Tintamour

Zut!
Flûte!

I don’t quite know what to write, or where to begin. I think I want to say thank you, but those words are not enough. Il faut un GROS merci, big enough to enfold all the wonders of this tour, of the whole year, and of the past four years with Tintamarre. Holy moly.

Surrounded by friends

Surrounded by friends

Towards the end of the tour, one morning when we had extra time before a show, several of us curled up of the gym floor to nap, another group of us ran like fiends with a basketball, and a few others assigned a “spirit animal” to each cast member. I have been thinking about how the tour brings people together. Célébrons nos différences!

Within the cast we had a diversity of interests, musical tastes, areas of study… and yet we fused into a family that suddenly had so many ways of knowing what the others were thinking, feeling, worrying about, and knew how to support their fatigue, how to tell when food or juice was needed desperately, how to tell when it was time for some songs…or when it was just time to snuggle.

DSC_2034

Time for some songs?

La vie est belle. Cela est, pour moi, une des leçons la plus claire de la tournée à ce moment-ci. We aren’t always having the best day, et il y a toujours des affaires qui peut nous embetter, ou nous distraire… Mais l’énergie collectif et l’amitié entre nous, it acts as a booster, a net that will catch you and bring you back, pull you into the joy of sharing theatre with new people, and you will forget your worries, and just play. And remember that life is wonderful.

DSC_2226

I think that positivity melds into the audience – and flows from it too. Their attention feeds us, indicates what we need to give more of, where we can pull back, and it shows us that we are in this together, the audience and the performer are a team! Theatre IS the biggest team sport, as Alex would say. But I know now it is not just because of the number of people that it takes to put on a show, behind the scenes (…calembour?) and on the stage (a veritable community) …It is not a show without the audience. With each performance, the team that it takes to make the world of the stage come alive grows exponentially as people take their seats.

DSC_2068

And to think of all the differences in interests, hobbies, languages, histories, and backgrounds that lie in front of us and amongst us – the diversity that makes life interesting is also what makes theatre possible. I remember someone once arguing that a beautiful place I lived for a while was not magical, though people often called it that. It wasn’t magical because that somehow took away from the truth of the place, what life was really like on a Wednesday, or what the air smelled like when the weather was stormy… Magic isn’t quite the right word. And so this unity of differences that makes theatre possible – it’s not magic. It is people.

And it can happen anywhere.

Vive le théatre!

DSC_2048

As I sing on my own now, songs that filled our mornings, our lunches, our drives (our whole days really!), je vous envoie un merci énorme. Tusind tak, as they say in Danish – a thousand thanks, to my family of animals:

À notre Hibou, for your observations and wisdom, your humour and silliness,

To the Panda Bear, for your jokes, your bottomless enthusiasm, your delicious pies,

To the Golden Retriever, for your constant optimism and joy, your songs (and your pies!),

To the Pheasant, for your energy, your harmonies, your understanding,

To the Peacock, for your professionalism and goofiness, for your morning hugs,

To the Flying Squirrel, for your inspiration and your acrobatics, your laughter,

À notre Tigre, for your ‘Chi pride, your truth and sass, and your….feathers,

To the Flamingo, for your cheerfulness, your amazing faces, your music prowess,

À notre Lion, for your sass and love, pour ton energie et tes calins,

À notre Chat, for your patience and your puns, your kitchen company and greens,

To the Deer, for your music in the mornings, your baking, and your positive outlook…

And to all the rest of the family, wherever you may be. Whether you guided us, helped us, sat in the audience, fed us, ate with us, laughed with us, at us, sang with us, wrote to us, knew us….

I think tintamour says it all.

– Mémère, Rosalind, Dove

Advertisements

10 Things We’ve Learned…

Ten Things I learned from our school tour of ALBUM / dix leçons apprises, entre autres, lors de la tournée de ALBUM :

Image

Peace and love dudes, peace and love.

  1. Things are even better when every team member invests 100% of their time, energy and commitment to the creative adventure at hand.  // Tout marche encore mieux lorsque tous les Tintamarrathoniens et Tintamarrathoniennes mettent de côté leurs va-et-vient et brouhaha particuliers.
  2. Ne te fais pas trop de soucis à propos de la réception scolaire d’une bonne fable théâtrale, quelque peu ‘comique’ qu’elle soit. // The story’s the thing, wherein to capture the imagination, and the emotions, of the audience.
  3. Don’t be too concerned with pre-show anxiety caused by the question “Will they be engaged if it’s not often explicitly funny?”  Too many ‘laugh-lines’ can establish expectations that are not always easily satisfied.  //  Un contemporain de Molière expliquait que le grand génie comique faisait “rire dans l’âme.”
  4. (Merci à Luke!) Vive le bomb-diggedy! //  Spectators are best placed to describe what happened on stage.
  5. When all 24 audiences are intensely silent during a moving dénouement, and at other times, the troupe has done something very right. // Le silence profond du public – non pas ‘l’autre’ silence, de ceux qui décrochent – peut être trente-six fois plus puissant que tous leurs applaudissements.
  6. Nous avons la nostalgie d’une époque trop lointaine où les gens chantaient en travaillant : le métro-boulot-dodo a remplacé le boulot-mélodie-boulot. //  What joy to hear actors sing while they work, off-stage as well as on!
  7. Theatre that is poor (Apologies to Grotowski) and hand-made can also be vital, perhaps even more vital. Although the term ‘hand-made’ had been used before, this year it entered our lexicon. // Vive le dépouillement, le théâtre pauvre, le théâtre artisanal!
  8. Qu’importe le temps lorsqu’on est complètement engagé? //  How else can one explain all that was achieved during and after such a short rehearsal period?
  9. Simple metaphors can be the most powerful.  //  Le va-et vient et le brouhaha.
  10. N’aie pas trop peur du verbe ‘aimer.’ //  The term ‘tintamour’ now seems to have general acceptance.

-Alex Fancy

The home stretch….

I should note that I wrote this entry LATE Thursday night before our final day of shows, and in the process of packing & saying goodbye (a very difficult process), I completely forgot to post it! So, enjoy this quick recap of the past week……

——–

This has been a tremendous week in our little tour-bubble in Sackville. So much has happened, but I’ll try to fit it in this blog post as best I can. We’re in the home stretch now –  our last day of shows is fast approaching.. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!  I know I can’t. But we’re not going to think about that just yet! We still have shows left to perform. So, to sum up this week….

First things first, a huge CONGRATULATIONS goes out to the members of our cast who are now officially Mount Allison alumni! Bernard, David, Rosalind, Rob, Kelley, and Allison all received their diplomas on Monday et nous sommes tellement fier de vous!!! Formidable! We were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with the families of the grads, who came up to watch the ceremony AND our performance at Tweedie Hall on campus on Sunday afternoon. Although we were on our ‘home turf’ (so to speak), Tweedie Hall presented its own unique challenges, as does each space we visit. The room echoes A LOT, so we had to be extra careful about enunciating and making sure that our words were clear – we had our work cut out for us! However, the work didn’t stop once the show was over, since we were hosting a bit of a party at Bermuda that evening! We had the families of the grads and many, many friends of Tintamarre over for a potluck supper – absolutely incredible. The lounge of Bermuda was PACKED and many good times were had! How fun for each of us to meet our cast members’ families, and to pick up on where they may have gotten their little quirks which we know and love.

We had no shows on Monday, due to the fact that the aforementioned grads had d’autres chats à fouetter à ce moment-là! But on Tuesday we were back on track, although we kept things close to home: visiting Tantramar Regional High School and Marshview Middle School right here in Sackville! The audience at Tantramar was so fantastic and receptive, really reacting to the messages we were trying to get across – thank you! Spectators commented on the use of sound in the piece, both in terms of sound effects and our harmonies when we sang… merci!

The crowd at Marshview was also a wonderful audience, remaining engaged throughout the length of the piece. Some choice questions: “Was the military uniform authentic?” “How do you decide which actors get to go on tour?” “How did you decide to make the set and how big to make it?” FORMIDABLE!!! Merci à vous!

Wednesday morning we were off to Oxford, NS. We played to quite a varied crowd in terms of ages – from grades 4 to 12! And what a fabulous crowd they were – asking questions about the set, costumes, how we come up with ideas for our plays, and whether we would be back next year! (On ne sait jamais….)  Following our show, we reconvened at the famed Sandpiper restaurant for a debriefing. There, we discussed what could be improved upon for future shows, wrote some thank-you notes to friends of Tintamarre, and indulged in some pretty great desserts….

Thursday we headed to Amherst, N.S. and E.B. Chandler School welcomed us into their gymnasium, where we played to our biggest audience yet – 325 spectators! The entire school showed up to our performance! Oh, là, là, j’avais un peu du trac avec un public si nombreux, but the show went smoothly and the audience seemed to enjoy it – magnifique! “Are you all going to keep acting?” “Were you talking about the Cold War or the Second World War in your play?” “Who does the costumes?” …. Just a few of the questions from our curious spectators!

Our second show of the day was in Pugwash, where we had a performance as well as a post-show workshop. Our show featured a very kind introduction by Austin – thank you! The audience at Pugwash was fantastic and SO engaged. We had some great questions and comments: “Do you find it hard to flip between English and French?” “Where did the props come from?” “Your show left me speechless!” Awesome! Our workshop was the biggest one we’ve had, with around 100 students. We had a great time teaching them some of our warmup classics, such as lion/raisin sec, fruit salad, and wigglebottom. What an afternoon!

Tomorrow morning we head out for our very last day of shows (I know, I know, the cast really doesn’t need to see my ugly crying face..)! But don’t fear, more blog posts may be still to come. Pour le moment, je suis tellement fatiguée… our departure tomorrow morning is at 6:00 – time for me to head to bed!

À plus tard! Je vous aime,

– Maman xoxo

A little family portrait taken following our last show on Friday afternoon..

A little family portrait taken following our last show on Friday afternoon..

Post-Tinta post

First off, I lost a draft of this message twice in a row… oops! bahahaa.

Secondly, to all you Tintamarrians,  BREATHE. And smile. 🙂 Holy crow, we just finished something amazing! 

I am sitting in the Vancouver airport, waiting for the final flight of my journey back to the mountains of Kaslo, and I feel so overwhelmingly lucky. Yes, I only got 2 and a half hours of sleep last night and I probably look like a rather weathered pheasant, but it’s all part of the adventure. Yesterday we did three performances of ALBUM, marking the end of Tintamarrathon 2013!

The final day was so full. We were up at 5 (well, some of us were up at 5:45 and “scrambling” to get breakfast together in time…), on the road by 6, and bounding into an 8:30 show in Miramichi! After a second show, we received delicious home made lunches in brown paper bags. While kids played in gym class, we sat on the steps and ate our lunch. I wish I could eat lunch from brown paper bags with the Tinta-cast every day. In retrospect, it’s not that it couldn’t get any better… there just wasn’t any need!! 

After lunch, we headed out to a new school, one that hadn’t seen a Tintamarre play before. Although performing at a new school on the last show may have seemed like a bit of a gamble, I found it was the perfect way to keep the last show fresh and gain an understanding of just how magical one’s first Tintamarre experience is. The stage was only a couple of feet off of the floor, in a small auditorium with a low ceiling – perfect as an intimate audience space. For me, the highlight was talking with a girl from the audience after the show, who was absolutely astounded at ALBUM. Her eyes were wide with the wonder of what she had seen, and she approached me in the hall again a few minutes later, asking about the music we sang. Although her words were few, it was clear that inside she was captivated by ALBUM. She and her friend eagerly asked if we would come back next year! There were so many amazing, engaged students to talk to – I only wish we had more time to talk with them!

To top off that final show, we were treated to snacks from the school cafeteria afterwards! Does life get any better?…

I thought that things would wind down pretty quickly after the final show, but I was so wrong. The theme of the day appears to be “generosity” – Alex and Margaret had the cast over for a scrumptious dinner, Nat made cheesecake, and we shared hilarious tour moments. What a fantastic day.

I just realized that I’m sitting across from a Tim Hortons, which is evoking even more tour memories…! *sigh*…. Okay, I’d best stop this post before I blather on all day. Just to highlight how fortunate I feel to have been part of this tour and to have met all of the amazing people involved, I should mention that I had the best goodbye of my life this morning when 7 other sleep-deprived and haggard Tintamarriens woke up at 5 AM to see me off. Where else in my life will I find myself doing impressions of panda bears at 5 AM, surrounding by such excellent people? Maybe when we all create a commune-theatre-band-bakery-track team in a few years???… 🙂

To all who helped make this tour possible, thank you so much. I will never forget it. In the words of Victoria, “I miss you ALL!!”

Love and spontaneous harmonies,

  Kelley

 

“It’s BETTER than t.v!” … for all concerned. Seriously.

Ah, oui … nous n’avons pas bloguer tous les jours (est-ce que je peux écrire ‘bloguer’? j’ai besoin du verbe comme ça). We’ve been kept on our toes for the most part! Our first ever-so-slightly madcap week – with its days of road tripping and bedding down in two different motels – finally concluded a little closer to home.

Yesterday (Friday) we had three shows in the same school, which was a very gratifying experience (and not just because we didn’t have to assemble and disassemble the set multiple times). Since we were allowed to get used to working in the same space, we took more notice of our audiences: of what they were giving to us, and vice versa. Compared to previous audiences, they were noisier – mais certainement pas plus nuisible. There was chatter and other assumed signs of inattention throughout much of the show; however, when something really intense was happening, the whole auditorium would go silent and we’d realize that they were truly invested in the story. They simply showed it in a different way. We could still interpret and channel their enthusiasm into our own work onstage. This audience-actor dynamic presented a fresh challenge  – particularly for those like me who are first-time tour members – but I really feel that ALBUM came to life in a still more vibrant way than it ever had.

The questions and comments after the third show, for fourth-to-sixth graders, were perhaps the most rewarding ones of the day. We heard everything from “Were you the lion last year?” (toward David, whose bear costume could fairly be perceived as lion-like) to “How are your characters similar to the ones you played before?” Clearly, many of the kids remembered CAMPE, and they also asked eagerly if we’d be returning next year. Si possible, nous l’aurions réalisé!

We were especially touched when one young boy raised his hand to tell us (in a tone of wonderment) “That was as good as t.v. I actually forgot I was watching something on a stage!” To which we responded that it’s even better than t.v, because characters on t.v can’t hop through the screen to visit the audience. Nobody expects that connection anymore in a technology-dominated world. The fourth wall is unbreakable in that world, enacting a separation that we mistake all too often for connection. But it’s the deeper connection we build through theatre – physically, emotionally, verbally – that makes the Tintamarrathon experience so incredibly, incomparably valuable, for actors and audiences alike.

Unfortunately, there are no pics immediately on hand of this magical Friday. This would be an incomplete post without ANY pics, though, so here are a few taken earlier in the journey. Image

An afternoon last weekend, brimful of sunshine and music.

ImageAsian food night = potsticker-making par-tay!

 

Image

Taking a driving break at Mastadon Ridge … what else can I say?

 

Image

We’ll smile if you feed us!

 

Tintamour toujours,

Jeanne  x0x

Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Oh, dear, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Nous sommes en retard!

We must apologize for this distinct lack of posts. We’ve been… busy. Le va-et-vient, le brouhaha, les pannes d’eau, le passé, vous comprenez…

This little giant of an update was started in a small motel room in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, during our three-day journey outwards into the Big, Wide World. Normally, Tintamarre takes day-trips out, and comes back to the home base for supper to refuel and recharge. But this week, we went all out: we took a field trip to Nova Scotia! (Cue the cheers.)

We’ve just gotten back from Nova Scotia, but we’ve got no time to rest–because tomorrow, we’re running off to Springhill, NS for another three-show day. Are you ready for us, Springhill? Because we’re gearing up our springs for the best, wildest, most incredible shows yet!

Nous reviendrons bientôt pour réfléchir à propos de nos derniers spectacles, nos personnages, et plein d’autres pensées. En attendant, nous vous laissons un déluge de petites photos…

 

Un beau portrait de famille...

Un beau portrait de famille…

L'accueil de Birchmount!

L’accueil de Birchmount!

They gave us a wonderful feast--merci, Nathalie!

They gave us a wonderful feast–merci, Nathalie!

 

 

A brief "park-nic" before heading over to Riverview...

A brief “park-nic” before heading over to Riverview…

 

 

All set to hit the road!!

Walking all the way...

Walking all the way…

The Tintamarrathon 2013 team is all set to hit the road! We are so efficient that we finished our entire rehearsal process in six days flat. We’ve gone through all the stages of theatrical creation and overcome all obstacles that might’ve been blocking us … okay, sorry, that was a lot of drama puns. I’ll knock it off now.

All those horrific witticisms were to say, we have had a whirlwind rehearsal process of just 6 days this year. It’s been a bit crazy, but I for one wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It has built our relationship as a cast and strengthened our performance, with incredible developments coming one after the other. Something as simple as a little variation in tone can turn a line from blasè to blow-you-away (generally with laughter). There’s been tons to learn, practice, and tweak every single day, and now it’s time to share with a LOT of students here in the Maritimes. We are all so excited for our first two shows tomorrow at Birchmount and Riverview High School. And it was nice to get to practice in front of some real spectators during our two final run-throughs today thanks to some guest appearances from some anciens Tintamarriens de long date! On vous aime tous!

But first we had to figure out the logistics of loading the living room from Chemin du Souvenir into the tight and confined tour van. Even with a comparatively small set this year, it was deceivingly tricky, but once again, by working together and with the help of Paul and Alex, we managed to get it all in safe and sound. Here’s hoping we can beat our load-out record of 6 minutes from last year!!

I always think it is such a thrill to walk into performance spaces of all shapes and sizes, not having seen them before, and then own them as a cast in so little time. Birchmount will definitely be the perfect opportunity to do just that bright and early tomorrow morning! And our ownership of the space is made even easier by the fact that we have come to really feel as if we actually live at 7 Chemin du Souvenir rather than Bermuda house, having not only created the characters and music but also spent a lot of time building the set, making the costumes and experimenting with new makeup and hairstyles together (with some tunes thrown in a long the way!!). We can’t wait to see the kids faces as they soak it all in too!

After a long and tiring day, we’re about ready to start one of our group dinners. We’ll be back with some more updates soon! À plus tard!

– Tante Bonnie, Jeanne, Pierre et Victora