Photos from #France ; #Paris

“I’m in Paris. I’m in Paris.” I had to keep saying that to myself. I arrived in Gare de Lyon, the main train station, which is already beautiful, and walked out into the chaos of a Paris taxi rank surrounded by 19th century buildings, trying not to cry. My taxi ride was a very similar experience to when I first walked on the Embankment in London…all of the places I’ve been hearing about my whole life actually exist and are right in front of me. When I first saw the Seine, I shrieked. I saw Notre Dame and felt my mouth fall open.  My taxi driver pointed out Place la Concorde, and the Musee D’Orsay. I saw something pointing out above us, from behind another museum, and it took me moment to realise it was the Eiffel Tower. When we drove past the base, I choked a bit.

Because my residency in Vallauris only ended on 19 August, and I must be back in China for 1 September, I had to get home right away. I spent one night and morning in Paris before getting on a plane for Canada. I’m already thinking about when I can go back.

 

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Today, I’m out of love with #playwriting. It’s like a bad day in a long term #relationship.

I realised something this morning, on a sunny day in the south of France. It’s a bit of a whinge. But it’s also a bit scary for me, and makes me sad.

I just sent off an application for a playwriting venture. One should keep track of how many competitions, initiatives, etc, one enters…but I’ve given up. Yes, everyone gets rejected, and I admit, tracking the number of things I entered and got rejected for became too much.

My FB and Twitter feeds have recently been filled with invitations to the Fringe shows of friends, as well as previews and reviews. I posted that I was a bit sad I didn’t have a show this year. That’s true…but not quite accurate. I’m also relieved I’m not doing a stage production, and THAT feeling makes me sad. I used to live for the insanity of putting on a show. Even when things went wrong, the result was a show I was proud of. I got the festival’s Artist Badge. I got reviews — good ones — and I could say “Yep, that’s me.” Audiences have told me how much they liked what I did.

Last year, I got my first ever 5-star review for It Started with an Allergy. I leveraged that, I promoted that show every hour of every day, and my houses still never got very big. The spectators who came loved it — there just weren’t very many of them. There’s a prestigious award given to theatre productions every year in Edmonton, and I really, REALLY hoped I might get nominated for Allergy. I didn’t. It’s occurred to me since that I don’t remember if I, or my director, invited the jury to the show! How can I not remember that? But I was also writing, producing, acting, flyering, doing the show. And I just…don’t… recall. That’s bad.

I submitted this play to yet another contest, out of resignation. I couldn’t muster anything to say in my cover letter: “yes, my play’s really good, these other industry people have said so, here’s my amazing CV of other amazing plays which nonetheless didn’t take off, PLEASE GIVE THIS TO ME.”

I wonder if that’s why I’m doing pre-production on a short film. Because it feels like I’ve done everything I possibly can in theatre, and I’m tapped. I’m on the French Riviera, on a writer’s retreat (which I paid for, didn’t get paid for, again). And still, today, I’m discouraged.

I’m one of the Best!

So says the Alberta caucus of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, anyway.

The weekend of May 29 to 31, 2015, the annual PGC Conference will be held here in Edmonton.  And on the very first night, ten short plays by Edmonton writers will have public readings at the latest Script Salon.  A brand new snippet of mine, My Boyfriend’s Cat, will be one of them.

It’s only occurred to me now that this is a national event, and other theatre folk from all over Canada will be here and may be hearing my work.  So.  Cool.

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Today is a good day in Endometriosis Awareness Month

The last three weeks…not so much. I’ve cancelled going to shows, going to a board meeting (some secretary I’ve been), and had to force myself to go to work, because I need to pay rent.  Spending sleepless nights lying perfectly still, yet feeling my abdomen being wrung like a soaked towel. My gynecologist assured me that my endometriosis was under control.  Which made the pain I was having more unbearable.  I had known what was causing the pain, and now I didn’t anymore. What he said then was that many women who have endometriosis also develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The constant pushing and pulling by the endo lesions in the lower body wreak havoc on the lower intestine, which reacts with…irritation.  So, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. That was in November.  I called my gynecologist’s office in February to ask if my referral had gone through – it had.  So then I called the gastroenterologist – they’re behind, but I was promised they’d call me to schedule an appointment in a couple of weeks.  It’s now 23 March. I will rant elsewhere about Canada and Alberta’s public health care systems being gutted by our increasingly conservative governments. What I’m concerned about today is that, six years after being diagnosed with endo, thirteen years after realizing something was wrong with me, it’s not over. I haven’t tried cutting down on any specific foods yet, because – unlike what advertisers would have us believe – each person can have different triggers.  That’s if IBS is what I have; I don’t even know yet.  I thought last week, perhaps, raw spinach was a culprit.  But I had some this past weekend, and I was fine.  It’s not likely gluten, because I haven’t made any particular effort to cut out bread, pasta, or soup using gluten as thickener.  And some days I’m good. Others, NOT. This Saturday, 28 March, is the EndoMarch at the Alberta Legislature, when all we “Endo Warriors” band together and tell the world that there is an insidious illness in 1 out of 8 women on earth, which has zero outward symptoms, but causes infertility, consistent muscle spasms and aches, depression, and OTHER illnesses, like IBS.  And no one knows where it comes from, or how to stop it. Today, this second, I feel normal.  Tomorrow?  In twenty minutes?  In five?  … I don’t know.

Buy my plays and I go to FRINGE!

So today I entered my BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) form, for my solo show It Started with an Allergy, into the Edmonton Fringe.

SO: from here on, all the proceeds from the online sales of my plays will go directly to putting on Allergy.
HERE is Crushed, which has now been produced in Edmonton and Fredericton in Canada, as well as in Florida, and soon Kingston-upon-Thames, UK. It has sold 40 copies to date (I’m told that’s unheard of for a less-known play in the great sea of the internet!) My goal is at least 50. Reviews here.

And HERE is Take a Bite, veteran of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, nominated for Best New Play of 2012 by the Calgary Critics Association. Chew on the reviews here.

I’ve also got a fancy-pants DONATE button on my new FRINGE 2015 page, just because.

Yes, despite the winter, August is COMING…

What goes into a show? OR, how much is a free wedding dress worth?

Regarding set, props, and costumes for The Ugly Princess.  Over the last few weeks, I have been picking up, transporting, or even storing in my car, the following:

  • a green velvet Renaissance dress
  • 6 wooden boxes, custom built by Doug Verdin for A Hate Story in 2012
  • “gold” tableware – goblets, cutlery and dishes
  • one rubber chicken
  • fake feathers (black and white)
  • 2 collapsible tables, different types
  • one blue satin dress
  • one fluttery white blouse
  • one production manager/designer/builder/life-saver
  • a wedding dress

Here’s how the last one came about.

With this play, I threw caution to the wind.  It’s a relatively big cast (5 actors), it’s meant to take place in a dilapidated, but still-royal residence, the characters are wearing fairy-tale-like costumes, and ONE character is a vain, selfish clothes-horse — she has TWO costume changes in a one-act show.  The green dress is mine.  Our actress Mandy loves costumes and has no issue acquiring new items, so she found the blue dress and blouse at Value Village.  But — SPOILER ALERT — the script (and I wrote it, so yes, it’s my own doing) calls for the character to appear in a wedding dress at one point.  Even with scouring thrift shops and the web, anything I could find which was remotely appropriate was running into the hundreds of dollars.  Oh, I’m also producing the show. That is:  I’m the money.  Ha ha.

Then lightning struck: I found a wedding gown on Kijiji, being given away – FREE.  It was the right size, and it wasn’t hideous!  I told my co-workers, who speculated about why someone would just give away a wedding dress.  Hey, I’m a writer, but in this case I don’t care WHAT the story is.

As always though, there was an ever-so-slight catch. As with most things Kijiji, I would have to pick up the dress myself. I had also arranged to fetch the boxes from director Maria that night.  Here, in text messages with my production manager Adam, is how the evening went:

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Here, I drove to the south end of town, which took about 30 minutes.

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HE DID NOT CALL 911.  He told me later he called the complaints line!

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Moral: every girl should have a stage manager who will flip out if she goes AWOL. But beware, he WILL flip out!

 

 

 

 

The Ugly Princess at StageStruck!

The Ugly Princess will open the 2015 StageStruck! one-act festival at:

7 pm

27 February 2015

La Cite Francophone, 8627 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury Northwest, Edmonton.

Tickets are on sale NOW!