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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Queen Marie Review!

Jeff Schissler (middle), Shelley Simester (right) and I in Act II of Queen Marie

We are about half-way through our run of Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre and so far - so great!  I've learned a lot, I mean A LOT throughout this process.  The show is a bit of a marathon, especially for the star Shelley Simester who is absolutely incredible as the late, great, Marie Dressler.


Shelley Simester (left), myself (middle) and Alison Palmer (right)
Needless to say, the weather has been no less than scorching the past couple of weeks, so managing the heat and delivering your best performance (particularly in a fat suit, as seen left!) is a challenge.  Hydration throughout the day is absolutely essential!

So far we haven't been "rained-out" once.  We had a minor "rain-hold" during our first preview, but that's it (knock on wood).

Reviews, reviews...

Often I avoid reviews until after the show closes (or altogether), but I stumbled upon this write-up by  Paula Citron (critic, broadcaster and arts-journalist for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life & more) and am excited to share her experience of Queen Marie.  Click Here to read her review.

More soon!

Stay cool :)

xo, Allie


Saturday, 30 June 2012

THANK YOU FOODIE PEN PAL! Aka Kendall :)

My plan for the day was to go to Kawartha Crossfit in the am, then rehearsal, and write my Foodie Pen Pal post on my hour break.  Unfortunately (as often happens shortly before a show opens) today's rehearsal was a little chaotic, and I ended up spending my time off helping the wardrobe team find replacement shoes for a girl who sprained her ankle (ouch!). SO - my sincere apologies for getting this out so late in the day, particularly because this month's Foodie Pen Pal Package ROCKED!

Not only did Kendall introduce me to some delicious new products, but she also did her best to combine our two eating styles, my Paleo diet with her vegan diet!  Who knew this was even remotely possible?  Since paleo is a "hunter-gatherer" way of eating, you can imagine how hard it is to find things to send in the mail.  Obviously straying slightly was necessary, but I was very impressed with Kendall's efforts.

My favorite part of the package was the "Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter".  What an awesome treat, and surprisingly few ingredients! Since I am currently living in Peterborough, I gave Kendall my Toronto address and planned to pickup my package on my day off.  My boyfriend politely asked if he could check out the contents before I got home.  Let's just say that half the peanut butter chocolate container had magically disappeared by the time I got there! And he's not really a dessert fan!  It's seriously that good.  I'm about to bite into the "Extreme Dark Chocolate Bar" right now.  I've been holding off on this one :)

Thanks so much Kendall, it was so nice to chat with you via email.  Thanks for all of the amazing food.  Keeping some of the snacks in my bag during rehearsals saved me from passing out in the heat more than once!  I'd be happy to have you do a guest blog anytime my new West Coast buddy!

xoxo Allie

Friday, 22 June 2012

#Whoisdorothy? Not me, but that's ok


Heather Maitland (right) and I: "Who is Dorothy?" in rehearsal
for "Queen Marie" the day before the open call.
The few weeks before my open call for Dorothy, I had received calls and emails from all over the place making sure I knew about the audition, and encouraging me to attend.  I even got a call from the assistant at my Dentists office! Amazing. When I learned that the first round was taking place on a Monday, which is currently my only day off of rehearsals for Queen Marie, I knew I had to do it.  I though to myself, "hey, it can't be worse than a cattle call for a Broadway show, right?"

The lineup at Front and John Street at 7am!


Lucky for me, Heather Maitland, the phenomenal actor playing Nella in Queen Marie, also wanted to attend the audition.  We helped each other prepare, and made a pact to stick together.

At 7am when we arrived in line, it was already twisting around the block. Dorothy hopefuls of all shapes and sizes waited nervously for their chance to perform.  When the registration began at 9am, everything seemed to happen in a flash.  Before I knew it I was standing in a tiny room singing my heart out to a very friendly lady. She asked me to wait in the hall afterwards and I tried to steady my breathing/heart-rate!  After a few tedious minutes I was told that was all they needed from me today. Sigh.  


I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.  I was so excited to audition for Stephanie Gorin and didn't make it to the round where I could do so.  I looked at the lineup of girls who had made it past the first audition, anxiously awaiting their turn to earn a Golden Ticket.  These girls were adorable, all dressed in their own twist of a perfect Dorothy outfit.  They were beaming.  And they were all very young...ie up to ten years younger than me!  I left the audition hall and met back up with Heather who unfortunately had the same fate as I did.  


As we walked out of Glen Gold studios and saw hundreds of potential Dorothy's waiting in line, I had a bit of an epiphany. There was something different about this open call.  It wasn't just that the people working at the audition were friendlier and more helpful than I have ever experienced in such a high stress scenario as this, and it wasn't just that I had the benefit of being with a buddy who helped me keep my head on straight.  The difference was this: the rejection was a brief little blow, and then I was fine.  I no longer have doubts about my career choice.  I no longer question whether not getting cast in a specific part is because I'm not meant to be an actor.  I've gotten over the hump of being intimidated by how "hard" the industry is and how "difficult" the rejection is.  I now know, that there is always an opportunity around the corner.  Don't get me wrong, any actor will tell you that the rejection isn't easy.  But you've got to have enough courage to move past it and trust in your own passion and talent.  Feel the pinch, acknowledge the disappointment, and then move on.  


Who knows why I didn't make it to the second round of casting. It could have been my age, my voice, or just my interpretation of the song.  I'm not Dorothy, but I am "Clare Dubrey" in Queen Marie.  Who knows what I will get to play next?  


In the words of the amazing Richard Pinter of The Neighborhood Playhouse, "If you undervalue yourself, you will be undervalued".  Well said Pinter, well said.  Thanks CBC for the opportunity, and to the ladies with the Golden Tickets, break a leg!


xoxo Allie








Thursday, 14 June 2012

First Week of Rehearsals for Queen Marie!


Here We Go!

The week before rehearsals began for Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre was a bit of a whirlwind.  Before I knew it I was on the road to Peterborough with a ridiculous amount of luggage and no clue what I was really in for.  I settled into my billet Beverley's place (a hilarious and very hospitable Newfie!), and prepared for the first day of rehearsal on the farm.


A peek onstage at 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook, ON
So the amazing and sometimes challenging thing about doing a show at 4th Line is that the rehearsal/performance space is outside (!).  There is a "hats on" policy during rehearsals and I've been loading up on sunscreen (being the pasty lady that I am), and have managed to avoid a sunburn, and any snake encounters, but not the poison ivy.  Yeesh.  Aside from that itchy setback, I am loving my summer at 4th Line thus far. 
Shelley Simester (Marie Dressler), Sedina Fiati (Mamie) & Heather Maitland (Nella Web)
I have to give a shout out & thanks to Theatre Ontario, without whom I would not have even found out about the auditions for the part of "Clare Dubrey".


I've done primarily Film/TV gigs since my move back to Toronto from NYC, and working on this show has really got me jazzed up about my love for the stage...so much so that I've decided to audition for Dorothy in CBC's "Over the Rainbow" next Monday...oh mama.  Wish me luck!  More details about the show and rehearsals to come :)


I've started to workout at Kawartha Crossfit in Peterborough with some awesome people.  Running seems to have fallen to the wayside a bit but with a few crossfits a week and dancing in the show, I'm spent!  


Enjoy the sunshine, and wear your sunscreen!  


xoxo,


Allie





Thursday, 7 June 2012

A "Met Con Blue" Review: My First Mountain Race Adventure!


It's been 5 days since Met Con Blue and I'm still finding new little bruises and scrapes (in some very unusual places I might add), but my muscles have fully recovered and I've gotta say, I can't wait til next year's race! I learned a lot about myself and my own fitness level during the race but most of all, I had an absolute blast.  Here's how it all went down:

Our team of 9, "Insane Pain", arrived at the bottom of Blue Mountain pumped and ready for the 10am heat.  It was chilly and drizzling outside and we were surrounded by friendly and familiar faces, like the Crossfit Indestri team.  After a quick warmup we were off to the races and seriously, the beginning of the race was one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever encountered.  Our all-star boys took off ahead of the pack up the LONG STEEP HILL and I could see my sisters just in front of me.  I couldn't speak or catch my breath until we reached the top of the bloody mountain and got water. Krysten and Jamie were right behind me and we joined a little trifecta just as we reached the peak. Then the fun really began.

We climbed ropes and walls, ran through mud pools, and slid through the muddy trails from one obstacle to the next.  I had made the exciting mistake of not looking into the details of the obstacles ahead of time.  So when we came to a clearing and were told to jump over a giant campfire, I didn't have time to stop and think - I just gaver and hoped to high heaven I didn't land in the fire rump first!  By the time we rounded the last hill and the finish line was in sight, we were completely pooped, but so happy.  I have never had so much fun in a race before.

My sisters Sarah Pain and Megan Dunbar: "We DID it!" - Photo by Bill Pain
We got out of our incredibly muddy/wet gear and slid into our cars.  A hot shower has never felt so good!  After we cleaned up we returned to the battleground to re fuel with beer, BBQ, and POSK paleo treats.

I can't wait for Insane Pain to regroup and participate again next year.  And this time, I'm not skipping ANY hill runs during training!  Our team finished in 4th place out of 24, thanks to the rockstar boys on our team: Bill Pain, Dave Pain, Andrew Pigott & Adam Knowles.  But hey, I'm pretty proud of us girls too.  As my mom said to me on the phone the day before the race, "I think my daughters have forgotten that they're girls! You be careful out there, this is Survivor Collingwood!", to which I say "HELL YEAH!".

Thanks Met Con Blue, for a killer race, an awesome party and a great excuse to get together with such amazing people.  See you next year!

xoxo,

Allie
 

Thursday, 31 May 2012

It's FOODIE PEN PAL DAY!

So pumped to write about my first experience being a Foodie Pen Pal!  I'd like to start just by saying what an awesome time I've had and how fun it is to connect to two amazing ladies and fellow foodies.  Picking out what to send to Nikki, my penpal was great, and anticipating what I'd receive in my package from Anna was exciting, but I think my favorite part was just chatting with them via email about all things food and fitness.


My package was waiting at my doorstep after a particularly grueling week (see my last post for details), and I felt like a kid again opening it up and checking out my loot.


Thank you Anna Sherwood for such an awesome Foodie Pen Pal Package!
Naturally I took a picture of it right away because I knew I was going to eat at least one of these goodies immediately!  Anna was incredibly kind to accommodate my primarily Paleo diet.  We had emailed back and forth a few times about what exactly my normal diet was, to which I replied not to worry so much about that because I was just excited to try some of her favorite snacks.  She did an awesome job of mixing some Paleo with non-Paleo snacks and I gotta say, they were all delicious!


My top pick was definitely the "Enjoy Life" trail mix, which was gone in a matter of 24 hours - dangerously delicious! 


Another thing that I really appreciated from Anna's package was she made a great effort to send me some local goods.  So cool to try out these companies.  I'll be sure to pickup more "Just Us" products next time I'm in Nova Scotia, the tea is fantastic!


Thank you so much Anna.  Can't wait for next month of Foodie Pen Pals!


Nikki and Anna, feel free to send a guest blurb if you'd like to post about your experiences too!


xoxo,


Allie

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Crossfit & Theatre: Keepin me Sane

The weather is gorgeous, the birds are a singin', I'm two weeks away from spending my summer acting at 4th Line Theatre and yet for some reason - earlier this week I felt like I'd been walking on eggshells with my anxiety.  Anxiety used to be a much bigger part of my life (particularly in highschool/beginning of University) but after reading Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth about 50 times, I've taught my brain how to break the cyclical nature of this stress...most of the time.  It's quite possible this is just a particularly bad lady time of the month, but knowing that doesn't change anything.  There are a few very minor things that really set me off this week: a couple of very human errors I made in my day job that really set me off, realizing that I only have 4 days off the first month I'm away and how much I'm going to miss Andy, and lastly having been advised that my business plan that I've been working really hard on needs an overhaul.  

Are these things earth shattering? NO!  Did anything really horrible happen? NO! So I was telling myself to get a grip and enjoy my time in Toronto before my adventure begins but it took a little fitness therapy to really let the steam off.  

My second crossfit class at Auxiliary fitness was a Deadlift WOD.  As I added on more weight, I kept telling the instructor/co-owner Justin that I had found my max.  He shook his head no, and kept pushing me to add on a little more.  I got to the point where I literally could not lift the dang barbell in the slightest and started to get really dizzy and had to put my head between my legs and rest.  I kind of expected Justin to tell me that was enough for the day and to relax. Nope.  He told me to try one more time.  "GET ANGRY!" he said.  So I thought of the 3 things that had been really getting under my skin this week, took a big breath, and somehow, that barbell that seemed impossible to lift a minute ago, was in the air.  My first Personal Record of 140lbs for deadlifts.  To say I'm hooked is a gross understatement.

Andy and I booked it to The Stratford Festival after the class to see The Matchmaker featuring my mentor and friend Chick Reid and her hubby Tom McCamus.  The show was incredibly well executed, and absolutely hilarious.  My face hurt from smiling after the curtain.  


It's slightly embarrassing to admit to losing my cool over such trivial matters, but there's no point in denying it.  Today - I feel like myself again, but I'm not sure if I could have shook off those negative vibes as easily without this killer stress busting combo of crossfit and the arts.  Instead of deflated and worried, I feel strong and inspired.  A New Earth will always have a place on my bookshelf but somehow I don't think I'll need it so much anymore.

xoxo 

Allie