Summer in the city, everyone sharing and supporting their art, cheap tickets, a communal beer tent to meet up, and best of all, new Canadian shows being born!
I had the privilege of being part of a charming little show called Joe White and the Seven Divorcees. First off, the title alone had me hooked. Then I met up with the creators John Mitchell and Brock Simpson and fell a little in love. Then they told me certain cast members who were going to join and I was completely sold.
The best part about rehearsing a new show is that things change ALL the time! Right up until opening night…and sometimes after. We were lucky, I think our last major change was only a few days before we opened. But in rehearsals the script is always changing, songs are getting added or cut, and characters morph into different people. Isn’t that what makes it exciting? In our original reading of the script the song that everyone keeps talking about (the hit of the show, ‘The Ex’s song’) wasn’t even there yet. What is also great about writing with the cast in front of you is that you can get ideas and opinions from the characters themselves. What they think they want to say. How they think they might react to something.
It was a stimulating and thrilling process each day we came in to work and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. I don’t think I stopped laughing for three weeks straight. Good times.
So now here comes the scary part. We have to open the show and see what people think of it. Now as only a performer in the show I don’t think that part is as scary for us as it is for the writers. Though they’ve done it before and maybe it gets easier for them. I still get extremely nervous before performing, so I can’t image those nerves are easy to toss aside. Sharing your art is a funny thing. I’m terrified to do it, yet I chose this career…strange.
Anyway, opening night. We were all nervous. We hadn’t had an audience before. What if we’re not funny? What if we forget things? What if we start saying lines that we cut two days ago? What if they won’t get it? What if we suck?!?!
But we made it. And felt good. There were kinks…oh there were kinks! But we made it! And I felt proud and relieved and very eager to plunge into the next one. Sadly the way the Fringe schedule worked we had two days until our next performance! WTF? Two days is plenty of time to mull over what you did wrong opening night and surf the internet for reviews.
Now, I have to thank good ‘ole CBC and the Maria hunt for helping me grow a thicker skin when it comes to reviews. I remember once some advice Jayme shared that someone gave her, and that was that you can’t believe the good stuff and not the bad stuff, so its better not to believe any of it and concentrate on yourself and your performance. Truth is, I learned that not everyone is going to like you. End of story. We didn’t get bad reviews by any means, but they were average. And what NOW says affects many people’s choices for Fringing. Yet the more performances we did, we started to love it more and more. I mean really love it. I was having so much fun on that stage I didn’t even care that audiences were there to share it with us. By our last Saturday night we had sold out and had to turn people away! As Brock wrote online, “starting to see ‘Joe White and the Seven Divorcees’ as the tender infant who – having survived the murderous assault of malignant forces – grows to be the awesome warrior and liberator of his people!” Hells yeah.
So now what’s that you say? You’re sad you missed seeing it? Well have no fear my friends, because we’ve been asked to be a part of the Best of the Fringe – Uptown!! That means we have three extras shows at the North York Centre for the Arts Studio Space this week! Wed July 14 at 9:00pm, Thurs July 15 at 9:00pm, and Friday July 16 at 7:00pm. Visit the link above for ticket info. Please don’t miss this chance to see a great show! And if you love it and want to support us, you can donate to the production on our website: www.joewhite7.com.
Or if you’re feeling extremely excited about it and are either filthy rich or have a rich relative who’d love to produce a new amazingly awesome Canadian musical, let us know!!!
Thank you thank you thank for everyone who came to support not just us but the Fringe Festival itself. Between that, Pride, and the World Cup, I think we can say we’ve surpassed the G20 downfall and have risen victorious!