Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jack Medhurst Memorial

h/t Jess Cohoon

There is a memorial / celebration of Jack Medhurst's life at the Celebrity Club, (housed in the PAL building on the Esplanade - Toronto) on Friday, October 2 at 8:00 pm. A photo of Jack will be placed on the wall of notables. Refreshments will be served, courtesy of Jack's family but it is a cash bar.

If you know of anyone else who would be interested, please forward the information.

On another note, we would like to contact Leslie Whitaker, Herb's niece. She was involved in several productions that Jack was involved in. If you have any co-ordinates on her please send me an email.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brenda Devine

Brenda Marie Devine

Back in the day when I had finished theatre school and went to the Shaw Festival as my first job I met Pam Rogers who would go on to be a life long friend. She introduced me to Brenda Devine and with assorted family and friends we had a bit of a brat pack that worked, played and ate prodigiously together. I didn't see much of Brenda over the last number of years. Chance meetings at a theatre or the subway but somehow she was always in my heart as a dear friend. The picture above is one I took of her on one of our many trips to farm country around St. Marys. She seemed translucent, ephemeral and yet so present. I will always cherish the memories of all of us sitting on Brenda's steps sipping coffee and scotch first thing in the mornings.

pectus pectoris teneo quoque tardus quam desidero

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Quickie Part the Second

Black Theatre in Great Britain:

The Roy Williams Take.

The Kwame Kwei-Armah Take with a spin to a national black archive.

When we did the International Playwights Forum last year we tried to get both Roy and Kwame but alas only Kwame could make it. At that time he said to me that if I wanted to see how Black Theatre could grow in Canada then I had to get over to England and see what they were doing. He opined that they were 10 years ahead of us.

Kwame Kwei- Armah YouTube Video #1

Kwame Kwei- Armah #2

Sunday Quickies

So there is this theatre in Utah that is doing a reno when all of a sudden: Turning a crisis into opportunity

And another kind of reno. The kind of wading through new play submissions and then dealing with the controversy: The O'Neill Center Achieves New Heights of Chutzpah

Some new to them but old to us ticketing strategy: Companies bet on cheaper tickets to draw bigger crowds

Of special interest to me is taking a look at what is being produced. Scroll to the bottom of the page and see what's hot in Denver.

Behind the Curtain of a Customizable Theater
I am so thinking that Obsidian should have one of these.

And a shout out to: MT Space Impact 09 down in Kitchener-Waterloo.

I was pleased to have been invited down to be part of the Chasing the Money Panel along with Sheila James {Canada Council}, Sanjay Shahani {Trillium Foundation} and Nadine Villasin {Carlos Bulosan Theatre}.

There is a full schedule of events this week so if you can get to KW please do so and support the very fine work that will be presented.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happiness is......

After two days of talking about PACT issues I submit the following without comment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Quickies

From the NY Times we get: We Can’t Stop Talking About Race in America
and that neatly dovetails into: August Wilson Center opens its doors

For what was to be a post racial society it seems to still be more of the same ole same ole.

Artists in British Columbia got a slap upside the head with a bit of a wet fish this last week. Dramatic cuts, dramatic fallout for B.C. arts

And finally: What do you mean by emerging?

As I have said before I favour the phrase "young in craft" instead of "emerging". Young in craft opens the doors up to everyone who is starting a new career path while emerging seems to be always focused on sub 23 year olds.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Trevor Rhone 1940-2009

I worked with Trevor Rhone in 1975 on a production of his play Schools Out for Black Theatre Canada. It was my first experience with a tumultuous, rambunctious audience and with the huge energy of the man himself. Obsidian was proud to have produced Two Can Play in 2005.

Some of the obits are here: The Gleaner & CBC

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

B stands for...?

Now I know we all like to complain about critics/reviewers. I know that some have been taken off the comp list and another has a washroom named after them but I have never seen, in print, this:

The Bitch of Broad Street.

And we think we have it bad.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Quickies

Only in the UK could they have an article that says:Which theatre has the best scenery?

An interesting article: When Babies and Broadway Intersect
I had clicked on the article because I thought it would have something to do with having babies working on stage. This seemed quirky to me since over the last 3-5 years it seems that kids are not hired to play kids anymore. I am not sure of all the ins and outs of why. I do know that when we did Black Medea we had to have two brothers alternating the roles. There are a number of CTA measures that define the working requirements for kids but I don't know if they are in part responsible or not. Anyway this isn't what the article is about. It's much better.

Perfect Cross Pollination Theatre would probably look like this: A Pakistani-American Family Is Caught in Some Cultural Cross-Fire

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mantee Murphy Memorial & Karaoke

Friends of Mantee Murphy are hosting events to commemorate his life. At this point there are events planned in Toronto and Winnipeg. Please head over, hoist a few and sing some tunes.

Start Time: Monday, September 14, 2009 at 9:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 12:00am
Location: FOX AND FIDDLE 280 Bloor Street West
Phone: 4169664369

Facebook Page

Start Time: Monday, September 14, 2009 at 9:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 1:00am

Check here for the Winnipeg location
Facebook Page

On Monday, September 14th, friends of Mantee Murphy will come together to celebrate the life of this tremendous performer and beautiful friend, with one of Mantee's favourite activities - karaoke.

This event will be taking place in numerous cities across Canada - wherever Mantee made his mark on the world. Please come out and remember this great man with the other people who love and miss him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Structural Theatre Part 2

So with an eye to de-constructing structural theatre the Canada Council created the Extended Project Grant Program

I think that this was a great idea that started to bring the art back to the forefront. Why did I say “was”? Well it has been put under review and applications won’t be accepted until 2010. So that is less than helpful. The program also has a total value of $24,000 to $75,000 over a three-year period.
At the very least this is a program that should go ahead.

I feel that the amounts are truly not high enough but then you would have to weigh the ability of the companies with a light administrative structure to be able to handle greater amounts with the level of fiscal responsibility that would be necessary.

Here in Toronto we have STAF that fills in the administrative gap for a number of smaller theatres.

Thus if you were an extended project client using STAF you would have to pay STAF out of your grant which, depending on your grant amount, may eat up too much of the necessaries so to speak.

So what if we looked at combining some of these functions?

#1: Increase the amounts in the EPG and have that money be directly earmarked for the artistic process.

#2: Using STAF as a kind of a template, have a number of administrative companies formed to handle that side of things. They would not be paid by the client company out of their grant but out of a separate amount that would come directly from the councils. Since, I believe, that any amounts over $20,000 need to be fully audited these admin companies would be fully responsible for the timely dissemination of money as well as all the tracking.

The OAC has been working on the creation of a new audit template as well as a chart of accounts that would allow for a common bookkeeping process.

So we could have smaller artistic alliances created, funded at a good level as well as achieving solid fiscal accountability. But the big gain would be in the freeing of the creation process in a new and dynamic way.

Artists could choose to build a mayfly company, invest fully into it and then leave with a body of work not with an outdated structure. This may be one way to start to ease the gridlock that is stifling the theatrical ecosystem as it now stands.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sunday Quickies

Didn’t the Medici’s used to do this? Maybe it’s an idea that can be dressed up in new clothes for the 21st Century

Patrons Support Artists on the Web

Now here is a novel idea: Community Database

For many reasons I don’t think this would fly here. Primarily the strictures in the Privacy Act would work against it. But I have to say that I would love to be in the room when someone pitched the idea to get all the theatres to put all their patrons/donors/subscribers into a communal pot.

And the continuing story of: Should whites direct black plays, and vice versa?
If you have read my previous posts on this then you know where I stand. Some interesting points about the two way flow of directors though.
h/t Marcia Johnson

I found this quote at some point during a web crawl.

Howlin' Wolf once said about some particularly good barbecue—it was "like Baby Jesus in satin pants."

I don't exactly know what it means but there is a play in there somewhere.