Podcast #16 Post Avenue Q debrief on the 401

After a MUCH too long hiatus, we are back with a reflective podcast on the production of Avenue Q that Matt and Ceris saw in Toronto. Don’t worry, Matt was on the recording controls so Ceris could focus on the drive.

Listen in, and comment on our plans for the future as the team hopes to not be away from the airwaves quite so long!


The Joy of Accomplishment – yours AND others.

So, the final show in my long list of shows has opened. Avenue Q had it’s first preview on Thursday and Opening on Friday.  It was great. Really, truly great. The performers have worked so hard and paid so much attention to the details of puppet manipulation. They developed such strong characters and worked diligently to find ways to let the puppet be the star. It isn’t an easy thing for a performer to do – have you ever thought of that? A piece of felt on your hand needs to get all the attention and applause and adoration that you would normally get. The thing is, once they got the hang of giving the puppet the focus, the overal performances improved exponentially. There has to be a lesson in there, somewhere. Something about relinquishing control, or giving over to a higher power, or letting the show be more important than you are… I’m sure there are several lessons in there. I’m just glad they learned them.

I’m not too proud to admit that at certain points in the show, I well up. Not because the story is so moving, but because the puppetry is so moving. These performers picked up felt and fur only a few weeks ago and we spent time working on manipulation, eye focus, lip sync, character, breath, gravity and all of that sort of stuff that makes a piece of fur on your hand suddenly seem to come alive. Also, we had the great privilege of having a guest come to one of their final rehearsals to offer some pearls of wisdom – did you ever watch Fraggle Rock? Zoboomafoo? Well then, you know that the guest we had was someone of influence with these young actors. They took his words to heart. As I always do – and I hope he gets the chance to see what they’ve accomplished. It’s pretty miraculous.

If you get a chance…. go see it. Be prepared to well up… if you know how hard it is to learn to puppeteer. Or not, just well up cause it’s good. And worth it. Go.

The end of one… the overlap of the other!

This winter/spring has been intense. Intense with work and commitments all over the place. It’s funny how that can happen – the fall was empty and almost dull and the next season was incredibly packed. So packed in fact that was never any moment when only one project was on my plate.

January began with Sullivan & Gilbert, auditions, first rehearsals and all of those trials and tribulations. If you’ve been following this blog, then you will have read some of those stories. At the same time was Little Mermaid with OKTC, auditions, rehearsals and the show – all between January and March Break – INTENSE. And, if that were not enough, at the same time was Under Milk Wood. My commitment there was a little less intense, but it was another commitment that resolved at the beginning of March – my report to the board and the finishing up of all the finances took a little longer, but that was due to other commitments and my prioritization of them.

So in March, you’d think that life became easier, but no….. Auditions for Avenue Q, rehearsals, and such for that have been ongoing and I’ve been attending as often as possible, which is less than I’d like. With the end of Little Mermaid came the preparations for our Fringe Production: [They Fight!]. That just ended last weekend and we’ve already got a revival planned for July 3rd. Very busy and very challenging, but also very, very fun! If you missed it during the Fringe, I invite you to join us.


All this while teaching and trying to maintain any of my own personal projects that I’d like to continue. For example, I’ve not drawn a thing, in months. I’m looking forward to getting out the sketch book again this summer and seeing what I can create, even if it is just for me. Maybe I’ll share a few with you folks.

Balance is off somewhere in this plan. It wasn’t really my plan, but I did go along with it. It’s been a great ride, let me tell you, but I’m definitely looking forward to the opening of Avenue Q and the summer where I can be a spectator, if only for a few months.

Poster Avenue Q

Why new projects can help you get through the dark days…

Have you ever felt blue, you know, a little anxious for no particular reason? A little sad, a little self-conscious or perhaps even really sad during those long dark times that take us from the beautiful colourful days of fall into the bright sparkling days of rebirth in spring? How do you combat that? What keeps you going?

Let’s face it, it can be difficult to get up in what seems like the dead of night to face whatever challenges your day may bring, but we’ve got to do it, right? We’ve got bills to pay and houses to clean and all manner of other commitments that make us get out of that comfy cozy spot where we’d much rather stay until April. So what keeps you going?

For me, it’s the promise of creative projects. This fall, I have less on my plate than normal, but that’s quite alright as the new year will bring several exciting shows my way and stocking up energy now is vital for all that I’ll need to keep organized.

Of course the podcast and blog will continue, but then there’s also a production of Sullivan & Gilbert with LCP at The Palace Theatre, a staged reading of Under Milk Wood again with LCP, two Original Kids Productions – one which will see me working with one of my favourite things (PUPPETS!) – that’s of course Avenue Q, the alumni show in June of next year and finally just today we received word that our submission to the London Fringe – [THEY FIGHT!] was accepted for this year! It’s going to be a busy six months for sure.

So, while I may be feeling a little non-specific sadness in these months as the days get darker, I know there’s some real creative buzz coming in the new year and that will certainly speed the time towards the longer sunnier days. And that’s my advice, find something exciting that will keep you going and make you want to get up, regardless of the light. Then, share it with others. They may benefit from your creativity as well.