opinions about life, work, and spirituality

The Saddest Girl needs to pick a poster…

March 31st, 2008

On Friday, a trio that included myself, the lovely and organized Alison Chisholm and gifted photographer Colin Mills, held a photo shoot. Aurelia Jewels (Fir & 2nd) were incredibly generous to offer us their space for taking pictures, as well as their beautiful jewelry to wear. My favorite thing they said to me: “If you’re not gonna film it, you gotta wear it!”. If you look at the pictures, you can see I very gladly took up their offer.

Here is a link to some of the pictures taken by the incredibly talented Colin Mills:

Let us know which ones you like!

My dramaturg rocks!

March 29th, 2008

If you’re not in the theatre business, you’re probably asking yourself, “what the heck is a dramaturg?” A dramaturg can be many things; an editor, researcher, encouraging critic, and even director. My dramaturg, Kathy Parsons, is a story guide and structure analyst. She looks at the overall journey of my characters, their needs and wants, and works to strengthen character and plot. She will often draw out existing but weak plot points and suggest that I make them clearer.

For instance, a few weeks ago, Kathy spread before me several pages of graphs and charts. Basically, the charts and Kathy’s analysis showed that one of my character’s journeys was not clear. Questions were asked, such as: “What does — really want?”, “What does — overcome?” and “How does — grow or change?”. The character’s story was very muddled; was it about becoming independent from her mother or about dealing with the disappearance of a dream or about the journey from blaming others to seeing herself as responsible? I walked away from the dramaturgy session overwhelmed with questions, my mind churning with possible answers.

Part of my artistic process is actually not thinking about my work. It seems that while I go for a walk, converse with ESL students, hang out with friends and spend time with James, my sub-conscious turns gears. Suddenly, at some point during Easter weekend, I knew what Ava’s story was. (The solution seemed to drop down from the sky like a gift strewn from an ally plane during war-time. It really did seem to “thud” as it hit the ground of my mind.) I quickly jotted down the essence of the journey, which wasn’t any of the possibilities I’d previously thought of listed above, and went back to enjoying my Easter weekend. Monday morning, I began to write, aware of what mistakes my character had to make, what she wanted and needed, and where her journey had to go.

If Kathy had never charted my writing and honestly shown me that my character’s journey was unclear, the story would have stayed muddy. It would have been produced and performed, and people would have walked out of the theatre wondering, “What the heck was that one girl’s story all about?”. Now, there is a strong, tangible, and beautiful tale for this character; one that captured my heart, and will hopefully enthrall yours.

Kathy does more than simply save my play from peril. She also finds books for me to conduct my research, guides my eye to key images and elements within the play, provides feedback about any changes that I make, and encourages the best in my play.

So, thank you Kathy. You rock!

The Saddest Girl gets Technical

March 25th, 2008

The team of TSGW are pleased to make another exciting announcement: Erin Davies, an experienced local stage manager, will be tech-ing the show at Carousel Theatre! We are happy to welcome Erin on board, and look forward to working with her in August. Tina would like to shout out her appreciation to the passionate, hard working techies and back stage personalities of Vancouver; thanks for all your unsung artistry. It is much appreciated.

The Saddest Girl goes Independent…

March 19th, 2008

The creative team of THE SADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD are pleased-as-parrots to announce an independent production of the play at Carousel Theatre in Vancouver from August 26th-30th. We are very excited!

The Saddest Girl Gets a Read-Through

March 11th, 2008

The first reading of the first draft of THE SADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD occured some week and a half ago. I am happy to declare that it went splendidly. There were some tears shed (in character!), and afterwards, some great brainstorming and critique. I honestly love recieving critique about my playwriting, so I was very happy to walk away knowing some of how to make this piece even more astoundingly terrific. Many thanks to Dirk, Kathy and Alison for your creativity, insight, intelligence, passion and sensitivity!

Out of the changes needed, the most pressing is that of time and length. The reading went an hour and a half, without any action or movement, but there is only an hour of alloted time for my production at the Fringe Festivals. Considering that any on stage action or movement would add yet more time, I am currently working to edit my writing by half. I have already cut out some passages I truly love, but that are not necessary for the flow of story or plot, or as exposition to the nature of character. Sometimes I am more than happy to cut words, as I think “Oh well, this is pretty mediocre anyways”, but when the writing is really beautiful or powerful, it is difficult to chop, chop, chop. But necessary. So, I steel myself and exile some truly lovely or arresting images and phrases.

Maybe after all the performances of TSGW are finished and the production simply a memory (boooo!), I will post some of my favourite passages that were cut, like a film-maker posts their deleted scenes on a DVD.