Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Opening Thoughts

Welcome to the company blog. It is my hope you will find it interesting, entertaining, and sometimes thought-provoking. I'm going to start off by talking about working to prepare Kingship de Facto, which will be playing the Tarragon Mainspace as part of the Summerworks Festival.



I've now seen 20 shows at the Toronto Fringe. I'm sure I'd be able to get more done if I didn't do so much fringing. But the Fringe feeds me in a way very little else does. In a short period of time I get to see so much work in different genres and performance styles, exploring many different ideas. Or I can bask in watching a story well-told. I get to see the stupid director tricks I want to avoid and see some fabulous things I want to steal.

And I adore the networking part of it. As a Gemini, I thrive in this kind of environment. Meeting new people, catching up with old friends, or making new ones - I love it all. Doing karaoke in front of my peers is a particular highlight. I don't act because I'm really not interested in becoming someone else and I have a hard time not paying attention to everything that is going on around me and trying to figure out how it fits into a larger picture. But I do love performing, and karaoke and dancing allow me to express that part of myself.

A friend of mine is touring Europe at the moment after having gone through a bad artistic experience. He's now trying to rediscover the artist within and figure out where he's going from here. It reminded me of how I blogged throughout my last trip to Australia and how blogging forced me to document more than I would have by journaling alone. So I'm going to try to be regular during the rehearsal process and see what comes out at the end. Paul Rainville wrote a beautifully poetic blog during The Oxford Roof Climbers' Rebellion. There's no way I'm going to reach that level. Being honest has always served me well, so let's see what I can do while preserving the integrity of the process.

It still doesn't feel real that I have a project in Summerworks. I've been involved before in other people's projects but it's always felt a little remote to me, especially after Franco Boni started moving it towards a juried festival (which was a great move to help it find its own identity). Maybe it's just being on the fringe for so long, not having a project to do here for almost 5 years. I'm not sure. But I never dreamed of being considered in the same company as the artists who participate. In my venue alone, there are projects by Jordan Pettle, Jeanie Calleja and Gord Rand, and Tom Rooney and Gina Wilkinson - and that's just what I'm aware of.

Frankly, I'm feeling a little intimated.

The desire is very strong to look on this as a showcase, a way to show that I belong in this community. Scott Walters pointed out to me recently that I can't do the show for anyone but myself. He's right, it's a recipe for disaster. I've also strongly felt that the fringe should be a place where one could safely fail, where one can experiment. Summerworks bills itself as a development festival. Where else would I be able to learn how to use multi-media?

I wish I could shake this feeling that a lot is riding on this show and just explore. Yet I keep coming back to this is one big umbrella's first show, or maybe now Richard Rose will finally let me assist him because he got to see my work, or if this is really good it will really help our next grant application and press for the next project, or Andy McKim will like what he sees and will let us do Bare on that wonderful, perfect-for-the-project stage at Passe Muraille.

So where is the balance? I don't know.

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