As We Like It…. hopefully, “As YOU Like It”…

I have been busy in the last few weeks juggling fall preparations with rehearsals for Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” directed by Neil Freeman for First Impressions Theatre at the Deep Cove Shaw Theatre in Deep Cove, British Columbia.

I’ve been mini-blogging with twitter but have neglected my homey blog and I’ve missed this place!!

Today: a wee note about the show.

First of all, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be driving daily, hanging out and rehearsing – Deep Cove, British Columbia. Across the street, there is the best coffee place with the most amazing café made donuts by “Honey’s” (“sinful”- a fellow actor deliciously described them-especially the chocolate dipped ones).

Down the hilly street is the cozy cove with all the gentle kayaks, & canoes drifting around. On this main street, quietly tucked in, is also the Deep Cove Cultural Centre that houses an intimate 130-seat theatre and its active gallery.

Deep Cove
Deep Cove

This is where we will be opening our show this Thursday, September 10, 2009. Just two days away!

Now with a few weeks of rehearsal under my belt, I can see even more how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to jump on board with renowned director, Neil Freeman, a super fun cast of 23 to play two small parts (but significant …of course, 😉 ), and do some bouffon coaching.

Cast members embrace the bouffon process!
Cast members embrace the bouffon process!

The process has been sheer pleasure. (isn’t that what it should be? …or do we always have to suffer for our art?…that’s another blog post!)

We have been led beautifully with tight schedules that didn’t waste anyone’s time, and we were given liberty to play, to invent, to imagine all sorts of unexpected twists, turns, dances, faces, gestures, thoughts, songs and grow together as a wacky brief Shakespearean company.

Our version of “As You Like It” is set in modern times, with a few extra twists, but stays true to the “first folio” text. Shakespeare gives us great clues to how our text should be played out, and when we get out of our 21st century language habits, the text can carry all of us along nicely.

A peek from a back stage perspective
A peek from a back stage perspective

Love, the most classic, timeless subject ever is the main flavour of “As You Like It”.  The varied forms of love and the unexpected twists make this play high-spirited, & mischievous.

The set is beautifully clean with gorgeous lighting and the best looking tree ever (that’s all I’m saying!) and modern dress allows our costumer to pull from all sorts of colourful sources.

For me, I am looking forward to playing two very different characters (complete opposites!), and being part of the biggest (and coolest) team I have ever been with, and supporting our lead players who will be upholding the main energy.

We were warned that during rehearsals we were going to laugh a lot. We did but now our big wish is that YOU will too!

Come and have some frolicking fun with us from September 10 thru September 26, Wednesdays-Saturday evenings at 8pm in Deep Cove. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.

Permission To Play… reviving your inner kid!

When I was little, I didn’t want to grow up. The grown up world looked terribly serious and my instincts told me sub-consciously that there would be a drastic change.

One day when we were kids hanging out in the back shed lighting matches for fun (no we didn’t burn the place down), my little girlfriend told me that she couldn’t wait to get married and have kids. Wow. I thought she was nuts. I felt no rush nor desire for the same. None.

Now, gazillions of years later I know what my childhood instincts were telling me. There was going to be a lot less play in the grown up world and a lot more problems to solve. I just knew.

The other day on my walk, I watched an impish mix of  adults and kids playing soccer with abandon. It made me grin and I knew that nothing else could be on their minds. Too busy playing, they were in the elusive “now” where all the great contemporary gurus are telling us to be. (have you read Eckart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now”?) The soccer game was a perfect example.

Silly us adults frolicking for fun.. imagine!
Silly us adults frolicking for fun.. imagine!

Theatre, stage work offers this opportunity for me and I believe my journey to this world was an honest trek from childhood. I needed to keep playing. It felt like air, a serious necessity. Being a character on a stage, in a situation, with a live audience, if you are sincere with your work, will keep you divinely present.

When we get to witness, as an audience, a truly connected, compelling, and riveting performance in theatre we are privy to the players in the now. There is clarity and presence. And a strange truth.

To get to some of these great moments, I believe play is of the utmost importance. En Francais acting is called “l’art de jeu” – the art of playing. If we allow our grown up tightness to breathe and expand, we have an opportunity to experience extraordinary unexpected times.

We need to have the chance to discover and explore. I guess that is why I turned to Le Bouffon as a tool to get us all to our playful selves, and discover some gems in our work.

Bouffons in their element! Adults gone.
Bouffons in their element! Adults gone.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” Pablo Picasso

This idea of play translates beyond the theatre, musical and artistic world.

Who isn’t more productive when we have permission to laugh, or play in our working environment? A boss who reprimands employees who dare to enjoy themselves at work risks stymieing the worker and ironically losing productivity.

When I worked as a costumer in the film industry, I had a favourite designer who had a great sense of humour. We developed a wacky reputation as laughter frequently burst out of “that crazy wardrobe truck”! That laughter got us through the immense work and long grueling hours much more easily.

How is play in your grown up life? What do you do to nurture yourself in your working world? I’m curious. Do you have a situation to share where play proved to be the answer?

Despite my strong will to play, I still write to myself as much as to you, when I say that play is imperative. My bouffon students have heard me say, “I wish I could take my workshop!” as I watch them play wholeheartedly, forgetting about their adult masks, and discovering the sacred pleasure of the now. Their results? A freedom of expression that leads them to more.

I dare to wish that for everyone.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw