News & upcoming hiatus!

As promised, I’ve got some news, including an accompanying Spring hiatus for the blog…

Back in January, I was invited to join the cast of an indie production of The Sad Blisters, a new play by Andrew Batten, directed by Victoria Shepherd. It’s a quirky, funny, poignant family dramedy with an all-female cast—so, of course, I loved the script immediately. Our first read-through is tomorrow!

It’s been almost 11 years since I performed in a theatre production (Wit at Alumnae Theatre); I’ve done staged readings, stand-up and singing performances in the meantime, as well as seeing/reviewing a lot of theatre. So I’m very excited to be returning to the stage—and working with this team!

Since we’ll be rehearsing and performing on weeknights and weekends, I’ll be putting the blog on a two-month hiatus for March and April so I can focus time and energy on the play. I’ll still be seeing a few shows—and shouting out shows on social media—just not reviewing or interviewing.

The Sad Blisters runs April 12-27 at The Commons—so save the dates! Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter, etc. for details, including performance dates/times and advance ticket purchase info. I’ll be posting info here on the blog as well.

Happy March! Here’s hoping Spring arrives soon.

 

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Bittersweet memoir of lost love in A Play on Passion

APoP 3-Creation Lab
Patricia Delves & Gabriel DiFabio in A Play on Passion – photo by Danielle Capretti

A young crime novelist meets with a grand dame of Canadian theatre to ghost write her memoir – and gets a lesson on love in A Play on Passion. Written by G.D. Corkum and Patricia Delves, and directed/produced by Danielle Capretti, the play is being presented as a rehearsed reading for two performances at the Blake Thorne Studio.

A renowned stage actress born and raised in England, Veronica Devereaux (Delves) is chilly and aloof with wordsmith William Adkins (Gabriel DiFabio) when he first arrives, put off that their publisher has sent a writer with no knowledge of the theatre to write her story. The two soon find some common ground in their mutual, dogged pursuit of their respective arts – against the odds and the will of their parents – and Veronica’s icy veneer melts as she discovers a kindred spirit in William. As Veronica’s stories veer from the professional to the personal, her retrospective of love and passion touches a chord in William, who is struggling in his relationship with his girlfriend. And shared stories become shared wisdom.

A Play on Passion is a lovely two-hander, written with heart, humour and insight. Delves is a delight as Veronica, giving her both a regal dignity and a devilishly playful sense of humour. An actress of advanced years with a razor-sharp wit and a passion for life, her curiosity and verve have been tempered by decades of experience in life and on stage, but she remains frank and unapologetic of her choices. Wounded, but not destroyed, by regret. DiFabio is full of youthful charm and drive as William, giving us layers of creativity, sensitivity and sexuality. His parents expected him to be a plumber, but he chose instead to mine the human psyche for its dark and light desires to create stories of noir intrigue. At a crossroads with his girlfriend, he finds himself at a loss, aware that this is something new and wonderful, but scared to death of what it all means.

A bittersweet memoir of lost love, served with the wisdom of hindsight, in the intimate, moving and witty A Play on Passion.

A Play on Passion has one more performance today (Sat, Nov 21) at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are PWYW (pay what you want) at the door. You can call ahead for reservations at 416-762-4364; seating is limited, so book ahead or get there early.

The Blake Thorne Studio is located at 720 Bathurst St., Suite 401 – it’s the warehouse turned office building just south of the Randolph and Annex theatres (right next to the elevator – see the door with the kick-ass art/signage on it).

Hot Damn, it’s season 2 of Queer Slam!

queer slamBetter late than never. Due to the nature of this event, I need to confirm with the organizers that it’s okay to publish participants’ names. So, without further ado…

Hot damn, that was another fine Queer Slam at Supermarket on Wednesday night! I had the pleasure of attending back in December, when I was also invited to be a judge; I was asked to be on the judging panel again, and decided to focus on listening and taking notes – so no pics this time (except for the fabulous event poster image above).

Host Cathy Petch kicked off season two of the annual LGBTQ poetry slam with a whole lotta of love, support and energy – and played the queer national anthem “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the saw. Queer Slam will tour various locales across Ontario, and winners from each event will compete in the finals in the spring at Buddies in Bad Times – and the ultimate slam champ will win a spot at the annual Capturing Fire slam event in Washington, D.C.

Wednesday night’s slammin’ festivities included two sets of open mic performances, two rounds of slam competition and feature performer Johnny Trinh. Queer Slam attracts an incredible pool of talented folks – and open mic performers were no exception, including fellow judge, Duncan Armstrong aka TOpoet.ca. – socially aware, bold, funny and moving, these poets inform, inspire and entertain.

Slam competitors included Vanessa McGowan, Georgia Wilder and Shawna Dimitry, with judges calibrating their scores with the work of the evening’s sacrificial slam poet Kay Kassirer. Kassirer set the bar high, with some timely, astute and poetic observational call-outs about trans rights and how Hollywood fucked up the Stonewall movie; and personal experiences of pain and frustration as a person who identifies as genderless, and their struggle to navigate others’ assumptions of their sex/gender – building up a protective “wall as shield” to confront and just live in the world.

The three slam participants didn’t make it easy for us either, each with a very distinct style, voice and tone. McGowan’s work is beautifully raw, irreverent and moving – from her piece on a violation of consent, to “On Other Chunks” (from her collection Divine Cockeyed Genius). Wilder’s work went from lyrical, gothic and visceral in her first piece, to playfully erotic and comical in her final piece on desire and donuts. Shawna’s pieces were heartfelt, bittersweet renderings of childhood/teenage memories – and the complex relationship dynamics between BFFs, and coming to terms with the nature of attraction and object of desire. In the end, McGowan took first place, with Wilder coming in second and Shawna third.

Feature slam poet Johnny Trinh charmed, moved and informed with works that touch on the personal and the political. A meditation on the honesty of the breath segues into a reflection on the meaning of “home.” The first of two multidisciplinary collaborations was a longing, aching piece about the long distance relationships (featuring the work of a singer, dancer and actor), with Trinh speaking over a soundscape collage of lovers’ conversations with an R&B love song layered underneath brought to the fore in words and song: “you cannot edit my heart,” “call my name, invoke all of me, see me.” A rhythmic indictment of systemic abusive power, racism, oppression and slavery (from his new chapbook We Are Weary) – followed by an insightful reminder, as he addressed the audience afterwards, to not give our present-day bigots, haters and trolls more media time and space by referencing them. A poetic activist, Trinh also takes aim at the 1% and the outcome of income inequality and unemployment, raging against social injustice “knowing that life, let love alone, is a battlefield.” And a final collaboration with recorded acoustic guitar and cello accompaniment was a heartfelt, heartbreaking piece from the POV of the Chinese lover of a white man – a lyrical, dysfunctional love poem full of hurt, as racism presents as a dynamic otherness, stereotyped exoticism and servitude. You can also follow Trinh on Twitter.

Keep an eye out for these remarkable artists. Queer Slam goes back and forth between Toronto (at its home at Supermarket) and the other cities – check The Circuit page for details; next Toronto show was confirmed as November 18 today.

Interview with actor/writer & Red Sandcastle Theatre impressaria Rosemary Doyle

Pretty Red Dress less definedEarlier this month, I had the big wacky fun pleasure of attending Red Sandcastle Theatre’s annual holiday musical panto #DICKWHITFORMAYOR and his …Cat (you can read that blog post here), and it dawned on me that theatre owner/A.D. Rosemary Doyle would be an excellent interview subject for the blog.

Actor/playwright/theatre impressaria Rosemary Doyle runs Red Sandcastle Theatre, a storefront theatre space located at 922 Queen St. East in the Leslieville neighbourhood of Toronto (near Queen/Logan, right next to the Ed’s Real Scoop). Red Sandcastle Theatre is very much a part of the neighbourhood mosaic, where local businesses support each other and the atmosphere has a cozy community feel to it. The theatre’s tag line reads “Anything is Possible” and is described as “so off-Broadway, we’re in Leslieville.” I interviewed Rosemary Doyle over email, about her life in theatre – both as a performer and as a producer – and Red Sandcastle Theatre.

LWMC: It’s been nearly three years since you started Red Sandcastle Theatre, but you started off your life in theatre – quite young – as an actor. Tell us a bit about those early years acting, particularly in theatre.

RD: Yes, I was quite young. It’s hard to pick a starting point really. When I was really little I would sing or dance ballet on the long sofa coffee table my parents had. They were terrified I would take a plunge though the picture window. I did all the school plays, starting in kindergarten, I remember I was Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web in grade school, and got fan mail and love letters from girls in other schools, it was very confusing. When I was eight, I was a finalist in a Talent Show at the Grande Theatre, I sang “Memory” from Cats and “Danny Boy,” and Brian Jackson, a notable conductor, played the piano for me. I still think they were weird choices of love and loss for a little girl. At 12, though, I played Annie in Annie at the Kingston Grand Theatre, to over 800 people a night, and that was it – I was hooked. Any thoughts of being a dermatologist or a cartographer went away. From then until now, I’ve done at least five shows a year. The Red Sandcastle’s been averaging about 42 a year or more. Not all mine, of course, but I am quite hands-on in adding value to any shows that come to the Red Sandcastle and I’m proud of them all. I’ve been really thrilled with the talent and exuberance that the Toronto theatre community is displaying these days.

LWMC: What made you decide to open a theatre space? And how did you come to find the storefront space (a former pottery store that also held classes) at Queen/Logan?

RD: I’ve wanted to have a space forever. In fact, with the magic of Facebook my old high school drama teacher, Gord Love, congratulated me on finally having “My Theatre.” I was reminiscing with my dear friend Allan Day, to years ago, sitting down at the Chinese Laundry Cafe in Kingston and making plans for what we were going to call “The Tiny Theatre” and that was in the 80s. But what made me take the plunge in May 2011, I was newly single, for the first time in 18 years, and I was frustrated that at the time there were no spaces in which theatre artists could do their work and not lose their shirts. I had been doing shows at the Bread and Circus. Jackie English, one of the owners, was a friend of mine, but it had closed, and it seemed to me the waiting lists and money involved for even the extra spaces of the theatres around town were, to a small company, a lot of money. I wanted to open a space that could support theatre artists to play. I have always thought of a theatre as the theatre artist’s canvas, and sure, we can make art without a canvas, but it’s easier with one. I wanted to be able to support that, for other people and myself. I wanted a space where you could talk to me and hear, “Yes,” rather than “No.” So my motto has been “Anything is Possible” and I have tried to stick to that. I guess it was a good idea, as many other spaces have opened since then, so much so that in under three years the Red Sandcastle is thought of as established! So funny!

The space at Queen and Logan was serendipitous. I have lived in Leslieville since the early 90s and plenty of spaces had come up that I had wanted to turn into theatres, but life happens. You get married, have children, you’re busy, but you keep thinking about this idea. Various opportunities come up and your spouse thinks they are a waste of energy and money and too risky, and you agree because you don’t really have any capital to do them properly. But then time passes, you save your money for a dream that may or may not happen, and then life keeps happening and suddenly one day you’re single again. You’re thinking about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, or at least the next year, so you’re sitting in another cafe, this time called Sophie’s, pouring your feelings into a coffee and a journal and you look out the window and a for rent sign comes up across the street. You tell Sophie to hold on a second, you’ll pay for the coffee when you come back. Paul, your neighbour, says he’ll cover it for you, and you go and you see the space. A lovely woman named Helen, whose been running her creative project in there for 16 years and is retiring now, shows you around and you think… it CAN work. What’s the difference this time? Well, apart from the proximity to parking and the good sight lines, you’ve been single for two months and the only benefit you can see of being single at this time is there’s no second opinion telling you it can’t work. Finally, you can spend your savings the way you want to, there’s no one to say no. I truly believe that every overnight sensation is years in the making. The trick is to bank cash when you aren’t doing exactly what you want so you can pounce on opportunities when they arrive.

LWMC: And how did you come up with the name Red Sandcastle Theatre?

RD: R.E.D. (Rosemary Ethel Doyle) are my initials, and Sandcastle is to represent the ethereal and fleeting nature of theatre, like a sandcastle, you build it and then it’s gone, but that’s no reason not to build it. A friend suggested the second bit while we were drinking Veuve Clicquot in the window of the space on the first day I took over the lease, and was thinking “WHAT DO I DO NOW??” I had just given the landlord all my money, an entire year’s rent up front, and he had given me three keys, like the three beans Jack got for his mother’s cow. It’s funny, I found out about two years into running the place that Helen, the previous occupant’s middle name was Ethel, so 922 Queen Street East has been curated by artistic woman named Ethel for going on 20 years now.

LWMC: It’s amazing that you were able to find a space in your own neighbourhood, not far from home. What’s it been like, navigating being a single mom and running a theatre, on top of your acting and writing work?

RD: I’m not going to lie, I’m very busy. But I wouldn’t have jumped into this life if the theatre wasn’t around the corner from my home and my boys. I was at a crossroads, as a single mom should I be giving up this profession to get something more steady for my boys? But what else could I do? And wouldn’t that have taken me away from them more? As my own boss, I can be there for them when they need me. Every morning, I get up early and carpool my son and three other kids to school, I’m still doing my little job at Dundas School for the nutrition committee, and I’m here when they come home for dinner the same as before. If I’m at the theatre, I’m just five minutes away if they need me. They are 16 and 11 now, and my ex and I have been great about being there for the kids as our top priority. I think it’s good that I am busy, I can only imagine what I would have been like doing nothing or working at a job I hate! The theatre has given me lots of opportunities to write, and the ability to put the plays on. With my “PLAY IN A WEEK” Camp for summer break and March break, I write a play based on what the troupe of kids want on the Monday and we put the play on on the Friday. Often my boys are in the camp too. It’s been great fun; I’ve written about 23 shows in the past two years, I even write them for birthday parties. Last August long weekend, I launched the “1,000 Monkeys Playwriting Festival,” which was an idea I wanted to do, thought up that first day with the Veuve. We had 17 playwrights create new works in 24 hours while they stayed overnight at the theatre. My friend Kate teased me once “If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know.” This busy-ness has only added to my creativity, and my boys are pleased that I am happy and not bugging them all the time right at the age they don’t want to be bugged.

LWMC: You’re featured in Red Sandcastle Theatre’s upcoming production of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane (directed by Wes Berger, running Jan 23 – Feb 1). Tell us a bit about the play and how you came to produce it at Red Sandcastle.

RD: What a fierce Irish play this is! Martin McDonagh spares no punches. Lynne Griffin and her husband Sean Sullivan and I were sitting in yet another cafe, this time Mercury – are you detecting a trend here? And we were saying that we would love to do something together. Lynne suggested Beauty Queen of Leenane; she said she could play the mother and I the daughter. Perfect, I thought, as Lynne is a sparkly eyed, red-head, just like my mom. Sean would play the love interest. I knew an Irish actor, Paul Kelly, who would be perfect as Sean’s brother. Then when I mentioned the play to Wes Berger, he replied that he loved it, and I said he’s in luck as we didn’t have a director yet! It’s a strange and beautiful fit to have such caring, lovely, people working on a show where people are so purposely cruel. Maybe it resonates with the Irish in me (my parents live south of Dublin), as I find it good and interesting going to these dark places (I guess that explains an 8-year-old’s “Danny Boy”) and Lynne’s so amazing. Every moment of her is delicious! Sean and Paul are a delight, and Wes is like a reverse therapist, mining all my gunk for truth… he assures me it will be cathartic, I think maybe he just wants a really good show. 😉

LWMC: What else have you got coming up at the theatre?

RD: That’s a dangerous question! So let’s stick to January, February… in the middle of Beauty Queen of Leenane’s run from Jan 23 – Feb 1, we have the monthly Jill’s Living Room, an open mic singing night which happens the last Monday, we also have on Jan 21 FANCY PANTS and Slacks and Co., an improv/open comedy night which is run by Kelly Fanson. It happens twice a month or so. GENESIS .. and other Stories opens the first week of Feb, on the 10th of Feb the Illustrated Men are doing a show. Jody Terrio is doing a children’s show on the Family Day Weekend, Jackie English is doing Jane Shield’s one woman show SORBET AND THE SINGLE GIRL, and then we are back to Jill’s Living Room on the 24th, and then Michael Ripley premieres his new play Letters to Saint Rita, which will run Feb 25 to March 2. Also, there are classes, Tracey Erin Smith’s Soulo Class which runs starts Feb 2 and Beth Laing’s weekly acting classes, and Allan C. Peterson’s Weekend Method Acting Class, which runs Jan 25th and 26th, as well as rehearsals for various companies. It’s great to keep the place hopping!

LWMC: Any other projects coming up for you?

RD: After Beauty Queen, I will be directing Sorbet and the Single Girl; this is a remount of a production we did at the Bread and Circus, and that was a remount of a show I did, where I played the part and toured the play to TISH in NYC and we are in the planning stages of an all-woman cast of Julius Caesar. I’m not sure who they want me for, but perusing the email, we seem to be getting together some of the ladies I did a Fringe Richard the Third with. I hope I get to sword fight again. But I am open to projects anywhere.

LWMC: Anything else you’d like to share with folks?

RD: If anyone is interested in the “PLAY IN A WEEK” Camp, or the 1,000 Monkeys Playwriting Festival, or just wants to do something, call me. I’m always up for a coffee: 416-845-9411, Oh and ‘like’ the Red Sandcastle Theatre on Facebook, or follow me @RosemaryEDoyle on Twitter, and then you’ll know what’s up, probably around the same time as I do. Thank you so much Cathy, Cate.

LWMC: I answer to both. 🙂 Thanks, Rosemary!

Rosemary Doyle was also featured as the Mom in the Jeremy LaLonde short dark comedy film Out, which screened during TIFF 2013. Check out the trailer:

You can see Doyle performing live in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, running Jan 23 – Feb 1 at Red Sandcastle Theatre (922 Queen St. East, north side, just east of Logan). I’ll be there this Thursday for opening night – stay tuned for the scoop on this show.

Happy holidays!

2013-12-15 18.06.03
My wee Xmas tree, lit up in the dark.

Hi all –

It’s full-on holiday hustle and bustle, with gatherings and errands galore! Wanted to send out a quick note to say that I’m still here, I just needed to take care of a few things, which left me no time to post over the past little while. Hope you’ve been enjoying the reblogging of some other fabulous bloggers in the meantime.

Here’s what I’ve been up to (in addition to the f/t office job as a copy editor, which has been super busy the past couple of weeks, and some fabulous holiday gatherings, and arts and culture):

Rehearsing and reading in Siobhán Dungan’s radio comedy The Receptionist, which featured 8 actors reading 120 characters, and a violinist – we did that on Dec 6 at Innis Town Hall and had a blast!

Auditioning for the Village Players’ upcoming production of Daniel MacIvor’s Marion Bridge (directed by Greg Nowlan, running Feb 28 – Mar 22). I made it to callbacks and didn’t get cast, but really looking forward to seeing this.

I’ve been working as a scenic artist with set designer Ed Rosing on Alumnae Theatre’s upcoming production of Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning (directed by Jane Carnwath, running Jan 24 – Feb 8 on the mainstage).

Seeing amazing arts events like The Gay Heritage Project (Buddies In Bad Times), Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir (The Central) and Lizzie Violet’s Poetry Open Mic (Amsterdam Bicycle Club).

Coming up soon:

The great pleasure of a photo shoot with Lisa MacIntosh on Saturday.

I’ll also finally be doing an interview with writer/poet/editor/horror aficionado and cabaret mistress extraordinaire Lizzie Violet.

And, of course, we’re now a week away from Christmas Eve, so the countdown is on!

Happy holidays, all! xo

Interview with the multi-faceted Lisa Anita Wegner

When Kat Leonard introduced me to multi-talented, muti-faceted, multi-media working artist Lisa Anita Wegner, what struck me the most was that Lisa credits art with saving her life. You can read her story here. And when I visited her blog site, I was blown away by the imagery in her pixel paintings.

I had a chance to interview Lisa over email – here’s what she had to say:

LWMC: Hi, Lisa. I was looking at your WordPress blog site and the Mighty Brave Productions site to get a sense of the work you do – and was amazed at the multi-faceted aspect of your work overall, and how it all boils down to authentic storytelling, and using story to make interior and exterior connections. You’ve worked as an actor, producer, writer, filmmaker and visual artist. What else? What came first for you and how did the media you work in evolve?

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5-year-old Lisa’s Mary Poppins casting call

LAW: I have always made stuff with whatever I have access too. My first project idea to put on a Mary Poppins play didn’t fly because no one responded. I was five years old.

When I was little, I was shy but when I had an idea for a play, I would become bold. I got permission from the school principal to produce an all-grade two production of Little Orphan Annie and perform in the auditorium for the school. I played by myself a lot, and I would envision fully formed plays and then did my best make them happen. I really was just following instincts, moving toward what felt good. And when I was performing, I felt like it was doing the right thing.

I stuck with theatre mostly because I had no video camera and was good at making costumes. In grade nine, I got the lead in the high school play and played Catherine Sloper from Washington Square on a proper stage with older kids. I felt like I’d arrived home. In high school, I produced and performed several other plays, including a racy version of The Rocky Horror Show. I continued to produce plays of larger scale and after three years at York U theatre, I left to start my acting career. For several years, I dabbled in commercials and print work, with a string of small parts in local theatre eventually playing some meaty roles on stage (Mephistopheles, The Wife in Rashomon, Joan of Arc). With good reviews, I was happy, but far from creatively fulfilled.

With Mighty Brave Productions, I started my creative team, some of them still with me, all these years later. Each year, I would do one play in another city and one play in Toronto – I liked to do theatre in non-traditional spaces (church, radio station, dance studio) and here started to become obsessed with authenticity. If something was phoney, I lost interest immediately. I raised money, begged borrowed and bartered, and paid for stuff myself if necessary. I decided never to let money stand in my way of making anything.

In 2004, I produced my first full-scale short film, union talent, 50-person crew, two-camera set up. A veteran TV director, John Bertram (Degrassi Jr.High), and some of his seasoned team joined me. From then on, I was hooked indie filmmaking. I realized that this storytelling eye was more intimate and personal – and so up my alley. I set up the project, organized the team, dream the story and then be an actor on my own set. It is heaven on earth.

I nurtured my creative family and now have produced 47 film and video projects – from 10-second interstitials, to feature length films.

In 2008, I fell sick and basically couldn’t function (collapsed at Cannes, how romantic). Once I was home, I started making small video projects on my laptop while lying in bed, because that was all I had access to. Figuring out who I am through these videos was a big part of my healing. They are all based on what was going on inside my head at the moment. For example, I found a typewriter on the street and I shot a series of kitchen sink dramas about a woman who wanted to be a writer. I played both husband and wife in the series. Here is a playlist of some of these videos: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB10F738DB74E612E

So Who Am I Anyway?, a short where I put on my own outfits and listened to music, I knew I used to like to see if it was still suited me. This simple little video was chosen as part of Selection 2011 at The Phoenix Art Museum and I was honoured to be there at the screening.

2008/2009, I could barely wash and feed myself, but if I got an idea for a video I would get up, set up, shoot, cut, post it and fall back into bed. I knew I was in the right job because no matter how sick my mind and body, that I couldn’t stop making stuff. When I was sick, I created as much content as when I was running two small production companies. This personal work really was me trying to figure out who I was after my mind stopped working properly. These little no budget, lo-fi videos affected more people and did more for my career than any other film I’d produced.

While for me, performing is the icing on the creative crack cake, but dreaming up a project and communicating the story are something I will never be able to stop doing, it’s the actual crack.

Someone called me a folk artist, because I make do with whatever is available to me.

LWMC: Do you still act?

LAW: Yes. I am performing in my current projects and once I am finished with my medical leave, I will act in other people’s projects again. I feel like I am 10 times the performer I used to be. Now, with the experience of putting my brain back together, I feel like I have a deeper, more complex, intimate understanding of my own emotional system, and the inner workings of my brain and heart. I am very much looking forward to getting back on other people’s sets again. Did I mention that being on set is like being at the most fun camp in the universe?

LWMC: I wanted to ask you about your pixel painting. How do you approach storytelling in this medium – and are there any similarities with the other media you’ve worked in? 

LAW: Pixel painting started as a therapeutic measure when I had a lot of anxiety. If I would do digital art, it would quiet my mind and calm my body. I rarely planned what I was doing. I would often start with a webcam shot of my face and I tried my best to convey where I was at. When I was finished, it was often a surprise to me what I created. I tend to use images from my life – if I’m watching a movie, I might grab a screen capture as my canvas and a picture of my face and go from there. The story or the message is revealed, but not planned.

After doing this awhile, I realized how much story one can convey in a moment. What stays in what is out of the image. And also in the creation of the image (I started filming me making them) Jane Siberry’s video “When We Are a Vampire” is one example of this and the current work I am doing with musician Benjamin Boles (both on YouTube).

LWMC: Your image appears in a lot of your pixel paintings – and though your style is influenced by the Dada movement, using yourself as the subject brings to mind the (surrealist) self-portraits painted by Frida Kahlo. Has your work become more personal, more autobiographical, since your work in art therapy?

LAW: At first, I was surprised that I used my own face so much. But it was always there right in front of my on the webcam. These self-portraits have evolved into something that is now a part of my life. I make them every day. I consider it a lifelong project to try to be more and more authentic in everything I make. Now, I am an authenticity junkie. I feel like my story is being told in everything I make, from pixel painting to feature film. I blushed when you included me in the same sentence as Frida.

LWMC: There’s a really cool sense exploration, playfulness and intensity in your work – and the imagery can be dark, whimsical or erotic. Do you set out with a theme in mind, does an idea come in a flash…do you just go for it? What sows the seed of a project for you?

LAW: Thank you. I feel creatively very free. I just put it all out there. I was surprised that the happier and more balanced I feel in my life, the creepier and darker my work gets. I can’t help making erotic stuff because it’s a part of me. I post that on deviantART.com and not too much on Facebook. I do think there will be more work in that direction.

LWMC: The juxtaposition of images and text is especially thought-provoking. Does the inclusion of text happen organically during the creation of the piece – or does the text come first and the piece gets built around it? Where does the text come from?

LAW: I’ve always liked words in pictures. I found my grade nine art project and I had already that basic style going. The words just pop out of me and into the image as part of my pixel painting trance.

LWMC: What are you working on right now?

LAW: I pixel paint every day, and I recently set up a studio so I can also paint with paper, paint and brushes. I’m working on an ongoing video series to Benjamin Boles’ one-man band improv set up (there is a YouTube playlist of all these) he creates music and I create videos based on the moment we are in. I have been calling this endeavour The Moment Factory. I have started layering all the performance videos together, so there is a visual echo of each prior performance in the current video. Here is a playlist of these:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH0tvCpNpuIav4FMJBhLFgYkZjEFbHhNd

I am also currently working on a multimedia project called The Interface Is The Message, a feature film called MY FAVOURITE MISTAKE and an larger scale art/video/fashion/performance installation with The City Of Toronto, which will be announced soon (keeping secrets is hard for me). I have also been working on some commissions and album art.

LWMC: Any upcoming exhibitions, installations or screenings?

LAW: One Desert Two Desserts will be screening in Phoenix, Arizona this month. You can see my pixel painting as part of Elvis Mondays when Benjamin Boles is playing at The Drake Hotel (dates tba). I am also speaking at WonderFest about How Art Saved My Life and showing some visual art pieces as part of the concert at The Gladstone Hotel.

LWMC: Anything else you’d like to share with folks?

LAW: Figure out what it is you love doing and never stop. I never imagined my creative path taking the route it took, but I didn’t buck the current. I flowed with it and now I wake up happy every day. I can’t believe how lucky I am that I found my voice, and now I have the freedom to create what I want every day and see where it takes me. I learned to keep my reactive tap open. Everyone can do this, and I encourage everyone to find what it is for them and go after it with gusto. Pierce the mundane to find the marvellous inside you. You are worth it!

Here is my latest art work: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152402439810521.938033.658075520&type=3

And here are other links:

BossLady@MightyBraveProductions.com
www.mightybraveproductions.com (films)
www.lisaismightybrave.com (blog)
www.youtube.com/rightofasylum (video shorts)
www.facebook.com/lisaanitawegner

LWMC: Thanks, Lisa!

The courage of actors

Amen to this…!

The Alumnae Theatre Company's Blog

David Suszek, who directed me in a New Ideas Festival play (Eve’s Prayer by Kelsey Blair) last year at Alumnae Theatre and also performs standup comedy, has a funny and insightful blog called On Being A Stagewhore.

A link on Facebook sent me to his latest post, titled “The Courage Of Actors”.   Check it out – definitely worth reading.  Actors will recognize themselves, and directors should take note!

http://www.stagewhore.com/wordpress/?p=1320

 

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