Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year End - 2011

                                         Stirling Jarvis, Yanna McIntosh. photo by Chris Gallow

This has been quite the end to 2011.

Both Ruined and Topdog Underdog have been mentioned in the Top Ten Lists and you can read about that in NOW, Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Sun. Huge thanks to our partners: Nghtwood Theatre {Ruined} and The Shaw Festival {Topdog Underdog}. What great artistic collaborations. One could not ask for any better creators to work with.

We had a very fine workshop reading of Shakespeare's Nigga by Joseph Jomo Pierre and NOW magazine said this.

It ha s also been a great year for me personally. I was able to direct two fabulous shows that are very dear to my heart and I have been publicly honoured by two organizations.

The Playwrights Guild of Canada's Women's Caucus awarded me the coveted Bra D'or .Every year, the Women's Caucus recognizes an individual for their efforts in supporting and promoting the work of Canadian women playwrights. And while I have the certificate up in my dining room as promised I was slightly disappointed that it was not in fact a real gold bra. Leanna Brodie, in her ever helpful way, did say that she would bronze one of her bra's for me if I really wanted one. The jury is still out on that.

And finally the Toronto Sun and John Coulbourn in particular named me The Performing Artist of the Year. Shocked and surprised would not even come close to how I felt on reading the article in the paper.

And it is pretty darn gratifying to see this much success both personally and for the company. But I would like to also give big props to the huge number of people who have worked with Obsidian in 2011 and worked to make each show a success. And I would be remiss if I didn't give a huge shout out to the Obsidian Founding Members who were all instrumental in making this Obsidian dream be realized.I would not have been able to succeed without this company at this time.

It is often said that we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors and right now I can feel how firm a foundation that truly is.

All the best for a grand 2012.


Kevin Hanchard, Nigel Shawn Williams photo by Emily/Michael Cooper

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joe Pierre on "Shakespeare's Nigga": The Blacker the Berry, the Deeper the Bruise

Photo by Adam Rankin

This Saturday at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, Obsidian Theatre presents the first in our 2011/12 Season Development Series of plays in progress. Starting us off is Joseph Jomo Pierre’s fiery and imaginative new play Shakespeare’s Nigga, an exploration into the iconic Black characters in the Bard’s work. We wanted to talk to Joe about this play and his process so we asked Mel Hague, our resident dramaturg and Artist Development Coordinator to talk to him. She sat down with Joe to talk about Shakespeare, Aaron, and the “N” word.

Mel Hague: Tell me, why did you start writing Shakespeare’s Nigga?

Joseph Jomo Pierre: This speaks to why I been on this play for all these years. I made a pact with Aaron. I told that dude I was going to write his story, and I'm sick enough to wanna keep my word to a literary character. That's a bit cryptic but what happened was I got the role of Aaron at theatre school and was excited as hell to play the character. I asked a teacher for some advice on how to approach the character and he told me to play him as pure evil. It was a what the fuck moment for me, we were obviously connecting to this character on different levels. Right there I swore I would tell Aaron's story.

MH: Is Shakespeare your villain or hero?

JJP: Creating the piece I tried not to be limited by those terms. Those are always the sort of conclusions you leave for the audience to make. For me he served as a jump off to the questions I wanted to deal with. Those questions and how we deal with them are much richer to me than shitting on some dead white dude. Though I think some might see it as shitting on him a little.

MH: What’s your favourite Shakespearian quote?

JJP: I don't know about fave, but one that has stuck with me since writing this play is, "is black so base a hue?" That is some heavy shit for a black man to ask.  Cop pulls you over for no reason you ask him, Is black so base a hue. "I can't rent to you on this side of town", really, is black so base a hue. That’s some heavy shit to me.

MH: How about using the word ‘Nigga’ in your title?

JJP: There was and to a lesser degree still is an uproar over the word. Queen Oprah wrote it off, the NAACP buried it. I'm not for burying a word, because it’s been soaked in so much pain. But what is great to me is that my relationship to the word isn't static, I still sometimes question how I use it, how others use it. I am prone to squirm when I'm not cool with the context it is sometimes used in. But my character claims it and that opens the door for a discussion about language. I'm cool with that.

MH: Should people be afraid to say your title? 

JJP: You know what, that is part of the whole discovery. I mean, that is what it is called so they can say it, but what is telling and what is open to discovery is the ease with which they can do so. Their level of comfort or I should say discomfort can lead to some kind of personal reflection. Hell if I can have an audience that involved before they even hit the seats, I think this is a show that needs to be seen. Like seen, seen with a 4 week run and shit :P.

MH: What was the first Shakespeare play you ever acted in?

JJP: The first joint I did was Mid Summers I got to rock out to Oberon, thinking about it now. I guess I was Shakespeare's Nigga earlier than I thought, but at least I was the HNIC.

MH: How have you used Shakespearian language and poetry?

JJP: You know the integration of Shakespearean text was pretty natural for my style. When I do this sort of blending I always picture it as the DJ layering samples. However as it pertains to my writing voice in this piece it was never my goal to work with some faux Shakespearean voice. I wasn't attempting to pass this off as Shakespeare's work. In fact the first attempts at the piece were constructed with really modern speech patterns the sort of things I'm known for. But that wasn't the piece, it wasn't the world that was begging to be shown. In the end I found this hybrid language to roll with.

MH: Why is this play important now?

JJP: It is important now because it hasn't been done (I mean the play). It is important because dealing with themes of slavery is something that people don't want to fuck with. I'm talking young people I'm talking older black people. And I get it, I get not wanting to only be identified by that alone. But there is much for us to gain by not discarding history, finding new ways to discuss it. Broadening the discussion from one we think we know to something far reaching such as control/ power, the use and abuse of control/ power regardless of colour.

MH: Finally, and most importantly, what is your favourite colour?

JJP: Gotta be Black and all its variants, red, white, yellow, blue.... Jump on my Twitter, I plan to be on my tweet game during the workshop. @bruised_berry

The Blacker the Berry the Deeper the Bruise- Shakespeare's Nigga (JJP)

Shakespeare’s Nigga will be presented at Theatre Passe Muraille this Saturday at 2pm. Come out to see a staged reading of this wicked and challenging work featuring the stellar cast of Joseph Pierre, John Jarvis, David Collins, Andre Sills, and Sascha Cole directed by Philip Akin.

Friday, December 2, 2011

SHAKESPEARE'S NIGGA -The Development Series

This year Obsidian will launch new Canadian work throughout the season with three workshop productions. First up is Joseph Joe Pierre's Shakespeare's Nigga.
Joseph Joe Pierre photo by Adam Rankin

Shakespeare’s Nigga by Joseph Jomo Pierre

Sat Dec 10,2011 2pm
Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace 16 Ryerson Avenue

Tickets: 416-463-8444 or office@obsidian-theatre.com
$10 dollars per show or series pass is $25. 

Shakespeare’s Nigga is an exploration into the iconic black characters in the Bard’s work, subversive and poetic the play takes you on a journey beyond reality and into the mind of the Shakespeare himself.

Directed By Philip Akin
Starring:  John Jarvis,Joseph Jomo Pierre,David Collins, Andre Sills and Sascha Cole  
Dramaturg  Mel Hague
Set Designer  Trevor Schwellnus
Property Master Lokki Ma

Monday, November 21, 2011

Topdog/Underdog Previews Nov 22 &23

Don't miss your chance to see Topdog/Underdog for only 15 dollars this week.
This show will be in Toronto only until Dec 4th so don't miss out!

Where:         Theatre Center 100-1087 Queen St. W

When:            Tuesday      Nov 22 at 7:00pm    $15
                      Wednesday Nov 23 at 7:00pm   $15


Here are what the Critics had to say.........

"There is no doubt in my mind that you are probably not going to see two more powerful performances"


 “Frankly, Nigel Shawn Williams and Kevin Hanchard are good enough to see twice”


“Shawn Williams gives a masterful performance”   


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black Ties - Invited Dress Rehearsal

Obsidian launched our Black Ties networking night last year and it was a great success. With three chances to gain access to a wide variety of  subjects and a chance to meet emerging and mid-level Black artists this year, we are offering a special invited dress rehearsal of Topdog/Underdog.

The play will be followed by a short Q&A with director Philip Akin.  It is a great chance to learn more about what we do.  Here are the details in short:

What: Black Ties- Invited Dress Rehearsal

When: Sunday Nov 20th 2:00pm

Where: Theatre Centre 100-1087 Queen St. West

Why: Networking is great, so are Q&A's with exciting directors, and it's pay what you can!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obsidian Theatre Welcome's our 2011/12 Playwrights Unit

Obsidian Theatre would like to welcome our new crop of exciting emerging writers to our 2011/12 Playwrights Unit: Audrey Dwyer, Andrea Scott, and Meghan Swaby. Keep an eye out for what these talented ladies will accomplish over the next season. 

Audrey Dwyer has been working as a theatre artist for over ten years. Recent theatre work includes Studio 180's The Overwhelming, Canadian Stage's Dream in High Park, Obsidian Theatre's Black Medea, Mirvish/MTC's Medea. Television and Film Work credits include Da Kink in My Hair, The Ron James Show, The State Within, Man of the Year and Atom Egoyan's Where The Truth Lies. Audrey was the Associate Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre, is a Dora-Nominated director for Darrah Teitel's The Apology and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Andrea Scott was raised in London, Ontario and knew she wanted to be an actor when she saw Philip Akin in A Warm Wind in China at the Grand Theatre in 1989. She moved to Toronto in 1991 to study theatre and drama studies at the University of Toronto where she received a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in 1997.  Within a few years she had played parts in productions at Buddies in Bad Times (The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told), Theatre Passe Muraille (For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf), CanStage (Omnium Gatherum), Factory Theatre (who knew grannie), Manitoba Theatre for Young People (Kindness) and travelled Canada & the US in shows for Roseneath Theatre in Smokescreen and Danny, King of the Basement. Most recent productions have been The Nile in the Toronto Fringe Festival and The Remarkable Flight of Marnie McPhee with Carousel Players. Andrea is looking forward to the exciting challenges that being in the Obsidian Playwrights Unit will bring.

Meghan is a Toronto born and raised actor/writer. She has written and performed in Who the Hell is
Eleanor? at Hysteria festival (2007) and rock.paper.sistahz festival ( 2008, 2010).   Meghan had a staged
reading of her first full length play, little sara aka the clicking venus at the Groundswell festival ( 2011) , after
developing it for a year in Nightwood Theatre's Write from the Hip program.  Last year she completed the rAiz’n ensemble training program with b current. Meghan graduated from the University of Windsor and holds a BFA in acting. Some theatre credits include: wise. woman (b current), Half Life (BFCF/ Rose Theatre), The rAiz'n Beauty Project (rps 9 and Waves festival/ Luminato 2010), Tough! (Magnetic North 2010), Radiance (b current), Bullet for Adolf ( Hart House), Tout Comme Elle ( Necessary Angel/Luminato 2011) and The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination (Birdtown and Swanville /Summerworks 2011).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Porgy And Bess Bust up

First came the article about the new revision to Porgy and Bess It Ain’t Necessarily ‘Porgy’.

Then the Sondheim Slag Down

A blogger says:

And a bit of a Non Response

The comments are truly interesting

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Speed of Ideas - Part 3

Sunday, July 24. Still reeling from the death of Amy Winehouse and the tragedies in Somalia and Norway. It feels weird to be getting on a bike and listen to actors talk about their work at Shaw. I’m wearing my straw hat and sunglasses on a borrowed bike and total strangers are saying good morning to me. “It’s a beautiful day”, they say. It really is. I smile.

Great actors talk about working at the Shaw. They seem grateful which does my heart good. Many of them have done more plays in five seasons than I’ve done in my twenty-eight year career. If I’d heard any complaints, I just may have become violent.

Michael Billington from The Guardian (since 1971!) gave his address. What an incredible man. His talk was about the relevance of plays by Shaw to our times. The man knows his business and it is clear that he has a tremendous respect for the practitioners of theatre. I wish certain Toronto theatre writers had been in the audience. My favourite moment was when asked about gender- and colour-blind casting. His answer: “Why not?”

The directing panel. I must admit that it wasn’t my favourite. Other people loved it but since I have never had any interest in directing, it didn’t do as much for me. I must say it was a shock to hear how disparaging Morris Panych was of Shaw’s work (“boring”, “couldn’t remember reading it” “I stole Newton’s cuts from his production”). He was sitting right next to Jackie Maxwell! He must have been kidding.

And lastly, Suzan-Lori Parks! Somehow Philip got away with opening the conversation by asking her about her childhood nickname ‘Ledgebutt.’ He completely disarmed her and they spoke like old friends for the rest of their (too brief) time together. Suzan-Lori said that she learned to embrace the name that she was called and grew to “own” that butt of hers. She learned of the eighteenth century African woman who had a condition known as steatopygia, resulting in her having a very large behind. She was put on display in Picadilly Circus and in Paris until she died in 1815. A more perfect story couldn’t have presented itself to Suzan-Lori and Hottentot Venus, the play was born.

There are so many things I could write about Suzan-Lori Parks. The first person who suggested she write for theatre was James Baldwin; Canadian writer Carol Shields is the subject of one of her 365 plays; she uses an egg timer and earplugs when writing; “there is much more leeway for colour-blind casting in classic plays than in new plays…” Everything out of her mouth was an inspiration. The day before, someone had mistaken me for her. I found it amusing at the time and, after the conversation with Philip, I was downright honoured.

She signed my book and posed for a picture with me. I told her that I was writing for opera and hoped that she’d catch its debut in Chicago next year. I really hope I’ll get to see her version of Porgy and Bess which is opening soon in New York.

What I hope for the most is that she gets to see Topdog/Underdog (which she wrote in three days!) at Shaw or at its remount at the Theatre Centre in Toronto. She has a healthy habit of letting plays go and moving on to the next project. I can’t help but think how pleased she would be to rediscover this brilliant work of hers under Philip’s great direction, the superb acting of Nigel and Kevin and Camellia Koo’s smart design.

It was a great weekend. On Monday morning, I was up and writing at 7:30. Did I mention that I have a project that I’m submitting to the Shaw? They might get it sooner than expected.

Wish me luck.

The Speed of Ideas - Part 2

Saturday, July 23. I locked up the bike at the Court House Theatre and chatted with friends who had ventured to town to see Mr. Kushner including Andrea Scott (Who Knew Granny?); Robert Chafe (Tempting Providence); Aaron Willis and Julie Tepperman (Yichud); Barbara FIngerote (uber Toronto theatre fan) and Keira Loughren (New Play Development Coordinator, Stratford Festival).

Kushner was as intelligent, witty and passionate as one would expect and then some. On top of that he made his book signing a personal experience for everyone in line. Firstly, he didn’t sit at the table provided. There was no barrier between him and each person with whom he spoke. When he looked me right in my eye and told me it was nice to meet me, I believed him. I told him that what I loved about Angels in America was that he invited so many different people to be in it. He knew that what I meant was that he could have written exclusively from the Gay, Jewish, New York perspectives and that would have been fine but he included so much more. He asked me about my career and we talked about Jamaica. He said he would remember my name. It will be my goal to make sure that he doesn’t have to remember it; that it’ll just keep popping up because of my renewed zeal for writing, acting and promoting myself. He caught me so off guard that I didn’t get the chance to tell him that I was staying with the producer of the upcoming Toronto production of Caroline, or Change. Nor did I get to compliment him on his beautiful fountain pen. Philip, who appreciates and collects such things was very disappointed that I could tell him if it was a Waterman or Montblanc. Hey, I was meeting Tony Kushner. I’m lucky I didn’t pass out or say something stupid.

Lunch with Barbara FIngerote and her friend, Larry. Then ice cream and on to the Studio Theatre where Michael Healey talked about adapting On the Rocks (“I make sure to leave out the apostrophes just like Shaw did”) and John Murrell talked about his ongoing adaptation of Geneva (“I put in the apostrophes.”). Joanna Falck did a great job of keeping them on topic and fielding questions from the audience.

Later, Jackie Maxwell moderated the Reviving the Female Voice panel with Linda Griffiths, Ann-Marie MacDonald and Alisa Palmer. I was Chair of the Women’s Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada from 2006 – 10 so I was just the choir being preached to. But, I do give high praise to Jackie for uncovering so many lost or forgotten plays by women from Shaw’s time and commissioning current female playwrights to adapt older work such as Morwyn Brebner and the Lunch time hit The President (Molnar); Kevin Hanchard’s other play.

The Speed of Ideas Part 1

The Speed of Ideas: Shaw Festival Takes Bold Steps to Catch up with its Namesake

By Marcia Johnson

I have just returned from an exhilarating weekend at the Shaw Festival. Those words would lead you to believe that I was referring to seeing great theatre. Well, that is true. I did see Heartbreak House and On the Rocks (both by Shaw) and I also saw Pulitzer prize winner Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Obsidian’s own Philip Akin. It was a two-hander cast with dream team Kevin Hanchard and Nigel Shawn Williams.

OK, I have to back up. The main reason for my visit was to take in The Speed of Ideas: A Theatrical Forum. The weekend event was held in celebration of Shaw Festival’s fiftieth anniversary season. The idea behind it was to celebrate the forward thinking of the festival’s namesake. George Bernard Shaw caused many a controversy in his day with plays touching on subjects that were not deemed suitable for polite society. Heartbreak House, which I had also seen in 1985 (both productions directed by Christopher Newton) is, among other things, a harsh view of England’s participation in the First World War. The comedy On the Rocks, in a new adaptation by Michael Healey is a scathing comic criticism of the British Prime Minister and his seeming ignorance and apathy toward the unemployed. Both plays were debuted uncomfortably close to the very events that inspired them.

Shaw was not afraid of ruffling feathers or pushing boundaries. But, can the same be said of the Festival that bears his name? Many would say no but there have been promising changes over the years. For many years, only plays written by Shaw or within his lifetime (1856 – 1950) were produced at the Festival. In 2000, the mandate was expanded to include plays written about that period of time, opening the door for original Canadian plays like Coronation Voyage by Michel Marc Bouchard. Most recently, the festival has invited plays that possess the spirit of “out of the box” thinking and social provocation that Shaw’s plays do. Enter Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks in the new Studio Theatre. The play, set in a rooming house, follows the complex relationship of two brothers living on the margins. We’ve come a long way since “Salute to Shaw” at the Court House Theatre in 1962.

But, I’m supposed to be talking about The Speed of Ideas. It began and ended with two Pulitzer-prize winning playwrights, Tony Kushner (Angels in America; Caroline, or Change) and Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog; Hottentot Venus). Between these two interviews were the panels: Inspired by Shaw, adapting Shaw for modern audiences; Reviving the Female Voice, the growing presence of plays by and about women at Shaw; Supermen/Superwomen, Festival ensemble members talk about acting in Shaw’s plays; a keynote address from The Guardian theatre critic, Michael Billington and Directing Shaw (which is exactly what it sounds like).

The big draw for me was the two playwrights. Angels in America is one of my favourite plays and I have been in awe of Suzan-Lori Parks ever since I found out about her writing a play a day over the course of a year (365 Days/365 Plays).

In the spirit of celebrating Shaw’s boundary-pushing ways and the inspiration that I received from hearing and meeting those two fabulous playwrights, I will now write a stream of consciousness essay to encapsulate my visit. I hope it makes sense.

July 21, catch the GO train to Burlington, switch to a GO bus and get off at St. Catharines. It is 38 degrees Celsius in Toronto. Is it supposed to be cooler here? It doesn’t feel like it. I push through the hot sticky air hop into a cab to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The luck continues because the driver, like me listens to CBC Radio and I happen to catch ALL of Paul Kennedy’s documentary on Marshall McLuhan. My favourite moment? McLuhan’s joke, Zeus says to Narcissus: “Watch yourself.”

This is my first time at the Studio Theatre which is nestled in behind the Festival Theatre. My date is Shaw Literary Manager, Joanna Falck. We are both blown away by the performance. At only the third preview, it is in excellent shape.

Philip Akin is my host for the weekend. That evening, Kevin Hanchard comes over with a box of chocolates and the two of us are treated to a wonderful home cooked meal. We catch up, laugh and gossi- ahem, talk about our work. What a great start.

Friday, July 22. Philip loans me a bicycle so that I can get around. It’s the first time I’ve been on a bike in seven years but it comes back to me eventually and Niagara-on-the-Lake is a perfect place for cycling. I see the matinee of Heartbreak House and happen to sit next to my former colleague Susan Feldman, producer of CBC Radio’s Writers and Company with Eleanor Wachtel. She had also seen the 1985 production and we both compared notes on what we remembered and liked from it. We were both impressed by this current production especially once Act Two began and the woman who had coughed all the way through Act One hadn’t returned.

Afterwards, I bought fudge and jam (it’s the law) and rode back “home”. I had the place to myself for the rest of the trip as Philip went back to Toronto and would come back in time for his interview on Sunday with Ms Parks.

Friday, July 22, 2011


There is an interesting article in the Moneyville section of the Toronto Star. As many of you may know I am adamantly opposed to unpaid internships especially those that seem to abound in theatre. And yes, I have heard all the rationalizations but the truth is that for many interns they are doing work that is a value add for the theatre company and they deserve to have that rewarded in a tangible financial manner. Even if they are not taking a job away from someone else usually the company touts their internship opportunities to the various levels of government to argue their case for more money because of their community outreach and yet that money does not flow to the interns.
Enough I say. If you can't afford it then don't do it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nomination Day

So a really huge day for us what with nominations for our 2010-2011 Season. Where to start....ok....first up the newly announced Toronto Theatre Critic's Award that gave a Best Actress Award to Yanna McIntosh for her performance of Mama Nadi in Ruined

Full Listings: Toronto Sun, The Star. The Globe and Mail

Dora Award Nominees:Full List

Some bragging just cause: Yanna McIntosh - Outstanding Performance Nominee, Sterling Jarvis - Outstanding Performance Nominee, Ruined - Outstanding Production Nominee, Philip Akin - Outstanding Direction Nominee (Obsidian Theatre in association with Nightwood Theatre)

And in Edmonton the Sterling Awards: Tamara Marie Kucheran - Outstanding Costume Design - Intimate Apparel (Obsidian Theatre presented by The Citadel Theatre)

A big, big shout out to all the nominees.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Working with Words and Shakespeare - Andrea Scott

As befits any actor worth their salt I have a tidy library comprised of the usual suspects such as Ibsen, Aeschylus, Miller, Shaw and Strindberg among many others; I also have 14 of the 38 plays written by England’s national poet, William Shakespeare.  However, in the last year if my agent called me with an audition requiring the memorization of a Shakespearean monologue my mind would race in to find an excuse to get out of it. The Bard puts the fear of God in me and I’ve felt like a lesser actor because of it. So for 2011 I made a pledge to myself to focus on mastering the fear of the iambic pentameter. To do this I refused to audition for any Shakespeare until I could walk into a room and throw down with absolute confidence. 
Of course life has other plans for us and 24 hours after I touched down in Toronto after being away for 3 months my agent called me with a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ audition to be prepared for the following week. I’d already turned down one Shakespeare audition this year and knew I couldn’t do it again less than one month later so I accepted and panicked.

Well, before you can say deus ex machine I get a special invite from Obsidian Theatre via email the next day to participate in the Stratford hosted ‘Working with Words and Shakespeare’ workshop taking place on April 1 & 2. So, maybe there is something to that book, ‘The Secret’….

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Panzi Wrap to Date

At the end of every performance of Ruined Yanna McIntosh did an appeal for donations for the Panzi Hospital in the DRC. This hospital specializes in providing treatment of the survivors of sexual violence and surgical repair for women suffering from fistulas of the urogenital tract.

A years stay at the hospital cost $450 and I am proud to say that our audiences responded with a whopping $32,524.53. That coupled with Obsidian's previous bake sales puts us at a current total of $34,446.53 which equals support of 76.5 women.

I know from the phone calls that have come in that there are also many more people who are donating to the Fistula Foundation, which oversees the Panzi Hospital, directly.

Now how absolutely AMAZING is that. The support from the audiences was spectacular but I also want to mention the bartenders at the venue who, a number of times, put their tips into the collection box.

The play is so, so special but this fundraising drive is truly one of the best put-a-smile-on-your face and a spring-in-your step kind of news.

We are all pretty pumped over here.

Ruined Wrap

Theatre review: ‘Ruined’ is, in a word, magnificent 
"this is one of the most powerful pieces of theatre you are likely to come
across in many months of theatergoing

Ruined: An earthquake of acting that will shake you

Congo war play 'Ruined' memorable 

Lynn Nottage’s devastating play is a life-changing theatrical experience

And in the end we had  a truly amazing production that was a great culmination of the last 3 years. I have come to understand that I am a completionist. In other words I can't really enjoy something until it is done and wrapped up.
I think that is why when I was asked what was the best part of the closing night I replied "sitting on the stool in the restaurant" It was only then that I really was able to unwind and  acknowledge what a fine piece of theatre we had created. 

So big, big props to the Obsidian staff,cast, crew, design team, Canadian Stage and the folks over at Nightwood.

Thank you


Friday, January 14, 2011

Ruined Poster Spotting

Ruined Poster spotting. Send me your pics and I will put them up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gina Wilkinson / Peter Donaldson

 I never had a chance to work with Gina but we always had a chat when she came by our agent's office. Always a delight and always with a fabulous smile.

Peter and I only worked together once years ago in a production of Souvenirs at Theatre Calgary. He never once laughed at me when I had to make my second act entrance dripping from head to toe in stage blood. I truly admired that since I would have laughed at me. He was a wonderful man.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Harry J. Lennix at ASU

Here is a pretty interesting clip of Harry Lennix and some of his thoughts on being a black actor. It is interesting, provocative and compelling because this is not the kind of conversation that we in Canada have. If you have thoughts on his thoughts then comment away. If you have lots of thoughts then send them to me and I will post them.

"Acting While Black" A Conversation with Harry J. Lennix. from ASU English on Vimeo.