Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Night: End of Week One "Trudeau"

Well, that's one week down. One week of rehearsing a show for which the script changes every day as does the blocking. We are inventing as we go. This is like skydiving—you hope and pray that your parachute will open and that it has  been packed properly.

We have a terrific rapport; I think we are a lovely company. I am certainly enjoying myself and the product of all our working is starting to show. The Basil and Vivicean scenes are getting better and better as they come off book.

The first act is about 50 minutes and we need an intermission. The second act is 45 minutes, so we are in great, great shape as far as time and structure go. I am really, really pleased and proud of what we have put together in ten months—and mostly me, as writer, designer and primary performer.

Lios and David rehearse a Basil/Vivicean scene.
Giselle, our stage manager who is onstage.
Kim, the director, who is a peach.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Saturday Afternoon

Well….  What a difference a day makes. I worked on the "walls" in the script, made some connections to eliminate one or two and made some script changes to overcome a few more and today I was hitting all my marks. So its protein for breakfast, a run through the script first thing in the morning, then lines with Kim (the director)—especially where I am having problems before the run-through.

I (and we'll) be following the same pattern tomorrow. monday is our day off and the set goes in. I am going to go through the script every day until we close and make this self-inflicted challenge into something in which to be proud.

I am going out for dinner with a good friend, Bruce, to celebrate.

Saturday Morning Part II

After weeks of sleeping seven-to-eight hours a night. I slept four hours last night after a bad day at rehearsals. BUT… I have printed a new clean script and built "bridges in my head" over the "walls."

All the actors know what I know about my shows: there are lots of transitions that are difficult. It is very hard to explain, but my scripts have brusque transitions. There are no cure from the other actors; it's like we are each in our separate plays addressing the audience, not each other.

But after an intense session with myself theism morning, I am going to rehearsal to ask that every day begin with the stage manager and I running my lines with or without the director, and the actors rehearsing heir scenes without me, with or without the director. That will bring success, I know it.

Here's hoping they like the plan.

Saturday Morning

Well that was interesting: Suddenly a place I had liked for a long long time came on the market. I was interested because it is close to a hospital, it borders on a park and it is steps from a public market and one of the city's bigger transportation hubs. But it's been sold so I am staying here in my noisy urban paradise that will soon be surrounded by construction.

I didn't want to move. I was at sixes and sevens about it, so I decided to go and see it to see if it changed my interest from mild to enthusiastic. But, as I said, it is sold. However, the exercise was interesting in that I found myself willing to move in spite of the investment I've made here. One thing about me: I do not develop strong attachments to things (just people).
Rehearsals start at 10:00, we break for lunch at 1:00 and we finish at 5:00. Lois lives near me, so we come home together on the seabus. And of course, I have a routine: I leave early and walk to the seabus terminal downtown, arriving at the North Shore terminal early enough to get a cinnamon bun and go over lines in the sunshine on the wharf.

Yesterday morning was a disaster. Yesterday I wanted to have another heart attack so the show had to be cancelled. I kept drying and lost my voice. There was panic in the room but after lunch, things were better so this morning I am having a healthy protein breakfast in hopes of being stronger right off the mark. Lois called yesterday a typical "hump day;"

So today, Saturday, I am up very early with a new script—edited with all the cuts and changes we have made over the past four days—ready to work hard today, hoping to feel some progress.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Will I Move?

I still tear up when I think about what my glasses do for my vision. It has been two years since I changed my life for the better and started wearing glasses all the time.

And it’s been a year since I changed from a large to a medium size person. Every day as I dress, I am happy to be this new-shaped person and all my clothes have been altered.

This year’s big change is sleep. For perhaps a month I have been sleeping/dozing eight hours a night. I have been sleeping about four-to-five hours a night for two decades so this is a huge change.

I have asked to see a condo in North Vancouver. I have to see it. It is an area and a building that has intrigued me for a long time and yesterday I decided to see if there might be a suit for sale. Not only was there a suite for sale, one of the ones I liked best is available.

I love my current place and I have invested a fortune in it. And the location is ideal, but the lot next door is about to become a massive new building and the one across the street from me is soon to become three (!) towers including the second tallest in the city. What appeals to me about the place I have asked to see, is the quiet and its proximity to a park. It is practically on the waterfront—not a nice part of the waterfront, but the waterfront just the same.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Full Rehearsal Day #1 (with Photo Shoot)

With my hissy fit over, we settled into the day rehearsing and the outcomes were absolutely fabulous. I feel so lucky that this production gets presented with me as the author but the improvements (cuts) we made today could not have been done without the help of the cast. 

I have gone over and over my scenes and edited them with each reading, but I did nothing to the Vivicean and Basil scenes, so today brought huge changes and improvements to their scenes. 

I loved our process too, but I have come home flat. I am pooped.

Live Streaming Rehearsals

Rehearsals started with an introduction from Kim, followed by yours truly having a hissy fit. Thankfully my good breeding carried me through the hissy fit in a way that allowed me to maintain some dignity.

Rehearsals have gone extremely well. Both Lois and David bring such a life to Vivicean and Basil, That I am hugely entertained and excited.

As the author, subject and as a performer, it is hard to let go and give control to the director but that's what I have to do. When Kim explain his overview, the concept was frightening. But we relaxed his rules in the first reading and it went profoundly well.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 24, 2015


A screenshot of my newsletter sent out today.

Today was heavenly on the seawall. My feet moved like perpetual motion machines whilst my mind whirred with things about the show, the future and my way of living. But the smells of Spring were a tonic to my weary soul.

I left at 2:00 pm after working through my lines. And I thoroughly cleaned my place because the week coming is a juggernaut of activity for man used to sewing or writing alone in his paradise.

I sent out my second and last newsletter advertising the show and have had some lovely responses.

Tonight, is my dinner with J&B at Bishop’s. Yum!

I feel as though I am at the edge of a cliff about to jump off—the show being the cliff. I could die if the show stinks, still I have to keep falling for two weeks until it is over and how I feel then will depend on how the fall has gone. But I am not afraid, thank God.

I willingly took on this challenge when it was offered, but as I have been writing: I feel done. Maybe the will to do more will return, but I don't care if it doesn’t. There are more experiences to be had out there.

As a storyteller, I provoke comments or questions about Spalding Gray. I looked up “dilettante” in the dictionary and this is what it said:

One who dabbles in an art or field of knowledge.

Perhaps that’s me. I think there is something deeper going on when I consider that my screenplay sold. So, searching for that label to explain my behavior, if I am a dilettante, I am a clever one.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Well there’s another reason to love Ireland besides the accent, the landscape and their incredible capacity to tell stories. The images of the celebrations following the announcement of the results of the vote are the perfect antidote to all the homophobia to which I have been exposed over my many years.
Today I wrote a prompts into my Trudeau script where I had “walls” that were difficult transitions for me in rehearsals. So now I can relax about this show a little more. There is less than two weeks until opening.
Today I also invited John and Bunny to go to dinner tomorrow at Bishop’s. I haven’t been there in years and it is always a delight. It is small, very quiet and always elegant with its Shadbolts on the wall.
And I also bought myself two pairs of glasses today. “Brave” bold glasses for special events when I wear my new suit, and prescription sunglasses. It was a very pricey purchase, but when it comes to my eyes, back or feet, money is no object.
I am already worrying about what I will do once the show closes. It will be so weird not having costumes to sew, wigs to glue or weave, properties to make or re-writes to do.

And having lost my enthusiasm for Harridan, the show I have written for next year, I will have to decide how to fill the time. But it is summer, and there are many walks to take and friends to visit, so I will take my time to decide. I will need to have a project to pursue when the rains come, but that is six months away.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Costume Moving Day

Naked Vivicean and bald Sterling wait
for the elevator.
Sterling's head in the passenger seat.
It's Friday and this morning I will be moving all my costumes, wigs and all my sewing supplies to Presentation House. Thank God, it is not raining or everything would have been much, much more problematic.

The next two weeks will be intense. Rehearsals are always intense and this show is truncated; we have a short rehearsal period so we go into a short technical rehearsal period quite quickly and then almost immediately into rehearsals. We have cancelled a Tuesday show, so there are only nine performances (plus the preview).

And my enthusiasm for Harridan, has waned. I could easily revive it, but I am hoping it all fades away right now. I am feeling more inclined to write a show of monologues by famous personages, each having an elaborate costume but I do not want the pressure of a production deadline. Finally, I am interested and willing to do speculative work. (This is a first.)

If the Monkey movie is filmed in 2017, that could mean re-writes in the last half of 2016 or early months of 2017, so why work to be busy with stage work during those times? I am contractually obligated to be available for re-writes of Uncle Gus' Monkey.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


It was opening night for Cirque's Varekai last night. But, as you can see in the lower left of the photo, smart phones were pervasive. The man beside me acted like he was at home watching TV, talking the whole time, fidgeting, making noise with his paper bag full of popcorn. Honestly, I would say almost no one was truly interested in the show who was sitting around me. They were on their cell phones the whole time—I mean it. It's like they come so that they can send out photos of themselves at Cirque, but they don't watch the show.

Meanwhile, on stage, there is nothing but excellence and perfection. Many of the acts verge on contemporary dance. It was a stunning spectacle, but then Cirque always is. And that is what hurt: Seeing all the twits around me Facebooking and Pinteresting whilst people at the pinnacle of human form and dexterity were performing their asses off on stage.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday: Rehearsal Day

My show advertised on the Presentation
House electric sign.

A poster up at the Seabus terminal.
It’s 4:30 pm on Thursday afternoon as I write this. Rehearsal went well so I took the rest of the afternoon to chill and nap because tonight I go to Cirque du Soleil. I never miss them and I always buy the best of seats available. I love going to Cirque and am never disappointed. What could be better?

Well, the spicy tuna salad I will have before leaving for what will be a stunning walk to the show at the Coliseum. It is 23° and glorious tonight and late afternoon is one of the nicer times of the day to walk.

An increasing part of me wants to abandon plans for Harridan, but I know when winter comes I will need a project. Perhaps the thing to do is to build my costumes and write their story as a show, not a play.

Or perhaps I should write a show of monologues and the costumes to go with them—historical, literary or comic book figures.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


It's hot. I went to the beach but I can't stand stopping so I just walked back until the heat got to me. I am having dinner with a friend and want to be awake.

I got rejected as a "Straight Choice" in the Georgia Straight. I got a dignified, straight-forward answer to my query: "You don’t have an established rep as a theatre artist, and there’s a lot of competition for those Straight Choices slots.  Because of those factors, I won’t be pitching your show for a Straight Choice."