theatre thursdays

Theatre Review

  On Thursday, I had the great misfortune to attend one of the most horrifically irresponsible attempts at children’s entertainment I have ever seen in a long career of reviewing the arts.
  “Big Chunky Bubbles” (real name, Petey Amin), an American bubble artist— and please know I use the word “artist” solely as an occupational descriptor and not as a term of respect— spent a good 5-7 minutes of the beginning of his “performance” telling the children to be quiet and pay attention, using broken French and German. When they would not respond in a manner he deemed timely, Mr. Bubbles turned his back to his audience of 6-year-olds and pouted, “Now you get the Miles Davis treatment.” He then presumably made some bubbles from a hot tureen of New England Clam Chowder. I say presumably as I only caught the merest glimpse of steaming orbs rising just above Mr. Bubble’s head before they popped and sprayed him with scalding soup, causing him to swear in a fashion not unlike that of a cartoon dog.
  This foul language served as the high point of Mr. Bubbles’ “set.” Hearing the laughter of the children, the gentleman turned around to face his audience, grumbling, “Oh look who’s paying attention now.” He then told the children they should feel very grateful to be seeing what was to come next, a special treat just for the children of Montreal, even though they “don’t deserve any special treats after their rude and immature attitudes.”
  At this point Mr. Bubbles’ removed the cover from a saucepan, a great cloud of steam rising up from its contents and momentarily blinding him. More cartoon cursing briefly ensued. When he regained what passed for his composure, Mr. Bubbles announced he would now, for the first time, make bubbles from poutine gravy. When the children, rightfully, seemed underwhelmed, Mr. Bubbles lectured them on the laborious process of extracting the cheese curds from the gravy to achieve the purest bubble, and how he wasn’t even able to eat the french fries because of doctor’s orders, “so that’s THAT food wasted.”
  Mr. Bubbles then, to his credit, proceeded to create one impossibly perfect, and somewhat chunky, poutine bubble. It glistened, large and opaque in the sunlight streaming through the sitting room window, before bursting in Mr. Bubbles’ eyes, causing him to scream and kick over the large pot of steaming gravy. It rolled like an ocean of lava at the children, who ran screaming from the oncoming tide of scalding meat leavings. Two children were burned badly enough on the soles of their feet that a trip to the hospital was considered but thankfully deemed unnecessary. I gathered up my things and left, overhearing, on my way out, the beginnings of what I have no doubt ended up being a protracted argument about payment.
  It is this reviewer’s opinion that Mr. Bubbles leave the entertainment industry and find an occupation more suited to his talents and temperament, such as murder victim.

- Guy LaChance, Montreal Arts-Curd

Edward Gorey’s Dracula: A Toy Theatre

Written by Katharine Pigliacelli, graduate student employee

Edward Gorey is an author and illustrator who is well known for his unique and morbid style and his parodic children’s books. His most famous work is probably The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabetical rhyming tale about children dying in many different, creative ways.

In anticipation of Halloween we take a closer look at Gorey’s Dracula: A Toy Theatre, which is a toy set of paper dolls, the kind that can be punched out of a cardboard sheet, propped up, and used to act out scenes. 

This edition, published in 2002, includes set dressings and characters for three acts of the play, all illustrated in Gorey’s trademark style. There’s also a synopsis of the play, to guide your homemade performance.

mtv.com
The Glee Cast Still Reunite To Watch Each Other 'Murder The Stage'
By deepa lakshmin

It’s been less than two years since Gleeks said goodbye to Glee, yet the series’ talented cast is still slaying the stage. Darren Criss, who played Blaine Anderson in the Fox dramedy, is currently starring in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a musical about a rock ‘n’ roll band and gender identity. Some of his Glee friends came out for the show’s tour stop at Hollywood Pantages Theatre Thursday night (November 10).

“Sometimes the old gang gets back together to see one of its own murder the stage,” Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) Instagrammed. Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) and Becca Tobin (Kitty Wilde) also attended, making it a total mini-reunion.

mtv.com
The Glee Cast Still Reunite To Watch Each Other 'Murder The Stage'
Darren Criss stars in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch.'
By deepa lakshmin

It’s been less than two years since Gleeks said goodbye to Glee, yet the series’ talented cast is still slaying the stage. Darren Criss, who played Blaine Anderson in the Fox dramedy, is currently starring in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a musical about a rock ‘n’ roll band and gender identity. Some of his Glee friends came out for the show’s tour stop at Hollywood Pantages Theatre Thursday night (November 10).

“Sometimes the old gang gets back together to see one of its own murder the stage,” Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams) Instagrammed. Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Cohen-Chang) and Becca Tobin (Kitty Wilde) also attended, making it a total mini-reunion.

Ushkowitz also Insta’d the same pic with the hashtag #ourfriendsaretalented. This isn’t her first time seeing Criss portray Hedwig; she, Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester), and Alex Newell (Unique Adams) got goofy with him behind-the-scenes of the show last year.

Resumes

Lets talk resumes and letters of recommendation because that is what my life consists of at the moment. I am currently prepping my resume and getting recs to send all over the country trying for internships and jobs. So without further ado, the 5 Things Your resume really needs.

1. The top: Name, degree, email, phone, “what you do, ie. acting directing costume design etc. DO NOT put your address, firstly no one really sends mail anymore, and you never know whose a creep. This isn’t to say don’t give out your address if they have a specific reason for needing it, but don’t put it on your generic resume especially one attached to an e-folio. I don’t put my phone on my online resume either. 

2. Production history starting with the most relevant thing to whichever job you’re applying for. 

3. Education: Try not to over do this section, just a few bullets on important theatre related things and the teacher if they have connections.

4. Workshops: With the best known names at the top, or the most relevant.

5. Special Skills: whatever is marketable, or defines you as a performer/technician. For example my special skills section includes things from Shakespeare to puppet work all the way back to engraving and being able to pick up new skills quickly.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION 

The thing you really need to understand about rec letters is that no one is obligated to write you one. You should approach the person face to face if at all possible to as if you can send them a request for a letter and if they agree you should write a professional looking request that includes the types of things you would like them to comment on. If you can’t talk in person send them the professional request but do not assume that they will write you a letter. Professors generally do, but no one likes to be taken for granted.

Pau for Now,

Kelsey

Also, no matter what Joey from friends says don’t lie on your resume… embellish a bit and don’t sell yourself short, but don’t say you can do things you can’t. 

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Wireless Theatre on Twitter
“#tbt to our production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL for Audible with Jenna Coleman as Belle in her first ever audiodrama! #doctorwho #victoria”

Still disappointed they never released this on a proper CD so I could put it alongside The Secret Garden and Destiny of the Doctors: The Time Machine. (It’s proven to be too much a pain to obtain this through Audible so I never did get a copy.) Hopefully she enjoyed the experience enough to want to do more audio dramas for a certain company with the initials B and F.

Throwback Thursday: Wicked Edition

Do you remember that time when Idina Menzel had to miss her final performance in Wicked because she fell through the trap door the day before and fractured her ribs? Well, almost, she came on for the last moments of the play in a red Adidas track suit and the audience lost their minds for a good few minutes. 

I was in the house that day and this is a photo from after the curtain call during the speeches. Shoshana Bean went on for Elphaba and crushed it. 

Even though I was never a hardcore Wicked fan, this was a fun moment in musical theatre history that I will never forget. 

Exactly this time last year...

I saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 for the first time. I entered the theatre with my sister, dressed in complete cosplay as Hiccup the Third (I’d later completely remake the costume), for the first showing the theatre offered that Thursday evening. We sat down, and the other fans - a hoard of happy young adults - amicably greeted me for my awesome costume. 

In preparation I had watched all the HTTYD 2 interviews and preview clips, had rewatched the first movie in both English and Spanish multiple times, had read all the books in English, and started going through the novels in Spanish. Dragons had become my obsession, and i was both very excited and very apprehensive about watching the newly released sequel.

I knew HTTYD 2 had been given a great reception at a film festival before now, but I was incredibly worried that it would fail my expectations. I had labored on a cosplay which I would wear at my city’s comic convention the next day. I had waited for this moment for years. What if it didn’t meet my expectations? What would I do if I didn’t like it?

Lights dimmed. The theatre began playing the movie.

Dragon Racing began. And though I had seen that clip before, there was suddenly an enormous EXCITEMENT I felt in my chest. It was so amazing seeing it on the screen! The music screamed, the dragons raced before me in an enthralling rush, and I felt myself giddy at this new movie here before me. And for every scene, I found myself laughing heartily - even those I had watched before on my computer screen - and eagerly soaking in every moment.

I remember waiting, waiting, waiting nervously, to see whether or not the rumors of Stoick’s death were true.

That scene happened. And I started swearing in the theatre. Under my breath, true, but my sister and friend beside me could probably hear, “Oh fuck. Fuck. They’re actually going to do it.”

Boom.

Stoick died.

The pipe organ began playing.

My sister started sobbing to my left.

And I just felt this sort of hollow but burdened… shock. I had come into the theatre expecting Stoick to die. I had thought it would be an incident of friendly fire. Not this. Not this at all.

And I soaked in every moment of tearful Hiccup. It was more than I could believe they would do onscreen. This movie sang pain, delve into the depth of true emotions. I remember being so upset leaving Frozen (sorry Frozen fans) because they made Elsa’s emotional traumas so cheap and so cheaply solved. How to Train Your Dragon 2 was the exact opposite, and it hit at my heartstrings more than any other movie has before in my life, or since then. It spoke of pains I had gone through. Pains other friends had gone through. And it fully RECOGNIZED that these horrors would not just be erased, but that we had to stand, to slowly heal, and to move forward. Hiccup was not fully healed at the end of How to Train Your Dragon 2; his problems were not magically solved, but something with which he would have to grapple with in the months to come.

How long I had wanted a movie that could *BE* that genuine! One that took the pains of real life, expanded upon them, and presented them in their full rawness, their full human truth, the way we people actually have to experience the ongoing traumas of life.

There were some things that felt awkward the first time I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2. I saw the imperfections from the very beginning and those mingled in my emotions. But the fact that the story dared to have a young twenty year old animated man cry over the loss of his best friend and the death of his father… profoundly impacted me.

I couldn’t sleep that night.

Even though I was supposed to rise bright and early for a comic convention the next day, I just couldn’t sleep. My mind was on a perpetual cycle, thinking, WOW. They ACTUALLY KILLED STOICK… and like THAT.

When I came into the comic convention, I took a black eyeilner crayon and drew the chiefmark on my forehead.

And ever since then, I have never been the same. I adored How to Train Your Dragon before the second movie came out. But the second movie has drawn me in with a love and a hope and an adoration that I can only partially express.

Thank you, Dean DeBlois. Thank you, John Powell. Thank you, Simon Otto. Thank you, each and every animator, musician, writer, director, producer, editor, voice actor, sound editor, and supporter who worked on this film.

Thank you for giving me this movie a year ago. It still makes me cry. It still sings with my heart. It gives me both sorrows and joys, and builds in me courage and hope and strength and a desire to become a Hero - even if it is a Hero the Hard Way.

Happy birthday, How to Train Your Dragon 2.

“no one leaves home unless

home is the mouth of a shark

you only run for the border

when you see the whole city running as well


your neighbour is running faster than you

breath bloody in their throats

the boy you went to school with

who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory

is holding a gun bigger than his body

you only leave home

when home won’t let you stay.


no one leaves home unless home chases you

fire under feet

hot blood in your belly

it’s not something you ever thought of doing

until the blade burnt threats into

your neck

and even then you carried the anthem under

your breath

you only tearing up your passport in an air plains toilets

sobbing as each mouthful of paper

made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.


you have to understand

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is saver than the land”

           “Home” by Warsan Shire


Benedict Cumberbatch quoted these poem to the audience after he finished the play Hamlet in the Barbican Theatre in London on thursday 15th october.

(insp.)

Sundance review: Gymnastic sex isn't enough to salvage 'The Bronze'

PARK CITY, Utah — The conversation around women in cinema has subtly shifted in recent weeks, from the need for female heroes to the need for female anti-heroes. And boy, did we get one with The Bronze at the Eccles Theatre on Thursday night, the first big premiere of Sundance.

Played by The Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch with all the subtlety of a power tool left to buzz on a stone floor, Hope Gregory is a former Olympic gymnast who took the bronze medal in a long-ago Games with a Kerri Strug-like miracle on an injured ankle. But cast back into the obscurity of her life in Amherst, Ohio, she has devolved into a tyrranical, pill-snorting monster who steals from her mail-carrier father and has nothing but spite and derision for every person she encounters.

IIt’s no wonder that her supporting cast is all sycophants and doormats, the only breed of human who would spend more than a few minutes around this entitled, misanthropic, manipulative mess who is running out of ways to exist by simply being horrible.

When all hope (Hope, see what they did there?) seems lost, her estranged coach dies and promises a hefty inheritance — only if she can pull it together and coach the protégé she left behind (Haley Lu Richardson). Faced with swallowing her malignant pride or go broke, Hope is forced to make a move.

It’s just not the one you think, and that’s often the case with The Bronze, which defies expectations and is loaded with genuinely gut-busting lines, rowdy raunch and the best sex sequence of this or any era. It’s really as good as everyone will say it is. In fact, that sex scene may singlehandedly sell this movie, just as The Bronze may re-launch Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as both a comedic actor and an old-school male sex symbol.

There is a faint, plucky heart beating somewhere in The Bronze, and a few positively breathtaking cinematic moments — director Bryan Buckley (known thus far for Super Bowl commercials) builds sustained sequences that punch above this movie’s weight. But time after time, the moment you’re ready to be on board, Hope crushes them as flat as her “Midwestern” accent.

And uff da, those aaaaccents.

Buckley, whose surfer archetype comes by way of Sudbury, Massachusetts, and Rauch, who hails from Marlboro Township, New Jersey, somehow got the idea that people in the Lake Erie town of Amherst, roughly halfway between Toledo and Cleveland, talk like Saturday Night Live players doing their first sketch set in the Extremely Upper Midwest. They are absurd, cartoonish and beyond grating — to the point of causing actual ear discomfort — and the simpleton ways of their bearers borders on mean-spirited mocking of middle America.

The Bronze takes a lot of chances, and sticks several routines. There are entire sequences that border on brilliant, dialogue that is edgy even by Sundance standards, and with a character who, for better or worse, will be a hero — err, unapologetically severe antihero — to many. Rauch (pictured above, with co-writer and husband Winston Rauch) certainly answered the call for a female character with flaws.

Though … hotel-room sex is not one of them. That scene was a perfect 10.

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