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Friday, January 12, 2007

The Steel diaries

The playwrights in the Congo, the theatre’s in the alley
By Michael Wheeler

The really friggin’ fantastic news is that we know when and where the show will be going on:
March 8th-10th, 15th-17th and 22nd-24th
The Queen West Arts Centre – 100A Ossington St.
(It’s just north of Queen Street)
All shows at 8pm
How did all of this come about, you ask?

Well Dave Galpern, who works with The Classical Theatre Project and The Toronto Youth Theatre, is an old friend. We did shows together at Montreal’s McGill Universtiy in the 90s and he played Koroviev in the Praxis Theatre production of The Master and Margarita.

His space on Ossington has thus far been used as a rehearsal centre for his two companies before their shows open at the Young Centre, Hart House . . . what have you. The thing is, the largest of these rehearsal spaces would also make a great, I mean really fabulous, theatre. It should have its own name. It is yet to be named. High ceilings, lots of room, obviously its proximity to all the shit going on down on Queen West makes for a pretty great location, too. So we made a deal and that’s where Steel will go on.

Now the tricky part is, there isn’t anything else to work with. So, we have two projects now:
1) putting a play together; and
2) putting a theatre together.
Should be no problem. Oh wait – we have no money and very limited free time. Could be a problem. Will definitely be interesting regardless.

Anyone reading along who has access to lights, blacks or chairs should be in contact at this point. Please. We have free program ad space, multiple tickets, and our undying gratitude and appreciation to offer.

Have I mentioned that the playwright is somewhere in the jungles of the Congo reporting on human rights violations for the UN? I wonder how those rewrites are going?

Tomorrow is our first official rehearsal. We aim to have a strong grasp of what the F we are up to by the end of the month so we can put the whole thing together with vigour in February. Rehearsals are, of course, in Jimmy’s living room. This is one of the benefits of the one-man show.

On the creative end of things, the team had a long discussion the other night about whether or not we need a set designer. We didn’t get anywhere.

Maybe once we have a better idea of our resources and approach this time around, we’ll know whether we’re in over our heads in this element or not.

And publicity, oh publicity. What are the myriad of ways we can get people, and reviewers, whose reviews would bring more people out to see this one-man show at a venue nobody has heard of that we just invented? Publicity could have its own blog. But that may be too meta-narrative. We’d have to start a blog about having a blog.

But we do have a place . . . and a date . . . and an actor . . . and a script . . . so hey, the rest is just details, right?

3 comments:

John K said...

Mike - you should do a sitcom called "The King of Ossington".

The premise is the misadventures of a wacky group of independent theatre artists trying to - wait for it - put on a play about Al Waxman and the TV series "The King of Kensington".

The pilot involves Mike, that's you Mike, and Simon (The Nice) Rice discussing the relative merits of casting a woman in the Al Waxman role when the clumsy but well-meaning set designer accidentally burns down the widely beloved and historic Ossingting Street Theatre. Much hilarity ensues.

The opening theme is sung to the tune of Led Zeppelin's Ramble On.

It's a ratings juggernaut.

mike said...

i'm thinking more along the lines of a star vehicle. something that gives me a chance to show off my physique, rugged charm, and ability to blow off terrorist's heads right before they detonate bombs. Think the the comic book people will sue if i ruyn with "Man of Steel"?

Andrew said...

forget it mike -- the king of kensington idea rules.

there must be some kind of "al waxman memorial fund" for homeless kittens or something, then you could work the humanitarian angle as well. the press would love it. and in the last episode, you could be really touched by the moral resonance of the show and give it all up to run a fruit stand.

think about it. not just the show, but i mean actually buying a fruit stand. could be your calling.