Game On.

I’ve been spending a lot of my newly freed-up schedule lately bouncing around what is unfortunately termed the theatre “blogoshpere” (one of those jarring newly-minted tech terms that don’t quite sit right in my language palate, like “lol” and “webinar” and “blog”). However, like calling a rose by any other name, the essence of the subject is what counts, and I find myself enchanted. Having spent so long trying to connect with somebody, anybody, about my passion for stage and story I’m suddenly in a Disneyland of zealots who articulately and consistently hold forth opinions and observations on the state of theatre in the modern world. This nascent form of connectivity heralds a revolution for aspiring theatre artists and their companies, it has begun a global community. I feel like the new kid on the block entering the world of these bloggers, I’m once again showing up to the street hockey game with a shiny new stick and no padding. But I don’t feel so isolated anymore, I feel like part of a team, freshly inspired and invigorated.

There’s great stuff afoot in Toronto, and as befits the American perception here, the New Yorkers are going at it tooth and nail. I started this blog as a marketing tool for Lyric Stage Project, which it remains, but henceforth it will be a proud member of this commonwealth of ideologists, doing what art is supposed to do: communicate unedited ideas.

Next up for The Next Stage, the first in a series of interviews with theatre visionaries, west coast style, an idea I shamelessly cribbed from Ian Mackenzie at the Praxis Theatre blog. To launch this series of ruminations, I present another Ian’s dissection of his craft, as told to Ricky Gervais…

All right, I’ll stop whining…

Well, that’s one play in the bank, the reviews are in, the sets, props, and costumes have been returned, and the receipts have been counted. On to the next, as soon as all involved do whatever it is they do to recuperate from the physical and emotional exertions of pouring their all into such an intense and revelatory work of art. Some are away reconnecting with their love interests, while some remain snug beneath the covers sucking their thumbs. Me, I’m working my way through a large gin. To each their own. The next step is to reassemble the family and debrief ourselves on the whole experience in order to quantify it and talk about lessons learned. Here’s my top three:

1.) Always work with people you trust, because there will be times when you will disagree with each other. Strongly.

2.) Never underestimate your audience.

3.) There is no such thing in theatre as too much marketing.

That last one is the real challenge, for it is my ardent belief that we live in a latent theatre town, full of people who love this art form, and just don’t know it yet. I’ve heard so many people say that the arts don’t thrive here because this is just not an intellectual town, to which I call bullshit. If there was a buzz about the arts scene here, if it was buoyed by the sensationalist and partisan mainstream media so that it would reach those uninitiated into the burgeoning alternative media, and if the artists in town would start making more noise, then the city would reveal its true nature as one of the smartest, most opinionated, and impassioned kids on the block. It will happen, and it will happen sooner than the naysayers think.

Now that the inaugural production is behind us I’m eager to connect with the other theatre troupes that are championing the cause. Up until now this blog has been an omnibus of “Wah, indie theatre is so hard”, I know, I get it. I’m excited to move beyond the sphere of our company and report on the state of theatre everywhere, not just in Vancouver, because ours is an art that can transcend borders and comment on them at the same time, and right to your face. Theatre is all about the voice, so I’m going to start talking to people in the global community and posting the conversations here, so that they may stimulate some of your own. After all, the best thing about experiencing art is discussing it.

 

 

You start by not sucking…

Week two of the run started tonight with a packed house, thank you very much. For us that is quite literally the greatest feeling in the world, for two distinct reasons; one: we need dough to cover production costs, and two: if you create a piece of art and it falls in the forest…you get where I’m going. Reason number one seems a bit avaricious and perhaps a little too capitalistic for a bunch of left-leaning theatre artists, but we must keep perspective on the fact that we are creating a consumable product after all. Besides, we’re happy to be able to break even at this level, and just maybe sock a little away against the next production. (Or rent a house in Tofino and party like the folks went away on vacation.) Although being able to make a decent living at it sure would be nice. Reason number two is the more pure to the artistic philosophy of the whole thing I suppose, having something to say is all well and good, but without someone to say it to you’re just a voice shouting into the wind.Read More »

LSP is Open for Business (back in 8 hours.)

That’s it, our little boat is officially launched. Tonight was the premier performance of our inaugural play. If the world blows up tomorrow, the Lyric Stage Project will still be a produced theatre company, and I would die a happy man. I would say that the feelings I have right now are indescribable, but that would suck in a blog, as describing things is pretty much the only purpose for these things. Therefore, without much further ado about nothing, allow me to get my descriptive on…Read More »

Curtain Up

Good grief, it’s hard to keep your blog updated when you’ve got a play coming up. Sorry about the delay, let me try to recap the last couple of weeks. Monday was load-in, always an intense day what with renting a one-ton to pick up all the props, lights, furniture, costumes, etc, etc that have been sourced from around the lower mainland and driving from one end of it to the other while trying to coordinate the pick up schedule with everyone’s bizarre hours, but we’re crazy enough to put up two plays in one night, effectively doubling the amount of stuff to do in one day. That day is still a little hazy, our producer Paul and I showed an amazing amount of calm under pressure for everything that went wrong that day, while stuck inside the cab of an over-heated Budget truck. Lesser men would have either killed each other or those around them. Somewhere in there we managed to drive to Mt. Seymour to pick up 3 huge green couches for our production designer’s assistant and deliver them to his dad’s house, and a huge coffin that Paul seems unnaturally attached to from Canada Place. All this on the day of a Canucks playoff game. Mind you, if I had known the outcome of that I probably wouldn’t have cared so much. Hell, I’d have stopped to dig up a coffin rather than have my loyal hockey heart broken. Again. But I digress…Read More »