So long, Nanaimo, and thanks from all the fish!

Just one more show to go, then it’s all about the cleanup, and the transfer back to Seattle. It has been a definite blast, working with Gin Hammond and the amazing team she has assembled for this Across The Pond adventure. Lance McQueen (The Fisherman) is a powerful, generous actor and a natural clown, Angela Martinelli (The Bait) an extraordinary butoh dancer, Vance Galloway (Sound Effects, Music, chauffeur and all round good guy) also kept the Fringetastic techies on the right track for us, Gin Hammond (The Fisherman’s Wife, Game Show Host) wrote us the most beautiful script, and produced, directed, tour managed, promoted the socks off the show. I would also like to pay tribute to Jeff Morelan, who cooked some great meals for us, and Max Morelan ( aged 20 months) who inspired us at every turn.

The people of Nanaimo have been most kind, happy to give us the local discounted prices in their stores as soon as they realised we were visitors and artists. The audiences have been warmly receptive to our nonsense, and to our philosophy.

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The bait, the fish and the fisherman.

Tonight we perform “Man Catches Fish” ‘for the last time – in its current configuration. I’ll be heading back to Brisbane in about 3 weeks, but I’m confident Gin will find ways of getting this delightful fringe show up in front of more audiences before too long.

Tiny Fringe – Big Heart

We’ve arrived – and to prove it, we’re here. We opened two nights ago here in Nanaimo, B.C. at the Port Theatre. It’s a mighty grand venue, which has been condensed into a 60-seater on the actual stage area. So, intimate, just the way I like it. There are eight shows altogether, we each perform three times a week! Thursday’s to Sunder over two weekends. The Fringe organisation and the Port Theatre gave us a beaut welcome on Wednesday evening, when we shared 5 minute previews of our shows. Nanaimo is just as pretty as everyone says it is, and the locals are just a friendly.  Publicity is hard to find, so we just spread the word wherever we go – buying groceries, or liquor, or last minute prop and costume essentials. We are all staying in a lovely house close to North Lake, with a large lawn out the back by the barbeque. So that’s where we’ve been rehearsing. And we are surviving very nicely on the amazingly cheap wild salmon, and salad. Opening night was a wee bit hairy, after a  generous (for a fringe festival!) 3 hour tech. Last night we arrived at the theatre to find our 3 hours of experience lighting man off sick, but a wonderful lady named Sue stepped in and did a superb job, aided by our equally wonderful sound guy, Vance.  Someone in the audience was heard to remark after the show “and it’s a PROFESSIONAL show!” The life and death scenarios have been interesting. Each night, the audience is invited to vote on whether the different characters live or die. So far, I’ve died twice.  Apparently more people like to eat salmon than watch them run. Fair do’s!

My fishy green nail polish gets lots of complements. I would put a picture here, but the iPad (my travelling companion) just isn’t up to it. Next time, folks.

It all starts now

How many times have we heard that one, eh?  Eh?

But no, I mean it. Today I began seriously rehearsing, and learning lines for my role in “Man Catches Fish”, a new production for Across The Pond (Profoundly Fun Festival-Friendly Fringe Theatre), in association with a whole bunch of organisations including yours truly, Thunder’s Mouth Theatre.

Across The Pond is the brilliant conception of Seattle-based actor and voice coach, Gin Hammond. It’s a collaboration between a wildly eclectic bunch of artists, supported by local and international organisations which contribute in a number of different ways.

When I was in Seattle last year visiting my son and his family, Gin invited me to join her happy band as the clown component in her new touring show, and I was more than delighted to accept.

The production has had a significant process of development, with everyone (myself included) contributing to the story and the script.  In March they received creative development in Port Townsend, with the gorgeously funny Michelle Hensel as Fish, culminating in a work-in-progress presentation.  You can see clips from that event here.

The first full production will take place in August, as part of the Nanaimo Fringetastic Festival.  I will have about 10 days in Seattle to rehearse with the rest of the company, before we set sail (literally!) up Puget Sound to Canada and the festival.

So today began my creative journey to develop my interpretation of the Fish.  I’m working with Ira Seidenstein‘s 4 articulations as a way of disciplining my body and mind, and the old fashioned head-banging method of learning lines. Next week I’m doing a week’s training in Commedia with Ira (just back from a 3 months stint with Slava’s Snow Show), and who knows where that will lead!

There is much fun to be had, much joy to be shared, from Brisbane to Nanaimo 2012 to Adelaide 2013 and beyond!!!