March 7, 2020

Between racial stereotypes and a hard place

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/arts/curling-comedy-a-hacky-affair-567885222.html

The show ended today. I’ve spend almost everyday with the cast and some of the crew of The New Canadian Curling Club. Although I’ve done countless shows as an actor, I can’t remember spending this much time with such talented individuals.

  • Miles Potter: thanks for your guidance, your humour and for setting the bar to a level I have (possible) reached.
  • Mark Crawford: Without you, there’d be no Charmaine Bailey. Thank you for writing such a marvellous script! I’ve met my share of Stuart McPhail’s in my life, and when people act shocked at the things he’s said throughout the course of the play, all I can say is, “Ha! I’ve heard dat one before!” I’ve done so many shows about race and culture, that this one deserves to be way up there for people to see. I don’t think people get how often a person like me is either surrounded by other black people on special occasions or surrounded by white people 97 percent of the time, but to have Charmaine socialize with a “pot pourri” of personalities is unique for me. Thank you for giving this blacktress another reason to perform her Jamaican accent, and the chance to utter your words to the viewing audience.
  • Kathryn Ball: thanks for the assurance, your compassion, your authority and for driving us all over Manitoba and Ontario. Your recommendations were very valuable.
  • Melissa Renaud: thanks for your champagne-sparkling personality and for keeping us in line. I’ll always cherish the curling stone hats. 🥌
  • Omar Alex Khan: we’ve done a movie, (You Kill Me) and now theatre (The New Canadian Curling Club), and who knows what else our paths will take us to (puppet show, improvisation, cohosts, series regulars, Tim Horton’s employees)? Your professionalism, your knowledge and your talent will always be respected, man.
  • Doug McKeag: Oh Doug! The wine we’ve sipped, the walks we’ve taken, the months we’ve been doing this gig for, it was a pleasure and a delight to watch your Archie Bunker-like character come to life.
  • Sophie Smith-Dostmohammed: it’s always a thrill to spell your last name correctly, a pleasure to watch Fatima struggle through every night of language and turmoil, and I look forward to see more of you in stages and other variations of entertainment.
  • Zhaopeng “Simba” Meng: there’s so much to like about you, and you’re talented too! Thanks for your humour, your backstage dancing and for Mike’s inspiring words that “we need to prove these people wrong!” I hope to work with you again.

There were so many other crew members who’ve been there, who were delightful and were very good at their jobs. I only hope to work with y’all again! 🍷

It goes without saying, but I hope to work with y’all again and to see your performances grow further than anyone could ever realize. In the words of Charmaine Bailey “what helped was dees people. We have more in common than you tink.” ❤️

The New Canadian Curling Club

The New Canadian Curling Club

Link to Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

In January, our five actors and four crew members toured several cities in Manitoba and five cities in Ontario. It was a pleasure and it was also hard work. I hadn’t realized there’d been so many cities in Manitoba I’d never heard of before. Same with Ontario. It was also strange to have a couple of people I’d known be in the audience. The days off was great, partially because they were days off, but exploring the cities was also a treat. I never know if my last show will be my last show, but I always look forward to the next one. If I never perform on live theatre or before the camera, then this will be my swan song.

As I write this, we’re rerehearsing our touring show to adapt to the Mainstage, so if y’all haven’t gotten your tickets yet, whatcha waiting for?

Okay,

One thing I have to say, is that I’ve been cast in many shows that deal with racism. The most common thing I’ve noticed is the lack of diversity in the audiences. I’m wondering who these shows I’ve been in, we’re really for? Are diverse audiences hearing about this? Are there Chinese, Syrian, Caribbean and East Indian theatre-goers in Winnipeg? Many of the rural towns we performed in had no diversity. I’ve counted just a couple of people of colour on our 24 city tour. Imagine? All I can say is that the marketing is not pointed at who should also see this show. Just saying.

Opening night is Thursday the 13th!

Anyway, come see our show!!! 🥳

The New Canadian Curling Club 🥌

February 12 – March 7
Preview: February 12 

JOHN HIRSCH MAINSTAGE

The town is so small it only has one Tim Hortons. But community-minded Marlene is determined to “diversify” the curling club. She enlists four newcomers to learn the game but when she breaks her hip, it’s up to her politically incorrect ex-husband Stuart to step in. Things start off badly and get worse. Stuart doesn’t think the new Canadians can hack it and they have bigger worries than mastering this bizarre sport. With team unity on the rocks, time is running out. Will they be able to sweep aside their problems to compete in the Highland Cup? Hurry hard to the theatre to find out!

Oh yeah, I’m in this. Rehearsals start in December. Previews are in January through Manitoba and north west Ontario. Then we premiere it in Winnipeg in February!!!

Since “Passing”,

I have to say, it’s been a wonderful and educational experience doing this show. Sometimes I think of most biracial people as having another kind of black experience, but it’s something I’ll never know unless I chose to know.

On that note:

  1. Kevan Bowkett: Thank you for recommending me to this show in the first place. I’d be fringing all over the place without being in a show and grumbling how nobody asked me to be in their show.
  2. Vivi Dabee: Thank you for adapting this almost forgotten piece of literature. There are so many gems in the world that I may never read or watch and you’ve brought this talented author into my universe. It was a delight to meet and know you.
  3. Merle Dabee: your support, your endless bottled waters and the costumes got us through this show. Your presence was definitely valuable.
  4. Rosalie Rasmussen: Thank you for your guidance, your direction, your stage managing and your lovely pet, Mac. Speaking of which…
  5. Mac: you’re one of the loveliest doggies I’ve ever met. I’ve never worked with an animal as an actor and you held your own. If I never work with you again, it was a delight to pet and cuddle you. 🐶
  6. Densfield Green: Thank you for the rides, the Slurpee runs, the chats about acting technique and that special day with “the chairs”. I look forward to working with you in the future.
  7. Laura Chan: Giiiiiirrrrrrrl, you brought it to the role and the stage! You are definitely one classy woman. Thanks for the car rides and I can’t go without saying “knock yourself out!” 😆
  8. Kristen Shaw: I love seeing professionalism at work and you got seriously into your role. Your work ethic still impressed me when I watched you in rehearsals and on stage. I’d love to work with you again.
  9. Sam Rasmussen: For an actor who’s had little experience, you did extremely well on stage. Every night I waited for your character to scare me out of my wig and you please me every time. You’re one talented person who should move beyond Starbucks.
    Scott Best: Thank you for your role as the voice backstage. I was remembering having done a similar role in another production and it wasn’t easy either. Your voice and your presence was welcomed.
    My family: Thank you for your continued support of my career and my dramatic/comedic adventures in the entertainment industry. You are loved. 💗
    My friends: without you, I’m just and extreme introvert. Without you, I wouldn’t have grown as the individual you know, tolerate and love.
    Nella Larsen: Thank you for your stories of identity and maneuvering through the Harlem Renaissance, an era I had the chance to relive through this play and numerous YouTube videos. Your works have lived on into my lifetime and have touched many others.