It’s hard to believe that it’s only Wednesday, and that we’ve already performed six shows and done our first workshop. Time is flying by and the cast is falling into the swing of things as tour progresses. We’ve cut our set up time down from about 20 minutes to 13ish, and practice makes perfect so we’re hoping to get it down to 10 in the coming shows.
Yesterday was our first of three 3-show days of tour. We did three shows in the Moncton area: Birchmount, Bessborough (+Hillcrest), and Riverview. The first 3-show day is the most taxing, particularly when the shows are in three different locations, but we were all pretty proud of our accomplishments by the time 4pm rolled around and we’d finished for the day. The Moncton shows were a lot of fun, as we had the opportunity to perform for a wide range of ages back to back. The audiences were spectacular, and the warmth with which les Tintamarriens were welcomed into the schools made us feel right at home. We only had the opportunity to have a post-show discussion at Birchmount school as time was tight, but the questions raised were phenomenal and allowed for great discussion that I don’t think either the cast or the students wanted to end.
After a two-hour break back in Sackville over supper, we left for New Glasgow to stay at a lovely Comfort Inn last night. We departed from the hotel early this morning to head to Antigonish for the first show of the day, and were met by enthusiastic greetings as always. Following the show at J.H. Gillis, the troupe went to Alma to perform at Northumberland High School, where we held our first workshop with students following the post-show discussion. Discussions following today’s show were also excellent; each raising different aspects to consider. Something incredible about the question periods is that the actors are often learning along with the audience as we are asked about elements we may not have previously considered.
Particular challenges for the cast included adjusting to each space. Le théâtre est partout, and any space can be transformed into a stage. So far this week, we have performed in four theatres and two gymnasiums. Chaque endroit nous a présenté avec certaines défis, incluant la projection et des changements à la mise en place. When we are in gymnasiums, we try to scope out the location with the best light and least interference from basketball nets, and need to be aware of mechanical buzzings and general noises that need to be spoken over. Dr. J.H. Gillis’ theatre presented us with the opportunity to perform at 180 degrees, forcing us to cheat out (open up to the audience) significantly more than we are used to and to spread the show over a greater width. While it was tricky, we spent a lot of time before the students came in to move around the entire space and grow comfortable with our new set-up. The ability to be flexible and to adjust to new locations is incredibly important in touring, and fosters creative growth throughout each show. Overcoming these obstacles makes us stronger actors and teaches us the importance of teamwork and support in theatre.
As only four members of the touring cast have toured before this year, there were a lot of questions surrounding our first workshop this afternoon. We spent some time brainstorming ideas and developing a template procedure for leading activities, and today’s atelier was our trial run. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of students to participate! Les spectateurs ont été très engagés pendant le spectacle, et très enthusiaste pendant l’atelier. Everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves and we hope that the students had as much fun as we did in the workshop! While theatre games have specific purposes (energy, focus, etc.), they are all a lot of fun! We were aiming to provide insight into the reasoning behind the selection of specific activities, as well as showing everyone how great it is to be working as une partie de l’équipe. Spontaneity, flexibility, and team-building all play important roles in what we do, and the more ‘in tune’ you become avec les autres membres du groupe, the stronger the results you will find.
Tomorrow holds two more shows, with a Sackville high school performance in the morning and a Truro elementary school in the afternoon. We’re all looking forward to another day of performances!