Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

I was 14, he was 15. The very first day we met, he kissed my hand, very Cinderella style. Little did he know he was kissing the hand of a hopeless dreamer. An incurable romantic. A girl who, even at 14, had learned how to exit the world of her reality and dwell in the world of books, movies, plays and music. My fantasy world was the real one in which I dwelt and the reality of school and homework and parents and such were just the nuisance that had to be endured between escapisms.
Our first date. How ironic it was to a movie. Escapism please!
We went to see The Little Mermaid. When it was first released to theatres (am I dating myself, much?). The song “kiss the girl” was the backdrop to our first kiss. He with his towering height and me with my fantasies and already I had us married off with kids and living in a far away land.
Cut to now, and we’re married with kids and moved provinces, so in a way, my 14 year old dream came true.
My number is inverted now. I’m 41. I still use books and movies and plays and music as a way to leave the trappings of the adult world, a world VASTLY more disappointing than I was led to believe as a child. Sure, I can eat what I want and go to bed when I want, but I also pay taxes and clean and raise children and have a job. But I have my dreams. Tucked away where I can call upon them when needed. I still read books and fall in love with the mythical worlds weaved for me. I even write books where I can bend the fantasy to my own will and whimsy. Songs still transport me and movies are where I give over my heart and soul to be drawn into another place and time.
So, it’s no surprise that when the live action Beauty and the Beast was announced that I immediately professed that I would not only see this in theatre, but that we would all go, husband, wife and the three children still remaining at home. No one minded. When your mother is a dreamer, she tends to influence her children.
The day approached and the closer we got, the more excited we became. The kids would frequently play the trailers on the internet and I, the eternal crier, would more often than not, feel my eyes growing hot with anticipation.

On Sunday we crammed our five adult forms into the car and drove to the theatre where Belle awaited. As we sat in a row at the back of the theatre, I leaned over to my husband and whispered “I love that 22 years of marriage later, you’re still taking me to Disney movies. Only now we bring our children.” He tried to pretend like that didn’t make him “catch the feels” too, but I know it did. He has been much more sentimental since his heart attacks.
The show started and transported is exactly what we were. My youngest, the 15 year old, 6’2 man-child sitting beside me, spent the entire show holding my hand, or laying his head on my shoulder, or hugging me. My girls sat at the end silently letting tears fall. The movie was perfection. It should be held up as an example of how to bring a beloved animation to live action. I won`t go into the details of the myriad of ways I loved it, because this post would simply be too long.
It was beautiful visually, artistically, musically and in it`s composition. The casting was perfect and I truly wanted to step through that screen and into Belle`s world.
We left the theatre that evening to go home to the world that we built. It`s warm, inviting and loving. It`s full of laughter, and yes, sometimes tears. Usually mine. It`s teenagers and adult children who still hug their parents. It`s kids who were brought up to love and to treat people with kindness and dignity and inclusion. With all the mistakes and pitfalls I’ve taken in my life, it`s my deepest source of pride to see the family that we built and what we`ve built it into. Even with my love for escaping through books and music and movies and plays, it’s still that Prince Charming of mine that I come back to.

And he still kisses my hand.


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Where did all the damn traffic come from??? Seriously? And I won’t even talk about the INSANELY aggressive drivers. No wonder we were always smoking and stressed out. Woah.
We landed yesterday morning at about 6:45am Ontario time, got Shawn dropped off in Brampton and then I went to Guelph to pick up our oldest daughter Keisha from her house and we zoomed 25 minutes north to Elora, my hometown. We walked around for about an hour, saw the house where I grew up and where she spent most of her childhood weekends and almost all of her childhood major holidays and decided that it had changed too much. The town, that is. The vibe was completely different. It no longer felt like home to me. So, we headed back to Guelph. As much as to beat the massive storm clouds as to go play around the other city I grew up in and where her Dad and I first met. We had a great time. We saw the high school I went to in Grade nine, both where it used to be and where they rebuilt it, the park where Shawn and I had our first kiss, his old high school, the hospital where my beloved Nana lived out the last years of her life, and a whole bunch of “places of interest”. Read: where all my teenaged shenanigans took place. The Guelph ones, anyway.
But the city has changed SO MUCH. At one point we were headed to a Walmart, which I distinctly remembered the location of, and she kept telling me to turn too soon. I tried to argue with her but, well, she lives here now, so I turned and there it was. Guelph had picked up the whole damn building and moved it. And painted it green! I told Guelph to go home, because it was (and is) clearly drunk.

We didn’t actually wind up taking a lot of pictures, though I thought we would, but, we were so in the moment yesterday. And dudes, she looks fucking amazing. She has worked really hard for the last year and has lost almost 80lbs and she just was so, so, HAPPY. I loved it.

We went out for dinner all three of us last night and finally Shawn and I got some sleep.
Today I get the morning to do just this: writing. First this post and then I’m working on my book again. (SQUEALS OF JOY) and then….
We’re off to Paris Ontario tonight to see our beloved friends and to go to the theatre. You remember my theatre days, right? Lord I miss that. The last show we ever did and by far my favourite was I’ll Be Back Before Midnight. Damn I loved that role. I played Jan. I got to go crazy, shoot a (fake) shotgun, cry onstage, kiss onstage, freak the fuck out on stage, go catatonic onstage and finally, murder my stage husband with an axe. It was awesome.
And Paris Performers are doing the show tonight. So we’re going to see it. YAAYY!!!!

Tomorrow we are going to meet our new niece for the first time, see my brother and sister in law, see my Grandparents and get ready for the early Sunday morning flight home.

I’m already sunburned (I had forgotten about Ontario heat, it’s going to be 40 today with the humidity), I’ve already laughed until my face hurt. I’ve already gotten emotional.

It’s been the best day so far. I’m looking forward to the next two immensely.

Happy Friday, all!!

Now I’m off to exercise my fingers and work out what’s going on in Summer Poppies. I’ve been working on this book for Four Years. It’s time I get serious with it again and wrap it up.

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It was a week ago today that I schlepped my 15 yr old daughter and I to the emergency room in Saint John for discovery of what we both already knew was a raging bad case of strep throat. I hate using emergency services for that, but the clinic couldn’t get us in the night before and we just couldn’t wait for the chance they might get us in again that night. When you don’t have a family doctor, those are the options. Anyway we went, we were seen, we were diagnosed. Acute strep. Bring on the pennicillin.
We both started to feel less like we had glass in our throats by the end of the weekend, but, that’s when I lost my voice.
All week I’ve been dealing with some pretty bad laryngitis, which believe you me, is no picnic. At all.
I was a source of entertainment to the kids, a trouper to my ladies at work, a complete frustration to myself.
This morning though, after seven days of throat issues, it’s finally starting to come back.

Do you know how rediculous it looks and sounds to witness someone laughing with almost no sound coming out of them? My kids do.
Do you know how crazy it is to try to have a phone conversation and be proffessional when only the odd squawk of a word is coming through? My clients do. And don’t get me started on trying to interact with people in the public…like Tim Hortons. I’m through with feeling like someone has to mime my order to me, or point. Lost my voice, not my hearing. I’m a smart lady, I don’t need you to point. Taking drive through this morning felt heavenly. Not to mention that the window guy calls me Miss. Not Maam.
I felt very much like a muppet. At least I think I sounded like one.

Getting better isn’t coming a moment too soon either because in a week, I plan to audition for Saint John theatre company’s fall production.

In other news, this weekend promises to be warm and sunny and beautiful, so hopefully I can get my pool opened up and get some writing done outside. I really have to put this book back to work.

Have a wonderful, happy weekend friends.

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The rest of this month and the beginning of June is going to fly by. FLY BY. There is so much coming down the pipe that I just know the time is going to move faster than I can keep up with.

Emily Giffin has a new book out and of course I need to read it as soon as I can get my hands on it.
The movie Chef is coming to Saint John soon and I am greatly looking forward to this one. Nevermind the fact that I adore Jon Favreau and pretty much all of his work, the cast looks great and the movie is about food…so, yeah. I’m in.
Also out soon is Maleficent. My daughter is obsessed with this. When she was in grade seven (she’s in grade ten now), she had to write a paper on a famous story from the villain’s point of view. She wrote about Maleficent, her favourite villain. Needless to say she’s been counting down the days and I am also looking forward to this one.

And then…TFIOS. Yes, I am 100% on this bandwagon. I already love John Green’s books and yes, I watch his video’s on YouTube, and I firmly believe that he is to this generation what John Hughes was to mine. The Fault in our Stars is a stunning book. It is touching, sad, laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and sweet. And it made me cry like a mo-fo. Knowing that John himself was so involved with the movie makes me more than optimistic that this will NOT be one of those film adaptations that misses the mark. On the contrary, I feel like this is going to deliver in a way no other film adaptation has. Maybe ever.

After all the book and movie stuff is done, we have the milestone of my daughter Kathryn’s graduation from Grade 8. High school next year. My kids are getting older so quickly.
Then we have a summer full of visits from old friends and my new job that I’m settling into and a pool to open and everything that we can think of that will keep us busy, healthy and happy. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good summer. We’re going to take the kids to PEI…because we can. It’s literally right there, about three hours away. My life here constantly surprises me.

This week I’m back to writing, working, more writing and in the next couple of weeks I’ve decided to audition for a show with the Saint John theatre. It’s been too long since I’ve been on a stage. More news about that as I have it.

Hope everyone had a lovely long weekend. Chiao!

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I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty much glad this year is over. If I thought some things got hard in 2012, they were way harder this past year.

A lot of you read my post ‘A Reason or a Season’ and thank you for that. Losing my old high school friend so abruptly and shockingly was hard, and losing his twin brother 11 weeks later pretty much threw all of us who knew or know the family for a hard turn. Both the Quin boys will be forever missed.

They weren’t the only ones I knew who had passed suddenly and quite young, the end of my year in 2012 also saw a few people I knew leave this mortal coil and because they happened so close to the end of the year that year, it still felt hurtful and fresh when Denver died.

In May my husband was courted for an excellent new position and we made the leap of faith decision to leave everything we knew and start over in a whole new part of the country. This meant saying goodbye to my beloved job, all the wonderful people I worked with, all the amazing friends and loved ones we have in Ontario. It was hard, and some days it still is. I’d love to be able to see my Ontario sisters, especially since they are both having babies this year. I would love for just one more Saturday night spent in Alex and Grieg’s basement and garage. I miss my theatre friends.

But, life is all about moving on. Taking new chances and making new friends. Making room for yourself to grow and be challenged. Leaving mistakes in the past and grieving over losses.

2014 is so full of promise. I’m learning to look for the optimism instead of fixating on and stressing over the negative. While I hated saying goodbye, I’m truly ready for some new hello’s.

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I’ve made many a point on here about how my childhood was filled with both music and with saturation of my Irish heritage. They’re a couple of points of pride with me. I’m still in love with music to this day (a lot of which is carryover from those early impressionable years) and proud as ever of being Irish.

We listened to a lot of records in our house as kids. This was well before CD’s and cassette tapes just didn’t (and still don’t) have the same resonance. My dad had and still has an impressive collection. We had one record called The Children of the Unicorn, a children’s recording of songs by the Irish band The Irish Rovers. It was autographed on the back by all the members of the band. I have no idea how or when my parents got the autographs and it never occurred to me to ask until recently, though I still haven’t posed the question, maybe one of them will tell in the comments. Anyway, this record, which was recorded live in a studio full of kids, is chock-a-bock full of great a wonderful kids songs. I have vivid memories of boogying down to the music man with my siblings.

When I married and moved out, I hijacked some of my dad’s record collection. No dad, you can’t have them back. This record was one of them. My own kids grew up listening to the songs that I danced to as a small child and fell every bit as in love as I did with the Two Little Boys on their horses and the Lollypop Tree.

Upon our move to Saint John, we found out that the local theatre not only presents plays three times a year by the local community theatre group, but it also hosts TONS of visiting acts. Just two weeks ago we had Buffy St. Marie here, Red Green is coming, Just for Laughs is coming, and well, you get the point. But, while reading on all the upcoming acts, I discovered that The Irish Rovers would be here tonight, two days after my hubs’ birthday as part of their farewell tour. Now, he didn’t grow up as I did with their music, but he sure watched his children do it and has loved that even now as 12, 13, 15 year olds, they will occasionally have a nostalgia day and listen to the music again. So I got tickets. Happy birthday.

Tonight we go into Saint John, and I’m thinking of bringing that old album cover to get new signatures, over 35 years later, to add to the front of the album. This is going to be a wonderful night.

If only Harry Chapin were still alive and performing. I’d love to see another circle complete itself.

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Months ago when I heard that Les Miz was going to be a musical movie, I got so excited I literally bounced around my house for two days.  And then I heard who was in the cast.  More bouncing.  And then, the previews started and I literally teared up watching snippets of Anne Hathaway singing ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ (Susan Boyle can suck it, this is Anne’s song).

Yesterday, I packed up four of my five kids, jumped in the Jeep and drove to Woodstock to see it.  We brought a box of kleenex.

Due to timing (Keisha had to work until 4 and the movie started at 4:45) we were all just slightly rushed getting in, but it was hard to tell, for me, if that was from adrenaline or not.  I literally could not wait.  We listened to the music on the way there via my iPod, but I knew something epic was coming.  Not to mention that I have had a love affair with this musical (which kicked off my love affair for ALL musicals) since I first heard it as a young girl, and then had the good fortune to play Eponine in a high school choir concert version of the show.

With our popcorn in hand, we went into the theatre and found good seats near the top back.  Perfect height to view the screen without cricking our necks (which is good, because I pulled something in my neck the other day and it still hurts.  But I digress).

First of all, holy previews!  There are some amazing looking movies coming out next year.  I will be first in line to go and see Quartet for sure, about aging musicians and starring, it seems, half the Harry Potter teachers’ cast.  Plus Billy Conolly, so how can you go wrong?

And then…the opening bars.  My heart swelled.  My youngest son was sitting next to me and he reached over and grabbed my hand.


Right from the very first moment I was transported into 1800’s France.  I couldn’t rip my eyes from the screen.  It was visually stunning and the sound of all the voices filled my heart.

And then.  The great and wonderful Colm Wilkinson, fellow Irishman, original Jean Valjean, appeared on the screen and sang. My first heartstopper.

The vibe in the theatre was good. There was the sounds of popcorn munching and some slight whispering going on, as you expect during any movie, but…when Anne started to sing I dreamed a dream, you could hear a pin drop in there.  On the carpet.

Tom Hooper’s choice to have the actors sing live couldn’t have been more brilliant.  I can only imagine what it took to summon the emotions that they did with a camera literally in their faces but let me say, I could literally FEEL the desperation of Fantine in that song and if Anne doesn’t win an oscar for that performance, well, I don’t know what to say.

If you know the story of Les Miz, even if you don’t, you will love this movie.  Every key actor and every supporting actor played their part with absolute conviction.  The boys of the barricade had voices that left me breathless, but, my favourite would be a boy you’ve probably never heard of and neither had I until yesterday.

Daniel Huttlestone.

The boy who played Gavroche.

Remember way back when Anna Paquin was like, 12 and won an Oscar for The Piano?  Well, this should be Daniel’s year and if he is not at least nominated for best supporting actor, the Academy deserves a bitch slap.

This boy stuns.  He completely blows me away.  His voice, his conviction in the role, his amazing-ness captivated me.  Going in, Gavroche was already my son’s favourite character (because, as Shawn M says, he’s about my age, right mum?) but when he dies in the barricade battle, my boy and I leaned on one another and sobbed.

Empty chairs at empty tables was never one of my most favourite songs from the show, but in another heartstopper, I almost held my breath watching Marius sing to his fallen companions, the tears literally running from his eyes into his mouth and onto his clothes as he sang.  I wanted to give that song a standing ovation.

In fact, we cried through most of the movie.  Shawn Micheal pointed out to me at the end that he had gone through ten kleenexes.  I said to him, yes, but did you like it?  He teared up once more and said ‘I loved it’.

The only down spot of the experience were the three teenaged girls sitting behind us that wouldn’t shut up through the entire thing.  I mean, not at all.  Until of course my amazing 14 year old shushed them.

When this movie comes to the little theatre in my town next week I am going to see it again.  Going twice to the same movie in the theatre is something I have not done since Moulin Rouge, but this one I would see every night if I could afford it.

If you have not yet seen it, I urge you to go.   Even Russell Crowe didn’t suck nearly as bad as I thought he would, and, if you can ignore the fact that vocally he is not on par with the others, he is actually pretty good.

Go see it.  Go love it.

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