Day 30 of 30 (June 30, 2010)
Oh the insanity of the Fringe. I am trying to play catch up here. Because once you get to this point in producing a theatre production there is so much to do that a blog is very low on the priority list. But people are reading! Yay! Today is our opening. So I will only write up to when we opened and then start my actual Fringe blog. But the day was packed full of action so it warrants two blog entries.
Our show wasn’t until the evening. I let myself sleep in. I wanted to be well-rested. Have I mentioned that I wear about six or seven different hats in this production? With each one of those hats comes a lot of stress. I am not alone of course. The Fringe is full of actor/producer/composer/playwright/publicists/sound designers. So it was crucial that I focus myself today.
I went and bought everyone cigars as opening night gifts. In David’s case this was a bad idea. I keep forgetting that he has just quit smoking. But I suppose this is something that Freud would do. I also made CD/thank you notes with the music I wrote for the show. Some of which had to become our house music because we are so tight for time in our 60 minute slot.
After I made the press kits I put on a homemade version of my Sigmund Freud costume and drove down to the venue. I put up a poster and then walked down to the new Fringe tent in character with a cigar and this weird white paint I bought at Malabar costume shop which I put in my hair to make me look older. By the time I hit Bloor Street I was fully in character and reacting to everyone as Sigmund Freud. The new Fringe tent is behind Honest Eds. There was certainly an interesting mixture of people there including David Mirvish and Mayor David Miller.
Suddenly I realized the mayor was looking at me so I said “Hello Sir. “He said hello. So I said “I am Doctor Sigmund Freud!” He laughed. I said “Do you need some therapy?”
“Yes especially after Sunday.”
I said “We all need therapy after Sunday. I had a nightmare and then I realized I was watching my television.” He laughed. And then when he got on the stage he acknowledged me and our little chat. Maybe I should walk around as Sigmund Freud all the time!
Then Bruce showed up with The Getaway van. The A Freudian Slip of the Jung poster is on the side of it. I was still in character and I think I freaked out a few people. It was getting close to our meet up time before opening. Bruce and I got into the van and Bruce wanted to get gas. But the first Esso we went to didn’t have any gas. It was getting close to our meeting time and we were concerned that there was a shortage of gas in the city today. Since Bruce’s show runs on gas he absolutely needed to get some. Luckily the Esso further east along Dupont was open.
We did arrive just in time. We started running through our lines in the parking lot of the theatre. I was a bit concerned because there was a comp list that I was supposed to give to the front of house people exactly at 6:00 PM, one hour before show time. But it was also crucial that we run the lines one time before the show. So that got all screwed up, but this is what happens when you are producing and acting at the same time. We’ll have that aspect of the show ironed out by the second performance. Today I was focused on entertaining my audience.
Our dressing room has windows looking out to where everyone buys tickets. I shut them quickly. Suga Jam the producer has to disappear for a while and Freud has to take over. But I was surprised when I saw a front of house person counting the seats. I thought I could hear a buzz outside, like maybe there were a lot of people coming through the doors of the building. Kara gave us our 30 minute call. At this point I am scrambling around for cigars and note pads and icing sugar.
Fifteen minutes before showtime I start centering myself. Breathing deeply. Trying to remember that 100 years from now none of this will matter. Connecting with the other brilliant actors in the show. We stepped behind the curtain listening to the buzz of the surprisingly large audience. And then the house lights went down…
DAY 29 of 30 (June 29, 2010)
We had our tech rehearsal today so it was another early morning for me. I’m not a morning person unless I have to be. One of my neighbors in my old neighborhood was nice enough to move THE COUCH to our venue. He is a decorated ex-police detective. Interesting, after all my rants about what happened this weekend with the G20 that it is a police officer who arrives to solve my artistic problem. Sometimes I make blanket statements about the police. But the truth is that many of them are decent regular people who are trying to make a living. I guess my point is it hurts both sides when generalizations are made. But I hope the politicians are going to pay for what happened in the next election.
THE COUCH slid easily through the door. I cannot tell you how long I was worried about whether or not it would fit. There was no problem. Royal St. George is a decent venue but it is box shaped, so we are going to have to really project our lines. After everything was set up we were able to manage to almost get through our show doing an italian.
After ward we all scattered in different directions. Although David and I did chat on the phone to run through our lines one more time. I kept trying to produce and promote the show and I had all of these other plans but then exhaustion hit me at about 9:00 PM. My throat even felt a but scratchy. So I abandoned all of the rest of my plans for the day. A good decision I think. I need some real sleep before our opening night.
DAY 28 of 30 (June 28, 2010)
We had our dress rehearsal today starting in the morning. We all had croissants, fruit, quiche and coffee and then we started to work; fixing up the couch, putting the frames up and running our lines. I am battling the sweat. I have cut my hair, I have alcohol spray for my head. That seems to have helped.
My wife came and watched. She was the first person who read the play and she work-shopped all of the lines for me. My mother also watched. She had more notes than my wife. Also Bray and Samantha (our set and costume designers) were there. I think we were a bit nervous to do the show for people because we sped up. Good thing. Finally our running time is down to 52 minutes, which is what we have been aiming for.
We had some very brief notes afterward. Bruce had just driven his van over for his show The Getaway. I looked at it and realized that the banner I wanted to put on it may as well just be taped posters on the windows instead of this expensive complicated banner I’ve been trying to make. Unfortunately the front right hand door of the van was not opening from the inside. This is not the kind of thing you want to find out just before a show.
My cast and crew have decided I am not allowed to be in charge of the masking tape because I am too scatter-brained. It’s true. Especially right now. Sometimes I suddenly remember the reality of what we are about to do and it is like the feeling you get as you get to the top of the Behemoth roller-coaster.
I drove to Home Depot and bought some paste to put up posters. I also went to Kinkos and had some posters laminated. This took a really long time because you have to wait for the machine to heat up. Then I went to a few places and put up some posters. But it was soon midnight and like Cinderella it was time to go home. I’m not sure that Cinderella reference fits exactly. But whatever I’m tired people!
DAY 27 of 30 (June 27, 2010)
I must say this G20 business was certainly an unwelcome distraction this weekend. But I could not stop watching this ugly mess unfold from my television. Rubber bullets being shot at protesters outside of the film studio/prison was a low point in Toronto’s history as far as I’m concerned. The question is not whether or not there was too much or too little security. The question is why did it have to be here in the first place? Idiots! I’m still a fan of Obama though. I wish we could have welcomed him here in a way that didn’t involve an alienating wall.
So Sunday night I was determined to get something accomplished. I could hear the helicopters fly over and I knew the G20 was on its way out of the city. Thank God. All there is left to do at this point is to get my promotional materials out there. But as I jumped into my car I realized that there was a terrible electrical storm going across the city. This will cool everyone off hopefully. It was a pretty scary storm. I drove through the monsoon to the Comedy Bar. I said hello to some friends and then went across the city to the Bad Dog Theatre Company where I used to be the Music Director for a few years. Other Fringers have gotten to all of these spots before me with their postcards. We’ve all got competition folks. Many of my friends are doing shows.
I went to Home Depot to get some wall paper paste for posters, but it was closed. I received some Word of Mouth tickets from the sketch troupe Asiansploitation. Tomorrow is our dress rehearsal.
DAY 26 of 30 (June 26, 2010)
I have to talk about the G20 today. How does the G20 affect my show? Well for one thing I am sure as hell glad that my tech rehearsal wasn’t today with the whole city in violent chaos and the subways and buses shut down. Yikes! What is even scarier is how people are reacting to it I’m afraid. I spent the whole day glued to the TV. I could not stop watching it. Ten years ago I would have been down there. But I don’t have to go down into a violent mess to find out first hand what I already know: that the police do not care about our rights and freedoms.
The public started to take the side of the police when a group of “thugs” (according to the PMO) ran down Queen St. and smashed the windows of Starbucks and Scotiabank and then set fire to a police car. Everyone immediately started jumping to emotional conclusions, including myself, about what was going on. I personally do not like Scotiabank, as they were very underhanded in how they dealt with a family member of mine once. The way I dealt with it was I removed all of my money from their bank and never used them again. Even my parents did the same. That was how I chose to deal with that.
But when I saw these people who are allegedly protesters I didn’t really feel upset that they were smashing Scotiabank. Although I would not act on my anger that way I still wasn’t feeling very sympathetic. I understood where the anger was coming from. I was very surprised to see how swiftly the news and my own friends facebook and twitter statuses switched to the side of the police. After that the police were seemingly allowed to act like bullies. This is very upsetting to me especially when someone innocent could get caught up in that. The police are now firing rubber bullets at civilians in front of the makeshift movie studio/prison.
We must remember that none of us knew who these black bloc protesters were. They may have been protesters using a “black bloc” technique. Or they may have been a group hired to do this so that everything the police did afterward was justified. They keep referring to it as a chess game after all. It is not like these techniques haven’t been used successfully before in the Vietnam War and World War 2. And yet everyone – including artists – have become authority obsessed and want these “scum” as someone put it (referring to all of the protesters apparently) out of the city. What do we actually know? All we know is that they caused a lot of damage in a short period of time and a billion dollars worth of security did not try to stop them.
I don’t mean to be a Star Wars nerd, but my gut is telling me not to have my sympathies with the army that looks like the stormtroopers led by Darth Harper.
Also, I ran through my lines and tried to do something with a picture from the show. Fail.
DAY 25 of 30 (June 25, 2010)
I’d like to change the subject briefly from the Fringe and focus on the G20. I did not do any producing today as I needed a complete day off. I worked my ass off earlier this year so I wouldn’t be scrambling at this point. Time to take advantage.
I went to my barbershop which is north of St. Clair to get a much needed hair cut. The place was packed like I have never seen it. Later they told me business was booming because the G20 has pushed everyone northward. I spent most of my day tweeting jokes about the G20. But I do not want to go down and get involved in it because I know I have a big mouth when confronted by authority figures. But my heart is with the protesters.
The barber mentioned the G20 to me. I said, “Oh yeah isn’t that ridiculous? I heard that 40 police officers surrounded 10 protesters at the University of Toronto. Talk about an overreaction. Four cops per protester? That’s crazy.” They all just looked at me. Then a man sat in the chair sat next to me. He seemed fidgety. Then his barber asked me “Have you heard about the new secret police security law? I wish it said shoot to kill!”
Then fidgety guy chimed in, “Yes! These people just want their right to be assholes? The police have to be able to do what they have to do.” I was really surprised and astonished by these callous sentiments. Then he started singing to himself in the mirror “I am so beautiful to me.” I was beginning to worry about this guy’s sanity. And then he started singing Rock the Casbah.
This was personally offensive to me. My father works downtown. This law we are discussing is a law that makes it illegal to stand five metres from this fucking fence that they have put up in this city using a billion dollars of our tax money. All day I had been reading tweets from friends working in the downtown core trying to MAKE A LIVING AT THEIR BUSINESSES! And they are at risk of breaking the law if they accidentally walk by this fence and do not have their ID. Hey what if you are homeless and you don’t have any ID and you don’t even know what is going on with the G20? Is this Harper’s way of just rounding up the riff-raff? I’ll tell you what it is. This is Harper punishing Toronto for protesting his proroguing of Parliament. He is also punishing us for not voting for him and preventing him from having the majority he wants. Well now we know what Toronto looks like when he has a “minority”. So I say NO THANKS to the majority! He has united the right and left in this city against him. Good luck in the next election. I would rather have the Rhinoceros Party running this country than this moron.
What is most offensive to me is that our film studios are being used as temporary jails to intern the protesters. They do not understand that Torontonians do not react well to this. When you send out a force that looks like the Stormtroopers and you put a wall around the city you really start freaking people out. But from my perspective as an artist I do not respond well to walls… believe me. So I know how it feels to be met with force in a place you thought was like a “second” home (if you get the hint?). Right around that area too. I hope that the buildings that have used excessive force and security against artists now realize what it is like to have security and police rammed down your throat and a wall put up through your friends and family.
I also ran through my lines.
DAY 24 of 30 (June 24, 2010)
Some good news today was that Derrick Chua mentioned us in his Fringe Preview list as a good bet for comedy. That was quite an honour. Today was our last day of rehearsal for this week. Usually we rehearse at night but today was a day rehearsal. Things are beginning to gel quite nicely as long as we can stay focused.
When we finished our run through at 5:00 I was wiped out and had a headache. I fell asleep. I then went out for dinner with my parents and my wife but I was really too tired to be good company. Everyone said I should go home and rest and not work on the show for 24 hours. Today is a special day for me for another reason as well. But perhaps some things are better left being private.
DAY 23 of 30 (June 23, 2010)
Today was earthquake day. I was at a stop light in my car listening to Public Enemy. It was so hot and humid outside that at first I thought it was the bass of the music. It felt like the tires were melting as the car moved to and fro. It wasn’t until several hours later that I discovered it had been a huge earthquake which was felt much harder in Ottawa.
I now realize that everyone is just as tired as me. I spend a lot of time talking about stress at this point, but I can see it in everyone’s faces so at least I am not alone. Today I was at it all day producing this show. I drove down to the Fringe office and picked up our word of mouth tickets. These are 40 free tickets we have for one of our performances. It felt weird to see Suga Jam Entertainment on the ticket. Suga Jam, the pseudonym I chose to write under while I was in my exile. And now here it is on a ticket for my first play.
I wanted to call the moving company but had forgotten the number. So I looked it up on Google. Boy am I ever glad I did that. The company was charged with all sorts of really terrible fraud recently. I immediately started conferring with people about what to do. I canceled the company immediately. Was it a moment of synchronicity that I forgot the number? I also fired myself from the position of figuring out how to move set pieces. The truth is that there are no companies that do what we need them to do, which is to just move a couch and that’s it. They are all moving companies who charge at least $400.00. Sounds like everyone is getting scammed in this area.
Bruce and I met with the set designer in Parkdale to pick up our frames. They look great, like real picture frames. These are things I would never be able to do. I wear a lot of hats but I definitely do not know how to do that. Luckily the frames also fit into my car. I drove them to our super secret rehearsal space. I was a lot more awake for this rehearsal since I actually did manage to sleep last night. We managed to get through the show twice tonight and the vibe seemed a little more relaxed. I’m enjoying finding more character details with my manic version of Freud. I tried to relax when I got home. My wife and I bought tickets for Bruce and Denise’s other show The Getaway. Can’t wait!
DAY 22 of 30 (June 22, 2010)
I had four hours of sleep last night. This is a big concern to me because once I had a two week bout of insomnia two years ago which was devastating to my life. So today I laid in bed all day doing work through my iPhone. But I still couldn’t sleep even when I sent all my e-mails.
We started rehearsal a bit earlier today. Bruce worked with David on the opening monologue first while Denise, Moira and I chatted on the front step. It was a very humid day though and my sweat glands started to open. Then we did a run through and I could just feel the sweat starting to pour down my face. And then I fumbled my FIRST line. From that point on I was a sweat monster and on the edge. I decided, oh fuck it I’ve fucked it up I may as well do what I want. And then I found things in this character I had never found before so it actually ended up being a good thing. Bruce loved it.
But during the second run through I decided I still wanted to be able to hit all my cues right and so I did. When rehearsal was done I almost fell asleep after everyone left. Bruce had to go to CIUT 89.5 to do an interview about both The Getaway and A Freudian Slip of the Jung. I went to Burger Shack and hit the sack early. I have long day ahead tomorrow.
DAY 21 of 30 (June 21, 2010)
I realized today that no matter how early you plan a show, as you start heading towards opening night you will find that somehow you did not do enough and you are scrambling around dealing with a multitude of issues, some of which seem to rapidly expand into potential crisis.
Not surprisingly I have not been sleeping. The level of stress about this show has finally hit critical and now I am having a bout of insomnia. I was able to manage four hours of sleep and as I write this I have been trying to nap before the rehearsal to no avail.
Bruce (our director) was running late due to having to go through the G20 perimeter for work. The rest of us started off our rehearsal tonight doing a quick italian of the lines. The lines are improving though still not perfect. We discussed my blog for the first time. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that someone from the show might actually read this.
When Bruce and the our costume designer Samantha arrived we spent some time discussing costume issues. I love my costume so far. As long as people look at me and think “Freud” that is all I care about. Oh yeah, and the costume being inexpensive too. Also important.
Then we did a run through. I was pretty happy with it. I keep getting the note that I need to connect more emotionally with what I am saying. I suspect this is because I am thinking about so many other issues and then when I am acting I might be trying to make sure I am doing everything I am supposed to do in a more clinical way. At some point the character has to beam through all of that. We had a lot of notes and it was so late when we were done that we were not able to do another runthrough.
After the rehearsal some of us stayed till 11:15 drinking beer on the front step to the point where the neighbors were annoyed. We started to get into a debate about equity. Then I removed all of the beer from the premises. Then I went home and couldn’t sleep.
DAY 20 of 30 (June 20, 2010)
Today was Sunday, but for a Fringe producer less than two weeks from opening it was a semi-exciting day of sitting at my computer and sending e-mails back and forth with people. I spent a lot of time editing what I hope will be the final sound CD (it wasn’t). After a morning of watching Coronation St. and blueberry pancakes I was off to meet with the set designer.
It suddenly occurred to me that I was now going to have to figure out how to get these new set pieces to the rehearsal space. Oh no I am in the land of vans and moving things again! A new problem, brain must figure out problem. This is starting to remind me of Plan LIVE From Outer Space when I had to rent a huge van and drive it across the city and pick up gigantic set pieces. But this is the job of producing. It really is the most stressful part of the whole thing. I wish I could just focus on the acting. But even when you think you’ve got it all figured out something else catches fire and you have to choose to throw water at it or gasoline. Don’t worry. I choose water! Yes!
DAY 19 of 30 (June 19, 2010)
The set designer e-mailed me today and said she needed some money to build the other part of the set. I was at Yorkdale mall trying to prepare for Father’s Day because my Dad wanted to celebrate it tonight instead of tomorrow since he has to work on Sunday. So I drove across town with the money but unfortunately the set designer was already gone by the time I got there.
I went to La Paradis with my wife and parents for Father’s Day. Most of the conversation revolved around the play. My whole life revolves around this play now. I am finding a growing nervousness in the pit of my stomach as I try to co-ordinate all the moving pieces while trying to focus on the character and acting as well. I have to keep a positive attitude and stay calm.
I decided I did love my head shots and I think I narrowed them down to four. Here is one that got a lot of comments on Facebook:
DAY 18 of 30 (June 18, 2010)
I went to get the proofs of my new actor head shots. Secretly I was terrified to see them because sometimes I hate seeing myself. A lot of people are like that. The photographer was about to take some pictures of a younger male actor who was on his way to Los Angeles. He wanted to know what I thought of Los Angeles. My response is that it is a great place to go if you go to the right places. But a lot of it looks like Scarborough. I will be travelling there soon myself.
As it turned out I was really pleased with the shots. I pulled off some looks better than others.
I also continued with my arrangements to have two banners done to put across the van Bruce will be driving in The Getaway. I made an event invitation on Facebook that was somewhat confusing. I haven’t done this in a while. It only sent 50 invitations. Then I had to click each person individually after that. My challenge will be to completely take off my producer hat when I hit the stage and just enjoy acting. That is why I am doing all of this.
DAY 17 of 30 (June 17, 2010)
Well today I was trying to recover from three days of long rehearsals. So I pretty much stayed at home and slept. But I did go out long enough to pick up The Guardian on my front door and I was thrilled to see that there was a preview article written about the show. I do not know how much more press we will get, but I think this is pretty good. Anything is great really.
Bruce also has a great idea to put a banner for our show on his van for his show The Getaway (he’s doing two Fringe shows) which takes place entirely in a moving van. Denise Mader is also in The Getaway (she plays Minna in A Freudian Slip of the Jung). I think this is the best advertising we could possibly have. So I called my friend and former student Meagan (from Crump Industries) to see if we could figure out how to make this banner.
DAY 16 of 30 (June 16, 2010)
Wow! I can’t believe we are halfway through this. I spent an hour at my therapists office (yeah that’s right the guy who wrote A Freudian Slip of the Jung has a therapist! Surprise surprise!). And then I made another disc of sound and music cues for our stage manager. Today we had the longest rehearsal we have ever had. It went from 5:45 PM till about 11:00 PM. We managed to run through the show twice. Our stage manager ended up not showing up (due to illness) which was good for one night I think because it forced us to get through the show twice without someone there to give us our lines. Even I forget my lines and I wrote the damn thing.
I thought the first run through was good but afterward everyone said that the pace was dragging. So Bruce said he wanted us to do the show “semi-italian”. For non theatre folk that means that we do the show really fast. I’m not sure why they call that an “italian” but they do. When we ran through it the second time I really felt like it was out of control and that I was being too ridiculous and I was sweating and wondering what the hell to do next. Bruce thought it was great. And it clocked in at 55 minutes which is what we need. He loves the manic vaudevillian pace.
I haven’t mentioned this before but we are eating very well at these rehearsals. It is not my doing but we have specially catered food at our rehearsals. And Bruce brought ice cream cake from dairy queen. One thing I have noticed about Bruce is that he really loves ice cream cake. When he talks about it his eyes light up. He even did a dance tonight when we discussed the ice cream cake. Long live ICE CREAM CAKE!
DAY 15 of 30 (June 15, 2010)
After our rehearsal today I was surprised to get a message from our photographer that I was in the Globe and Mail. I had just sent them something about our show yesterday so I was thrilled. As it turned out it had nothing to do with our show whatsoever. It was about a tweet I had written: “G20 organizers are worried about bike couriers. Why don’t they just get Michael Bryant to drive around the perimeter? #g20 #michaelbryant”
This tweet was published by The Globe and Mail in reference to how our local community (Toronto) is reacting to the G20. There were some funny responses to it like this one: “And perhaps the old G&M could refrain from this kind of tasteless allusion to a terrible accident.” Hilarious. I am sure this guy is part of the elite that protects Michael Bryant. Ever heard of SATIRE dipshit?
The irony to me is that I have been trying to get publicity for two months for A Freudian Slip of the Jung and this is what gets me into a national paper?
I digress. In our rehearsal tonight we were only able to run through the show once. Bruce had a lot of notes for us. We are enjoying being able to use the actual couch we will be using on stage. It changes the physicality a little bit of everything we have been doing. We keep getting the note that we have to pick up the pace.
DAY 14 of 30 (June 14, 2010)
I did one more press blast today on e-mail. One of the disadvantages to doing business on e-mail is that you never know if someone is getting what you are sending. I often send out e-mails to people and I do not receive any response. Over time I have learned that I also do this to people. The problem is that in the real world if you say something to someone they nod or say “yes I heard you”. But on e-mail you have no idea if it even got into their mailbox.
I did find out my message got into one guy’s inbox and he was NOT happy about it. I was told in a very angry note that the guy I was writing to does not work there anymore and hasn’t worked there for six months and besides we only COVER NATIONAL STORIES! Caps lock and all. Not exaggerating. I won’t mention which internet site this was, but lets just say I won’t be “CANOE-ing” on the internet anytime soon. I didn’t realize my show wasn’t a national event. Isn’t it debuting in Canada with an all Canadian cast and a Canadian writer and and a Canadian producer with Canadian money in a CANADIAN FESTIVAL!???? See I can use the caps lock too.
Luckily we had a real world rehearsal today so we could all actually talk to each other and know what has to be done. After working on a long scene between Freud and Jung the director wanted to do a run through without stopping. I sweat through the entire rough performance. Especially when I (the author of the fucking play) couldn’t remember his lines. Duh. This threw me off, but this is the excitement of doing this. We have to know how to fumble and pick it up without stopping. I have to deal with more props than I am used to so this requires extra brain attention which isn’t being used when I’m running lines by myself.
We clocked in one minute over our allotted time, which means we have to pick up the pace. Our stage manager also designed a program for us which looks perfect. We just need to add plenty of thank yous.
DAY 13 of 30 (June 13, 2010)
Not the luckiest of days. I made a mess of the Coronation St. breakfast and ended up throwing the whole thing in the Green Bin. I am such a shitty cook. It is something I wish I was better at.
Today the director had to calm some of my rising producer anxieties. Mostly we are in good shape but as we approach the opening night I simply get more anxious. I ran through my lines, working on my accent. We went to a restaurant called The Rushton for dinner and coincidentally ran into our old friend Jenn G. (from our Second Shitty days). She was celebrating her birthday with some friends. Always great to see her.I had fried fish and yam frites. I didn’t really know it came with yam frites (uh….not my favourite).
I was thrilled to see that our photographer had put her publicity stills for our show up on Twitter. I also filled out the Word of Mouth form and the volunteer appreciation form. We have decided to make our Friday July 2 performance at 1:45 PM our show for both of those special Fringe offers.
DAY 12 of 30 (June 12, 2010)
I watched a Terry Gilliam film today called The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. This beautiful film reminded me of the play we are doing in some ways. Particularly in the way it tries to represent what goes on in a person’s mind. Our representation of the mind has to do with memory and how if you ruminate over events in your head the reality can become twisted.
I can tell from Fringe friends’ updates on Facebook that other shows are getting more publicity than ours. As I said this week, I was trying to not let this bug me except that someone from the show brought it up as well. I am somewhat torn on the issue. I am not completely convinced the press always helps a show (The Lord of the Rings musical in Toronto had lots of publicity and promotion for instance).
Nevertheless I feel a pang of jealousy when I realize that some other show was more interesting to the press than ours. Is our title not funny enough? Is having your last two Fringe shows win awards not enough? Is having experienced actors and improvisers not enough? We couldn’t have done a better job with our press kit as far as I’m concerned. It makes me sort of mad at the press. On the other hand, what if they show up and write a bad review and kill the show? Very dicey. I would rather please the audience and build the audience by word of mouth. There have been shows in this city that received significantly bad reviews and then went on to rule Broadway. I’m sure if my show does well they will all suddenly be so interested. This is why I wish social media would just take over.
DAY 11 of 30 (June 11, 2010)
I think I am drunk enough to write this now. Well I finally moved this COUCH! Really I am very grateful to the artist who has lent our show this couch. I am not so grateful to the courier company that ended up moving it. It was partly my fault. I had the wrong measurements for the couch and I thought it could fit into a mini-van. When I finally laid eyes on the couch I realized it was probably a foot longer than I had thought. And it is a heavy antique couch.
The guy loaded it in and used a rope to tie it all up. I later found out that for fifteen dollars more I could have used a company that had trucks. It was an honest mistake. I was given the number for these couriers from a store that sells couches. But then I found out that their big truck had broken down. On top of that the guy moving it had a bad back, and the two guys helping him looked to be in their sixties. It seemed kind of ridiculous since I am much younger and can probably move the couch by myself that I am paying these old guys to move this heavy old couch. It was sort of tense for a moment there, and I was very anxious driving across town to meet back up with the truck.
Anyway, the nightmare of moving the couch is over and when we move it to the theatre we are using the company that costs fifteen dollars more.
DAY 10 of 30 (June 10, 2010)
Today I went and had some new head shots done. It has been ages since I had new head shots taken and they are long overdue. I have the acting bug again, after years of music directing. I used the same photographer my wife uses. I figure if I am going to get them done I should get the best person to do them.
The photographer was very good at his job because he understands actors. He knew the importance of giving me motivation for every single shot so that I was thinking about something. Then casting directors can see that there is something going on behind my eyes. Intention is very important.
It was also nice to take a short break from the play and pay attention to something else. I have to make sure this show is going to help my career.
In the evening I added all of the recent changes to the script so that the stage manager will be able to add all of her lighting and sound cues to the script.
DAY 9 of 30 (June 9, 2010)
After an afternoon lunch at Milestones downtown I had another phone call about moving THE COUCH! I do not understand why this is the most complicated producing problem I am having.
We had another long rehearsal today. Freud is becoming more and more ridiculous. I don’t know how I am going to stop myself from laughing. I really enjoy the acting but the producing part is more of a headache.
After rehearsal we had an interesting discussion about whether or not getting publicity is important. I can think of many examples of shows that have received plenty of publicity, and then there was still a small audience. Also, I have done shows that had hardly any publicity and the show did well due to good word of mouth.
It was suggested that I was not doing enough publicity wise, but I do not know how much time I want to waste on it. Isn’t it better that we focus on making a good show for the audience? Besides, I was just interviewed about this show yesterday.
DAY 8 of 30 (June 8, 2010)
This is the busiest day I have had in awhile. I had my first publicity interview regarding this show. The interviewer called me while I was on my way to the mall. So I called her back when I was in the parking lot of Yorkdale Mall. I find the question I get asked the most is, “Why did you write this play?” There is a short answer to that question and there is a long answer. Somewhere in all of my previous blogs of the past two years is the long answer.
The short answer is that I was experiencing odd coincidences and a friend of mine, Jack M. who is a well known local improviser, told me to read Carl Jung. I really found myself drawn towards the concept of ‘synchronicity’. That is the short answer.
At the mall I bought some new clothes for my head shots. I bought my first-ever leather jacket (very Cool Rider indeed) and my first-ever pink shirt (very Frenchie indeed).
I did some more work regarding the moving of THE COUCH! This is a strangely complicated situation. I just hope it isn’t too complicated when the actual move happens.
I arranged a new sound set up for our stage manager. As a sound man myself I can’t help but obsess about this particular aspect of the show. A proper sound situation is crucial to my kind of show.
The rehearsal was very long. We focused more on scene work tonight. I have to constantly switch my thinking from ‘actor in a play’ to ‘producer’ to ‘sound designer’ to ‘publicist’ to ‘playwright’. But this is what I love to do. Some people helicopter ski. I put on Fringe shows and I always take on too much responsibility.
DAY 7 of 30 (June 7, 2010)
In the morning I went downstairs to my basement and a giant insect fell onto my arm from the ceiling. It scurried across my arm and it fell to the ground. I killed it. It was HUGE! I was traumatized.
After I had calmed down I managed to arrange for a van to pick up my couch. I can’t believe how much the couch dominates my thoughts these days. I also ran through my lines while pacing my house. I also scheduled a phone interview with a newspaper tomorrow. My first publicity!
We had a long rehearsal in the evening. David wanted to show me sandwich boards for our posters. So we walked out to the street towards his car and a little dog was running towards us happily and was almost killed by a car as it crossed the street. David picked up the dog and read the address on his collar and he carried the dog back to the relieved owners who, as it turns out, have a broken fence door.
I think tonight we managed to actually get through the show one and a half times. There are still lots of times we are asking for lines, which I don’t like. We should be off book by now. I also have to figure out how not to laugh when I’m doing a serious scene. I actually caught a case of the giggles. When we weren’t rehearsing we were discussing THE COUCH!
I couldn’t get my audio CD to work. This is a technical problem I am having with the iTunes disc burning system. This is very boring tech talk so I won’t bother you with it. As long as you know that sound is always a complicated issue.
Watch our teaser here:
DAY 6 of 30 (June 6, 2010)
I was sitting outside Starbucks listening to Exile On Mainstreet by The Rolling Stones. When I looked to my right I realized I was sitting next to Len Lesser (Uncle Leo from Seinfeld). He was with Jeff from Jeff LTD. I have been seeing posters for a play these two actors are in around the neighborhood. I immediately twittered this exciting event.
I spent some time in the afternoon running through my lines and working on my German/Yiddish accent. The Rs are hard.
I feel this is the calm before the storm. It was a long lazy Sunday and I have done most of the groundwork for this show. The music is written, lines have been learned, blocking is done and the posters are printed. I am anxious to perform the show. And to the move the couch. We have three rehearsals in a row coming up.
Visit our web page here: http://www.afreudianslipofhtejung.com
DAY 5 of 30 (June 5, 2010)
I spent the day trying to figure out how to coordinate the moving of the couch. I found a courier service, but they are only open from Monday to Friday 9 till 6. Since it is Saturday this has prevented me from accomplishing this first of three moves of this couch.
My wife and I were invited to a re-gift party that we attend every year. We listened to Christmas carols even though it is summer. We always seem to walk away with a good loot. This year we managed to walk away with a cappuccino maker which is simply magnificent since people are supposed to bring shitty gifts. This isn’t a crappy gift to me. I spend a fortune at Starbucks every year.
When I arrived home I posted some pictures on the A Freudian Slip of the Jung Facebook group. I posted some pics from our rehearsals and one from our publicity photos.
DAY 4 of 30 (June 4, 2010)
Today I woke up early to talk to a photographer about head-shots. So I went down to a studio building in the Lansdowne and Dupont area. This seems like a good time to get some head-shots since I am starring in this show. We had an interesting discussion about the importance of getting the right head-shot for an actor.
In the evening I was fighting a lethargic mood. My spirits were lifted by watching Video Cabaret perform Michael Hollingsworth’s The Great War which featured two of my actor friends. This play reminds me of a marionette show with actors taking the place of puppets. After wards we hung out upstairs at The Cameron House with the cast and crew.
DAY 3 of 30 (June 3, 2010)
Today I received the date and time for our Art Wank performance. The Art Wank Stage will be under Honest Eds. It is a live street performance stage during the Fringe Festival. The plan is that David and I will improvise for half an hour as Doctors Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. We will ask people on the street to tell us a recent dream and then we will both analyze the dream. Should be fun.
Today I continued my search for a chaise lounge. We do have a couch already but it is not a chaise lounge. So I decided to just take a last look around the city. Marty the Millionaire had an entire section devoted to chaise lounges. However, chaise lounges are damn expensive so I think I am just going to go with the one we already have.
DAY 2 of 30 (June 2, 2010)
I was excited to receive an e-mail with our tech times. The best news is the entire cast and crew will be able to be there. Any news that can lessen worries and anxieties is good news for us.
The biggest challenge I have with this show right now is trying to figure out how to get a couch, specifically a chaise lounge. This will be the center piece of the show. I walked up and down Bayview Avenue and walked into some antique shops and found some interesting leads. Then we had a rehearsal with our full cast, director (Bruce Hunter) and our stage manager (Kara Evelyn).
The rain poured outside while we rehearsed. We seem to be having a lot of laughs at these rehearsals. Everyone seemed to enjoy the kissing music I wrote which is overly-dramatic and ridiculous!
DAY 1 of 30 (June 1, 2010)
Where has Suga Jam been? I used to write a weekly blog, but when I was accepted into the Toronto Fringe Festival this year I went full tilt into writing and producing my first play A Freudian Slip of the Jung. This is not my first Fringe show however (this is my fifth time being involved in this festival). But this is the first one written by me and one of the biggest roles I have ever played as an actor. I will be playing Doctor Sigmund Freud!
I documented my last Fringe experience in blog form when I produced and music directed the Fringe hit SHOW STOPPING NUMBER! The Improvised Musical. But the lead up to opening night is where all the drama happens. Day 1 of 30 of this show was no exception.
It started off with my iPhone alarm NOT going off at 7:30 AM when it was supposed to! Instead I woke up at 9:10 AM! When was the venue walk through scheduled? 9:00 AM! Now remember I am the producer of this show so I have to look responsible. Fat chance. Nevertheless I did manage to stumble through the doors of the auditorium of Royal St. George exactly 15 minutes later (luckily I live nearby and have wheels).
Inside the venue were representatives from the Fringe, as well as David Frisch (who is playing Carl Jung) and our set designer and costume designer (Samantha Aylsworth and Bray Scott-Lewis). The air conditioning was nice and crisp alleviating any fears I had about being too hot. I brought my video camera with me so I could show those who were not there the layout. I am concerned our couch might not get through the door. Really my main concern right now is our couch and the logistics of moving the damn thing around.
One of my former musical improv students, Amy Zuch, will also be doing a show in the same venue.
Tonight the rehearsal only consisted of David and I. It was good that we had some time to work together since so much of the play centers around the two main characters we play.