Why So You Think You Can Act?

We’re so excited, So You Think You Can Act All-Star Edition is only 6 days away, but why should you come? In this blog, we’ve got the answer, or rather the answers, for those of you still on the fence!

 

  1. It’s a fun fundraiser! What’s better than a fundraiser for a non-profit theatre company? A fun fundraiser! We are dedicated to creating transformative theatre, and our next production is a community-based project on mental health. After an interview for the project, one person battling mental illness said “thanks for letting us get our stories out.” Monies raised will support this important initiative! Plus you will have a fun time drinking wine, eating great food and watching your favourite local celebrities try their hand at acting.
  2. Tazz rehearsal2

    Big Daddy Tazz at his rehearsal with local actor Kevin Ramberran!

    Six All-Star Local Celebrities! To celebrate the fifth year of the fundraiser we’ve brought back past winners and favourite competitors to vie for the coveted trophy. We’ve got Big Daddy Tazz, Jenna Khan, Kerri Salki, Al Simmons, and Troy Westwood all coming back to reclaim their title, or redeem themselves by winning it this year. These celebrities are famous for things other than theatre, their only crack at acting was during their last SYTYCA competition, come see if they’ve been practicing!

  3. Awesome Raffle Prizes! As is tradition we’ve collected a wide variety of amazing raffle prizes for you to try your luck with. We’ve got tickets to Rainbow Stage, Theatre Projects Manitoba, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Manitoba Opera, Winnipeg Folk Fest, and more. We’ve got gift certificates for acting classes, shopping, car washes, and more. We’ve got a signed Blue Bombers football, a framed, signed Winnipeg Jets photo, and we’ve got even more than that! Come see for yourself before the show and at intermission.
  4. Critical Theatre Professional Judges! All three of our judges are theatre professionals who have vowed not to go easy on our celebrities. Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, and Andrea del Campo, improv and actor extraordinaire, have promised to be especially tough. Pablo Felices-Luna, Artistic Director of Manitoba Theatre for Young People, on the other hand is our wild card, will he turn out to be the nicest judge of the bunch or the harshest? Find out on February 17th!
  5. 151124 Comedian Rae 3.jpg

    Our emcee, Lara Rae!

    A Hilarious Emcee! Our emcee, aka our referee, will keep everything under control with her quick wit and comedy skills. Lara Rae is the Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Club after all, so she knows what she’s doing. She will be joined by six fellow local actors who will be acting with our celebrities, filling our stage with a lot of laughs and talent.

  6. Great Wine Reception! After the winner has been crowned, it’s off to the lobby for great food and wine! Included with the ticket price is a glass of wine and food from Charisma of India, Jonnie’s Sticky Buns, and Grrrumpy’s Pizza & Café. Plus our celebrities will be out there too either celebrating their win or dealing with their loss – but with an evening this fun no one can really lose!

What better way is there to spend a night? Don’t miss out, and get your tickets now for So You Think You Can Act on Wednesday February 17th at the Gas Station Theatre! Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Phone 204-586-2236, or click here to get your tickets now!

 

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Raffle licence (#MGCC5542)

Listen Here, You Celebrities!

As our six returning celebrity champions prepare to compete for the ultimate title in So You Think You Can Act 2016, our judges weigh-in on the incredible challenge that awaits them.

Ari Weinberg.JPGWhile barely suppressing his excitement for this highly anticipated battle, judge Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre laid out his expectations: “I am expecting a full on West Side Story- type rumble of acting talent; I know the competition is going to be that fierce!”

Prepare yourselves for a judge who self-describes as “one part Judge Judy, one part Blake Shelton with a dash of Stanislavsky.” Weinberg is already throwing out challenges to competitors, “I’d like to challenge all the competitors to work on their voices- first and foremost you must be heard.” Celebrities would be wise to heed that call and come prepared to project Ari Weinberg right out of the water if they hope to impress him. I asked Ari if he had any advice for the celebrity competitors, to which he replied, “BRING IT ON!!!!” A message that has now set the tone for the entire competition.

Andrea del Campo hs#2

When I caught up with judge Andrea del Campo, actor and founding member of Outside Joke I was immediately taken aback by her intimidating disposition and stern stance on the subject of being a judge. She offered but one succinct sentiment which she stated ruthlessly enough to make any competitors blood run cold: “I expect blinding success or devastating failure from the competitors. Anything between is trivial.”As she effortlessly mounted her all-white thoroughbed I implored her to offer competitors some words of advice. She said nothing as she rode off into the distance. I deduce that competitors will face the challenge of a lifetime if they aim to impress her.

Pablo photo.jpgLastly, I spoke with Artistic director of MTYPjudge Pablo Felices-Luna who cautioned competitors about his style of judgement, “think of me as your good cop trying to be the bad cop. It works out to a mildly irritated cop.”Is Pablo a window of hope for our competitors, or is he their worst nightmare? There’s only one way to find out.

151124 Comedian Rae 3.jpg

And finally, our ref and emcee for the evening, Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival Lara Rae describes herself as “fair, but firm.” But as they say in sports games, ‘She who undervalues the referee undervalues the win.’ Lara explains that she is new to gender transition and therefore possesses “the combined wisdom of menopause with the fierce insanity of late puberty.”

She will personally “challenge every performer to take huge risks and be true to themselves regardless of how others might react.”

Stakes are high. Our competitors have their work cut out for them. You can catch the live action rumble of So You Think You Can Act on February 17 7:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre. Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Phone 204-586-2236, or visit our website to get your tickets now.

 

 

 

Be It Resolved!

Happy New Year!! Still can’t decide on your New Year’s resolution? Well we have something to help you pull out of the post-holiday winter blues. It’s great for self-care, you could take home amazing prizes and be treated like a VIP. Here are the top 5 reasons to resolve to attend the All-Star So You Think You Can Act on February 17th:

1. Last time Al Simmons did the event he invented the table lunge, nearly knocking water glasses and judges to the floor. Who knows what he will do this year?

SYTYCA Al attacks2

2. Big Daddy Tazz and Troy Westwood tied when they competed two years ago. They are in it to prove once and for all who deserves the trophy.

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3. Self-help gurus, divas and has-beens, a messiah-figure, a dog show and a super star trying to iron a shirt for the first time in her life…we have an amazing selection of scenes from Canada’s top playwrights!

4. You could win two prime subscriptions to Rainbow Stage’s 2016 season! We have a stellar array of prizes streaming in to go with our all-star theme – jewelry, tickets, acting classes…

SYTYCA16 raffe

5. Don’t you want to laugh until your stomach hurts? With emcee Lara Rae; comedic scenes; judges Andrea del Campo, Pablo Felices-Luna and Ari Weinberg – we promise hilarity!

151124 Comedian Rae 3.jpg

 

If that doesn’t convince you then check out the promo video and stay tuned as we feature video challenges from our stars starting next week! Expect trash talk, training secrets and the announcement of the scenes. Get tickets now so you don’t miss out!

 

 

This one goes out to all the Emerging Theatre Artists

We know you’re out there workin’ hard and trying to make a name for yourself in this big, old world. It’s not easy for an emerging artist like yourself; trying to hold down a 9-5 or finish school while daydreaming of a professional career in the Arts. That’s why we’d like to dedicate this year’s workshop series to all our emerging theatre artists out there. We just wanted to let you know…

The Business of Being an Artist – Sunday February 28, 2016  1-4 pm @ the Rory Runnell’s Studio (Manitoba Playwright’s Association, 100 Arthur St.)

We think this workshop will be especially helpful to emerging artists.
Established director Ann Hodges shares her expertise on self-presentation when auditioning and applying for work in the theatre.
Founding member of Outside Joke Andrea del Campo presents on ‘branding’ and harnessing the power of social media.
Business expert from the Women’s Enterprise Centre shares the business perspective on marketing yourself.
Cost: $30  Registration deadline is Sunday February 14

Coffee with a ProDate and time TBD @ Elements Restaurant (599 Portage Avenue)

We’re so excited to be piloting this new and informal approach to mentorship!

Coffee with a Pro will pair a two to three emerging directors with established director Mariam Bernstein to talk shop over coffee and snacks.
Email Angie with your directing resume and cover letter to apply.

Work It Nights @ ACI Manitoba (4th floor of 245 McDermot Avenue) Continue taking place the 3rd Monday of every month. Drop in to share your work-in-progress, come to get inspired, collaborate, or just to socialize. Artists of all mediums are welcome. The next Work It is Monday December 14th.

Strategic Planning for Emerging Artists (January 3rd and 10th)
is full at the moment, but you can still register to audit the workshop, and/or sign up for the wait list.

Email Angie at associate@sarasvati.ca to register.

Check out our website or visit us on Facebook

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Thank you to Rainbow Stage, ACI Manitoba, Elements, Women Enterprise Centre and Manitoba Community Services Council for their support.

 

 

It’s the Rage on the Stage!

The fifth annual So You Think You Can Act fundraiser is Wednesday February 17th and it’s bound to be the Fight of the Century. We’ve rallied all of your favourite past celebrity competitors to duke it out for your viewing pleasure. Six! Count ‘em, Six! Local celebrities who are famous for anything but acting will be paired with actors to perform scenes. They’ll cut their chops on theatrical challenges in front of a panel of judges and you! Who will take home the title? There’s only one way to find out.

The wonderful and hilarious Founding Artistic Director of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Lara Rae will be emceeing all night, doing her very best to keep competitors on track and in line. But she’ll have her work cut out for her because this year’s theme is all about big breaks, fast fame, and huge divas.

Enough chit-chat! Announcing this year’s celebrities; six fierce competitors in too many corners to count we have….

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  • Al Simmons: Juno Award Winning musical comedy wizard. ‘Al has been called the Thomas Edison of Entertainers.’ Well, let’s see if he can invent his way out of this one!
  • Troy Westwood: Former professional Canadian football player. Troy played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for 17 years, earning an All-Star selection in 1992. The bigger they are, the harder they fall!
  • Big Daddy Tazz: Often described as ‘one of the most talented comics in the business’ he’s used to rave reviews and standing ovations. But can he stay in character?!
  • Jenna Khan: Co-Host of ‘Energy Morning’s with Frankie Hollywood’ on Energy 106 FM. Jenna knows how to win over Winnipeggers, but our panel of judges? That’s a whole other story!
  • Tracy Koga: Senior Producer and Host of Shaw Television’s “Backstage”. A former dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Tracy has danced all around the world. She can float like a butterfly, can she sting like a bee?
  • Kerri Salki: Produces and Hosts a radio show on 101.5 UMFM. She’s a voiceover actor who’s recorded everything from animated series to apps for smartphones. She could be stacked to slay in this competition, but audiences love an underdog.

    There all night to make sure these celebrities put their big piles of money where their mouths are is our cutthroat panel of judges, featuring… Pablo Felices-Luna, Artistic Director of MTYP; Ari Weinberg, Artistic Director of Winnipeg Jewish Theatre; and Andrea Del Campo, actor, singer, producer and founding member of Outside Joke.

    To ring in our 5th year we are offering a VIP package—buy a 5-pack of tickets and reap in some celebrity treatment for yourself. Our High Five All Star Experience entitles your group to wine upon your arrival, reserved seating, and a group photo with the celebrity competitor of your choice!

    You won’t want to miss this battle royale! Get your tickets to SYTYCA 2016 HERE! Stay tuned, we’ll be featuring each celebrity competitor in the weeks to come. Let the trash-talk begin.

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EDEN Feature – Andrea Del Campo

Next up as our featured actor, is Andrea del Campo who plays Ev. Andrea has been involved in the show since the 2009 workshop. Ev is a teenage rebel with a cause. Andrea now lives in Toronto but comes back to Winnipeg often to work! Here is what she had to say:

What is one thing every actor needs to know? No room for egos! Unless you have won an Oscar or donated millions to charity.

What does every great story have to have? Pain.

What is your favourite word? Dessert.

If I could grant you a single wish, what would it be? To have a private, on-call masseuse.

Complete the sentences:

If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be… sleeping.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was… getting curly hair all of a sudden when I hit puberty.

A common misconception of me is… my age.

You know me as a actor but in truer life I’d have been… a rockstar or a housewife on a farm.

Andrea del Campo as Ev in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

Andrea is delighted to continue with EDEN, having played Ev in the 2009 workshop reading. A Winnipegger living in Toronto, Andrea works as an actor, singer and improviser. She has travelled to festivals all over Canada with critically acclaimed Winnipeg improv troupe, Outside Joke, and has performed with various groups in Toronto, including Ghost Jail Theatre and Bad Dog Theater. Andrea’s has appeared onstage at PTE, MTYP and in Strike!, television credits include Men With Brooms and Wingin’ It, and film credits include My Awkward Sexual Adventure and Open Window, official selection of TIFF 2010. Andrea thanks everyone who worked on the world premier of EDEN, as well as her Mom, Ray, and OJ.

EDEN Log – Week 3

EDEN Playwright’s Log – Hope McIntyre

Yesterday we moved out of the rehearsal hall! Monday we load in to the theatre and we open on Friday. Hard to believe how quickly the time is going. We have an intensive four days of tech coming up but it is exciting to see it take shape. Tracy Penner, our fabulous Delilah in the play, said to me yesterday “your baby is almost done.” After so many years of working on the piece it does feel very much like I’ve created something very personal, although I can’t compare it to a human child, it will be a very special thing to share it with the world as well as being extremely nerve-wracking. At the same time it won’t ever feel like it is complete. I’m sure there will be adjustments after seeing it before an audience and hopefully with publication and second production…

Andrea del Campo and Tracy Penner in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

This week was a mix of run-throughs of the play, working sections that needed cleaning up, costume fittings and final videotaping. The actors have made huge leaps thanks to director Sharon Bajer. It was great to have Wab Kinew take on the role of Eduardo, a character who appears on video at a key moment in the play. Our tech genius, Chris Coyne, also brought cameras in so the actors could start playing around with the live video feed. It looks really cool and really helps capture the world of the play. A key idea in the play is the power that comes with the control of the air waves.

Music was also starting to be integrated by yesterday and it adds a whole other element to the play. It will be amazing to see it on stage and the lighting design by Dean Cowieson will certainly add a great deal to Kim Griffin’s stark set design. After seeing what great work Jordan Popowich did with the promo video, I can’t wait to see the video sequences he has created for the play. There are some pretty crazy dream sequences that I haven’t seen yet!

It’s also really neat to see how Ali Fulmyk, our props coordinator extraordinaire has dealt with some of the challenges like a video camera that gets smashed to the ground in every performance. Not to mention military uniforms, quick changes and an array of dirtied-up clothes that our costume designer, Kelsey Noren, has had to deal with.

Of course the week before opening also means ramping up with media coverage and promotions. Our administrator, Robyn Pooley, has been very busy in the office working on all of this. Actor Andrea del Campo was on both CKUW’s Say It Sista and Eat Your Arts and Vegetables last Thursday. Marsha Knight will be on the NCI morning show on Tuesday and we hope to have a wide array of media out to our media call on April 25th.

Marsha Knight and Ti Hallas in EDEN; photo by Janet Shum

I’m starting to feel like the host of a party, hoping lots of people will show up. Winnipeg is so great, but there is always lots going on. I can’t wait to share the play and mostly the great work all of these artists have been doing. Hopefully everyone can make it out!

For performance dates and tickets check out the EDEN web page.

EDEN Log – Week 2

EDEN Playwright’s Log – Hope McIntyre

We’ve just finished the second week of rehearsals and wrapped it up with a first stumble-through of the play. It’s wonderful to see the play take shape in a first run and get a real sense of how it all fits together. The actors get a real feeling for their character’s through-line and the designers get a clear sense of technical needs. This show does certainly have its technical challenges with both recorded video and live video feed. There is a camera on stage that will project live footage but also an actor offstage who has video conversations with characters on stage. This all means balancing the rehearsal time with working the live action and shooting video footage. It’s amazing though to picture what it will be like when it all comes together!

Kevin P. Gabel as Adam and Andrea del Campo as Ev; Photo by Janet Shum

As things continue to progress beautifully in the rehearsal hall, I am still hit by things outside that echo the world of the play. For example, last Saturday when I was reading the paper I came across an article about refugees fleeing Syria who are using video to prove the government is massacring citizens (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/world/syrian-refugees-bring-tales-of-horror-146514835.html). There were some lines that seemed to have come straight from the script for EDEN. This relevancy of the piece is sad. When writing the script I was really projecting forward to explore what would happen if a culture of fear continued to dominate, a culture where those who are different or disagree are branded terrorists and sanctioned. Unfortunately, with the global situation we don’t have to project forward to see the extremes in the play. In fact the research the team has been doing has found many historical examples that echo the play.

Throughout the rehearsals, director Sharon Bajer, and the cast have been drawing on many sources. In fact Sharon has been consistently referencing 24 with Keifer Sutherland. There is a character in the play very similar to Jack Bauer, except Jack Bauer is seen as a hero. It will be interesting to see if the audience sees George, played by Tom Soares, to be justifiable in his interrogation techniques. Some of the cast also recently saw The Hunger Games and found many parallels. But again, real life trumps fiction as Ti Hallas who is playing the Minister of Labour, Stacy, was intrigued by reports that our current Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt allegedly asked the RCMP to “arrest these animals” after Air Canada workers slow clapped and sarcastically said “Oh, great job” to her as she walked through Lester B. Pearson Airport on March 22nd. Of course there have been two sides to this story but it all feeds in to what EDEN is exploring – an ‘us and them’ mentality with two versions of the truth.

With such a great group of actors, there were even moments of goose bumps for those of us watching the run yesterday. It’s hard to brag about my own writing but I feel okay saying that the performances will be amazing and the direction has truly brought the script to life. I also was so pleased with having the involvement of grass dancer Wayne Ruby. We shot video of him on Tuesday and he is truly a wonderful dancer and a very special person. I was so impressed with his dedication to the traditions he has chosen to carry forward. He does Pow-Wow Clubs for youth every night of the week at different places in Winnipeg. He is such an important role model to them. Also this week actor Marsha Knight met with our translator and coach to work on the Cree chants in the play. We’ve been pleased to have the support of so many associations and community groups. All of these elements mean there is a lot to keep on top of but they truly make the play into a very special event.

Marsha Knight as Essa; Photo by Janet Shum

The rehearsal hall is also such a positive and creative environment. The apple pie, cookies, Tim bits and chocolates people keep bringing in surely help!

Hard to believe there is less than two weeks until opening – more info and tickets on the EDEN webpage.

EDEN Rehearsal Blog – Hope McIntyre

First week of rehearsals are complete! It’s been an amazing start to the process. At the meet and greet the rehearsal hall was full, several tables surrounded by actors, designers and production team members. It is both rewarding and scary to think all these people are here because I wrote a play.

After a week workshop in January, I’ve been rewriting in whatever spare time I had with the excellent guidance of dramaturg Rick Chafe. His attention to detail is amazing, but he’s also been a great cheerleader – giving encouragement to keep me from feeling overwhelmed. Terrence McNally once said that writing is a supreme act of self-confidence. It does certainly take a lot of guts, particularly to keep working through the fog hoping that in the end things will be clear. Since November, the entire structure of the play has changed. It took a lot to let go of the former skin of the play. To find that balance between letting go of what is not working but to hold on to what I know deep down is vital to the story. Then at the reading on Tuesday to hear yet another completely reworked version and to hope that it works. You think it does but you listen to each word watching for reactions, hoping you’ve made it better not worse. The laughter, at the right spots, are so comforting. Then afterwards just a couple of script notes from Rick and director Sharon Bajer – much better than the pages and pages of notes from the previous months!

Terrence McNally also said you have to love your collaborators. What’s not to love about the great group we have! Not only are they talented artists but they care enough to really think about the piece, provide insights and ask really great questions. Plus they’re fun to be around! Even rehearsing over Easter weekend was made less of a chore when Andrea del Campo, who plays Evelyn, decided to organize an Easter egg hunt over lunch.

Director Sharon Bajer and actor Tracy Penner on lunch break

As a playwright watching director Sharon Bajer clarify each moment with the actors is so valuable. Her experience as an actor and playwright really feeds into her work as a director. She’s not even overwhelmed by the fact we have a lot of video to shoot for the play, Cree translation, technical challenges and a tight rehearsal schedule.

Paula Vogel recommends that the playwright not answer questions directly in the workshop and rehearsal process. Of course the actors keep asking them though. I work hard to listen and observe, to see what they get from the script before explaining anything. I’m much more interested in their choices and discoveries than in telling them what I intended. It’s the only way to find out if the script is off the mark.

Okay, yes, it has been an exhausting week with some final script massaging and tweaking. It meant having to ignore everything else for a while, but it is so exciting to see it coming to life! It is a joy to see the work of our amazing design team, to see the actors finding a way to deliver each moment so effectively and to also continue the investigation of the themes that propelled me to spend seven years working on this piece.

Check out the EDEN webpage for tickets and info.

Kevin Anderson as Ophidian in video by Jordan Popowich

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