Monday, November 24, 2014

Run away and join the theatre

Written on Friday, November 21st...

I'm leaning against a wall but I feel like I'm sitting on pins. All is dark but just ahead of me is light. Through the curtains, I see the backs of heads. My words are being voiced by others. Laughter. The scene ends and I scramble to place props. Don't forget, I remind myself. I work silently, in the shadows, like a rat, and flee quickly before the light catches me. All is set. I flip the flashlight's switch  -- signalling the lighting technician -- and the stage is once again lit. The actors, my team, my friends skillfully work through the play I've written. Last scene. Applause. Sweet applause. 

What is a prop mistress?
'the person in charge of all the props and who usually works with them during a show'

One of the essential characteristics of a good prop mistress or master is a good memory. But what if you have a poor memory? What if you're like me? Can you still be a prop mistress?
Well, I was. To help me perform my duties, I...

Used visualization. I drew a map in my brain of the steps I would need to take to place and clear the stage. (i.e. I need to do this and then I need to dot that, etc.)
Carried an index card with notes on what I needed to do, when. This kept me focused.

Written on Saturday, November 22nd...

MILT (Mayne Island Little Theatre) is my favourite theatre group and so I knew I was going to accept this opportunity to flex my writing muscles. But I didn't know how fortunate I would be. I worked with a talented cast -- friends, old and new.

A playwright writes a play. A director interprets this play for the actors. Actors breath life into the characters. Georgia, Deb, Mary and Mike did far more. They gave Aster, Kate and Kjartan an identity on stage. 

But wait there's more...

I wrote a five scene play. Working together, this team of friends, we added a sixth scene. Working together, we gave Aster a happily ever after ending.

On Friday night I was sad that this odyssey was ending. But tonight I feel like partying.

After every ending, comes a new beginning. 

Would you like to run away and join the theatre? Well you may not have to run too far. Why not consider volunteering to work with your theatre group. Amateur theatre needs our support. Your reward:  fond memories and new friendships. Of course, you could answer the casting call and take an on stage part but there are also many positions to fill off stage -- stage manager or prop manager or house manager or director or producer or... or... playwright. 

These last few months I've been living a dream as I make my debut as a playwright. I share more about this journey here.

All three nights were very enjoyable and at the end of every night the audience got to vote for the play they felt deserved to represent Mayne Island on a five island tour. Well, the votes are now in and The Audition won.

Brian Crumblehulme (the playwright and director) describes The Audition as 'a satire about life on an island. Not all aspects of course, but enough to include most of us from over-serious directors, volunteers, local politicians, tourists, kids, nerds, rural urbanites, old f--ts, and Oh, I forgot -- audiences too.

Congratulations to the playwright, director (Brain plus Michele Steele), cast (Shaye Steele, Haylee Stobart, Mark Smith) and crew (Stage Manager, Sarah Noyes).

Look for them on a stage (or near a stage) near you in February. 

PRISM international's creative non-fiction contest has been extended for another week. The new deadline is this Friday (November 28th). Learn more about this contest here.

Friday's Guest:  David Burrowes will share part two of his three part short story -- a look at island life, through the relationship of two men. If you missed part one don't worry just click this link.

Sharing my author journey...

My friend Amber and I at the play
"Not related but after a while you begin to resemble your friends"

To be honest, as I was in the thick of the play (and other excuses that don't come as easily to my mind), I haven't been doing much writing, of late. However, this Friday "my" writing group meets. (I have submitted two short stories.) They will no doubt give me the kick in the pants that I so badly need. Thankfully, their kicks are soft and very respectful of my muse -- more inspirational than painful.

To date, I have made 65 submissions and am currently waiting for 18 submissions to come back with a 'yeah' or 'nay'. Out there in the slush piles are...
2 novels
2 novellas
4 short story collections
7 short stories

And my writing group might not kick me in the pants, but that's okay. It's okay because Terribleminds did. Click this link at your own risk.


Anonymous said...

Yay, on your play. How exciting 1) to have it performed on stage and 2) to .Have it a WIN. Oh my golly. I'm doing a dance and we've never met.

I must back off blogging in the new year and get cracking on submissions. You list of work out there is awesome.

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for your comment, Tess. Although there seems to be a slight confusion. I did win the right to have my play performed in front of a Mayne Island audience. But the right to have his play included in those touring the islands was won by Brian Crumblehulme. I apologize for this confusion.

2014 was a year of intense focus for me. Hopefully I will be able to continue with the same focus in the new year. All the best to you, as well, Tess.

Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - I'm thrilled for your PLAYWRIGHT status. Exciting beyond words, my hat is oh-so off to YOU!

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie. It WAS a fun way to flex my writing muscles. I highly recommend trying out a new genre.

Anonymous said...

I can be a confused head of hair some days, no worries. My bad.

Thank you for the good wishes and I send the same back to you.

sammee44 said...

Fantastic, Leanne--Now you can really call yourself a playwright! I recently had the privilege of watching a rehearsal for a play to be performed in January. It was fascinating to see the actors, the production crew and the director in action.
And by the way, after seeing your list of submissions, I must get cracking on mine! Thanks for the needed kick in the pants . . . .

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for your comment, Judee.
The thing is, we can always do more. The important thing, I think, is to do something.