Category Archives: Random

When a lightbulb goes off in my head about a random topic, it will be posted here.

Stage Managing in Sherwood Forest

After having an incredible summer vacation of relaxing, keeping a yoga routine, reflecting on my first full year of teaching, and planning for a new September, I jumped right into action for Fall 2015!  I was asked to Stage Manage a community theatre’s production of Don Nigro’s Robin Hood.  I was caught by surprise as I had spent the previous three years being an Assistant Stage Manager for East Side Players and Amicus Productions, but never before offered the chance to be part of the production team from the very beginning, all the way through the run, and assisting with the wrap up.

I was excited to take on the challenge as I would be given the opportunity to watch the President of Amicus Productions in action as Director.  On a daily basis I was reminded of how much work goes into these productions and more impressive is that the work comes from community members that also have jobs, families, and other responsibilities to take care of in addition to transforming a script into a show!

So, the big question is: What does a Stage Manager do?  You don’t see them on stage; they aren’t running around backstage; you can’t see their lights or hear their sound effects.  Where exactly are they?

Answer: We are EVERYWHERE.

My Stage Management breakdown for Robin Hood:

Pre-Production:

1. Organize initial read-through with the director and in this case, with 20+ actors! as well as available designers.

2. Attend production meetings to understand the Director’s vision, how the designers relate their ideas in order to actualize that vision effectively

3. Create rehearsal schedule taking into account actors’, director’s, and designers’ availability, time needed per scene, for costumes, and for fight choreography.

4. Attend all rehearsals and keep up to date with actors’ needs throughout the process.  Make changes to rehearsal schedule as necessary.

5. Ensure rehearsal space is ready to go each night – with set pieces, props, and keep tabs on actors’ attendance!

5. Keep Director and actors focused on particular scenes during rehearsals, organize props with Property Master (who, in this case also held the role of Producer and Assistant Stage Manager!)

6. Maintain an organized Prompt book with blocking notes, scene transition designs, and props lists.

7. Assist with set building, painting, collecting props, moving all items to the performance venue.

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Production:

1.Assist with technical set up, running lighting and sound cues; organize backstage and green room space for actors to move in.

2. Organize pre show schedule: Actor warm ups, tech and props check, clean and stage set up.

3. Coordinate with Assistant Stage Managers to ensure a smooth run backstage and with Front of House crews to ensure a smooth run in the house!

4. Account for safe use of all props and set pieces during the run.

5. Call all cues for the show (and in this case, run the lighting board, too!)

6. Clean up space each night to prepare for next performances

7. Attempt to maintain the Director’s integrity of the show!

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Post-Production:

  1. Strike the set with members of the cast and crew: Clean out stage, backstage, and green room areas with company
  2. Celebrate the end of a great run!
  3. Return all materials to theatre’s warehouse space
  4. Attend a post-mortem meeting with Director and production team to discuss effective strategies and new ideas to use in future.
  5. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I did! 

Overall, this was an incredible experience. From being in the front row of rehearsals to watch the artistic side develop through actor work, to sweeping and mopping the stage on a nightly basis, I was proud to be part of such a production with incredible people.  I learned some new skills on the technical side of shows and got to see how much dedication is required to pull something like this off with no injuries to actors, audience members, or set pieces (other than a falling tree, we were successful in that!).

I can’t wait to jump in the Stage Managing seat again, armed with new strategies to try.

All those nights in the booth did make me wonder when I will get my butt back on the stage, however.  So, we shall see what 2016 brings.

My Pockets are Full

Wow!  It’s been almost 2 months since my past post.  Where did the month of March go?

Ahh, yes…. Ireland!

Edwin and I had been planning our first Euro trip since November, when we started organizing our vacation in order to attend my dear friend’s wedding in Galway.  With two other great friends to travel, it was truly an amazing adventure.  We had a total of 9 days in the country, so we decided to make the most of it by renting a car (which I highly recommend!!).  We made stops in Kilkenney, Cork, Connemara, and finally to Galway for 3 days of wedding fun before heading to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

To sum up, the country was absolutely stunning.  It was just like in every Irish-set movie that I’ve seen.  The stone walls, the castles, the small, quaint, and friendly pubs, the delicious beer, the warm stew, the live music, the sheep, and of course the rain!  Simply driving (or for me, sitting in the passenger seat acting as navigator) brought me to a place far away from worrying about work, chores, or Toronto To-Do lists.

Overall, the highlight of the trip was being reunited with friends who I’ve been separated from for some time.  I was so happy to get to share in this special day.  The beautiful bride emitted a happy glow that couldn’t help spreading to the rest of us, leaving us with smiles all day (and night!) long!  We laughed, cried, drank, and danced to celebrate with her and her Irishman!  I know their future waits for them with a lucky leprechaun  and a pot of gold.

Soon after our arrival back in Canada, we were off to visit my family for Easter.  The visit was relaxing and enjoyable.  With no Christmas dinners or gifts or parties to worry about, I could spend the days with different family members and enjoy some Spring sunshine.  I got to reconnect with my my parents, siblings, and cousins while eating, not turkey, but chocolate bunnies.  And of course, I was over the moon with the fact that my little niece is now over 9 months old and taking the world by storm! 

Back in the city, my “backpack” has been continually filling up as the new season emerges.  Work has been at a constant pace of preparing lessons, meeting new students, and attempting to reignite old lesson plans.  I am actually beginning my last 4 months at my current school in order to pursue my Bachelor of Education and see what I can learn about teaching in a different type of classroom.

I will also start into my third show with a Toronto community theatre company.  The Eastside Players show, “Over the River and Through the Woods,” is a comedy where I’ll be scurrying around backstage in order to prepare actors, props, and apparently lots of stage food.  I’m looking forward to getting back at it with another great team!

Finally, I have made the leap to get back into a fitness regime.  I have been to more yoga, and I finally joined the YMCA and attended Aquafit. It felt great to set aside some time for myself.  As well, I thought I could enjoy some active outdoor time by joining a beach volleyball league through the TSSC (Toronto Sports and Social Club) .   I thought it would be a perfect time to meet some people, make some friends, in time for summer sun and patio season.

The more I’ve been trying to get out there in Toronto (ie: going to see a friend’s band play on a random Tuesday night instead of staying home) the more I realize how important it is to enjoy every day to its fullest.  Obviously, you have to know your limit, but there’s no reason you have to wait until Saturday and Sunday to enjoy yourself.  I can’t wait to see what summer has in store.

So take a minute, how do you fill your pockets?

Everything Else Pails in Comparison
Creative Commons License photo credit: sea turtle

 

2012 in Review

 

Another holiday season has passed, and with it many visits have been made, turkeys eaten, and wine shared.  It felt great to be home for Christmas.  As time flies by, each family visit becomes more and more precious.  I was able to sit next to my six-month-old niece as she experienced her first Christmas, I was able to see the sparkle in my younger sister’s eye as she showed off her new diamond ring (Hello, wedding!!), and I was able to hug both my parents and share in delicious meals and gift exchanges.

 

 

As we get older, we continue to tell our parents that we won’t need all the Christmas traditions which lead to excessive spending; however, on the day, I can’t help but get excited to rip open my stocking gifts and sit down to a giant meal.  And now with a little one to spoil, everyone’s Christmas spirit was heightened!

I know at the end of a year, I should be looking ahead to what the future has in store, or more importantly, what I have in store for myself.  But actually, I like to take a minute to look back on what a great year I was blessed with and be thankful.

So, to continue my blogging tradition (since keeping traditions alive is in my blood), here  is my Top 10 of 2012 list (in chronological order):

1.  A new job at the English School of Canada: Almost a year ago, I was offered an amazing position at my school.  I have  been meeting amazing people every since, both in the classroom and the teacher’s office.  I have grown as a teacher and as a citizen of a multicultural city and look forward to continuing to be challenged by this position. Funnily enough Edwin works across the road from me at online marketing and web design firm 9th sphere.

2. Girls weekend to Blue Mountain:  What an awesome road trip! A bunch of gals, wine, board games, and snowsuits ready for some winter fun!  It was a great weekend away to meet some new people and try to improve my downhill skiing skills.

3. Amy’s Bachelorette Party: With an exciting shock that my best friend proposed to her partner early in the year (as per Irish tradition), we through a make-shift bachelorette partyin Ottawa  for her during a visit home.  It was full of laughs, drinks, and dancing.  I can’t wait to get to Ireland where the real party begins to celebrate the beginning of her married life.

4. The Hypochondriac:  I stuck to one of my resolutions in 2012: to get involved in theatre in Toronto.  My first attempt was with Eastside Players, an incredibly warm and welcoming community group that invited me to join as Assistant Stage Manager for their spring production.  I was honoured to be a part of such a professional show!

5. My Niece Norah:  My beautiful niece was born at the beginning of summer, and it was an incredible visit home the first time we met her.  She was adorable, tiny, and curious.  It has been amazing to see my sister and brother-in-law grow as parents with this little one.  And it’s been great to learn exactly what being an aunt is all about.

6. A surprise birthday weekend in Niagara Falls: Birthdays are always fun.  Especially when you get a surprise dinner at a haunted restaurant AND a weekend getaway.  It was a beautiful escape to Niagara Falls where we enjoyed scenic views and beautiful gardens outside of our lovely Bed and Breakfast (my first B & B experience!)

7. Labour Day at the Cottage:  We jumped at the chance to hang out at my family’s cottage  for the one final weekend of summer.  We got to take in some sun, get out of the lake, and play with the little one while enjoying great food and company!

8. Cuba Vacation: We finally stepped up for our first all-inclusive vacation for fun in the sun.  We arrived in Cayo Coco, Cuba for one week of relaxation and special treatment.  It was great to run away from the busy-ness of the city and treat ourselves with fruity drinks and incredible food, with a hint of Cuban culture.

9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: In the fall of 2012, I decided to take another go at the Toronto theatre community.  With some of my peers from the previous show, I stepped into the role as Assistant Stage Manager again, this time with Amicus Productions‘ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It was a fabulous show with an incredible cast and crew.  Again, I was honoured to be a part of it.

10.  Christmas Market:  To finish off the year, we spent an evening at the Distillery District’s famous Christmas Market.  Despite the rain, I was all smiles surrounded by Christmas lights, Christmas carols, warm drinks and friends.  A perfect way to begin the festive season and say cheers to 2012.

Overall, 2012 was a great year and I’m excited to bring on more adventures in 2013: Ireland, Teacher’s college, and more writing!

 

Category Archives: Random

When a lightbulb goes off in my head about a random topic, it will be posted here.

Stage Managing in Sherwood Forest

After having an incredible summer vacation of relaxing, keeping a yoga routine, reflecting on my first full year of teaching, and planning for a new September, I jumped right into action for Fall 2015!  I was asked to Stage Manage a community theatre’s production of Don Nigro’s Robin Hood.  I was caught by surprise as I had spent the previous three years being an Assistant Stage Manager for East Side Players and Amicus Productions, but never before offered the chance to be part of the production team from the very beginning, all the way through the run, and assisting with the wrap up.

I was excited to take on the challenge as I would be given the opportunity to watch the President of Amicus Productions in action as Director.  On a daily basis I was reminded of how much work goes into these productions and more impressive is that the work comes from community members that also have jobs, families, and other responsibilities to take care of in addition to transforming a script into a show!

So, the big question is: What does a Stage Manager do?  You don’t see them on stage; they aren’t running around backstage; you can’t see their lights or hear their sound effects.  Where exactly are they?

Answer: We are EVERYWHERE.

My Stage Management breakdown for Robin Hood:

Pre-Production:

1. Organize initial read-through with the director and in this case, with 20+ actors! as well as available designers.

2. Attend production meetings to understand the Director’s vision, how the designers relate their ideas in order to actualize that vision effectively

3. Create rehearsal schedule taking into account actors’, director’s, and designers’ availability, time needed per scene, for costumes, and for fight choreography.

4. Attend all rehearsals and keep up to date with actors’ needs throughout the process.  Make changes to rehearsal schedule as necessary.

5. Ensure rehearsal space is ready to go each night – with set pieces, props, and keep tabs on actors’ attendance!

5. Keep Director and actors focused on particular scenes during rehearsals, organize props with Property Master (who, in this case also held the role of Producer and Assistant Stage Manager!)

6. Maintain an organized Prompt book with blocking notes, scene transition designs, and props lists.

7. Assist with set building, painting, collecting props, moving all items to the performance venue.

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Production:

1.Assist with technical set up, running lighting and sound cues; organize backstage and green room space for actors to move in.

2. Organize pre show schedule: Actor warm ups, tech and props check, clean and stage set up.

3. Coordinate with Assistant Stage Managers to ensure a smooth run backstage and with Front of House crews to ensure a smooth run in the house!

4. Account for safe use of all props and set pieces during the run.

5. Call all cues for the show (and in this case, run the lighting board, too!)

6. Clean up space each night to prepare for next performances

7. Attempt to maintain the Director’s integrity of the show!

8. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I’m doing! 

Post-Production:

  1. Strike the set with members of the cast and crew: Clean out stage, backstage, and green room areas with company
  2. Celebrate the end of a great run!
  3. Return all materials to theatre’s warehouse space
  4. Attend a post-mortem meeting with Director and production team to discuss effective strategies and new ideas to use in future.
  5. Ask lots of questions as to what the heck I did! 

Overall, this was an incredible experience. From being in the front row of rehearsals to watch the artistic side develop through actor work, to sweeping and mopping the stage on a nightly basis, I was proud to be part of such a production with incredible people.  I learned some new skills on the technical side of shows and got to see how much dedication is required to pull something like this off with no injuries to actors, audience members, or set pieces (other than a falling tree, we were successful in that!).

I can’t wait to jump in the Stage Managing seat again, armed with new strategies to try.

All those nights in the booth did make me wonder when I will get my butt back on the stage, however.  So, we shall see what 2016 brings.

My Pockets are Full

Wow!  It’s been almost 2 months since my past post.  Where did the month of March go?

Ahh, yes…. Ireland!

Edwin and I had been planning our first Euro trip since November, when we started organizing our vacation in order to attend my dear friend’s wedding in Galway.  With two other great friends to travel, it was truly an amazing adventure.  We had a total of 9 days in the country, so we decided to make the most of it by renting a car (which I highly recommend!!).  We made stops in Kilkenney, Cork, Connemara, and finally to Galway for 3 days of wedding fun before heading to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

To sum up, the country was absolutely stunning.  It was just like in every Irish-set movie that I’ve seen.  The stone walls, the castles, the small, quaint, and friendly pubs, the delicious beer, the warm stew, the live music, the sheep, and of course the rain!  Simply driving (or for me, sitting in the passenger seat acting as navigator) brought me to a place far away from worrying about work, chores, or Toronto To-Do lists.

Overall, the highlight of the trip was being reunited with friends who I’ve been separated from for some time.  I was so happy to get to share in this special day.  The beautiful bride emitted a happy glow that couldn’t help spreading to the rest of us, leaving us with smiles all day (and night!) long!  We laughed, cried, drank, and danced to celebrate with her and her Irishman!  I know their future waits for them with a lucky leprechaun  and a pot of gold.

Soon after our arrival back in Canada, we were off to visit my family for Easter.  The visit was relaxing and enjoyable.  With no Christmas dinners or gifts or parties to worry about, I could spend the days with different family members and enjoy some Spring sunshine.  I got to reconnect with my my parents, siblings, and cousins while eating, not turkey, but chocolate bunnies.  And of course, I was over the moon with the fact that my little niece is now over 9 months old and taking the world by storm! 

Back in the city, my “backpack” has been continually filling up as the new season emerges.  Work has been at a constant pace of preparing lessons, meeting new students, and attempting to reignite old lesson plans.  I am actually beginning my last 4 months at my current school in order to pursue my Bachelor of Education and see what I can learn about teaching in a different type of classroom.

I will also start into my third show with a Toronto community theatre company.  The Eastside Players show, “Over the River and Through the Woods,” is a comedy where I’ll be scurrying around backstage in order to prepare actors, props, and apparently lots of stage food.  I’m looking forward to getting back at it with another great team!

Finally, I have made the leap to get back into a fitness regime.  I have been to more yoga, and I finally joined the YMCA and attended Aquafit. It felt great to set aside some time for myself.  As well, I thought I could enjoy some active outdoor time by joining a beach volleyball league through the TSSC (Toronto Sports and Social Club) .   I thought it would be a perfect time to meet some people, make some friends, in time for summer sun and patio season.

The more I’ve been trying to get out there in Toronto (ie: going to see a friend’s band play on a random Tuesday night instead of staying home) the more I realize how important it is to enjoy every day to its fullest.  Obviously, you have to know your limit, but there’s no reason you have to wait until Saturday and Sunday to enjoy yourself.  I can’t wait to see what summer has in store.

So take a minute, how do you fill your pockets?

Everything Else Pails in Comparison
Creative Commons License photo credit: sea turtle

 

2012 in Review

 

Another holiday season has passed, and with it many visits have been made, turkeys eaten, and wine shared.  It felt great to be home for Christmas.  As time flies by, each family visit becomes more and more precious.  I was able to sit next to my six-month-old niece as she experienced her first Christmas, I was able to see the sparkle in my younger sister’s eye as she showed off her new diamond ring (Hello, wedding!!), and I was able to hug both my parents and share in delicious meals and gift exchanges.

 

 

As we get older, we continue to tell our parents that we won’t need all the Christmas traditions which lead to excessive spending; however, on the day, I can’t help but get excited to rip open my stocking gifts and sit down to a giant meal.  And now with a little one to spoil, everyone’s Christmas spirit was heightened!

I know at the end of a year, I should be looking ahead to what the future has in store, or more importantly, what I have in store for myself.  But actually, I like to take a minute to look back on what a great year I was blessed with and be thankful.

So, to continue my blogging tradition (since keeping traditions alive is in my blood), here  is my Top 10 of 2012 list (in chronological order):

1.  A new job at the English School of Canada: Almost a year ago, I was offered an amazing position at my school.  I have  been meeting amazing people every since, both in the classroom and the teacher’s office.  I have grown as a teacher and as a citizen of a multicultural city and look forward to continuing to be challenged by this position. Funnily enough Edwin works across the road from me at online marketing and web design firm 9th sphere.

2. Girls weekend to Blue Mountain:  What an awesome road trip! A bunch of gals, wine, board games, and snowsuits ready for some winter fun!  It was a great weekend away to meet some new people and try to improve my downhill skiing skills.

3. Amy’s Bachelorette Party: With an exciting shock that my best friend proposed to her partner early in the year (as per Irish tradition), we through a make-shift bachelorette partyin Ottawa  for her during a visit home.  It was full of laughs, drinks, and dancing.  I can’t wait to get to Ireland where the real party begins to celebrate the beginning of her married life.

4. The Hypochondriac:  I stuck to one of my resolutions in 2012: to get involved in theatre in Toronto.  My first attempt was with Eastside Players, an incredibly warm and welcoming community group that invited me to join as Assistant Stage Manager for their spring production.  I was honoured to be a part of such a professional show!

5. My Niece Norah:  My beautiful niece was born at the beginning of summer, and it was an incredible visit home the first time we met her.  She was adorable, tiny, and curious.  It has been amazing to see my sister and brother-in-law grow as parents with this little one.  And it’s been great to learn exactly what being an aunt is all about.

6. A surprise birthday weekend in Niagara Falls: Birthdays are always fun.  Especially when you get a surprise dinner at a haunted restaurant AND a weekend getaway.  It was a beautiful escape to Niagara Falls where we enjoyed scenic views and beautiful gardens outside of our lovely Bed and Breakfast (my first B & B experience!)

7. Labour Day at the Cottage:  We jumped at the chance to hang out at my family’s cottage  for the one final weekend of summer.  We got to take in some sun, get out of the lake, and play with the little one while enjoying great food and company!

8. Cuba Vacation: We finally stepped up for our first all-inclusive vacation for fun in the sun.  We arrived in Cayo Coco, Cuba for one week of relaxation and special treatment.  It was great to run away from the busy-ness of the city and treat ourselves with fruity drinks and incredible food, with a hint of Cuban culture.

9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: In the fall of 2012, I decided to take another go at the Toronto theatre community.  With some of my peers from the previous show, I stepped into the role as Assistant Stage Manager again, this time with Amicus Productions‘ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It was a fabulous show with an incredible cast and crew.  Again, I was honoured to be a part of it.

10.  Christmas Market:  To finish off the year, we spent an evening at the Distillery District’s famous Christmas Market.  Despite the rain, I was all smiles surrounded by Christmas lights, Christmas carols, warm drinks and friends.  A perfect way to begin the festive season and say cheers to 2012.

Overall, 2012 was a great year and I’m excited to bring on more adventures in 2013: Ireland, Teacher’s college, and more writing!

 

Awards

Kristin’s Backpack won 1st Prize for TESL Ontario’s 2011 ESL Week Blog Contest.
About Me


Welcome to Kristin’s Backpack! I jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2010 to share my Canadian-theatrical-backpacking perspective on my world adventures. With my return to Canada, I will continue to dig into my pockets and reflect on life as it has come to involve Teaching, Travel, and Theatre. Time to unzip the pockets!
Portfolios
Check out my past and current work here: 

Kristin's Library
Looking for some interesting reading material? Check out my Reading Picks and Bookworm post for some ideas! 

               
This is what summer is all about- finished a book yesterday and am on to the next today.  I just opened The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, which has been on my shelf for ages.  I have been extremely interested in reading accounts that stem from true stories in a dark history that is often swept to the side.  
At the same time, I have been listening to The Maze Runner series as an audio book and have been extremely captivated by the young characters’ circumstances and their view on the world.  
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