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.

Memories and Settling Dust

I’ve been back in Brisbane for just over a week, and the dust in my head is just beginning to settle. Here are some images from our time in Phoenix.

Everybody is keen to hear how we got on in Phoenix, and I am more than happy to report how well we were received, along with some of the great feedback we got from our audience members.

Some of Angela’s students who attended the Fringe performances were kind enough to give us permission to quote from the essays they wrote for assessment for their Film and Theatre Studies course.

Kathleen drew attention one of the benefits of a Fringe Festival, in that it introduces audiences to new venues:

“I attended “The Fall of June Bloom (Or What You Will) at Space 55 in Downtown Phoenix. It was performed in a small room, with space for about 50 audience members in stadium seating. I had never been to the venue before, and didn’t even know it was there until the performance. It was wonderful to discover another hidden gem in Phoenix, a city I spend a lot of time in for work and school. It was a quaint and intimate setting, and I will definitely look into future performances there.”

She described the production thus:

“Half the performance was an older woman struggling with identity issues and finding out where she belonged, and the other half was a young, sassy, stubborn college student interested in learning and probing into the lecturer’s life. Although their manners of speaking were the same at times, in the sense that they had steady voices, good projection, etc., they brought such different life experiences, ways of looking at things, and quirks in personality to the shared performance, that the contrast was well appreciated and understood.”

Holly suggested that:

“In my opinion, the performance was intriguing and fascinating to execute a piece with Shakespearean presentation to the works of today’s realism took courage and a convincible aura of personality to be successful.”

Joe found the production to be a very new kind of performance:

“The play was set up as a classroom in a way. June Bloom was the teacher and we the audience were the students. I felt it was a very informal performance based on the relationship she established with the audience. The actress interacted with the audience on numerous occasions which gave the play a dimension I had never seen before.”

He wrapped it up like this:

“I enjoyed the overall play because I had never been to performance like this one. It was something completely different which intrigued me. Both performers acted with great intelligence, emotion, and passion. It was a very impressive performance that I would definitely suggest to anyone.”

Thanks so much to everybody who contributed, to Micha and Dave for their wonderful hospitality, to Lauren and Angela for their beautiful energy, commitment and talent, to the Estrella Community College community for their support, likewise the Phoenix Fringe Festival folks, to all our audiences at Estrella and at Space 55 – and to the kindness of strangers who stopped to chat in cafes and bars, on sidewalks and waiting for a bus or a train. Phoenix, you rock.