Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Post Opening Night

Well opening night has come and gone. Friday night we played to a sold out house (the house is small to begin with-only 128 seats but still it was cool to have so many people come) which was fun. There was all the fun opening night stuff: thoughtful cards and trinkets from the stage managment and director, a green room full of random gifts and flowers and sweets. (There's currently enough chocolate in our green room to...to...to...well to do something that requires a lot of chocolate. Seriously, there's probably about 5-6 lbs of different chocolate thingees for people to nibble on. I find this weird because as I understand chocolate really gums up the vocal cords....sort of a vital thing for actors. What's next giant decorative tubs of yogurt...huge gift steins full of milk...individually wrapped cream cheese chunks?...Champaign flutes of BATTERY ACID!?...organic sachets of LIQUID DEATH??)

Another interesting thing was before tonight I had yet to see any of the other cast do warm-ups and I wondered "perhaps professional actors just don't do warm ups. Maybe there just always warm" and then I would sneak off to a locked side room to do my own bu-duh-gu-da's in seclusion. But when I arrived at the theatre I heard the distinct sounds of warming up and when I came in the door it was nice to see a random smattering of cast peeps jumping, stretching and making interesting noises as only actors can. It warmed my heart.

It was also fun to actually finally do the show. I didn't have any major mess ups and it was great to actually do what I've been rehearsing for so long. Thanks to everyone who offered up prayers for me! I really wanted to have a picture for this post but I don't have an appropriate one. Maybe sometime soon I'll get Jacqui to snap one of me in my one man band costume just to give you all a clear mental picture.

*This moment was inspired by an imaginary conversation I had with Morgan Foster in my head.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Redemption of Jacqui's Childhood: One Canuck at a Time

So, here's the exposition: when I was young, growing up in Victoria, BC one of my favourite things to do was to sit on my dad's lap and watch Hockey Night in Canada. (Yes, I know, this sounds like a ridiculously Canadian story.....so what? It's true). Usually, I would cheer for whoever was winning, but on the occasions that the Vancouver Canucks were playing, I chose to cheer solely for them. This molded me into a big Canucks fan, especially into my junior high and high school years when I was at the point where I was really understanding the game and they were at the point where they were actually going to the playoffs (quoi??). Throughout these years of fandom, my family (most often my dad and brothers) attended several (and I mean SEVERAL) games, to which I was never invited (no bitterness here). I was the one left at home brushed off with hollow promises of the movie of my choice (once again, no bitterness here). I was left in my sorrow to question my fate and yearn for the day when I, too, would be in the presence of these our heroes, the Vancouver Canucks.

Enter Ryan Hoke....now Ryan is a lovely man for many reasons but, I'm not gonna lie, the following is a big one.

A few weeks ago (yes, I realize this post is a little slow on the uptake), Ryan took me to my first ever live hockey game. Not only that, he took me to my first ever Canucks game. It was incredible. I felt as if the universe was re-aligning itself, and shalom had finally been achieved (thanks, Calvin). Ok, so maybe it wasn't THAT great, but it was pretty darn sweet.

They were playing the Oilers (Edmonton) which made for an interesting dynamic. (As a point of reference for the previous sentence, Edmonton is the next closest Canadian city that has an NHL team...and, as far as Canadian standards go, it's a fairly close city). Since we were in the nosebleeds (quite often a very fun place to be for sports games), we were surrounded not only by fellow Canucks fans but also Oilers fans. Which was so much fun. It made it more of a battle...a battle in which the Canucks slew the Oilers. The final score was 6-2, and since it was an exhibition game, there was also an arbitrary shoot-out, which the Canucks also won (3-2).

So, my previously unhockey-ed (yes, while making up this adjective I did originally write unhockeyed, but I thought that looked either too much like a lake fish, or a mutant low-class British accent) was redeemed, and as it stands now, it seems to be working out for the CanuckleHeads (yes, that is a term that circulated in my family). Perhaps Ryan has reversed a curse that was placed on the team long ago, in any case, I'm quite happy with the 'Nuckers as of late.

Go Canucks!!!

P.S. This P.S. is dedicated to Morgan T. Foster. I just wanted to take the chance to celebrate with you, the Canucks victory over Detroit......and maybe rub it in a little that they also beat the Blackhawks......mwahahaha

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Opening Night

Well friends, The Elephant Man opens tomorrow (Thursday the 20th) ...well it actually offically opens on Friday, but the preview tomorrow is all sold out...I can't believe that it's actually time to just go ahead and do the show. I'm nervous. But excited too. All the normal feelings I'm sure (Although I'm finding I have an uncontrollable urge to drum on people heads when I'm in the grocery store...that's just normal pre-show jitters right?....RIGHT?!). The cast is really great and the show has really come together this past week. On the outset a three week rehearsal period seemed so short to me. At Calvin we rehearsed for like three months and then only got to perform six shows. The Elephant Man has a shorter run than any of the other shows at Pacific Theatre this season and it's still over a month long with 5 shows a week Anyway I just thought I'd write to let you all know that the big day has arrived and to ask for prayers that the show goes well. I'll write more later!

Posted by Ryan 10/19/05

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Hamming it up.

The other week Jacqui and I had a chance to head off to Washington to see a concert. It was a pretty great time. Believe it or not, getting back on U.S. soil actually felt different. Everyone in the car (there were four of us, myself the only U.S. citizen) echoed that, yes, there was definitely a different "feel" to being in the U.S. Of course there is the whole rigamarole of crossing the border (finally I've used the word "rigamarole" in a sentence. I've had that on my to-do list for 24 years. Hopefully now without what experts have termed "rigamarole pressure" hanging over my head I can finally move on and live a normal life), which definitely helps to make you hyper-aware that you are now enter the land of the free and the home of the brave (As opposed to Canada? The land of the enslaved and the home of the cowardly?).

Just over the border we stopped in the sleepy hamlet of Blaine, Washington to fuel up on cheap(er) American petrol and to buy over-priced Advil from a local Chevron station. The highlight of Blaine seemed to be the Chevron (get ready for it...are you ready? Here it comes...:"Nothing ever happens in Blaine! Nothing ever happens it's all the saaay!" That joke was for 7 of you), so we quickly passed on through to Bellingham, WA. "The Ham" for short.

Side note: Jacqui and I have been doing a fun thing lately. When I say fun I mean moderately fun/lame. We've found it interesting to shorten the names of cities to "The something". For example Grand Rapids would be "The Rapid", South Haven would be "The Haven". It works better with the city names out here. Vancouver is "The Couve", Victoria (Jacqui's hometown) is "The Ria" There's a lot of interesting sounding cities out here. Say them out loud with your friends, it's a party waiting to happen. Here's a list of my favorites:


End Side Note

So there we were in The Ham. The concert was in this really cool club/bar called The Nightlight. I will say though that Jacqui and I have been spoiled by concerts at Calvin College. At Calvin, especially in the Fine Arts Center, everyone usually sits and listens when the musician is doing his/her thing. Also, you can always see because the the seats are on a convienient incline. Not quite the same at this show. At this show it was pretty much standing room only near the stage and then way at the back there was a few tables from which there was a convienient view of approximately 300 butts.

We were some of the first to arrive in line so we thought we'd be snagging the best seats in the house. Wrong. By the time everyone filled in around us our once good seats near the front had transformed into "squished-against-a-wall-glaring-at-the-hoards-busy-invading-our-personal
-space" seats. You know the ones. You've probably sat there yourself before. My favorite maneuver is when people seem to be in a "conversation" and they just slowly, obliviously, and all too convieniently drift over and plunk themselves in the convient line of sight you had been tending to like a delicate flower: watching it, protecting it, hoping it will grow. (I say "conversation" because secretly I think under their breath their saying "hey have a fake conversation with me while we walk right in front of this guy.)

However due to some stealthy mauvering of my own, by the time the opening act began I found myself at the front of the stage, all the way to one side, seated knees against my chest, on a large, raised wooden box. "How great!" I thought, "I'm well above everyone's heads, I have a clear line of sight, this should be great." Well it would have been. As it turned out, though, my convienient miracle box was actually a thin plywood casing for the sub-woofers. My ear drums died a little that night. The opening guy was an acousitic guitar guy, but by the time Martin Sexton arrived on stage in all his "ressonant-voiced, rocking out acoutistic, thumpin' bass lines with his thumb, some how doing a separate melody with other fingers, wild beat-box mouth percussion/distorted electric guitar sounding voice solos" glory, my ears had taken a beating. By his second song I was forced to weave my way to the very back and create a complex system of kneeling on semi-padded bar stools to even catch a glimpse of what was happening on stage. Don't get me wrong, the music still sounded amazing, and I'm glad I went, but this show just made me realize that maybe bars/clubs, while providing a certain asethetic all their own, are not the most condusive to my personal concert going tastes.

While at the show however (while I was on top of my miracle, subwoofer box actually) I did get to talking with a guy and his wife who were interesting. Personality wise they were a bit lackluster, but geographically they were outstanding. He was from Rhode Island and she was from Sweeden. Weird and yet somehow totally fitting at the same time.

So yeah anyway, that's pretty much it. After the show we left The Ham and made our way back to The Couve, and at about 2 am my ear drums found some much needed auditory solace in my pillow.

Posted by Ryan 10/15/05

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Elephant Man Mania!

So, I'm right in the middle of the final week of rehearsals for the Elephant Man. I won't lie to you, rehearsals have been tough at times. There has been many a night when I walked in the door downtrodden and discouraged. Never having done percussion before this has been quite the learning experience. If I didn't have a full appreciation for the drummers of the world before this play I certainly do now. Seriously, drummers, how do you do it: do two, even three, perhaps exponentially more things all at the same time!? Dang! It's so hard!

Other than the drumming, my roles in the play aren't really that big, but they are pretty fun. I get to be a cockney hospital porter who gets fired, a stuffy english doctor, and a Belgian policeman with a fun accent. As far as the percussion goes, along with the glockenspiel, I'll be banging on a decrepit drum, crashing on a cymbal attached to my arm, trilling on a few drum-topped tambourines, and playing a classy Casio mini keyboard (this will be off-stage seeing as it's got neon orange and look like it's from 1982). I've also got a fine collection of mallets and sticks to play around with. I keep all of my smaller percussive bits (which sounds much more risque than I would have imagined) in a lovely tool belt (which, if you ask me doesn't look the least bit 1880's Victorian London. It looks more like Home Depot 1995). It's good times.

Random Elephant Man Fact of the Week: David Bowie played the title role in the 1980 American Tour.

This is the best picture ever.

I can't believe we open in a week!

Posted by Ryan 10/13/05

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Packin' a Glock

This is a picture of my glockenspiel. As part of the Elephant Man, the play I’m currently in rehearsal for, the music director asked me if I would be willing to learn to play the glockenspiel. I said yes immediately.

A few days ago I was reading something a friend of mine wrote about having lots of odd talents. At the time I thought: “I don’t really know if I have too many odd talents…” Famous last words. Enter the glockenspiel (Sort of like “Enter the Dragon.” only with less fighting and more cheerful ringing). So for the past five days my apartment has been alive with the pleasant chiming of my new glockenspiel. My “spiel” for short. Honestly I just like saying the word glockenspiel…glockenspiel, glockenspiel, glockenspiel.

The learning has been slow going at times, but each new song is slowly being butchered and then even more slowly mastered. Due to the shows circus themes the music is mostly circus-esque in sound. Lot’s of waltz tempo things. I find that I’m tending to do things to a “ONE, two, three, TWO, two three” beat. I finished my cereal this morning in approximately 42 measures of waltz like munching.

The songs also have fun names: Elephant’s Fun (a real crowd pleaser), Queens of the Cosmos (a haunting, postmodern lullaby), Country Garden (a stirring romp through the Victorian countryside), Hallelujah (a true classic), and finally I Had a Girl and I Loved Her (a power ballad).

It’s pretty exciting. I’ll keep you updated as the ‘spieling unfolds.

Posted by Ryan 10/05/05