helium for several hours, finalize a couple of scripts, get a whole whack of people committed to being in shows this summer and oh yeah, start working on actually selling the season with the marketing kick-off. That, a children's series and don't forget the baby goats (actually that made me stop and add a whole bunch more things to the list).

You would think that with a list this long I'd be depressed about my prospects of getting it all done this week. I'm oddly confident, though. Perhaps it's my foolishness to even attempt to get so much done (I've been called foolish by a good many people a good many times), and of course no one can say what unforeseen events might crop up and throw a wrench into this week's plans (see the aforementioned goats, for example). But I can't help but have a good feeling, because when I look at the list while I see it's quite long I also see that the tasks on it are quite pragmatic and, most importantly, quite do-able. There is a lot less dreaming and a lot more reality in my to-do lists these days (for whatever reason, likely associated with the rapid onset of middle age).

If all goes well this week there won't be nearly as much to do next week, and we'll be well on our way to a spectacular summer season.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Call for Playwrights

The Playwright’s Circle at Grinder Productions

Grinder Productions is a live theatre company committed to producing theatre that dares to be different. What could be more different than a new piece of live theatre! As part of our commitment to advance both stagecraft and the Canadian canon of dramatic literature Grinder Productions is pleased to announce the creation of our playwright’s circle.

Our Goals

  • To give ordinary people a chance to tell their stories through theatre
  • To workshop, review and discuss new plays, providing substantial, constructive, honest feedback to the writer
  • To reward playwrights with the production of their plays

Our Process

There are three tiers of the playwright’s circle, each reflecting the increased levels of commitment to the writing process:

  • Short Drama: Members will create short scenes, two-person dialogues, comedic sketches, monologues, songs, movement pieces and other dramatic materials generally not longer than 10 minutes in length.
  • One-Acts: Members will outline, draft and develop a one-act play 20 – 50 minutes in length.
  • Full-length: Members will craft a full-length play, which will then be extensively reviewed and work-shopped by the circle, and often given a staged reading. The final product will be given a main stage production.

All members of the circle are encouraged to write to all three tiers to whatever degree they feel comfortable doing so.

I’d like to start this group by giving it a goal – creating material for the fall 2010 season at Grinder. This will require short drama (on a variety of topics) as well as one-act plays (content of the author’s choosing) and some full-length adaptations of classic literary works.

Eventually I’d like us to have meetings to review and discuss each other’s works, but to get the ball rolling I’d like to keep our conversations on line to make it easier on everyone’s schedules.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lost and Found Sample on Helium

Here's a bit of Lost and Found I was able to adapt for use on Helium - all the course language had to be edited out, hence some of the odd word choices. Once again, feedback welcomed.

Drama: Resolve

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Godiva's Children Sample - Comments welcome

Godiva’s Children
A Comedy in Two Acts
By Eric Goudie
1st Draft © March 2010

Time: The Present.
Place: A holding cell in the local jail.

The scene is simple. A prisoner’s cell takes up an 8’x8’ square of the stage, with bars across the front of a windowless room. There’s a bed in the corner and that’s about it.

The stage extends in front of the cell a few feet, with a door on SR and a bench on SL

Act 1

At lights up Jerome is discovered sitting on the bed in the cell. He wears normal clothes and looks like a typical teenage kid. He looks sad, and a little bit frightened.

Offstage, we hear Leslie’s voice.

LESLIE: (off) In there? He’s in there? Through this door?
JEROME: Mom?

The door opens and Leslie Godiva comes in. She’s a 40-something working single mom. She’s followed by her daughter, Lola, who closes the door behind her and stands there, stunned.

JEROME: Mom!
LESLIE: Jerome!

Leslie goes over to the bars. Jerome reaches through to hug her, but instead she slaps him.

LESLIE: You idiot!
JEROME: Mom?
LESLIE: You stupid, stupid, stupid boy!
JEROME: Mom, I –
LESLIE: Stunned as me arse!
JEROME: Mom, -
LESLIE: How could you do something like this? How in the world? What the hell is the matter with you? When did I teach you to behave like that?
JEROME: Mom –
LESLIE: You’re a disgrace – you hear me? A disgrace! You’re a disgrace to me, you’re a disgrace to your sister, you’re even a disgrace to your rotten father. It was his idea, wasn’t it? He told you to do this. Did he tell you to do this?
JEROME: No, mom –
LESLIE: Don’t lie to me, Jerome? Did your father tell you to do this? Did he say “hey kid, you wanna be cool? I know somethin’ that’ll get everyone to like you.” That’s about the level of your father’s intelligence you know. If you can’t eat it, get drunk from it or give it a tune-up chances are it’s out of his league.
JEROME: No, mom, let me explain –
LESLIE: Did your father put you up to this? It’s just the sort of thing he’d do, just to get back at me, just to turn my crank. I can’t believe that bastard would use you just to piss me off –
JEROME: Mom, Dad didn’t put me up to this.
LESLIE: He didn’t?
JEROME: No.
LESLIE: Oh.
JEROME: It was just me.
LESLIE: You?
JEROME: Just me. Not Dad, not my friends, not anyone. Just me

A pause.

LESLIE: You idiot!
JEROME: Mom!
LESLIE: You stupid, stupid, stupid boy!
JEROME: Mom, I think we’ve been through all this already, could you just maybe calm down a little bit, I –
LESLIE: How could you do something like this? How in the world? What the hell is the matter with you? When did I teach you to behave like that?
JEROME: Mom, stop repeating yourself. You’re being hysterical. Lola, tell mom she’s being hysterical.
Lola: Shut up, pervert.
JEROME: Lola!
Lola: You heard me, pervert.
JEROME: Oh come on, Lola. Don’t be like that. You are my big sister and I need you to be a big sister right now.
Lola: (screaming) PERVERT!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Job Offer

Summer Job Posting: Director of Children’s Programming

Grinder Productions is Centre Wellington’s most diverse live theatre company. We are seeking an energetic, positive, out-going person to assist us with our Children and Youth programs this summer. Most of the work involved in this position will be conducted at our signature summer venue, the Ennotville Historical Library, a 19th century community hall located in the tiny Hamlet of Ennotville, Ontario, between the town of Fergus and the city of Guelph.

This position will have two areas of responsibility.

  1. Cast, direct, design, produce and assist with the promotion of our Children’s Series, 10 one-act Children’s plays, one each Saturday from June 26th – August 28th.
  2. Conduct two drama camps for kids ages 8-12, one in July and one in August. Each camp will be four weeks long, and cover the basics of theatre/performance. May conclude with a small show.

The Ideal candidate for this position will have:

  • An exceptionally positive attitude
  • The ability to keep track of a large number of projects at one time
  • Previous experience in Children’s theatre
  • Previous experience in theatre production
  • Previous directing experience
  • A Police check (PRC) may also be required (we’re looking into this)

Start Date: The week of May 23rd

End Date: The week of August 22nd

Remuneration: This position will pay $200 per week.

You will need to attend auditions on Saturday, May 29th in order to cast the shows. One or more meetings will also be required for production planning and curriculum development.

Please e-mail your resume and/or portfolio no later than May 10th to:

Eric and Julie Goudie

Creative and Executive Co-Directors

Grinder Productions

Telephone: 519-780-7593

E-mail: grinder@grinderproductions.org

Monday, April 26, 2010

The journey begins

It's beginning to look a lot like summer around the homestead. The flowers are in bloom, the goats are clamouring for the pasture, the skunks and raccoons have gone mysteriously inconspicuous while they have their litters.

I do enjoy this time of year, and not simply because the weather is getting warmer. After what always seems like a long and difficult winter I can't help finding optimism in the sunny days and spring chores. Apparently we're getting our own lawn mower this summer, which means we'll have to cut our own grass, which is will take up a lot of time, but at least it will be time spent outdoors making the most the good weather (I think after ten years of summer stock tech work my seratonin levels are still desperately low - bring on the Vitamin D).

Of course, spring also means that the summer theatre season is just around the corner, and despite my best efforts to make Grinder a year-round operation I still find that the biggest uptick in activity are the summer months, so it feels like we're getting ready for an old-fashioned summer theatre season.

The world's greatest wife tells me she has a good feeling about this summer, much different than last year (which, for those of you who remember, was a cold, rainy nightmare). I'm inclined to believe her, if only because these past few months of preparations, while fraught with no shortage of the usual troubles, gave rise to far fewer crises than in 2009. We're in better shape this year, we have more people, we have fewer expenses and most importantly we have excitement building in our company about what's to come this summer.

Frankly, I share Jules' exuberance, though perhaps I'm a bit more cautious in my optimism, for I've seen over-confidence rear up and smack us in the past. But I am feeling good - no, I'm feeling great, about what this summer holds in store for us.

Challenges? You bet. But as this journey begins our resources to meet those challenges are stronger than ever before.

Here's to a great summer - enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Job Offer

Summer Job Posting: Director of Children’s Programming

Grinder Productions is Centre Wellington’s most diverse live theatre company. We are seeking an energetic, positive, out-going person to assist us with our Children and Youth programs this summer. Most of the work involved in this position will be conducted at our signature summer venue, the Ennotville Historical Library, a 19th century community hall located in the tiny Hamlet of Ennotville, Ontario, between the town of Fergus and the city of Guelph.

This position will have two areas of responsibility.
1. Cast, direct, design, produce and assist with the promotion of our Children’s Series, 10 one-act Children’s plays, one each Saturday from June 26th – August 28th.
2. Conduct two drama camps for kids ages 8-12, one in July and one in August. Each camp will be four weeks long, and cover the basics of theatre/performance. May conclude with a small show.

The Ideal candidate for this position will have:
• An exceptionally positive attitude
• The ability to keep track of a large number of projects at one time
• Previous experience in Children’s theatre
• Previous experience in theatre production
• Previous directing experience
• A Police check (PRC) may also be required (we’re looking into this)

Start Date: The week of May 23rd
End Date: The week of August 22nd
Remuneration: This position will pay $200 per week.

You will need to attend auditions on Saturday, May 29th in order to cast the shows. One or more meetings will also be required for production planning and curriculum development.

Please e-mail your resume and/or portfolio no later than May 10th to:

Eric and Julie Goudie
Creative and Executive Co-Directors
Grinder Productions
Telephone: 519-780-7593
E-mail: grinder@grinderproductions.org

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Muzzle Blast Sampler - comments welcome!

Muzzle Blast – The Redux

A Play in One Act

By Eric Goudie

4th Draft © May 2009

Time: The present.

Place: Montreal. A working-class Anglophone neighbourhood.

The set represents two working-class apartments, crammed together in a dilapidated building. Julie and Katherine share the SR apartment. A kitchen runs along the rear wall, with a small table and two chairs just downstage. Down from that, the door to the apartment hallway. That’s about it, though the entire place should be strewn with overflowing ashtrays, trashy magazines and the most pathetic of feminine accoutrements.

Harold’s apartment is SL. His is much the same as Julie and Katherine’s, but the kitchen fades off SL and the couch doubles as a bed when needed. Again, the place is strewn with beer cans, cigarette butts and porn, perhaps even dirtier than the other apartment.

A very narrow hallway runs between the two apartments and another narrow hallway runs across the front of them. The rest of the space downstage SL and SR is open and can be used for the non-apartment scenes, with minimal set pieces that can be removed when not in use.

Scene 1 – Julie and Katherine’s Apartment

Lights up on Julie in the hallway, carrying two bags of groceries. She fumbles with her keys and just manages to get in without dropping anything. She is still in her uniform, that of a diner waitress: boring, threadbare, designed by a man for a man. She kicks off her shoes and goes over to the answering machine and puts the groceries away during the following messages.

V/O 1: Hello dear, it’s your mother…again. Call me one of these days, will you? Or better yet, why don’t you come up here for a cup of coffee some day? Don’t try and tell me you’re so busy you can’t get away for a few hours to visit your own mother. (Pause) I can send your father down to Arnie’s for a drink, if you like. He can still remember where Arnie’s is, in fact he’s there right now. I don’t think he’d even recognize you anymore, to be perfectly honest. Anyway, call me, okay?

JULIE: Fat chance, bitch. Throw the old pervert in jail, then maybe we’ll talk.

V/O 2: Julie. Frank. Pick-up. I know you’re home. You left over an hour ago. Jessie called in sick. Stupid little skank. I need you to work a double tomorrow, no excuses, okay?

JULIE: Asshole.

V/O 3: This is an automated message from Rosedale High School. Your child “Katherine” was marked absent from “5th” period today. Detention has been assigned and future lateness or absence without medical certification will result in suspension.

JULIE: What did you do now, you little tramp?

Julie has finished putting the groceries away and crosses to the couch. She lays down and puts a cold cloth on her head, still smoking. She closes her eyes.

Katherine appears in the hallway. She too is smoking a cigarette, which she stamps out before she enters. She comes in and reaches for Julie’s smokes.

JULIE: And just what do you think you’re doing?

KATHERINE: Just tidying up a bit for you, mom.

JULIE: Sure. Don’t you know smoking is bad for your health?

KATHERINE: I don’t smoke, mom.

JULIE: And I suppose you don’t have a tattoo on you left tit either, do you?

KATHERINE: Mom!

JULIE: Sooner or later a mother finds out all her daughter’s secrets, Katherine, never forget that. So how was school today?

KATHERINE: Sucked. How was work?

JULIE: Sucked. Are those new shoes?

KATHERINE: Yeah. Isabelle gave them too me. She says they hurt her feet too much. She’s getting so fat that in another couple of months none of her clothes are going to fit her.

JULIE: She’s not pregnant, is she?

KATHERINE: No, just stupid. Can I have a beer?

JULIE: You want to get fat like Isabelle?

KATHERINE: No, I want to get drunk and forget about my crummy day, just like you.

JULIE: Not a chance. So tell me about 5th period.

KATHERINE: 5th period?

JULIE: 5th period.

KATHERINE: Phys Ed. I hate it. Say, have you seen the new neighbour? The guy who moved into 410? I saw him leaving this morning. He’s fairly young, younger than you anyway. Probably single. Why don’t you…?

JULIE: Back to 5th period, matchmaker.

KATHERINE: Who cares about 5th period?

JULIE: Apparently not you. The school called. They said you skipped.

KATHERINE: So?

JULIE: Did you?

KATHERINE: Yeah.

JULIE: Why?

KATHERINE: I had my reasons.

JULIE: Let’s hear them.

KATHERINE: It’s none of your business.

JULIE: You’re my daughter. And you’re fifteen. It is my business. Now where were you?

KATHERINE: Well if you’re going to be so anal about it, fine. I was at a rally downtown. I was out supporting a cause I believe in.

JULIE: And what cause was that?

KATHERINE: Gun control. The government wants to extend the deadline for registering every gun in Canada another six months. We didn’t think that was appropriate. After all, they’ve had years to do this…

JULIE: And you think a bunch of illiterate rednecks are worth skipping school over?

KATHERINE: It’s not that at all. They’re deliberately dragging their feet. We don’t want the government to extend the deadline. The law is the law. We want them to start arresting those bastards.

JULIE: You’ll be living on the streets if you don’t graduate.

KATHERINE: Are you even listening to me? This is serious.

JULIE: So is skipping school. Look, honey, I’m glad you feel strongly about this, really I do, but it’s just not worth skipping school over.

KATHERINE: How can you say that? Do you remember what happened down at…?

JULIE: Yes, I remember. I’m glad you want to honour their memories. But if they were alive today I’m sure…

KATHERINE: But they’re not alive today, mom. They’re dead. They’re dead because we couldn’t do anything to stop the monsters who hate us just because we’re women. Well now we can stop them. We can stop them from doing what they did to those women down at the Polytechnique, and that’s one hell of a lot more important thing to me than a damn class.

JULIE: I don’t want the school to call again.

KATHERINE: Mom!

JULIE: No more skipping. Any more and you’ll be grounded for another week.

KATHERINE: Another week?

JULIE: You weren’t going to get off with just a warning. Consider yourself lucky you don’t lose your phone.

KATHERINE: You’re treating my like a kid!

JULIE: You are a kid! My kid. A very stubborn, stupid, pig-headed kid, but still my kid. And my kid is not going to be skipping classes. My kid is going to go to school, study her ass off and graduate and have some decent chances in her life that her mother never had.

KATHERINE: What’s the point of having chances if I can’t walk through a dark alley late at night?

JULIE: That’s enough!

KATHERINE: Why aren’t you listening to me?

JULIE: I said that’s enough!

KATHERINE: You’re scared, aren’t you? You’re scared I’ll drop out of school and wind up just like you. Just another pregnant teenage whore.

Julie strikes Katherine across the face.