Andrew Snowdon

The Year of Magical Blogging

In Uncategorized on Friday 14 January 2011 at 12:00

So, I thought I’d get back into this personal blogging thing this year. Not as a New Year’s resolution, but just as… this is the time that I decided to do that.

Of course, it’s probably mostly going to be about theatre, from an artistic and business perspective, because that’s what I’m interested in these days. I don’t promise that I won’t go on an occasional rant about language, censorship, politics, urban planning, or whatever winds my mainspring on a given day.

Actually, I don’t promise anything at all. You get what you pay for.

Last weekend I took in a couple of events that I’d like to share with you. I’m sorry I didn’t get to them sooner, but I had a slew of amazing lunch dates and the like. Plus, there was that whole Boobs And Pie madness that needed stoking.

First, last Saturday evening I went out to Ottawa’s fabled Raw Sugar Café for the launch of a local anthology called these are not movies. I found out about it through the posters up around town (cleverly titled this is a book launch), and was reminded by the Apartment 613 article, and a CBC radio spot early in the morning.

This anthology is precisely what it claims to be: nine very different stories, all written and formatted as screenplays (that is to say, in 12-point Courier with the traditional screenplay indentation; the book itself is about four by five inches so it does look vastly different from a letter-size script). I haven’t made my way through them all yet, but at the book launch we were treated to readings by some of the authors (including editor Adam Thomlinson, Colin White, Jennifer Whiteford, Michael Reid, and Sean Zio; the other contributing authors were J.B. Staniforth, Raouf Lefy, and Megan Butcher). That’s not too different an experience from your average theatrical staged reading, but as these are not actors, but writers, and these are screenplays, but not intended to be produced, it has a more relaxed quality somewhere between a staged reading and a poetry reading. I say “not intended to be produced”, but it is nearly impossible not to get an image of how they would be produced as you read them, or as they are read. Secretly, I’d like to see Jennifer Whiteford’s All the Single Dragon Slayers done exactly as it’s written; that would probably be easy to pull off. You can pick up these are not movies at Collected Works, Promise Books, probably a few other places I don’t remember. Check out the 40 Watt Spotlight website. I have my copy, and I don’t regret the ten dollars spent. You can spare ten dollars, right?

On Sunday, Wayne Current and I took in Fairy-Tales by the Fire, put on by Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre. This was a bit of a departure for us; not only was it specifically children’s theatre but the dialogue was entirely in Russian. I know about ten words of Russian—they used all of them, and a whole lot more besides. Yet, between the brief synopsis and the clear staging and acting (with strong use of live music and movement), the stories were delightfully clear. These folks will be putting on an English production of The Little Prince in June. If they bring to it the same sheer energy and stagecraft, it will be unmissable.

I’m excited to be seeing The Year of Magical Thinking at the National Arts Centre this evening. What a happy name for a play! I gather, however, that as it’s “a meditation on grief”, it’s not going to be all sunshine and double rainbows. Preliminary reports (that I’ve been unable to avoid) suggest it’s excellently done.

I fully intend to get out to see Trying at the Ottawa Little Theatre this coming week, while I still can.

The undercurrents Festival and Strawberries in January will have me basically camping out at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre for the last week of the month. I am content with that.

February isn’t even on the horizon, and I already know I’m going to see The Importance of Being Earnest at the Gladstone, and Little Martyrs at Arts Court.

So where am I going to find all this blogging time?

  1. Andrew, good post, and speaking of New Year’s resolutions, I am going to try and read more (local arts) blogs and to comment more, starting here. You could have titled this post “Strawberry Jam” because the Ottawa arts scene is starting to remind me more and more of the too-many-kinds-of-jam-to-choose-from dilemma.

    Now that February IS on the horizon, I am looking forward to:

    -Sock n Buskin’s One-Act Comedy Festival
    -the Andrew King show (great paintings) at Wallspace Gallery (The vernissage is free, but please RSVP!)
    -“Iphigénie en Tauride” (French Play) at the University of Ottawa
    -the start of the Algonquin College Theatre Arts season (if they ever get around to updating their website, that is)

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