In memoriam: Ed Rosing

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Ed Rosing – during a break in scenic painting on The Lady’s Not For Burning at Alumnae Theatre

Ed Rosing

March 11, 1929 – September 12, 2016

Ed Rosing (aka Eddie, Eduardo) was a creative soul with a quick, sharp wit, and a great love of classical music, opera and theatre. He played piano, was an original founding member of Cabbagetown Theatre, and worked as a respected interior decorator (into his late 80s, he still had two clients!), as well as a theatre set and lighting designer, scenic artist and director.

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Ed and Cody Boyd, working on the lighting for The Lady’s Not For Burning at Alumnae Theatre

I met Ed at Alumnae Theatre and got to know him during a production of Lady Windermere’s Fan, where he was the lighting designer and I was playing Cecil Graham. His gorgeous lighting plot included a gradual sunset during the opening scenes and a lovely fireplace lit room for Lord Darlington’s apartment (a cast and audience favourite). After that, I had the pleasure of painting sets he and others designed, as well as his apartment at PAL Toronto, and being directed by him in a New Ideas Festival reading of Jamie Johnson’s Falling.

He was a good friend, and a generous and knowledgeable mentor – and I will miss him.

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Ed & Bailey at Kensington Hospice – photo by Brett Guenther

Memorial donations can be made to Kensington Hospice, where Ed spent his final days, surrounded by loving friends and family (and even a dog or two), and caring staff and volunteers. A home away from home, Ed appreciated the comfortable and beautiful surroundings – and especially enjoyed the food – listening to classical music and watching movies and TV shows on Netflix (Murdoch Mysteries was a favourite).

Wherever he is, I’m sure he’s already coming up with ideas to make it even more startlingly beautiful.

Below are some snaps I took of some of his Alumnae Theatre sets: Cosi, The Drowning Girls, The Lady’s Not For Burning and Blood Relations:

 

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So much fun coming up!

Thought I’d take a moment to post about some ongoing/upcoming arts events.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) continues this week with the Week Two program and reading (March 13-17), with Week Three program/reading running the week after (March 20-24).

Quick note on Saturday’s Week One reading of Falling: We had a packed house, with an audience who responded very positively and had some great feedback for playwright Jamie Johnson. Shouts to Jamie, co-artistic directors Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, director Ed Rosing, AD/SM Jake Simpkins, dramaturge Diane Forrest, sound designer Rick Jones, and fellow cast members Carys Lewis, Cora Matheson, Ruth Miller and Kristen Scott! And a big thanks to all the folks who came out to support the play, including friends and family – some of whom trekked in from Ottawa, Burlington and Hamilton. xo

The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is Thursday, March 14 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop. Host DM Moore introduces feature performers Greg “Ritallin” Frankson, Gerald Hannon and Andraya Smith, and some amazing open mic folks.

The next Songwriters Circle of Jerks is coming up on Thursday, March 14 – 8:30 p.m. at Free Times Café, featuring Brian Cober, Hugh Wilson, Marcus Walker, Nelson Sobral and Nick Verona.

Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival opens Friday, March 15 and runs until March 24 at Berkeley Street Theatre – check out the cool promo vid for the fest.  Features a new play by one of my favourite playwrights: Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? Also check out Nightwood’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration FemCab on Wednesday, March 20.

Speaking of my favourite playwrights, check out ongoing productions of works by Hannah Moscovitch (Double Bill) at Tarragon Theatre (till March 24) and Theatre Brouhaha’s production of Kat Sandler’s Rock at Storefront Theatre (till March 23).

And while you’re at it, check out the March programming and workshops at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) is coming up hard and fast (March 19-24) – so check that out. Just a selection of some artists I know who will be performing: Angela Saini, blueVenus, Meghan Morrison, Jessica Speziale, Tin Star Orphans

But wait – there’s more! Bella’s Burlesque Birthday Bash: DIRTY THIRTY DANCE PARTY is coming up on Thursday, March 28 at Lee’s Palace – 8:30 p.m. Bella Fox hosts a night of burlesque, music (including High Heels Lo Fi), dancing – it’s going to be a blast. Next day is Good Friday, so lots of you will be able to sleep that one off.

All the more reason for me to get over this stupid head cold, which I’ve had since last Thursday.

Falling – final rehearsal

Our last rehearsal yesterday. Tweaking rhythm. Tone. Transitions.

Falling is a work in progress – not sure what draft playwright Jamie Johnson is on – and it’s important to present it as best as we can so the work can continue.

Constance (I’m playing her at age 48) is a very complex character – and every time I read her, I peel back another layer. And with four versions of her, facets of the same stone, we each look for similarities between ourselves and our younger selves. Now at 48, how is she the same as she was at 30, 18, 12? How different?

I’ve been pondering these questions myself since, in this rare instance – after years of playing younger or older, often younger – I’m playing close to my own age for a change.

We polished. We fine-tuned. We’re ready.

With thanks to Victoria Shepherd, who isn’t able to make it to the reading, for being our thoughtful and enthusiastic one-woman audience.

Next up: a minimal tech rehearsal the morning before the reading, adding music and lighting. Then we read for an audience.

The reading of Falling has one performance only – on Saturday, March 9 at noon. Tickets for New Ideas readings are pay-what-you-can, so there are no reservations. The box office opens at 11 a.m. – CASH ONLY.

The New Ideas Festival opens with the Week One program on Wednesday, March 6 and runs until Sunday, March 24 – up in the studio at Alumnae Theatre (Toronto).

Falling rehearsals – we got rhythm

We got rhythm.

Saturday’s rehearsal – in the studio again – was about rhythm and nuance. Mostly, it was about rhythm.

Director Ed Rosing, who was reading for Cora (who got stuck having to do a training session at her new job that day), was also an orchestra conductor of sorts – suggesting a quickening of the pace during certain sections, then returning us to more thoughtful, even languid, rhythms elsewhere. Playwright Jamie Johnson was there too, slipping us a script insert page to help smooth out the flow of a section of dialogue that had been bugging him. And sound designer Rick Jones was in attendance as well, at the sound board setting up the music that will be played behind the fairy tale sections of the play.

The music is lovely, and Ed remarked that Ruth’s rhythm – while she was reading the fairy tale near the beginning of the play – organically fell into step with the Chopin Nocturne. A more modern classical piece — I can’t recall the title – will play behind the fairy tale storytelling at the end. It really is remarkable how the music can affect you in the context of reading a play. It certainly ups the emotional ante. While the text will predominate, the music will play subtly in the background – a “mist” behind the dialogue.

And, at the end of rehearsal, Pat McCarthy (one of the two co-artistic directors for NIF) dropped by to see how we were doing and pass along info about reservations for the festival. With the cast and creative team of each play working in isolation, we pretty much just pass each other coming in and out of the rehearsal spaces, so it’s nice to connect with one of the festival’s organizers, as well as have the opportunity to say “hey” to the other actors, directors, playwrights and SMs that we cross paths with.

One more rehearsal for Falling coming up this weekend and then the public reading a week after that. In the meantime, Jamie loaned me an earlier, longer version of the script – this includes lots of back story on Constance, and other moments from her life, that I’d like to take a look at. What does “love” mean? How does that definition differ in each relationship? And how do you find good love after so much bad? So many facets to this character – and we see her at four different ages – a strong, complicated and damaged woman. She’s not a particularly nice person – or an easy person – but I like Constance a lot.

For those of you trying to book NIF tickets by calling the box office, you’ll be hearing the old message for A Woman of No Importance; I’m assured that this will be updated today.

Otherwise, you can now book tickets online via the link on Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival page

I should also mention that the Saturday readings (of which Falling is one of three) are pay-what-you-can (cash only) and there are no reservations; arriving at the theatre early is strongly recommended to avoid disappointment. The box office opens at 11 a.m. on the Saturdays of the New Ideas Festival and the readings start promptly at noon. There will be a talkback with the playwright, director and cast following each reading.

Falling rehearsals – Heather Hill’s Second Chance resonates

As I was going about some housework on Sunday afternoon – shortly after I uploaded the previous post on the first Falling rehearsals – I was listening to Heather Hill’s Leuty Station CD – and her song “Second Chance” resonated for me in a whole new way.

Here’s the video of “Second Chance,” recorded at Heather’s Leuty Station CD launch at the Drake Underground:

Falling – first rehearsals

As some of you know, I auditioned for Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival 2013 and, after being called back to read for two plays, was cast in the Week One reading of Jamie Johnson’s play Falling, directed by Ed Rosing.

I don’t want to give too much away – since I dislike spoilers and want you to come see for yourselves – but I can tell you that Falling is a mother/daughter drama, beautifully written, and presented through personal storytelling and fairy tale. The daughter (Constance) is presented at four different ages, played by four different actors, and each contributes pieces of memory – vital moments from her life at that age – in a desperate effort to reconnect with her estranged mother Lou. I play the oldest version of Constance, at 48 years old.

Last night, we just finished the second of our first two rehearsals – the first on Friday night was a series of one-one-on meetings with Ed and assistant director/stage manager Jake Simpkins to discuss character specifics, as well as the overall rhythm and tone of the play. The entire cast was out last night for the first read-through: Ruth Miller (Lou), me (Constance, at 48), Kristen Scott (Consti, at 30), Cora Matheson (Con, at 18) and Carys Lewis (Connie, at 12). We were joined by Jamie, as well as sound designer Rick Jones, who is putting together some lovely background music for the fairy tale portions of the reading. BTW: Jake schleps in from Windsor to work with us and, luckily, he drives – though we were a bit concerned about the driving conditions in last night’s weather.

It is both interesting and complex playing one version of the same character. The older the version of Constance, the more autobiographical knowledge she has – and we discussed how some of us would know things our younger selves wouldn’t, and how each older Constance had the opportunity to be reminded of forgotten details by a younger self. Personally, I’ve been fascinated by those little tricks of memory, and how we sometimes need to rely on journals or others to fill in forgotten details – positive or negative. How is the current version of us different from younger versions? Our similarities can be even more interesting. What about our younger self do we miss, want back? What changes do we embrace?

Another big topic that came up was things hidden and things revealed. Lou is hearing some familiar stories of her daughter’s life – but is unaware of the whole story. The same goes for Constance regarding her mother’s experience. And, in the case of Consti and Constance, mother and daughter are all but strangers. As our characters, we’re exploring: What do we know? How does what we’re hearing differ from what we thought we knew? What are we hearing for the first time?

In a combination reminiscent of the play Albertine in Five Times and the movie Terms of Endearment, Falling combines the complexity of multiple versions of the same character with the complications of the mother/daughter dynamic – with the backdrop of domestic violence in a rural setting.  Along with the languid fairy tale storytelling , the imagery is lovely, magical and haunting: the moon, the night, the apple tree. And, while Lou’s and Constance’s lives are far from happy ever after, it is Lou’s fairy tale storytelling that comforts and binds them together – and becomes a possible path to reunion and forgiveness.

Falling will be presented as a reading, with one performance only, on Saturday, March 9 at noon in the Alumnae Theatre Studio. New Ideas Festival readings are pay-what-you-can. For full program details and reservations, please visit the Alumnae Theatre website: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, all!SAMSUNG

It’s so cliché – not to mention annoying and sad – to be a bitter single person today, so I’m choosing to celebrate with some lovely and talented friends at Glad Day Bookshop tonight: The Beautiful and The Damned Femme Fatale Valentine’s Day edition, hosted by Lizzie Violet – with feature performers Josh Smith, Myna Wallin and Andrea de Boer – doors open at 7 p.m.

If you’re up for some music, check out Heartbreakers (aka Songwriters) Circle of Jerks at Free Times Café, featuring Melting Pot, Big Name Actors, David Hustler and Nick Verona – doors open at 8:30 p.m.

Sorry to be missing the music at Free Times tonight. This gal has to get up bright and early for the office job tomorrow, then on to my first rehearsal for New Ideas Festival 2013 Week One reading of Jamie Johnson’s Falling, directed by Ed Rosing, at Alumnae Theatre. More on this acting gig soon.

What are you doing today?