Monday, January 30, 2006

A lovely last-minute weekend

At nine o'clock on Friday morning, I get a call from my Dad, telling me that he, my sister, and my brother are all coming to see my play that very night! What can I say, I am ecstatic! I was at first a little nervous that they would be seeing this, and that, if it didn't go well, they would know about it, but then my excitement to see them again overrode the nervous feeling. Besides, I was very touched as to how much my Dad was keen on seeing it. I also couldn't wait to see my siblings again.

We saw Night B of the festival that night, which included my play, Claws. It went extremely well, but I will elaborate on my play, as well as the play festival as a whole in another entry. Yesterday, my family took Andrea and I skiing with them. What a wonderful time! Despite my numerous freak-outs on the slopes, the weather was perfect, and everyone had an excellent time at Mount Orford. Dad and Bab were attempting to do the mini jumps on the side.


"Hey, look Miranda, I'm hotdogging!" Dad yells to me after jumping daringly an inch off of the ground.

Oh, but don't make fun yet: I shrieked with glee when I myself "hotdogged" on the tiny little bumps. Yup, I was actually airborne for a split second!

It is such an incredible feeling being on the slopes. Beautiful scenery showcases itself all around you, and the wind that slightly bends the conifers around you couldn't be any more brisk. Being at the top of the hill makes you feel like you own this part of the world. You ski down, fast, the adrenaline and energy pumping all through your body, even all the way up into your head until you feel like you're flying. You barrel down the sleek, white hill, feeling the wind in your hair, enjoying having the snow sprayup behind you each time you turn and stop, and wickedly loving to spray other members of the family with as much snow as you can.

After skiing, we did a quick grocery shop run. We all went back to Andrea's apartment, and my Dad cooked us a succulent meal of eggs on spinach with his specialty cheese sauce. After finishing the meal with a few of Andrea's brownies, we all fell into a deep state of lethargy on her couches. Andrea was taking a shower and primping herself for her poem as we layed lazily on the couch. Dad opened the balcony doors a crack to get some fresh air. We all had very red faces from skiing and probably from too much sun. My Dad fell asleep, Bab read over his notes, and I (loudly) slurped my hot chocolate with a spoon. After waking up from our lounging stupor, we all, minus my brother, headed off to the theatre to see the play of Night C. Baba said that he needed to study; yeah, like we're going to believe that. Whilst we thought he was studying for the full three hours, he actually was doing the dishes, the deceitful little sneak.

The entire two days was a great time. It was fun to host my family; they sure brought a lot of life to a student apartment. Honestly now, what can be better than your Dad telling you tidbits of the Townships' history over some slices of orange, or chasing your brother and sister with pillows around the apartment?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Electoral Canada

Let's compare the 2006 Election results with 2004:

2004

Conservatives: 99
Liberals: 135
NDP: 19
Bloc: 54
Greens: 0
Independent: 1

Total: 308

2006

Conservatives: 124
Liberals: 103
NDP: 29
Bloc: 51
Greens: 0
Independent: 1


Although the words "our prime minister is Stephen Harper" leaves an extremely sour taste in my mouth, I am pleased to see that the NDP picked up ten more seats.

The most ludicrous thing about the election process is the serious lack of proportional representation. Nationally, 665 876 people voted for the Green Party. They got 100 000 more votes than they did in 2004. That's over half a million. Did they get a seat? No. I hate to think of the fact that when your Conservative candidate, for example, wins in your riding, all of the other votes do not count. Sure, you are supporting the other parties, and you are giving them financial support, but those votes count for nothing to put the candidate you voted for (assuming it isn't Conservative) in Parliament. Jim Harris, leader of the Greens, as well as Jack Layton have been pushing the idea for proportional representation. Many countries in Europe follow this system, and both leaders suggest that Canada should incorporate it into our age-old first-past-the-post electoral system. This would take a lot of work, and yes, a lot of our shiny dollars, but I think that this would be a much fairer system and would benefit in the long run, once it would get started. Then again, it seems most people around here are more concerned about the short term, rather than the long term, so who knows if proportional representation will ever come to be in Canada.

I suppose that brings me to my next topic - long term vs. short term. If you think about it for more that two seconds, you'll get to thinking as to why the hell does our environment come next to last on things of importance? Aha, wait, I can answer that: Canada has (seemingly) so many resources, and they won't run out of them in my lifetime and probably not in my kids' lifetime, so it's all okay! Think about it this way: if our environment collapses, for instance, and we are swamped in pollution, unclean water and air, we'll all eventually die. And, if we're all dead, I don't think we'll be able to discuss politics anymore, will we? We won't be able to discuss all of the important things that have taken precedence over environment, such as the months-long "Why Liberals shouldn't be in power" compaign. In August, I wrote an entry about wastefulness and how careless people are when it comes to the environment.

I think the Green Party are, unfortunately, too ahead of their time. People don't start worrying about the environment until it becomes an immediate concern. They practically have to be slapped across the face a few times before they'll realize, "oh, it's getting hard to breath, weird". And then, all they will probably do is try to rectify it through short-term means. People who do not care about the environment and are wasteful really make me angry. I don't understand how people are not able to understand and contribute to the earth's sustainability. Jim Harris, the Green Party leader, said this once, ""If 20 years ago I said to you the majority of Canadians would be drinking bottled water, you would have laughed and thought I was crazy. But if I say today that we if don't fundamentally change, and in 20 years time people may be breathing bottled air, are you going to laugh?"

Again, in terms of how we favour the short-term outcome... I am sure you are all aware that the roads are salted in the winter, in order to make for better driving. The problem is that much too much salt is used on roads. The salt doesn't just float or melt away; because it is a mineral, it stays. It eventually gets pushed to the side of the road and ends up in the ditch. Slowly, year after year, more plants and trees are dying as a result. The salt makes it nearly impossible for anything to grow. Of coures, using salt on highways is less of a problem, considering how far the road is from much else. The problem remains on city, town, and country roads. People want to see black and dry roads, with absolutely no snow at all, no matter what the environmental cost. Sand would be a good alternative because, even though it doesn't make the roads look ultra black and sleek, it still makes it that we can drive without slipping, and it would not kill any grass, plants, or trees. If we simply used less salt and more sand, the roads will be just as easy to drive on, and we could spare the environment a little. I can't see the harm in that.

So, what I'm really saying here is "all we are saying is give peace a chance."

Actually, no wait... that's not at all what I was saying. I'm talking about how being green is the way to go, man. That other hippie message, peace, will surely come some other time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wonky Weather

I love the weather. I think that my mood can be quite affected by the weather; I seem to thrive on the changes, the smells, and on the very viciousness of it all. Of course, I am not wishing an ice storm, or worse, a tsunami on anyone; I am simply saying that I am constantly amazed by how powerful the weather is. The only way we have been slightly controlling it is by polluting the earth so badly that the temperatures are increasingly becoming warmer (due to greenhouse effect), but even our pollution has become uncontrollable. So, really, the weather is completely out of our hands, and that is exciting.

The weather here this morning was plus 10 degrees; it was grey, and it was just raining a little. By three o'clock, the rain had turned into thick flakes of snow. By the time I left rehearsal, there was an arctic blizzard going on outside. These are pictures taken in Chesterville. This is exactly how it looked like here, late this afternoon.




Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My thespianism still half-closeted

Laura and I are working on her final speech. After talking to her about a specific part in the speech and how she should deliver it, she says to me:

"I have a question."

"Yes?" I say, flipping through the pages, anticipating what part she is about to ask me about.

"Why aren't you in drama?" she asks smiling.

I shake my head smiling. I've been asked this by almost all of the drama majors who have seen me perform or do any sort of theatre work. Sometimes, I'll explain to them as to why I do not study theatre and only do it as something extra. But not this time.

I look at her slyly and smirking I say, "Oh, I'm not going to answer that..."

"You know", she says, "it is never to late too join..."

I've also heard this said many times before. I am not at all tempted to join. As much as I love drama and theatre -- it is one of my favourite things -- I do not want to study it.
The thing is, I have vast interests that lie in various areas. I am interested in things such as drama, singing, dancing, writing, languages, history, politics. Being a logical and practical person, I decided that I would study something that I love, that would be useful for many things, and that I could continuously build on. That is why I chose to study Languages double majoring with Liberal Arts. My rational is that I am paying thousands of dollars to do post-secondary education, and I would rather spend it on learning and fortifying languages and improving my writing skills and brain power.

I figure that drama is something that rarely requires a B.A. Although it is true that the more theatre training you have, the better you become, directors who are looking for actors for their production, will base the majority of their decision on your audition and any other extra abilities (such as piano playing or singing for a specific part, for instance). They will not discredit you if you do not have a Drama Bachelor's degree; as long as you are a fantastic and dedicated actor, they'll like you and couldn't care less whether or not you took your Production 3 class. Of course, extra training can never hurt; studying theatre can give you contacts and make you prepared for auditions and for the outside "theatre" world. Oh, and it can make you a better actor, too.

Besides, the drama group at Bishop's is crazy, and I rather enjoy and feel safe being on the outskirts. By the time they get out into the "real world" and start sorting out their huge, emotional, and dramatic problems, I will already be dazzling directors by being fantastic, dedicated, and free of all "Drama student" symptoms.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Last night

So, an unknown girl walks up to Laura at the bar...

Girl: "Hey. Look, I don't want you to think I'm a lesbo or anything, but you have really sweet tits."

Laura: "Uhhm..."

Girl: "I mean, wow, you have awesome jugs. Hey, I don't know if they're fake or not, but man, are they ever awesome."

Laura: "Oh, well..."

Girl: "My boyfriend thinks they're really awesome, eh honey?"

Boyfriend: "Yeah, you have some sweet tits."

Laura (completely and utterly weirded out) : "Um, uh..." Laura begins to inch herself away.

Girl: "So, I was wondering if I could touch them?"

Laura: "Uh, no, no, they're, um, mine."

Girl: "I know they're yours, and they're pretty awesome! So can I touch them?"

Laura: "No..."

Girl: "Well, at least can my boyfriend take a picture of you... of us?"

Laura: "Okay, I guess."

The girl and Laura get close for the picture, and a split second before the camera flashes, the girl grabs Laura's breast.

So, now there exists a lovely picture of this unknown girl fondling Laura's breast.

I knew I had a good looking cast.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Mummers Play


A Mummers play, you say? On the Twelfth day of Christmas, my Dad organize and performed, along with his drama-inclined friends a Mummers Play at the Anglican Church.
Basically, it's an old-fashioned comedy troupe, in which men, traditionally, would get dressed up all flamboyant and silly and perform a short comedic play. These Mummers plays were performed in Britain and were always a part of large food and drink festivities. A Queen and King from the audience are also chosen. Whoever gets a pea or a penny in their piece of cake is crowned! More information about Mummers here.

This one was performed Friday, January 6th, 2006. Apparently, the last time my Dad performed a Mummers play was at Bishop's University in 1980. I think I will start asking around.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Theatre Adventure, Part 3

At 10 am, I made my way to the school to make photocopies of excerpts of my script. I photocopied three scenes of dialogue and three woman monologues. Clutching tightly onto the copies of the script, I made my way to Studio Theatre. I met up with the other directors as well as Brent and Niall, our co-ordinators. Brent set me up in the male's dressing room. This is where my auditions would be held. I put a sign on my door that read:

Claws

1 male, 1 female

After setting up and stapling the script, I sat down with my duo-tang and my pen in hand. I was ready.

I was only sitting down for a maximum of twenty seconds before the first people came in. This was at about 11:05.

The auditions were absolute madness! People were filtering one right after the other. The auditions lasted for almost five solid hours, not even a thirty second break in between. As much as the auditions were lengthy and strenuous, time was flying, and I was having the time of my life. It was one of those rare times that I did not look at my watch at all. I was extremely focussed, probably the most focussed that I'll ever get, as my mind was only on watching and anazlying the people auditioning. It was just plain fun and interesting being on the other side -- being on the director's end, rather than on the actor's. It was such a high!


I held my auditions as so: One male and one female came into the room. I told them a bit about the play:

"So, you're man and wife, and your marriage as gone to pot. It looks as though the woman dominates the marriage whilst the man has given up on it. The wife, Paula, is a snarky, sarcastic woman. The husband, Jeff, is much more passive. Although the couple has a baby child, Jeff does not seem to care about it. All he cares about is his cat; he loves his cat, and he is obsessed with the cat. Paula does not care for the cat; in fact, she is repulsed by it."

The two promptly read the first part of the dialogue. Afterwards, I continue:

"Alright, so Jeff has just found out that his cat has frozen to death. He is completely and utterly heartbroken. Paula has let it outside to freeze, but we don't know that yet. He comes in, shows her the cat. She does not care and wants him to get rid of it. Jeff leaves for a few moments. When he re-enters the scene, he is acting, meowing, and scratching himself like a cat. He has become a cat."

Cue eyes widening. The two auditioners lean into me.

"She tries to reason with him, but he doesn't respond because, well, he's a cat. After a few pages of monologues, of her revealing that she never liked the cat and of her talking about his father who was also a maniacal cat lover, she admits that yes, yes, it was her who deliberately killed the cat. As soon as she says admits to killing the cat, he pounces at her, attacks her, scratches her face, and rips her blouse. He licks himself a little after the attack and then slinks out of the room. He comes back moments later, all normal again. She is in shock. He tells her that he has come to term with his cat's death but feels like the cat will always be a part of him. He cheerfully leaves the room, almost oblivious to her shock. BLACKOUT!"

I then shooed the guy out of the room and got the girl to read one of Paula's monologues for me. After she had finished, I thanked the girl for her audition and invited the guy back into the room again. I asked him to tell me of something he loves to do whilst acting and moving like a cat. Now, this is where the auditions became really interesting! I had guys do all sorts of things, from jumping onto the tables, purring against my leg, and batting loose paper. Some went on hands and knees, whilst others stood. I had everything from tame cats to completely wild cats. I was surprised as to how many guys mimicked cats' body movements so well. Also, I'd say about ninety percent of them weren't at all shy on getting on all fours and being completely ridiculous. What a riot!

It was not until the last person filed out and realizing that I desperately needed to use the bathroom that I looked at the time. It was a quarter to four. Five hours! I was told by the co-ordinators that I needed to post my callbacks in the theatre lobby at four sharp.

Callbacks! Although I knew that it was a lot, there were thirteen people that I wanted to see again -- seven girls and six guys.

Callbacks went very well, and I had narrowed it down to four girls and three guys. Still not good enough! I was earlier told that I should make a list of my first, second, and third choices. I rushed into the Green Room to meet up with all of the other directors for our meeting. This was a very important meeting, as it decided as to who was in what play. The thing was that I still hadn't decided on who exactly would be my Jeff and Paula. I sighed and plopped down on a couch between two veteran directors and moaned to them:

"I still haven't decided my two first choices! This is really hard."

They told me that I should link a male and a female that I want together and put them in order according to which couple I wanted the most. This actually helped me decide on my male actor. I was still having difficulty with my future actress, as there had been so many girls that had done extremely well at auditions.

Our meeting was slated to commence which meant that conflicts would soon start arising.
The problem is that one person can only be in one play. What happens is that many directors may want a specific actor for one play. The directors then have to reach an agreement or a compromise and have to decide who gets the much fought over actor.

Fortunately, I did not have that problem with either of my actors. After much agonizing, I had finally picked my two stars, and no other director had them in mind for their play.

I was very excited! Rehearsals were scheduled to start right after the Christmas holidays. I couldn't wait to tell my two future actors that they had gotten a part with me.

So, now it stands as such:

Claws

By Lezley Havard

Directed by Miranda Glen

Starring Laura as Paula and Dave as Jeff

Que j'ai h√Ęte!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh that zany Zaz!

In light of my new camera, given to me from Woogie for Christmas, I have decided to share most (you know the censuring that goes on) of my photos with all of you. You can check them out here, or you can simply click on the newly added link on the right that is entitled, Zaz's positives: aisle 4. All of these pictures were taken during the holidays. As soon as more events come up, I will take more photos, and more photos will be added to the website. Thus, I will keep updating it.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Living on the edge

Two days ago, the seven of us decided to face the cold, the snow, and most importantly, the ice. As soon as we arrived at our perilous destination, we trekked up the mountain, dragging along a long plastic sled, a wooden sled, two crazy carpets, and two circular shaped sleds.

We got to the top of the mountain and looked down. There was a steep slope which turned into flat ground at the bottom. After a good chunk of flat ground, there were small train tracks (owing to the touristy train that circles the park). Right after these tracks, however, there was a small drop, with a few boulders which led into ...

the rushing St. Lawrence river!

Yes, at the bottom of the hill, there was water and a whole lot of it.
And here we were, the seven of us, ready to take on this mean ol' hill with six of our toughest sleds.

Time for some serious sledding!

Two embarked on the long black sled, my brother took the wooden sled, my friends took the crazy carpets, and my sister and I each sat on a cookie (also known as a "flying saucer"). We held on to each other's hands and sleds. We wanted to take on this hill as a team of seven, making sure to leave no one behind. We were told to bail should one of us reach as far as the train tracks. Even though our audacious selves and the adrenaline pumping through us let us sled this close to water, we were definitely terrified of it. As any normal human being, we did not want to fall in.

As soon as the last person was ready to slide down, we slowly started moving. In no time, we gained a tremendous amount of speed, mostly due to the extremely icy hill. We barreled down the icy mountain of death, each one of us clinging onto each other. Suddenly, something terribly unexpected happened. In the midst of all of our sleds turning backwards, I was somehow flung and slingshoted away from everyone else. I was going so incredibly fast that as soon as I noticed the train tracks and the water quickly approaching, I started to panic.

I'm supposed to bail, aren't I?

Omigod, the train tracks are so close! I'm going to hit them!

But I'm going too fast to bail, maybe I should ju--

WABANG!

I crashed onto the train tracks! I had gone at full speed over these painful, painful tracks that had actually stopped me from going into the water. Everything had happened so fast. The pain was incredible, and for a second, I almost felt like I was going to upchuck. I stood up, felt dizzy and nauseous. I doubled over, gasping for air.

Six of my kind fellow sledders ran up to me and locked me into a warm group hug. They had seen what had happened, and boy, did it ever look like it hurt, they said to me. They were completely right.

After some empathy and a whole lot of adrenaline from the others, I slowly walked up the hill with one hand on my battered and bruised cheek and the other one carrying my killer cookie sled. The others geared up for another slide down. Unfortunately, I had to sit the next one out. Rather, I had to stand the next one out. That's how much it hurt.

The next slide down was a race. My brother took one of the killer cookies. I did the ready, get set, go part. My brother and Isaac flew down the hill, with my brother yelling, HAHA Isaac, I am beating you! Immediately after saying that he turned around to face front and was face to face with the train tracks! They had come up so quickly! With my painful moans echoeing loudly in his ear, he knew that he did not want to go over the train tracks. It was a bit late to bail at this moment, so as soon as the sled hit the tracks, he jumped high into the air and landed on one of the large rocks.

He teetered for almost a full minute on this rock, realizing how close he was to the water. He was in shock. Had he jumped one step further, he would have been in the treacherous St. Lawrence river. I stood at the top of the hill, my hand over my mouth, shocked at the dangerous encounter. Five of the other tough sledders ran to my brother and asked him if he was alright. Feverishly, he told him that he was fine, but what a crazy ride!

As soon as he reached the top, my brother told me exactly what happened. I told him what I had seen. Good thing he did not hit the train tracks, or worst, the water! This sledding was getting dangerous. There was only one thing left to do.

Again! Who wants the killer cookie this time?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Christmas in November

Bright and early on every November 1st, the Halloween decorations are quickly torn down and stashed away, and the bright red and green that practically announces Frosty the Snowman himself are displayed out in the open for everyone to see. That's right; as of November 1st, it's Christmas everybody! Christmas decorations on sale, plastic Santas floating around in people's lawns, multi-coloured Christmas lights that shine the bejeezes out of you, and cheesy Christmas songs in Walmart.
This annoys me to no end.

Oh yes. Just this November, I can recall being in a Walmart, hearing Jessica Simpson wail O Holy Night,walking along the aisles of t-shirts that had "Made in Bangladesh" tags crockedly sewed on. It was not even Remembrance Day yet, and I here I was, entrenched in Walmart's consumeristic, plastic Christmas that felt as fake as ever. It's not that I'm advocating anti-consumerism here; I am protesting against the early, the November start on Christmas. Why are people so eager to start so early? I mean, I understand why stores push it, but why does everyone else jump on the stupid bandwagon?

But the very worst thing about the early start is that everyone is so eager to tear down their Christmas decorations almost right after the day itself. Besides, as soon as New Year's Day is over, everyone is probably gearing up for, god forbid, Valentine's Day. I do believe that Christmas is part of a greater holiday that is traditionally called "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The twelth day of Christmas is January 6th. Really, Christmas, in our society, isn't really just one day; it is the entire holiday, so why not keep on celebrating it with music, lights, and yummy cookies?

I say that everyone keep up their Christmas decorations a few days longer after New Year's Day and scrap November's Christmas all together. Besides, January is a very dark and cold month as it is, so it is always nice to see a few bright extra lights hanging off someone's front porch. And Christmas in November? Puhlease! I am sure we all have better things to do that month instead of hanging up lights and blowing up fake Santas; we all must finish off that super cheap and on-sale Halloween candy!