I am honoured, ecstatic, excited and even a little nervous to announce that the cast list(s) for the Project X Theatre 2013 shows has been announced and that I am on them!
I will be debuting with Project X in the role of Snoopy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown and Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox. I’m more thrilled than I can express here to be given the opportunity to work with such a great theatre company and such great directors and such great technicians. It’s going to be a fantastic summer!
Look out for our shows in Kamloops, BC running July 24th to August 10th 2013 in Prince Charles Park!
For the full cast list, look here: http://www.projectxtheatre.ca/events.htm
During my adventures at the Directors’ Festival in Chilliwak, BC I saw about twenty different productions in all forms of genre, style and discipline. One of the shows that really stuck out to me was Miss Somewhere, which I saw the evening of the final day of the festival. It was well worth the wait.
Miss Somewhere was written and directed by Cait Archer and revolved around three girls who “navigate the stormy waters of faith, sex, and serotonin production” (taken from the play’s write-up in the Directors’ Festival program) over the course of a year.
To start, I’d like to say that I want to try to not sound like I’m up-selling this play, but there are very few things that it didn’t do well. The dialogue was witty, charming, hilarious and real. The characters were engaging and clever. The story was thoughtful and moving Personally, the reason why this play grabbed my (figuratively) so much was because of how real the characters and dialogue were. Nicky, played by Danielle Warmenhoven, was the protagonist of this story–but her two sidekicks were just as crucial to the play. Warmenhoven did a fantastic job of portraying the struggles of a Christian young adult in a contemporary setting. The moral dilemmas of a young Christian woman is something that isn’t often touched upon in the medium of theatre. It was fascinating to see how realistic and interesting Nicky’s relationships were with the other characters and with God. To give you an idea of this we can look at the first few minutes of the play. The show opens with Nicky dancing provocatively with two guys. After this short dance scene we find Nicky and Steph (played by Cheyenne Douglas-Ruttan) talking about Nicky sharing a bed with a pair of Mexican fraternal twins during a Halloween party. We’re introduced to Steph’s sarcastic, playful nature and Nicky’s conflict with what her body wants, and social pressures want of her. Throughout the play these characters continue to develop as people, rather than characters.
Though Nicky was the “protagonist” of the play, I felt like much of the action of the story revolved around Allison, who was played by Geneva Perkins. Allison’s journey was both inspiring and heartbreaking and Perkins did an ace job of letting the audience see and feel that journey. Through Allison, the play deals with themes of loss, love, identity and even mental illness. Another aspect of the play I really enjoyed was the simplicity of the use of a swing actor. The script called for a host of male characters to fill in the roles of the men Steph and Nicky date (including the two Mexican twins in the beginning sequence). The beauty and this demand was that all these characters could be played by a single male actor.
In the Directors’ Festival production, Corey Por filled this role. Corey did a good job of playing these roles, though I didn’t feel he included enough variety between characters. He played a handful of different characters, but each of them were only subtly different and as an audience member I wanted to see a very clear and distinct character every time he came onstage as a new person. Outside of this I think the play had only one other downside. The character of Steph was an exciting, bitchy, funny, witty young woman who sought out men for casual sex, but found herself in a relationship. As a character is dynamic, bright and even silly at times. Much of the humour of the play was derived from Steph’s clever remarks about her friends and their situations. However, I found that the actor playing Steph fell short of the demand. Douglas-Ruttan delivered many of her lines in a sort of flat, underhanded manner. This kept the integrity of the dialogue intact, but lost much of the humour. From the audience I could feel the clever wordplay and playfulness of Steph’s character trying to leap out of me, but being restricted by the actor. I must admit, many of the things Steph said I found delightful and funny, but it always left me wanting more.
Outside of that, the production itself was stellar. The set was simple and effective, as was the use of lighting to move the audience between locations. The soundtrack of the play was carefully chosen and well put together. Every scene change had a piece of music that was both fitting and fun. It helped to keep the audience connected to the performance between scenes. Archer did a wonderful job of staging a very memorable script. If this play was to be staged again I would certainly try my best to go and see it.
My last post (Curse of the Bitter Sauce) was a bit of a review of what I’ve been keeping myself busy with since the new year. There was a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of it, leaving you poor readers completely left in the dark for two entire days until I update you about the exciting news of what occurred on the weekend: auditions.
So, remember my post from Christmas Day of last year about Les Misérables (the film)? I got so excited and worked up about that movie because it was just so fantastic. Now you want to know what’s better than an amazing Broadway Musical made into a film? And amazing Broadway Musical as a live stage production. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I auditioned to be in Western Canada Theatre‘s production of Les Misérables set to hit the stage this coming December! The audition was simple–just go in and sing your heart out to one song. I think I did fairly well, to be honest.
But there’s more! I also auditioned for Project X (check out there website here www.projectxtheatre.ca) this summer! THEY are putting on two productions this year (as they do every year) and one of them is ALSO a hit Broadway Musical: You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Fantastic Mr. Fox will also be part of their repertoire this summer. Project X is super cool outdoor theatre that happens in a park right in downtown Kamloops. Auditions for that also went well (but consisted of much more than just going in and singing one song).
So, I bet you’re dying to know whether or not I got into these shows, aren’t you? Are you? Well, guess what.
So am I.
I should hear back from both companies some time in the next week or two. What am I going to do in the meantime? Perform of course! Director’s Festival in Chilliwak, BC starts tomorrow! For now I have three dance classes to teach and a final exam to write tonight and then we leave for Chilliwak bright and early tomorrow morning! So I’m off for the weekend to perform Bitter Sauce a few final times and then it’s time to start focusing on the next play that I’ll be doing…which I hope to know about very soon!
If you’ve been following my adventures via the internet over the last month or so, you’re probably aware of what has been occupying the vast majority of my mind over the last six weeks: auditions.
Spring is that time of year for the Theatre world. If you’re unaware of what that means let me explain it a little bit. The casting for a theatre’s season–which usually runs September to April–is done in the April and May prior to the season. This means that an actor hoping to work as an actor will be auditioning for things in the late Spring for shows up to a year in the future. In my case, there have been three such auditions in the last few weeks. Two were Sunday and Saturday or this past weekend (yesterday and the day before) and a couple weeks ago. So I’ve been a busy, busy little actor the last few weeks and even the last few months. Want to know just how busy? Let’s take a review of what I’ve been up to.
Curse of the Starving Class
Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class ran at TRU’s Actors Workshop Theatre from February 28th to March 9th this year. I played the role of Taylor, a slimy lawyer trying to con the mother of a family out of her house. Rehearsals for this show started in January and ran until (you guessed it) February 27th.
This show was a lot of fun to work on. The cast was small and intimate and we all became good friends. The director was wonderful; it was my first time working with him and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One highlight of Curse of the Starving Class that made it different from most shows is we had a lamb in our show. A REAL, LIVING, animal on stage. It was terrifying at first because animals are so unpredictable and, a lot of the times, loud. Miss Baby Von Lambystien, Destroyer of Worlds (her official name given to her from the cast), was very, VERY well behaved for an animal however. She did bleat onstage occasionally, but only at a moment it would make the audience “ooh,” “aww,” and generally love her.
Thomspon Rivers University published a montage of a preview rehearsal the week before opening. You can watch that here if you missed the show:
During the rehearsal period for Curse of the Starving Class I was also cast in the play Bitter Sauce by Eric Bogosian as part of Thompson River University’s annual Director’s Festival. The Director’s Festival is a festival of one act plays put on by the students of the Theatre Department at TRU. The shows are directed by the Senior Directing students and are performed by the 3rd year acting students. I was cast in a hilarious, quirky and slightly dark one act play based on Shakespeare’s 118th sonnet with two other actors. Once again I was blessed with wonderful castmates and a talented and insightful director. One of the actors had been part of the cast of Curse of the Starving Class and the other had actually performed with me the year before in the Director’s Festival. Bitter Sauce ran three nights with three other shows during the Director’s Festival from April 8th to April 13th. It’s been only two weeks since opening night, but it feels like months and months ago. Check out my last post to read more about Director’s Festival this year and an interview with two of the directors.
To find out more about the Actor’s Workshop Theatre and what they’re up to, check out there facebook page here: TRU Actors Workshop Theatre
The most exciting part of Director’s Festival is that we get to take our shows and perform them with other students from all across British Columbia at the annual University of the Fraser Vally Director’s Festival. Students from Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwak and Vancouver come together and perform their works for each other and for the public. This year, UFV’s 18th year running Director’s Festival) there are 23 different productions coming from around BC and it all starts this Thursday, April 25th! I will be traveling with my fellow students/actors/directors to Chilliwak, BC to perform Bitter Sauce a few final times later this week! Needless to say, I’m excited about it.
The week after Bitter Sauce closed at TRU auditions for next year’s production of Gossip occurred. This show is scheduled to start rehearsing the last week of August and open in October this year. The cast list went up last week and (spoiler alert) I was cast! Because this show isn’t even in rehearsal yet I shouldn’t say too much about it. I’ll just say that it’s a sort of Film Noir type of play set a big city in Canada. So, once again, before the show I’m currently working on closes I’m already getting geared up and working on the next play coming up.
So, I’ve been busy at TRU. But there’s more than that, I just finished a weekend of auditions for two big Broadway Musicals going on here in town this year. You’ll have to hear more about that though.
Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω
Six nights of live theatre will be capping off four years of education for a group of TRU students. They’re part of the theatre program and will be filling the Actors Workshop Theatre in Old Main from April 8 to 13 with productions done completely by students.
“You have to take all the acting courses and then in fourth year you can take fourth-year acting along with fourth-year directing,” Justin Hall said.
So I found (sort of) a super interesting web-comic that I would love to share with all of you. It’s called “Again With Dragons”. It’s really funny and that art style is really cool and…I’m featured in a couple of the comic strips!
Check out their website here: Again With Dragons
Or find them on Tumblr here: Again With Dragons
Here’s a sneak preview of one of the comics that I make an appearance in:
You may wonder, “How did you get into a webcomic!?” Well besides from being internet famous (ha, hahahaha) already…last summer I had a friend of mine from the University stay with us for a couple months of the summer. Some of the earlier comics are actually set in my living room (like this one, which is one of my personal favorites). So do me a huge favor and subscribe to him on WordPress and follow him on Tumblr. The comics are witty and they have dragons in them…so you can’t go wrong.
Oh, and their are penguins! That’s worth checking out, isn’t it?
A few weeks ago I asked you fine readers to vote on a poll (← you can still vote!) concerning which of three animals is better: Cheetah, Peregrine Falcon and the Sailfish. If you hadn’t guessed their commonality, it’s that these three animals are the fastest animals within their domains, earth, sky and sea (respectively). Because the Cheetah got the most votes (yay! Cheetah’s are my personal favorite animal) I am going to do a blog post devoted to this amazing and loveable creatures!
For information on the conservation of cheetahs, please visit this website: www.cheetah.org
Now, about the cheetah.
Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) is part of the cat subfamily Felinae, which includes which also includes the couger, the cheetah, the North American Cougar and Lynx and the ocelot. Other large casts like lions, tigers and jaguars are part of a separate family: Pantherinae.
It’s all very fascinating, I know, but what you want to hear about is speed, right? Well let’s hear some facts on the speed of a Cheetah.
- The cheetah IS the fastest animal on land. It can travel to speeds of up to 104 km/h while sprinting. Faster than the speed limits of most highways in Canada.
- While sprinting, the cover distances up to 500m.
- While sprinting, the cheetah can travel from speeds of 0 to over 100km/h in three seconds. That’s as fast as a Ferrari 458 Italia
- Its body is narrow, lightweight with long, slender feet and legs, and specialized muscles, which act simultaneously for high acceleration, allowing greater swing to the limb
- Their cardiovascular system is specialized to allow them to sprint harder and faster.
- The cheetah’s long and muscular tail acts as a stabilizer or rudder for balance to counteract its body weight, preventing it from rolling over and spinning out in quick, fast turns during a high-speed chase
Cheetahs are the ONLY cats with claws that are NOT retractable. The genus name, Acinonyx, means “no-move-claw” in Greek, so cheetahs are actually named after this little known fact.
While running, cheetahs use their claws for extra grip on the ground, helping them to propel themselves across the ground faster. This adaptation is unique to the cheetah. Their paws are less rounded than the other cats, and their pads are hard, similar to tire treads, to help them in fast, sharp turns.
Basically, these cats have evolved to be the leanest (literally), meanest cats in the world. Their bodies have adapted purely for speed, allowing them to outrun even the fastest of prey in Africa and the Middle East.
So, as I said before, cheetahs are my personal favorite animal. I love cats (if you haven’t noticed from the last few posts with Gifs. of my cat, like this one or this one). I’ve loved cheetahs since I was a teenager BECAUSE of their speed and hunting prowess. They’re related-able to me, because I think of myself of more of the fast and quick type, then the strong and brutish type. And their just…so…cool!
If you’re interested in voting for which animal I do a blog post about next, you can find that poll right here:
So I’ve already shared 7.5 Things I’ve Accomplished in 2012, now it’s time to look to the future and make some new goals. So here’s a list of 13 things, in no specific order, that I would like to accomplish in the next year. I’ll try and keep you updated with how it goes as the year progresses.
Plan for the best. Prepare for the worst.—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) January 02, 2013
1. Finish a book and send it for query.
I’ve been wanting to do this for many, many years. I want 2013 to finally be the year that I finish one of my books (The Song of Earth or Outcast) and send them to some real deal publishers to see what they think! I tried to participate in NaNoWriMo this year in November, but got too busy with school and the play I was in at the university to complete it. Silly life, always getting in the way. Hopefully this year I can finally pull through with a finished-enough draft that I feel comfortable sending it for query!
2. Make money on YouTube.
So you’ve probably realized by now that I like making and uploading videos to YouTube. It’s a really fun hobby that I enjoy doing, but I would really, really enjoy it if I could make some money off it. I am a partner with YouTube now, so my videos have the potential to make me money, I just need to cross a certain threshold before they start handing it over! I have three running channels at the moment if you’re interested in looking at them (and if you’re not interested you should look at them anyways so I can achieve my goal!).
There, already taking a step towards this one. Excellent.
3. Go camping and hiking.
This is just something that I didn’t get to do last year that I really missed. I love being outside and camping and definitely hiking. I haven’t gone on a good long hike for a few years now and it’s something that I miss. And I want to go on a camping adventure because I love camping and I love adventures. I was a scout for four years after all, I can tie some mean knots and I have the badges to prove it!
4. Make my bed.
This one seems kind of trivial and random…and it is. I just feel like if I can get up and make my bed every morning, I’ll be able to accomplish more things in my day. If I start my day with a scheduled event, the rest of my day may be able to go on as scheduled. Something like that.
So far I’ve been doing it and that alone has been making me feel better about my days.
5. Have Student Loans in on time for September 2012
Another small thing, but something I’d really like to get right this year. The last two years I’ve sort of procrastinated so my loans for school have come really late. In honesty, a lot of my troubles came from their end of things, but I did put it off. In either case I want to apply early so I can get my money on time. That would really help with the whole schooling and living thing that I do for eight months of the year.
6. Work Out. Improve physical performance. Look great.
I think it’s safe to say that this is on more than %80 of people’s New Year’s Resolution lists, but that does not make me bad about having it on my list. I’m in fairly good shape now, with dance as a job and acting as a major at school, but I’d really like to start working out regularly again to improve both of these aspects of my life. I want to stretch more, put on some muscle, increase my jumping vertical for dance and have a rocking hot body (as most people do).
7. Take Yoga Classes.
This goes along with the last one. I haven’t taken Yoga classes in two years and I miss it. It’s a great way to stretch, relax as well as build flexibility and strength. So this year I’m making a goal to take at least some classes in Yoga again. I know TRU offers free classes to students, I just have to work on working them in and around my schedule.
8. Spend more time with family.
With my new nephew having just been born and two of my sisters being engaged, I feel like I really need to spend more time with my family. I already see them (some of them at least) a lot, but I want to increase that amount even more! I miss my family, especially the siblings I don’t get to see often (like the ones who live in the States or in Ontario).
Want to see a sneak peak of my family from this past Christmas (including my ADORABLE nephew), look here:
9. Keep a clean house.
This is one that I’ve always tried hard to do, but haven’t always succeeded at. This year I’d like to keep my house and room much cleaner than it has been in the past. This is another thing that I feel will help me to accomplish other more important things I would like to do…kind of like in the Sims games when your Sim is in a better mood if they’re environment is pretty and clean. That happens in real life. I like doing things more when I have a clean kitchen/bedroom/house.
10. Travel outside of the country.
I’ve been meaning to use my new passport and haven’t yet. I actually have never traveled outside of Canada and the US (though I have been all over Canada and have been to the US many times). This year I would like to go on an adventure in another country, whether that means a vacation, business or just an adventure, I want to travel! I want to go places and do things and stuff. So yeah.
11. Keep track of money better.
To be honest, this is a fault of mine. I sometimes come to an end of a month and find myself thinking, “where did that money go to?” or “what did I spend THAT on?!” So this year I’d like to take time and do some financing and bookkeeping every month or so and make sure I know where all of my money is going. This will, hopefully, allow me to monitor what I’m spending and cut back on certain things if I need to.
12. Paint a picture.
Another thing that I haven’t done in a few years that I would really like to do again. I’ve been sketching a bit lately, but as soon as colour gets near my pictures they transform into something created by a six year old. So I’m making it a goal to paint a picture sometime this year, regardless of how good or bad it is. I just want to do it because I like painting and making art.
13. Live in the moment/Don’t procrastinate.
So I lied when I said that these thirteen goals were in no particular order. The first one (about finishing one of my novels) is probably the most important and and this one (which I’ve saved for last) is probably the one I want to work on the most. I want to stop putting things off and do them now. I want to live when I’m living. I want to accomplish things and not push them aside. I don’t want to shirk responsibility and I want to accomplish this list of things I want to accomplish. To do that I know I’m going to have to start doing things now, instead of putting them off until tomorrow.
So there you have it. These are the 13 things that I want to get done before 2014 sets in. If I miraculously did accomplish all these things I would be delighted and surprised. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.
It’s the end of another year and almost the beginning of a new one. You know what that means: lists.
People, myself included, are obsessed with making lists at this time of year to catalog what we’ve accomplished in the last 365 days and record what we wish to accomplish in the next 365. I’ve already made a post about why/ how we should Make a Change every new year, so here’s my list of things I’ve accomplished in the last year (with the help of some of my tweets from 2012).
1. I’ve done really well in school the last two semesters.
Winter semester last year (January-April 2012) and Fall semester this year (September-December 2012) have both gone splendidly. I’m keeping my GPA just under 4.0 right now, with a little more work it could break 4.0 by the end of this school year. It hasn’t been all fun and games though. I’ve pulled more all-nighters than I remember and I’ve probably studied more in the last year than the rest of my entire schooling history combined. But the hard work is paying off!
I’ve had a lot of really cool and interesting classes the last two semester, including my Science Fiction class, the Apocalypse in Film and Literature class and all of my Acting and Technical Theatre classes. Even with all this dedication and fun, sometimes things like this happens:
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) January 09, 2012
3 hour long lecture on Shakespeare at 8:30 on Monday mornings...remind me why I took this class? #SchoolIsHard—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) September 10, 2012
2. Got a job as a dance instructor.
One of my friends who came out to a dance club at the University I run (TRUDance) asked me if I wanted to teach for her studio. Even though I was really busy with school and a play I was in rehearsal for I said yes! I’ve been working at a dance studio teaching Hip-Hop, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Swing for the last year and I’ve loved it! It is amazing being able to do what you love and get paid for it! The job has been fun, challenging and very fulfilling and I’m looking forward to the next year of teaching there. I’ve a very special feeling seeing the kids you’ve taught perform their dances in front of an audience at the end of a term of dance.
This teaching includes the Ballroom classes that I set up and taught myself. I took the initiative to get some adult Ballroom classes started up and followed through with it. It was really rewarding having something that I thought of and started myself turn out so well!
3. I bought a new car.
It was a big decision, but I bought a little Honda Civic (1991, same year I was born) in February. It had a “unique” paint job, but that’s the reason why I bought it! It really helped me get to work because I work 30 min. out of town at the Wildlife Park (the bus ride is 60 – 90 minutes each way depending on the day!) and completely across town at the dance studio (30 – 45 minutes on the bus). Plus I got to drive to Vernon to see my twin more.
Got a new car today. I love driving.—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) February 21, 2012
Check out my vlog about that new car (and see it’s awesome paint job) here:
4. I helped write, choreograph and performed in a Musical.
In March I helped write a “micro-musical” titled The Death and Life of Miss Anybody and You for the on campus Drama and Theatre club at TRU (TRUDAT). I also did all the choreography for the show, which was a lot of fun. However, the funnest part of this show was acting in it. I got to play the role of an Irish man dressed as a Carebear who acted as a Spirit Guide to a misguided woman in the afterlife. It was a blast!
Opening Night of the Musical was a huge success!—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) March 18, 2012
The YouTube playlist for that performance can be found here:
4.5 I acted in Director’s Festival at Thompson Rivers University.
I auditioned for, was cast and performed in Feeding the Moonfish in the 2012 Director’s Festival at TRU. It was very a very rewarding experience. We were also invited to perform at the UFV annual province-wide Director’s Festival in Chilliwak! Both events were amazing! We had wonderful actors, technicians and, of course, directors working together to make some fantastic pieces of theatre.
Time for another full day I theatre! Director's Festival has been very exciting and very entertaining so far.—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) April 27, 2012
5. I took a Gung Fu class over the summer.
So I took classes in White Crane Gung Fu this past summer for three months. This was a lot of fun and a lot of hard work! Two nights a week I went for a three hour class to learn and train in Gung Fu at a basement gym downtown. It was a crazy good work out and really helped me get into better shape (combined with dance) over the summer. Plus, I’ve always wanted to take a martial art since I stopped karate when I was like…six years old. I wanted to keep with it during the new school year in September, but unfortunately I got too busy with all of my school and dance classes starting up again. I would definitely do it again though!
Seriously thinking about taking up Kung Fu. I always wanted to fight like an animal...—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) June 17, 2012
6. I adopted an animal from the SPCA
During the summer I adopted a kitten from the BCSPCA Animal Shelter here in Kamloops. Her name was Peaches, a little orange tabby kitten just three months old, and she was ADORABLE!
I basically fell in love with her instantly.
We named her Momo (もも), which means peach in Japanese. The name was cute and fitting (something I picked up from watching Avatar: the Last Airbender). Her hobbies include climbing on people and furniture, sleeping, cuddling, typing on my keyboard and playing with her toys.
I like kittens.—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) July 15, 2012
7. I participated in Movember for the first time.
It may not seem like a big accomplishment, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years and finally got around to doing it. I started on the 1st of November and committed to it all the way until December 1st! There were many of mornings near the end of the month where I just wanted to shave (probably due to my mustache being very inadequate compared to my friends’).
You can see the before and after photos here:
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) December 04, 2012
So there we have it. A brief summary of some major milestones I’m fairly proud of doing/being involved in in 2012. Hopefully 2013 will be as rewarding and adventureful!
I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.—
Andrew G. Cooper (@JustCoopIt) October 31, 2012
This is certainly a must see movie. It completely blew me away in the best possible way. If you weren’t planning on going to see it, just spend the few dollars and go do it; you won’t be disappointing. Now for the story of how I saw it.
My twin and I agreed to see the movie on opening night, Christmas Day (today). For starters the moving was so moving I had to write about it as soon as I sat down at home, even though it’s 11:00 pm and I have to get up early for a 16 hour Greyhound ride to Alberta tomorrow. We got to the cinema far too early, we were very excited see, and no one else was there for it. We thought there would be a huge line-up and a big wait, but it turns out not everyone wants to spend their Christmas Day evening in a movie theatre. Oh well, their loss.
While paying for our tickets the cashier warned us, “Just so you know, there’s a lot of singing in this movie. A gentlemen from earlier came out and was very upset about it.” I smiled, laughed, and told her that’s exactly why I was coming to see it. So I guess if for some, god-only-knows-why, reason you don’t enjoy singing, you MAY not enjoy this film. I doubt it though, singing or not this film was a piece of art.
The singing was amazing though, so poignant and wonderful I could feel the people around me taking it in. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the actress Anne Hathaway but after seeing her in this role I’ve changed my mind. Her acting and voice together made her an amazing addition to this film. She was simply amazing.
Time for a side-note: I’m not one to cry during a movie. That actually goes for most times in my life. I just do not cry very often in my life, I can probably count the times I’ve cried in the last decade on my fingers. This film made me cry a lot. It likely won’t have that affect on everyone, and I certainly hope this doesn’t stop you from seeing it, but it’s a very emotional movie. It’s so full of amazing acting and singing that it’s hard not to feel what the characters are feeling. The first time I cried was during Anne Hathaway’s solo of “I Dreamed a Dream”. Her energy was astounding, I honestly had no idea she was that capable as an actor.
Hugh Jackman, who played the lead character of Jean Valjean, was even more impressive. I’m aware of his career on Broadway, though I know he’s most known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men movies. If you want to see a master of acting, watch Hugh Jackman in this film. I don’t want to give anything away for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but from start to finish he was powerful, moving and his voice was stunning. Russel Crowe did an absolutely fantastic job of portraying Javert, making this story so much more dimensional.
What I really loved is what the director did with the film. The cinematography was genius. The camera shots were edgy, shaky, and close; all things that contributed to this work in a way film can and theatre cannot. The use of close-ups during emotional solo songs made you have to feel with the character singing. The technique was both surprising and stunningly successful.
All of the actors were brilliant, all of the singing was wonderful and the timeless story was told in a way that could be enjoyed by any lover of film, musicals, books or theatre. Definitely one of my favorite movies of the year and possibly of all time.
I’m thinking about doing New Year resolutions this year. I haven’t done them for the last couple years because I didn’t get around to it for one reason or another, but this year I’m thinking it would be really worth while.
I used to do goal setting a lot. It really helps you focus on things you want to/need to accomplish in a day or month or even year. There a lot of things I would like to be doing, a lot of things I would like to get done. So I’m going to set some New Year resolutions this year and I encourage you to do the same.
Make goals people! Decide what you want to do with your life and go out and do it! If you don’t do anything different in your life it’s going to stay exactly how it is now. So be bold! Make a change, even if it’s a small one!
All that jibber-jabber about fresh starts in a new year is all true! I’m going to try to make a difference, I think you should too.
Time off school always seems to go much faster than time spent in school.
I’m getting about a month off of university for Christmas this year, but it’s already going by so quickly I don’t know what to do with myself. I have a surprising amount of work to do over the holidays (I’m enrolled in three year long classes) and I haven’t started any of it…yet!
I have plays to read, projects to conduct research for, more plays to read and a play to “familiarize” myself with before rehearsal starts. All that and my own goals that I want to accomplish before the new year sets in. So I’m going to be really busy over the next week, even though I’ve been working 5 or 6 days a week with two jobs. So this isn’t really a Christmas “break” as it should be, more of just time away from the classroom that frees up more time to be at work, but with equal amount of school work that needs to be completed.
At least I don’t have to be handing in essays…
But I do like winter. Today we finally got that big snowfall of the year that sets the winter feeling really into motion. I hate snow. It’s cold and wet and gets into my shoes and makes my mudroom (the place you enter your house and put your shoes) very muddy. On the other hand, I do have to appreciate the beauty of winter. Today when I left my house for work everything looked so serene. The whole world was coated in a still, white blanket.
Plus I love snowboarding. So winter definitely has its perks. It also gives me more excuses to stay inside on my computer all day and write or waste my time on Tumblr and Facebook. So that’s…good?
Maybe this winter break will finally give me enough time to finish A Dance with Dragons.I’ve been meaning to get to that since the summer!
Now with the arrival of a big snowfall (it seemed like almost a foot where I live) and Christmas just around the corner I leave you with the words of House Stark:
Winter is coming.
So go out and enjoy it.
The memory of your hands strokes my mind.
The shadow of your finger tips squeeze my lungs
and steal my breath. Your palms press against my chest;
my heart staggers.
Your arms are the sunrise and the sunset.
You leave me in twilight,
unsure whether day or night is to follow.
The setting sun rises as the recollection of our bodies touch.
This past month I was once again astounded by the hard work and dedication of my fellow acting students at TRU. Last week we finished our second production of the year The Good Soul of Szechuan, and even though I got to watch the play more than 20 times I was still finding new interesting and funny things by the closing night performance.
I”m always impressed by people’s devotion to theatre. It take a lot for a young adult to rehearse a play five nights a week while studying full-time as well as working. The attitude of these people is what really sets them apart though. They are always willing to do more, willing to go the extra mile and to work together. Together they created a work of art, a unique rendition of this play with every performance a unique experience for the audience.
It was amazing being able to watch some of these actors grow. The rehearsal process is fascinating to observe from an outside perspective, which is something that I really go to appreciate with this show. This show was poignant, exciting, energetic and very different.
Naturally, working with a cast of nearly 30 people (many of which have very large personalities) in a high energy and emotional show, things are going to get crazy. And things did get a little crazy sometimes. Conflicts and differences are bound to arrive in a show that is so full of conflict and so, well, different. The cast of this show got through it though. They should that, true to the name of the play, they were good souls.
The show itself was, in my opinion, a great success. It spoke about the duality of human nature and exposed ask about the primal nature of man: is man good or evil? Such themes can be hard to instill in an audience, but I knew they were successful because every night near the end of the second act there was a point where the audience grew still and silent. They were invested in this show, in the characters the actors were playing, the same way that the actors had invested their time into creating the show and those characters.
And so The Good Soul of Szechuan has ended at Thompson Rivers University. It was a fun ride while it lasted. I felt so proud seeing those thirty some people dancing together at the end of the play. This was a group of people who had got it right. They had figured it out, or at least most of them. They were performing, they were having fun and they were doing it for you. For the audience. For the theatre.
It’s that time of year again.
I haven’t been writing regularly (or at all, if truth be told) because of the immense business that comes with the end of a semester. It has be a wonderful semester though. I’ve somehow managed to keep my grades up while doing work on two theatre shows AND working two jobs (one of which I only go out to a few days a month). So right now I’m looking at five more days of classes, three plays to finish reading, one novel to read, four essays to write and then three exams to finish and then I’m done!
Needless to say, it’s going to be a busy week.
I do have to admit, however, that it’s my fault for leaving all of this work to pile up until the last week of classes. Many of these assignments I’ve had for a week, two weeks or even more! It’s all because of my good friend: procrastination.
Procrastination and I were really good friends in high school; we go way back. We didn’t become really close until university though. Right from the beginning of first year, when I was going to school in Halifax, we quickly became the closest of companions. I soon found I he wasn’t the best kind of friend you could have in university…actually he’s probably the worst. We have sort of a love-hate relationship…I hate having Procrastination around, and Procrastination loves being friends with me!
So you may ask me: why don’t I just get rid of Procrastination if I don’t want to be friends with him anymore? Well I try to, believe me, but I can’t get rid of him!! Every time I try to hang out with my friends on the weekend, he comes along. Whenever I want to play some video games or even do some recreational reading he is always looming around my house! So I’ve sort of embraced him in a way. To be totally honest, we’ve hung out a lot less this past term. For some odd reason I’ve started doing my essays not the night before. It’s weird.
I do, however have a rather good excuse for being such close acquaintances with Procrastination and that can be summed up in one word: Theatre. This semester TRU’s Actors Workshop Theatre has already put on two full shows. First we had Village of Idiots, which I was the head carpenter for. This involved building the set, which was wonderfully designed and a lot of fun and work to complete. This job was assigned to me as part of my practical work for my THTR 3230 class “Technical Direction and Design”. As part of The Good Soul of Szechuan, the show that we’re currently half way through the run of, I was originally assigned the job of Production Manager. This job evolved attending a lot of meetings and keeping track of a lot of money. This wasn’t enough, however, because soon after that I was also given the role of Movement Director, because the show had a lot of movement and dance in it and they needed someone with a lot of dance experience. This required me to attend rehearsals as well (which I absolute loved!). On top of this I got to be a follow spot operators (which means I get to sit in the catwalks and point big lights at the actors, very fun), which meant that I got to be involved in the show during its technical rehearsals as well as its runs! So I got to see all aspects of this show! From pre-production right into the run of the show, which we’re not finished until next weekend!
So it’s been busy, but a lot of fun! I love technical theatre, but watching the process involved with A Good Soul of Szechuan has really made me miss being an actor. SO! I auditioned for the next play at TRU that will be running in February and I got in! The play is Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard. Really exciting stuff.
On top of that I also get to be involved in Director’s Festival again next year! Many exciting things coming up next year.
First I have to get through this week though…and I just realized I’ve been procrastinating all that homework I talked about by writing this! I better get going!
I came across this book because it was on the reading list for my “The Apocalypse in Film and Literature” class at Thompson Rivers University. The thing is a masterpiece. It was written in 1959, during the cold war, but is still totally applicable today. Miller’s writing is fantastic and challenging, the message is profound and the book as a whole leaves you with a sense of self-knowledge and possibly even accomplishment upon completion. The book, though wonderful on its own, is greatly more appreciation with a nearby dictionary and possibly even translator. When I read it I didn’t both translating most of the phrases in Latin (and their are a fair few), some I could understand the just of them, others he provides the translation afterwards for.
The book itself is broken up into three parts, each separated by six centuries. The first part of the book, titled Fiat Homo (translated to Let Their Be Man), takes place 600 years in the future after a nuclear war in a monastery in the American Southwest. The book follows a different time line than our own reality, one where total nuclear war had occurred in the latter half of the twentieth century. It follows a monk of the Holy Order of Leibowitz, an order created by a Jewish engineer turned Catholic just after the nuclear warfare. During this period there occurred a “great Simplification” where mobs of people were attempting to destroy all the leaders, teachers, scientists, books, literature (and eventually even literate people) in retaliation for them causing the nuclear war. With most of this knowledge destroyed, the world of the 26th century mirrors closely that of the medieval period.
So the world started fresh. But Miller leads us to believe that where there are people, destruction will follow. The theme of cyclical destruction is seen again and again. In this world, the simplest thing from before the destruction of society are considered holy relics. Something as simple as a note scribbled down while on the phone or a shopping list are treasured as artifacts of an ancient and powerful civilization. But even with this fresh start, mankind seems fixed on destruction.
In part two of the book, Fiat Lux (Let Their Be Light), we find ourselves in a time similar to the Renaissance. In the 32nd century, we see man making leaps technologically and moving towards the world that we already had before the nuclear war. By the third part of the book,Fiat Voluntas Tua (Let Thy Will Be Done), we’re in the 38th century; a time where their are starships and space stations and colonies on other planets. (It should be noted that this was written 10 years before man’s landing on the moon). Now a nuclear war seems imminent again. Man has ventured back to exactly where he was 1800 years ago.
Here the current abbot of the monastery (all of the parts of the book revolve around the monastery) begins thinking to himself and sums up nicely what the book is about:
“Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the phoenix in and unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk. Ground to dust and plowed to salt. Spain, France, Britain, America–burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again.
Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?”
Mankind has not learned from history. This message was especially powerful during the Cold War, but it still rings true today. Man must look to the past and learn from his errors, or mankind is doomed to failure.
Another quote I really enjoyed happened in this part of the book. “Speak up, destiny, speak up! Destiny always seems decades away, but suddenly it’s not decades away; it’s right now. But maybe destiny is always right now, right here, right this very instant, maybe.” This reminds us that if we are going to take action in our life, we have to do it now. In this very moment. Don’t look down the road and say you’ll start getting your job or meeting the person of your dreams, or doing better in school or whatever. Your destiny is being crafted at this very moment. So stop reading this, and go do something with your life.
It’s (almost) Halloween and I wanted to share a few pictures.
So here’s me this past weekend being Aquaman with a friend of mine being Two-Face (assuming from the newest “The Dark Knight” movie released in 2008. This photo is a few days old and “The Dark Knight” is now four years old.
For more on Aquaman (my favorite super hero for obvious reasons, because he’s the best super hero ever), check out this post: HERE.
Here’s another picture:
This one is a photo of me four years ago around Halloween (with my twin and a friend). Now this is my Two-Face Costume (made by my talented sister Kara Cooper). So this costume is based off the Two-Face portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in Tim Burton’s 1995 film “Batman Forever” (now over 15 years old!).
So which movie, costume, or Two-Face was better?
I had a stressful day today.
For me, stressful days don’t happen very often, but when they do they’re usually a lot more stressful than the average person’s stressful day. After becoming fairly irritated from lack of sleep (I’ve been having troubles sleeping at night, you see), school and work, I decided that to remedy my day I would write. I miss writing. It’s rather therapeutic. So this post, my first since June (that’s here), is more for me than for you, the reader, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
So after a four months absence, you may be wondering what I’ve been up to. If you aren’t, I am about to tell you anyways. I’ll try and make it brief because I can probably milk all of this information into a few Blog posts rather than one big one. First off, I’m finally back at school…and it’s already stressing me out a lot!
I finished working as over the summer, took a weekend off to go to the Greater Vancouver Zoo and the Vancouver Aquarium, then I was right back at school. Right now I’m trying to juggle five classes, two jobs as well as my commitments to the Theatre (I’m currently working on a show at TRU as a Choreographer/Movement Director on top of being the Production Manager!).
I’ve also been neglecting my blog (and vlog –> HERE), obviously. I’ve been doing a lot of homework, playing and streaming a lot of video games and hanging out on Tumblr…I know. It finally got to me. Damn thing is so addicting.
If you’re interested in checking out some of what I’ve been working on you can check me out on the web here:
Most of the pictures on my Tumblr (save a few I rather like and have reblogged) I took with my iPhone and uploaded to Instagram. That’s another thing that I’ve gotten into recently. More social media…it’s getting to be so addicting for me!
Back to my day: I slept in, so I was late for my English Class (the awesome one titled: The Apocalypse in Film and Literature). I got an essay back in that class, which I got an A on (this did not contribute to my bad day) and then I went to go print off 36 pages of sheet music for my musical theatre class…and forgot. I realized this when I got home, so I went back to school, then straight to work. I taught three pretty stressful classes (all of my kids were especially energetic and didn’t want to listen at all today). Dropped my iPhone on my way home from work. Now none of this seems like it’s that bad, I know, but it’s just like those last few straws that break the camels back. Work and school and everything else has really been taking its toll on me.
So I’m going to try and start blogging again, see how it goes. I know that this post has kind of turned into one of those diary blog posts (which I don’t really like), but it’s just because I’m using this writing to make myself feel better. Like I said at the beginning, I’m using this for me.
If I haven’t completely turned you off reading my stuff, I’ll be back soon with some more better content.
So keep reading…and stuff.
On a side note! My friend Andrew started a Web Comic based on some friends of ours that’s really funny. Check that out here: http://againwithdragons.wordpress.com/
And here’s a GIF of my cat:
A lot of people don’t know this, but writing a book takes a lot of research.
Even more people don’t know this: writing fantasy takes a lot of research.
In my personal experience I’ve probably spent 2 or 3 hours of research and planning for every hour of writing. Writing is the fun part that comes after all the real work involved with creating a book. Of course, fantasy has a different kind of research then writing non-fiction (or even most genre’s of fiction). The kind of research required depends on the kind of fantasy you’re writing.
An Urban Fantasy would require research of the city (or town) that is the setting. Historical fantasy requires in depth research of medieval times, including lifestyle, weapons, warfare and class systems among other things.
Some fantasies are set in completely other worlds, as is often the case in classical (also called Golden Age and sometimes Pulp) Science Fiction. These Science Fictions stories usually require research in the fields of Hard sciences, like physics, to get details correct fe the science part of science fiction.
With all fiction, research of previous works is a must. This is especially prudent in Fantasy. If you’re creating creatures, magic and/or a completely new world, it’s good to see what is already out there.
My favorite part of researching for fantasy was looking to myths of various cultures. This is an excellent way to find fantastic creatures. I’ve always admired J. K. Rowling for her ability to take creatures and incorporate them into her stories (if you think she created all the monsters Harry and his friends uncounted in classes and out in the world, you’re sadly mistaken. Only a few can be attributed to her own imagination).
Remember all this if you’re writing a book of any kind. Even fantasy books require a lot of research.
PS – Sorry if this Blog post is a little weird, I’m forced to blog on my phone today while at work.