Tag Archives: Year In Review

2016 – a Year in Review – what a year!?!

Last year, I was inspired by my friend, Kerry Hishon to do a year in review… and this year I waited with baited breath for her post. It didn’t disappoint. So now, I am going to attempt another of my own to reflect on the highlights from year that was… and what a year it was.

January

Like so many years in the past, my January began slowly. I was in recovery mode after a very eventful December. Isn’t everyone’s?
But in all seriousness, I directed, (and choreographed) and epically funny production of The Trials of Robin Hood by Will Averill. It had a tremendous cast and crew who adored the process, the product and each other. They, and I shed many tears upon the closing of that gem.

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But, I didn’t have much time to recover, as I was already busy choreographing a delightful production of She Loves Me. It was a bit of a bucket list show for myself and my friend, Kristina, as she and I had been talking about our love for this gem of a show for many, many years. It was also one of the first productions I ever saw on Broadway. My work on that also partially inspired a past blog I wrote on the Copywrite of Choreography…

And if that wasn’t enough… I began work on another Original Kids production of Once Upon a Mattress – GTKY, an edited version of the full musical that was made for young performers. No rest for the wicked, right?

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Once Upon a Mattress – Gorgeous Set Design!

 

February

February saw many more rehearsals, the start of a new semester and the beginning of my work to support a production of The Little Mermaid at the high school where I teach. I had been tasked with choreographing a few of the numbers, (the biggest ones, yes…) and creating a number of puppets to add dimension and magic to the whole production. This took ages… and ages… and though many people offered their assistance, it became quite apparent, that because I cannot open up my brain and show others the workings of my thought process, that trying to explain what I think, I might want to do and translating that into discussion for how a person might help me realize that… is a futile effort.

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Mini-octupi…. Mr. and Mrs. They were adorable.

 

March

March was pretty restful – in the sense that I didn’t travel anywhere and March Break and Easter were all in that month… but there were rehearsals and rehearsals and, oh yes, more rehearsals!

I also managed to sell some items that I wasn’t needing or using anymore. This allowed us enough savings to put money together to replace our aging refrigerator. That was a joyous experience. You don’t know how important that one device can be to the overall happiness of your kitchen – until you change it.

April

By April, I had a number of projects in very good shape, lots of teaching on the go and my husband had a pile of combat related projects that he had been supporting. It came to the point that we had to choose how and where we’d support the different productions we’d been helping. He got to see Heathers and I didn’t, I got to see Mary Poppins and he didn’t… that sort of thing. But it was an active time of year that kept us hopping, leading up to …

May

In May, we took students on an amazing trip to Walt Disney World! I’d been trying to make this happen for my students for years and we finally had approval and everything worked! It was a tremendous trip. The kids were great, the parks were great, the weather was – hot! But we had a superb time visiting and learning and pointing out to our performing arts students all the skills that they had, or were learning, that were being used by cast members all over Disney World. It was truly incredible. I look forward to doing that again.

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June

June is the winding down time of the year for teaching, but it is also like a break neck race to the finish to get as many things crammed in as possible before the exams and the clean up and commencement.

This year, my seniors planned a Drama Nite, to showcase their talents and perform for family and friends in our school’s courtyard. It was a great evening. It was a HOT evening with a lot of sunshine and the threat of thunderstorms, but I was immensely proud of the final product and the work my kids did to make it happen. They really pulled together on that project.

Aside from all that, I began rehearsals and planning for a dream show, that I will tell you more about later.

July

July had us travelling. My husband and I went to Great Britain for three weeks. We were primarily in Wales, Cornwall and a few days in London. It was a wonderful trip. A gift from my parents that meant a great deal to the two of us. The portion of the trip to Cornwall was planned by my husband as he has done the research into the history of his family and discovered that his lineage is entirely from Cornwall. He enjoys research, planning and lists. He’s exceptionally good at them. What we discovered he doesn’t enjoy, is driving on the left-hand side of the road. I, on the other hand, don’t mind it. I really enjoyed driving in Great Britain. I found it quite sensible and easy. The navigation, I left to him. He was exceptional at that.

By the way, I love Cardiff. I really do – and if you do, (or if you haven’t been there, go!), you can show the world how you love Cardiff, buy purchasing items from http://ilovesthediff.com

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Mevagissey… where my husband’s ancestors are from…

 

August

August saw us visiting family, friends and attending special events. We had four weddings through August and September. It was wonderful to celebrate with special people.

Not everything in our year was happy, of course. Many sad things happened, but the only one I’m going to mention is the passing of our beautiful and loving cat, Willow. He left us in August. That kept us busy for a good while. And we still think of him, daily.

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Mr. Pooperhead. The best cat ever.

 

September

By all accounts, September was pretty normal. There were rehearsals, for that project that was alluded to earlier. There was the return to school and all materials that are associated with that. There were two large purchases – a vehicle for each of us. Original Kids rehearsal starting up and general life. It all seems like a blur. Good thing there’s Google Calendar to help to remind us of what we have done!

October

October is where life started to ramp up! The Performing Arts kids at my school planned and performed our best Haunted Hallway to date – sold out! Our theme was a graveyard and their characters were the best so far, and so was our transformation of the simple drama room, into a spooky environment. They built a tree, used shadow puppetry and had tombstones, dead leaves and corn husks to help mark the path of our visitors to the event.

We also hosted The Young Americans at our school in October. It was a pretty amazing event. I have seen their work and been a part of the experience in the past, but no one else at my school had. My colleague deserves an immense shout out for her organization of the whole event. She hadn’t been involved in any visit by them to another school before and yet she took the task on and planned the whole thing with style and grace. It was an incredible experience for our school and our kids. I look forward to when we can host them again.

Also in October, my production of Silverwing took to the stage at Original Kids. It was a wonderfully weird little play that the kids completely embraced. They performed beautifully and expertly this adaptation of a Canadian novel, that really was a film adaptation. More playwrites need to learn that taking a novel and just putting into play format does not really make it a play. Usually, it just makes it an awkward film script that needs an editor. Sheesh.

November

In November I started to get memory posts from Facebook about doing puppet workshops with TAG at Original Kids with Kerry Hishon… so, I just showed up and did more workshops! No, not really. But clearly there’s a theme to how my year goes because right when I was scheduled to do workshops for Kerry this year, my memory feed reminded me that I’d done these sorts of workshops for her in the past. Isn’t that interesting the way life has patterns? Speaking of patterns, in September of 2016, Brock, (that’s my husband) and I, went to see an Opening Night performance of Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers SIX YEARS TO THE DAY from the Preview performance of our life changing production. That is life repeating itself. Ripples and spirals…

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Their 3M…. Not ours…Ours was better.

 

December

December saw me moving stuff – literally – in a moving truck, into The Arts Project to set up for my bucket list production, (that I alluded to earlier) of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer. I saw this show in New York City in 2008 on a trip with Original Kids and I was amazed by it. It has stuck with me and sat in my brain ever since. I have been waiting for the perfect situation to come along so I could direct this play. In July, Brock and I extended our stopover in Dublin, so that I could visit some of the areas where the play is set. We were in a pub that is mentioned in the script and met the owner. She said she used to be friends with the playwright. The first part of December was about set up, final rehearsals and the Opening Gala. The second week was about savouring the whole thing before it disappeared into thin air, and the final weeks of the month were filling time between remembering the sweetness of the process and production and real life. Sure, there was a holiday assembly and a pretty sweet Coffee House in there, plus some Christmassy celebrations and a wedding anniversary, but since the show is set on Christmas Eve… it permeated almost every waking moment of December. It is a production of which I am immensely proud. I am pleased that I had wonderful friends to help me make it a reality.

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The Seafarer Boys… at their best. I love them.

 

 

Inspired by others… Here’s my Year in Review (2015)

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger/podcaster, Kerry Hishon – I’m going to try my hand at a review of my year. Here’s the link to her exceptional review: http://kerryhishon.com/2015/12/31/2015-the-year-in-review/

 

January:

The year began slowly as I was recovering from my production of Henry V at my high school. I was also suffering from four months of vertigo symptoms with no idea of the cause or the cure. January is always busy at school since it is the end of the semester and exams and final projects take up a great deal of time and effort. A special social event was attending Art Fidler’s official retirement party from Original Kids. It was a great evening to celebrate a really great guy.

January is also where Kiss a Ginger Day lives…. I recall that no one kissed me that day. Goal established for 2016!

Kiss a Ginger Day!

Kiss a Ginger Day!

February

This month really took off with activities. Brock was already busy with the combat for a friends production of Macbeth and I began rehearsals for Freckleface Strawberry with Original Kids. By the end of the month we’d already closed Macbeth – it was a great show!!!! I also experienced an Escape room with some of the other teachers from my school and Brock and I were invited to join the OKTC trip to NYC for March Break!

Delightful Show!

Delightful Show!

March

Brock and I created the violence for a pretty cool production of Miracle Worker – essentially an extended food fight scene – very, very cool. And then we were off to NYC! It’s always a great trip and this was the first time for Brock to join with OKTC. We saw tons, had a nice relaxing time and managed to average our ticket prices at $50/show.

NYC Trip - March 2015

NYC Trip – March 2015

April

Come April we were waiting for spring to arrive, Brock was helping with a production of West Side Story and yet another Peter Pan! We managed to go together to stage the final battle for Peter Pan – it is always a big deal, but we almost have it down to a science. We can stage it in about 90 minutes with a cooperative and attentive crew of actors! At the end of the month, I rejoined my buddy Kerry to work on another production called The Big Bad Musical – even though my production of Strawberry was still in rehearsal. Gotta love it when things overlap!

May

May saw us renewing our Pyrotechnician licences, Freckleface Strawberry hit the boards – and was a HUGE hit, especially since it was a story that people had not heard of before our production and our support of Peter Pan and West Side Story was completed. May is a busy month for shows, that’s for sure. I also had my first production meeting for She Loves Me – a show I’m currently choreographing that will see the audience in February of 2016.

She Loves Me - Coming in February!

She Loves Me – Coming in February!

June

June FLEW by with the OKTC grad night, a trip to the SHAW Festival with my Mum, the London Fringe Festival and the end of school with exams and projects. All the while, I was writing a script for a show we’d be rehearsing and performing in New York in July! not to mention finding the costumes and props we’d need for the show.

July

July was INCREDIBLE! We flew to New York, stayed in a very convenient and comfortable hotel, saw the hilarious production of Drunk Shakespeare and began rehearsals for our Doctor Who themed combat show with Art of Combat. It’s an intense week of rehearsals and classes that ends in two performances by the end of the week. I was pretty proud of the script I created to make a show out of the workshop scenes and also proud that I managed to memorize my part!

Doctor/Donna in NYC!

Doctor/Donna in NYC!

We flew home Sunday evening and by Tuesday afternoon I was traveling again! This time with my Mum to Great Britain! We had the most amazing trip seeing relatives and checking out all the places Mum used to go to when she lived there. We even took a quick day trip to London to see TWO shows. One glorious musical and a Shakespeare at The Globe! Bucket list items!

The Globe Theatre - Bucket List!

The Globe Theatre – Bucket List!

August

After returning from Britain, I had a week at home, to sleep and do laundry before I was on the road again. This time, I was headed to Connecticut to attend the Puppeteers of America Festival. This is a week long festival of workshops, performances and celebrating the art of puppetry. 2015 was my second time attending the Festival and at first I felt a little disappointed that it wasn’t the same as my first Festival, but before I made it half-way through the week, I couldn’t possibly imagine not attending the next one in 2017.

Leslie, Lolly and Me at the PofA

Leslie, Lolly and Me at the PofA

The end of the summer wrapped up with relaxation, yard work, meet ups with teacher friends and a production meeting for The Trials of Robin Hood! Oh, and I finally had laser surgery to correct my vision. Should have done it ten years ago!

September

By comparison, September was a pretty quiet month. Sure, school started up again, but the only other projects on the go at the time were auditions for She Loves Me and The Trials of Robin Hood. Both of these were incredibly fun although extremely different. At the time, I had no idea what was to come with these two great shows. Who knew?

October

October was a month of work. Rehearsals, rehearsals and more rehearsals. Also a few eye check ups to ensure that everything was progressing as it should. Which it was.

We also presented a workshop at the Annual CODE Conference – a special weekend for teachers of Drama and Dance. We raced in, did our workshop, said hi to a few friends, and then raced home. So we’d be back for rehearsals. Whew.

November

November was pretty similar to October with a bunch of rehearsals and promotions for the shows. We participated in the Santa Claus Parade with a bunch of Merry Men and Women – that was a great time! And Brock was pretty busy getting different props ready for a variety of shows. By the end of the month we were into our tech weekend for Robin Hood. It surprised us in the sense of how quickly it arrived, but we were ready for it. Many of the cast were doubtful going in to the weekend, but I could tell that we were right on track. All they needed was the audience.

Robin wins with a spoon!

Robin’s Lusty Stunts!

 

December

And it arrived! The Trials of Robin Hood opened on December 4th and was a big hit. It received four glowing reviews during the run (deservedly so, if I do say so myself) and it consumed the month for me. It ran for three weekends which is a longer run for our local theatre scene, but part of me wishes we were still doing it.

We became a really tight crew during the process and even went to play Archery Tag together a couple of times. There were many hugs and even tears when folks were saying goodbye on the final night. I’m very proud of the feelings that were generated by this show, for the audience AND for the cast and crew.

We all line up to shoot Brock!

We all line up to shoot Brock!

Tonight, I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary by shooting arrows at my husband. We are returning to Archery Tag for an unusual NYE celebration.

And Brock takes the hit - and catches it!!!

And Brock takes the hit – and catches it!!!