Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Producer vs Actor: Who Am I?

Little Echo Theatre is prepping our show for the 2012 Winnipeg Fringe Festival.  Program copy is written up and edited, photo shoot for graphic and poster design has come and gone, most of the cast is confirmed.  Gee, looks like we're on our way.  Did I forget anything?  Something important? Rehearsing the play perhaps?

Sometimes producing a play I intend to perform in, which tends to by why I am producing the play in the first place, is a difficult thing to balance.  Often performing the role is the last thing on my mind and usually gets shoved to the back burner until I'm standing in front of the director being asked actor questions like "why do you think you're doing that?", and, "can you face down stage when you say that?".  At this point a strange thing happens in my brain.  A little person in my head puts her hand on a switch and is staring me down, wondering if I'm going to stop her from flipping that producer switch off so the actor light can shine.  This is a precarious situation. I've got practicalities and box office numbers, costume decisions and rehearsal schedules floating around, bumping into each other in the semi-darkness making it very hard to even see the play as a play, the role as a role, and me as the actor. 

In the end, when finally that little person in the mind is successful in turning that producer switch off, it is a rewarding experience to have accomplished so much.  Playing Actor and Producer roles earns more space in the pride and accomplishment room of the heart, but it would be a nice break, a vacation you might say, to have someone else do those things, and I can just be an actor.

Monday, 2 April 2012

A Hate on for Arts and Culture

While I was washing my dishes Sunday afternoon listening to CBC radio, Rex Murphy's Cross Country Check-up came on.  Normally I'm not a big fan of this show because it allows anyone with an opinion to blast it over the airwaves no matter how idiotic and misinformed it is. Sometimes the opinion is informed and I am proud that there are intelligent thoughtful people out there.  This particular day, this Sunday, the topic put up for discussion was the federal budget.  People from all over Canada called in to Rex to air their grievances over old age security, tax cuts, and of course, everyone's favourite, arts funding. More importantly, why hasn't the government cut arts and culture funding altogether?  One such person had the seemingly oblivious gall to call this program on the CBC and state that the only thing we don't need is Arts & Culture.  This man said that he worked in a bar making $50/hour, has a wife and two children and it'll be a cold day in hell the day he spends his weekends paying to go to a, wait for it, Museum. Just any museum I presume.  I think he hates all of them, whether he knows what a museum is, it obviously doesn't matter. You know what else he hates?  Education.  He told Rex Murphy that he will "teach" is daughter to be self-educated, and when she decides what she wants to do with her life then she can go to a post-secondary institution and pay for it.  Being self-educated and a young person in the world, I wonder if her world is made up of  anything besides arts and cultre.  I hope she wants to be an artist.  Wouldn't that be perfect.