Rambling Reflections on 2018

On this day, this day just following one of the most reflective and challenging Yin yoga classes I’ve ever taken, and the last day of 2018, indulge me in a little bit of reflection. Let’s talk about how this year has gone by so quickly, as years seem to the older I get, but also how this single year feels like it has taken ten years to pass. Last January feels like eons ago.

Work – Paid and Unpaid

In January, I performed in a comedic murder mystery which was somehow incredibly hard for me but went over super well. I was nominated for a CAT award for my performance which is somehow still mindblowing. (It also snowed a lot and I spent a lot of time sitting in my office after work, watching Grey’s Anatomy on my tablet while I waited to go to the theatre because there was no time to go home.)

At my day job, I took on a new very challenging project and attacked it with everything I had. I was only mildly successful. It was humbling. I am trying to reframe my thoughts and feelings about this course and this year I will do better.

Against all odds, I spoke on two panels about playwrighting at two different conventions. It still blows my mind that I’m qualified to do this. (I also attended When Words Collide officially for the first time and it revitalized me creatively in a way that my show in January didn’t. I’m more than just an actress.)

Fitness

I started doing spin weekly with my childhood best friend. Shockingly, my cardiovascular health actually is better. Also, it is so nice to have a regular excuse to see her, even if we are mostly just sweating on bikes instead of talking.

Ugh, Fine, I obviously just want to talk about my personal life…

I had a really great short relationship that ended amiably. I also had a few dating experiences that left me really quite uncomfortable and shaken. While this did lead to a little dating break, it also led to a lot of introspection about what I’m really looking for and what I’m willing to compromise on. (Important note if you’re looking to date me: don’t try to tell me about myself, especially before you have had time to get to know me. Literally just get to know me, don’t make assumptions… I can guarantee you that I, like most people, contain multitudes.)

I have such wonderful friends and I’m pretty pumped about the creation of Winesday.

In June, I went to Vegas with my bbf and it was so much fun. Like, SO MUCH.

Anything Else?

I went from blond to redhead.

Uh huh…

I wrote my first YA novel, which at this first draft moment is not very good. To be fair, I banged out 50,000 words of it during Nanowrimo, how could you expect it to be good? Now comes the fun part of editing and rewriting and making it good.

So, what’s to come in 2019?

Digging deep and loving myself more. Being organized and doing things I probably don’t want to do when that is necessary and dialing back when that’s the better choice. And most immediately, I’m going to do Sober!January and the Fit Girls Guide challenge again. This time I’ll blog about the last two weeks, since I don’t have a novel writing November to distract me. 😉

And in the interim? You can hear me every week on Mystery, Outsiders and Abs: A Teen Drama Fan Cast?

I’m In a Play – Secondary Cause of Death – Theatre Thursday

secondary cause
(Caption: This is the face of a girl who slept for four hours during the daytime on Tuesday because she was sent home from work, and went on to kill it at the theatre that night. This is the magic that theatre does.)

I’m in a play!

Let me be real here – this is not a review for the play that I am in. Mostly because I think the show is pretty great but it is nigh impossible to be objective about a play that you are in. This also isn’t really an advertisement or promotion for the show that I’m in – I’ve been doing a ton of that on social media, even including a “tech week selfie” game with Claire since we always seem to manage to be in tech week at the same time. So, what is this? I guess it’s really more of an ode.

I can’t remember the last time I was so thrilled to be in a play – maybe when I did Scorpio Theatre’s world premiere of Blood of the Red Queen, had a role rewritten for me and knew that I was a part of something that was going to just take off? I don’t know… I’m always pleased to be in a play and I always love it (otherwise I wouldn’t do it), but this time I’m just thrilled.

Part of it may be that I was asked to step into this show to fill a role once they lost an actress after rehearsals began – I hadn’t met the director before so I did do a bit of an audition, though nothing like the ones I’ve written about before – and it’s always nice to be needed/wanted.

Another part of it may be that I’m really getting to stretch myself as an actress. I am playing the type of role that I often get cast in (lovely and graceful) but the process hasn’t been “easy” by any means, and I appreciate that. I swing towards bubbly when I act and I’m playing a character who is on the older end of my age range so there is absolutely no room for bubbly. The show also takes place in England in 1939 (and is very British murder mystery in feel) so accents are imperative. I went to U of C, I haven’t learned accents! But I can do one now…

I think the biggest part of it, though, is that I just feel like such a part of things doing this show. I am a shy person by nature (which people always seem to mistake for my being a bit of a bitch and not just rampantly socially awkward) but everyone in this show has just made such an effort to make me not feel like the “new girl” since Day One. There is a camaraderie in the dressing room that I haven’t actually felt since university (other than during Full Circle Theatre shows, but that’s really just me gathering my friends together and going “let’s make a play!”) and I love it, even when I just sit quietly and listen to everyone else. I absolutely trust every person on that stage to pick me up and save me if I forget a line. (Oh gosh, that better not happen… knock on wood!)

I’m in a play. And even though I am going on vacation the day after it closes, I’m going to miss it when it’s done.

If you would like to see the play that has inspired such gushing from me (and hear my sparkling dulcet tones), Simply Theatre’s “Secondary Cause of Death” runs until October 1 and tickets can be purchased by calling 587-575-656 or by visiting http://www.simplytheatre.ca Come see it. It’s worth it. (This is not a promotion, I’m just happy.)

32 Weeks – Almost Everything

Almost Everything

I know, I know. I’m in Calgary and I’m not writing about the Stampede. I will (I actually love the Stampede unlike a lot of other people who have lived here for any significant period of time, it seems), but as of right now I’ve only been to the grounds once for about 5 hours. Once I have a bit more Stampede-ing under my belt, I’ll be all over a recap. For now, I’m going to bust out one of my vaguely emotional, introspective and overall vague posts that probably only my friends will enjoy. Whateves, it’s my blog, I do what I want.

Something might happen
but nothing will be neverending

~ The Hold Steady, “Almost Everything”

For the past little while, I’ve been struggling with the idea that I should be in a certain emotional place, thinking or feeling a certain way. That if I don’t get there, that’s it. Even more specifically, if I don’t get there soon, that’s it. I never thought I would care much about turning 30, and I’m still not sure that I do, but I am starting to feel like I am running out of time to do and have the things that I want. And that if I don’t pull it together and feel differently than I do, I won’t get these things.

The way I feel right now feels like forever.

Nothing is forever, good changes happen, just like bad changes do.

When the lights come up
I can’t see so much
I can hear you breathe
I can feel almost everything

~ The Hold Steady, “Almost Everything”

Anyone who has been around me for any extended period of time lately has probably heard me announce that I hate everyone.

This is obviously not true.

I am probably closer with both of my brothers right now than I have been at any time in my life. I have absolutely amazing friends and I work with a really cool group of people who somehow aren’t even annoying when it’s 8 am on a Monday and I haven’t had any coffee yet because I’m doing a juice cleanse. (Well… aren’t that annoying. And, really, that is my fault, guys, not yours.)

But everyone new in my life? I just hate everyone. I’ve got no patience for any sort of nonsense, annoying questions, more questions about myself than I deem appropriate, poor grammar, using the wrong “you’re”… literally most things.

And if you swear to keep it decent
Then yeah, I’ll come and see you
But it’s not gonna be like in romantic comedies
In the end I bet no one learns a lesson

~ The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”

The funny thing is, the less I try to feel differently, the more fun I have. The less I try to like everyone and be relentlessly (or maybe aggressively) positive, as is my way, the more I don’t hate everyone. I think I’m better than I think I am.

So I’m going to jam out to some live videos of The Hold Steady, drink some boxed wine and lean into the way I feel, even if I think that I should be in a different place. Because I am clearly an idiot.

(Note: I realize that 32 weeks kind of sounds like a pregnancy reference? It is most certainly, definitely NOT in any way shape or form. My family reads this, yo!)

Heaven

heaven is whenever
(I couldn’t find a source for this image. If it’s yours, please let me know so I can credit.)

Y’all, can we talk about how exciting it is that it’s a fairly reasonable time on a Wednesday, I’m totally caught up on Game of Thrones and I’m enjoying a glass of wine and the first episode of Season Four of Orange is the New Black while I bang out a few assignments? I even have a mid-week load of laundry in the dryer! I don’t even know if I remember the last time I had this little bit of free time! Sure, I’m still doing work, but today kind of seems like a little slice of heaven.

I even have the mental energy to write a blog post right now.

I mean, not a great blog post, I’m not reviewing an event or discussing a new fitness class, but it’s something, right? A big stream of consciousness something… Instant forgiveness, right? And I do have a few things to write about over the next few weeks – even with all the craziness lately, I’ve managed to sneak in a Lagree class, gotten back into a much needed regular yoga practice at Junction 9 and caused myself some intense fun and subsequent muscle soreness by doing an obstacle course class at cor.fit. (Check out my Instagram for a little sneak peek of that!)

I have worked my way through so many awesome books during my 45 minute dinner break between work and theatre during the past few weeks – I mean, what else am I going to do while I’m trying to get myself fed and shake off my day to give a strong performance?

I’m going to Kimberley with some girlfriends this weekend and I cannot wait to eat at Pedal and Tap (because it was on “You Gotta Eat Here” and you gotta do that when you bring new people to town…) and drink a bunch of wine and watch girlie movies. My life has been so much lately, that I cannot wait for a little break and then for something new.

I have such a summer coming up and I cannot wait to share it with you all. Heaven.

Thanks for all your patience. Such love.

Xoxo
E

Sometimes You Just Get Overwhelmed

Y’all, I may have finally over-committed myself. I always love to have a very full life, but I’m starting to feel a bit of the anxiety that always comes along with too much fullness. I’ve become fairly good at recognizing this feeling quickly, but there’s not a lot I can do to reduce my commitments over the next few weeks. A few of them will fall off in mid-June and then I’ll be ready for some fun and also for some regular writing… which is fun!

But in the meantime, yesterday I accidentally put one of my earrings in my second piercing hole which I haven’t used since 2007 and I didn’t notice that I was uneven until the end of the day.

So, I can’t change the number of commitments I have, but I can stop trying to cram in any more stuff… I can also use my limited free time to engage in a little self-care and limit the anxiety.

Ways to Deal With Being Overwhelmed

Cleaning
girl cleaning
Stock Image belongs to an Atlanta cleaning company and was the least sexy cleaning picture I could find. Troubling.
This idea probably seems counter-intuitive – cleaning is work! Work is stressful! Aren’t we trying to reduce stress!?
Well, yes, but… I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy, cleaning is always the first thing to go. Not the daily stuff like dishes, but I develop a really bad habit of just dropping and going, and the regular maintenance stuff like vacuuming and dusting just disappears. Right now, my room looks like a tornado went through it and it is incredibly stressful every time I go into it. For me at least, if I could spend half an hour setting things right, that would crazy enhance my mental state. I’m thinking sometime on Saturday…

Meal Planning
meal prep
Image of meal prep belongs to Fit Mommy via Pinterest
Nothing is worse than knowing you have an hour to dash home, eat dinner, then get back out the door again for another commitment… and you have no idea what to eat. Either you have no food at home or stuff that takes actual preparation which then leads to the added stress of wasting food/money. The amount of times I’ve either spent $20 picking up sushi like the rich person I am not (SkiptheDishes is dangerous!) or just had Mr. Noodle with peanut butter for dinner…
Right now, I’m doing Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and it is a godsend. I don’t have to think at all, they lay out the shopping and prep, and the meals are quick and tasty.
Let someone else do the hard part for you and focus your mental energy on the rest of your life.

Treat Yo’ Self
treat yo self
Image is obvious, isn’t it? Please!
Like, at least a little bit. Find something in your week that you can do just for you.
Love “Game of Thrones”? Carve yourself out an hour per week so you don’t fall behind on your show. (You know you’ll get spoiled if you do!)
Cherish your solo podcast time? Multi-task it… listen while you’re driving, take a walk in the sun with headphones, lock everyone out of the kitchen and listen while you cook.
Want some wine? Well… yeah, why not?

Vitamin D
walking Actually, regardless of if you like podcasts or not, get out to take a little walk and a little sun (or fresh air at least) daily. Even 15 minutes will do a world of good… and if I can find 15 minutes in my day to get outside, you can too.

Instant Forgiveness This is something we practice in theatre but it’s good advice when you are overwhelmed too. Sometimes you’ll do what you consider to be “screwing up”. You may pick up McDonald’s instead of following your meal plan. You may forget to leave time for a run. You may have to cancel plans because you just need a night at home. Don’t beat yourself up about any of these things. It’s not a screw up, it’s just human and so are we.

Even though I’m using a lot of “you”s in this post, this is a just a sampling of the things that work for me when I’m overwhelmed. What are your best tips for dealing with the times where you’re just a little (or just a lot) overwhelmed?

April Wrap-Up

British Museum
Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?

Overall Month Rating
A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.

Highlight of the Month
Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.

Lowlight of the Month
I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event, on a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing and that is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.

Number of Workouts Completed
Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.

Number of Plays Watched
Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…

Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On
Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)

Best New Food Discovery
Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.

Best New Culture Discovery
Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and started ideally collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.

Best Book Read
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. When the book finished, I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told, but I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.

A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to the Calgary floods of 2013 for me – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.

March Wrap-Up

IMG_3046
My March recap is decidedly late (I know, I know, it’s already April 5…) but I swear I have a good excuse. I bought a tablet this weekend and have fallen into a bit of a black hole of setting it up. And by setting it up, I mostly mean playing with it. I feel like I did when I got my first iPhone back in 2011! My wellness benefits at work will actually reimburse me for this tablet because it will enhance my wellness and improve my efficiency, I guess? If I can ever stop testing out podcast apps when I am actually supposed to be blogging…

Overall Month Rating
B+. March was a decidedly better month than February – in a large part because of Big Taste Calgary and a couple other excellent social outings with friends. The weather improved with a couple of absolutely gorgeous days in the high teens and, with the sunshine as inspiration, I made a concentrated effort to reframe my mental state to be equally sunny. I’ve always been aggressively positive at work; I wanted to bring that into my personal life as well. However, I was not nearly as fiscally responsible this month as I meant to be and I still don’t have a roommate. B+ it is.

Highlight of the Month
Either the incredible dinner at Teatro (and a chance to catch up with an amazing friend who I do not see nearly often enough) or the fact that the auditions I had lined up for this month went exceedingly well and I’ve been cast in a super fun show that goes up this June. I am going to hold off sharing details about the show until the company formally announces the cast, but check out Theatre Thursdays for more about what it’s all about to be in a play once I can talk about it.

Lowlight of the Month
To protect the innocent, I’m going to be vague, but I had a situation mid-month where there was someone else involved and we were just not on the same page at all. At all. Which is fine, except this other person thought that the situation was so great and… it was not. Which I had to tell them. I hate having to disillusion people. (But, oh man, that misinterpretation could not stand…)

Number of Workouts Completed
March was actually pretty solid in terms of workouts. I got in a good routine with barre classes on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes with an extra one added on Thursday mornings and usually with a lunchtime yoga class on Tuesdays. Moving into April, I would like to solidly add in that fourth barre class and also start the Couch to 5K training. Everyone who runs loves running. I want to feel that too.

Number of Plays Watched
The Turn of the Screw at Vertigo Theatre, Bad Jews at Theatre Calgary (this show sparked such great conversations between myself and my mom, I definitely recommend it if you can sneak it in), Fight or Flight Response by Verb Theatre. Hopefully I can sneak in a show or two more in April as well.

Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 1. I made the mistake of seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane which really fell apart once they started doing the “Cloverfield” stuff. John Goodman rocked, though.
At home – 5. Okay, I watched 22 Jump Street twice and after one particularly stressful weekend my mom and I unwound to The Ridiculous 6. Don’t judge me.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On
None! I went on far too many dates with other people, though. I really have to talk my friends into hanging out with me in my home.

Best New Food Discovery
These peanut butter balls. The recipe was shared with me by my lovely Irish co-worker earlier this month to add into my weekly meal prep insanity. It’s total junk masquerading as health food (come on, the recipe comes from Kraft), but I have no interest in making the recipe un-trashy. One little ball is so super filling.

Best New Culture Discovery
I watched all of Unreal in about a week once it came on shomi… keep in mind, these were hour long episodes and I was relentlessly social this month so that is a huge compliment. Apparently Unreal is strikingly accurate in terms of what goes on behind the scenes in “reality tv” (though obviously the drama is somewhat exaggerated) and I cannot wait to watch The Bachelorette with this knowledge in mind. Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby kill it by embracing the nuanced, sometimes unlikeable, sometimes so vulnerable characters that they are given.

Best Book Read
This is one of those super buzzy, probably read in a zillion book clubs book, but for good reason. I absolutely devoured The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in about a day and a half. I started reading it while invigilating one Thursday and had finished it by the next afternoon. So compelling.

As always, if you’re in Calgary and aren’t a creep… please live in my house.

Happy April!

Yep, I’m an Actor – Theatre Thursday

You know when you have to introduce yourself to new people and find a clever way to sum yourself up so they understand what you’re all about? No? Just me? There’s a very real tendency when we meet someone new to immediately ask “What do you do?” as if that defines them as a person. And I know for some people it does – some people have jobs that they’ve been working towards for their entire lives or where they do something they absolutely love. But I know that for myself, even though I love my day job, it gives very little insight into who I am or what I love… there are so many different personalities and types of people who work my position.

So? When people ask, I generally tell them that I am an actor. (Or occasionally a theatre artist, but you’ve really got to read the room on that one because it can sound a little snooty-patooty if you don’t nail the tone.) Being an actor is such a part of my identity and knowing that I am going to keep theatre in my life even while everything else fluctuates and changes has been such a touchstone for me. However, I struggle with this because 9 times out of 10, people don’t actually know what being an actor is all about and they immediately jump to questions that they mean to show genuine interest like “Oh, what movies have I seen you in lately?” But if I don’t identify as an actor, I find that people don’t appreciate how big a part of my life acting is and how much it defines me… I once had an ex-boyfriend say to one of his friends “Oh no, she’s not actually an actor. She doesn’t do it for a job, it’s just her favourite hobby”. (By the way, ouch. And when you are dating someone who doesn’t get you on a really core level, you should probably get out way earlier than I did.)

Anyway, I know that the “What movies have I seen you in?” question comes from a place of kindness and also from a lack of knowing. Everyone knows Hollywood, not everyone knows about all the other levels of acting that are out there. I figure it’s time to put my fancy education degree to use instead of just complaining when people ask totally logical questions because they just don’t know any better. So, my newest series in “Theatre Thursdays” is going to be a casual exploration of what all is involved in being a non-professional actor in Calgary – at least what’s involved in it for this girl.

What Pushes Are We Wenches Driven To?

I’m going to kick off this whole series by talking about four different shows I’ve seen in 2016 that I can use to demonstrate the different types of theatre companies that make up our diverse and exciting theatre scene in Calgary.

Theatre Calgary – The Little Prince
Little-Prince-poster-17th-Feb
The most recent show I saw at Theatre Calgary was actually Bad Jews, their currently running production, but for fairness to the other companies I want to talk exclusively about shows that are already closed. Little Prince had a huge cast. It had high production values with bikes on stage, a lamplighter performing a “ballet” in a giant wheel and more actors playing roses onstage than you could fill a bouquet with. I don’t know if you remember The Little Prince the book, but it was super weird and this world premiere musical stage adaptation was equally weird. But it was kind of awesome to see Theatre Calgary do something new, even if it didn’t quite land for everyone. (I personally had some difficulty understanding everything that the Little Prince sang in her lyric soprano and the plot was a little thin… but the great thing about theatre is not everyone needs to like everything about everything they see.) Professional theatre companies often have to walk a fine line between putting on shows that will appeal to their subscriber base, shows that will bring in a wider and newer audience and shows that will challenge their team to do something different artistically. Sometimes all these shows come together in one!

Other major professional theatre companies include: Vertigo Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Junction, One Yellow Rabbit

Ground Zero Theatre – The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook
Boy's Own Jedi Handbook Poster
Ground Zero Theatre is actually also a professional theatre company, but it is smaller than those in the first category. The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook is a contemporary script, written by Canadian actor and playwright, Stephen Massicotte and the production starred a small and rampantly talented cast of four actors (most of who played more than one role). The set was minimal but innovative, relying on projections, acting and many neutral but easily transformable boxes to set each scene.

Budgets may be smaller for these smaller, newer professional companies but like we were fond of saying in university “constraints facilitate creativity”. The smaller professional companies also often do not have their own performance spaces, instead renting various spaces around town for their shows. They also may have shorter runs. For example, The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook was performed in the Vertigo Studio Space and only ran over two weekends… the end of the run actually snuck up on me and I ended up seeing the closing “night”, a Sunday matinee. Most of these companies do have their own rehearsal spaces, though.

Other examples of smaller professional theatre companies include: Downstage Theatre, Sage Theatre, Verb Theatre

Simply Theatre – She Kills Monsters
She Kills Monsters Poster
She Kills Monsters was truly community theatre at its best. A group of talented people were brought together and put on a show – some with post-secondary training in theatre, some fresh out of high school, some who just love the stage. There were incredible performances and earnest performances and both shone. There is a stereotype floating around out there that community theatre is a lot like “Waiting for Guffman” or full of wannabes who “couldn’t hack it”… this stereotype could not be more untrue. The people who do community theatre are passionate about what they are doing, work hard and put out some solid productions. Calgary even has its own awards ceremony for community theatre, the CAT Awards.

Oh, and if you follow that link to the Simply Theatre site for “She Kills Monsters”, for set design it says “hehehe… yeah right!!”. That’s not inaccurate… sometimes you run into budget constraints and you have to focus your resources on building a Beholder and some crazy awesome dragon heads. It’s all good.

Other examples of community theatre companies (specifically ones that I’ve worked with) include: Morpheus Theatre, Scorpio Theatre, Workshop Theatre

Theatre Transit – Basically Twins
Basically Twins Poster
There a bit of a nebulous area between community theatre and professional theatre that I’ve been proudly referring to as “Indie” theatre ever since that was the term Scott Roberts used while we held auditions for Full Circle Theatre’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream back in 2012. Young and upcoming theatre artists band together to create their own work and opportunities while they work to “make it” professionally. Theatre Transit is a great example of “indie” theatre – Basically Twins was a one-night only improvised show created by sisters and artists Carly and Anyssa McKee and last year they put on the show that put Mindy Kaling on the map, Matt & Ben – rad, right!?

Generally speaking, actors/artists doing indie theatre don’t get paid (though that is always the end goal once the bills get paid) and they do new or little known shows – often collective creations – or they may take a classic script from the public domain and put their own twist on it. It’s a ton of fun. Also, lots of the smaller professional companies in category two started as indie companies so…. You do the math. 😉

Other indie theatre companies include: Chromatic Theatre, Major Matt Mason Collective

A couple notes: This is not a remotely comprehensive list of theatre companies in Calgary, you can check out Theatre Alberta for that. Also, this is a pretty opinion-heavy list and your mileage may vary – you may stick a company that I put in one category in a completely different one. No judgement intended for any of the examples I spoke about, I am just so thrilled that there is so much theatre in the city I live in. I blatantly stole poster images from the official theatre company websites so please do follow the links for more information and to see some awesome upcoming shows. And I pretty much exclusively do shows that fit into the third and fourth category right now, but we’ll talk about that more on a future Theatre Thursdays.

February Wrap-Up

Heart on Window

Well, here I am, sitting in the dark and watching last night’s The Walking Dead on PVR. And making myself way too afraid to get up and go to the washroom. (I do not have the lights off as a means to terrify myself, by the by. I’ve been trying to limit my energy use over the past month and have developed a real creepy habit of sitting in the dark and watching tv. It’s a good thing there is no one around to see this…) I thought this was the best possible time to write a wrap-up post – also because it is the last day of the month. All signs point towards writing this awesome post.

Now that the blog is just over a month old, I’ve been thinking about what I want for it in terms of tone and feeling. I realized that I’ve always loved chatty blogs that make me feel like I’m a part of the blogger’s life. As much as I would love to be crazy professional and write about the fun things I do in Calgary as if I were writing for Avenue or another well-established and very grownup publication… I just can’t resist bringing my personal and my casual into it. My very favourite blog, Happy or Hungry, has inspired me to craft a few healthy lunches… but mostly, I just sort of feel like I’m a part of her close-knit and incredibly fun group of friends. I love reading her recounts of all her adventures and watching her life grow and change.

So, all that rambling to say, I’m going to start being a little bit more personal, sharing bits of myself, and these monthly recap posts are where it is all going to start.

Lonely Work Chair

Overall Month Rating
B-. February turned out to be a far busier month than I had ever expected it to be – though I maybe should have expected it, as I run a course at work for the first two weeks of every February that keeps me at work for 11 hours days. (Please note the picture of the lonely work chair above, which sums up my life this month.) During February, I had a few extended family situations crop up while I also lost my lovely roommate of 3.5 years to the allure of a private basement suite and I haven’t yet found someone new to fill her place so that has me feeling a little uneasy going into March… I did have a ton of fun adventures with my brothers, of all people, this month though and my house has never looked more organized (post to come on that!) so those points saved February from dropping down into the C range.

Highlight of the Month
Definitely accompanying Bryan to a LARP event mid-month! I was super-anxious about it going in (there are so many rules to learn!), I was very tired afterwards (it ran from 6pm-2am), I had no idea what to expect… but it was so wonderful to be around so many people that were just so passionate and excited about something they were doing. I haven’t acted in a show since last June and being at LARP very much reminded me of the comradery and connection that develops when you do theatre. (And thus I have a bunch of auditions lined up for March…)

Lowlight of the Month
Definitely today, when I went outside to leave for work and there was so much ice built up on my front windshield that I couldn’t even scrape it. I just had to wait for the defroster to do its thing. I’ve been making a real effort to leave for work early enough that I can arrive 5-10 minutes before the official start time and not have to feel like I’m rushed the entire way there so it was such a bummer. (I do realize that I have alluded to quite a few other things above that maybe should be in this category, but I am trying to look at those as experiences to grow from. The ice windshield just sucked.)

Number of Workouts Completed
Not nearly enough. During the first two weeks of the month, I basically taught my barre class and maybe took one extra class (though I did prance around like Britney Spears for Med Show an awful lot)…

I’ve put my yoga membership on hold to save money, though, set up my treadmill/workout area in my basement and barre classes are slightly less busy this upcoming week, so I’m back on it! 3 workouts over the past 4 days… pretty promising!

Number of Plays Watched
Four plays this month, from a whole range of different theatre companies. Pretty wonderful!

Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 0.

At home – 4. I’m trying to work my way through the Marvel Universe movies that I haven’t seen before Civil War comes out. And, also, I forced all my friends into coming over and watching Grease: Live more than once.

Number of Dates I Took Myself On
I love self-dates. On my vacation day, I took myself over to Double Zero at Chinook and enjoyed some wine, pizza and re-reading A Storm of Swords. Unfortunately, I am not a cheap date for myself, so I may need to find some more economical ways to express some self-love. (That sentence sounds creepy. I stand by it, though.)

Best New Discovery
Still Buffering. Technically, it launched in January but I am always behind on my podcast listening and picked it up in February. Still Buffering is a hilarious and heart-warming podcast hosted by two sisters, aged 32 and 15, discussing the differences between being a teenager then and now. It gives me such nostalgia and such laughter.

Best Book Read
I mentioned earlier this month that I love memoirs when I’m on the go because the chapters are generally little bite-sized chunks that allow you to read just one at a time. Amy Poehler’s Yes Please has just been making me so happy over the past couple weeks – she is just as positive and inspiring as I expected her to be.

And now, The Walking Dead is over and The Bachelor is on, so please excuse me while I go pour a weekday glass of wine and allow my mind to atrophy a little.

And if you are in Calgary and you are someone I know (which I assume is 98% of my readership), please please live in my house…
riverbend2