By Cathi Grandfield
Theatre is one of the most communal of art forms. It is created only in community, by and for groups of people together. You can read a book, view a painting, listen to recorded music or watch a film in solitude, but when you experience a play, there are other living, breathing people in the space with you. Performers and audience share sound waves, brain waves. We make eye contact. Theatre impacts our thoughts and emotions by shaping our actual physical environment.
For centuries, communities have challenged and clarified communal values through theatre. It is one of the oldest art forms, dating from time immemorial when folks acted out stories around the campfire: stories of adventure, danger, hilarity, or romance. The art of theatre invites us to consider how we treat each other, how we choose to make peace or war. Together, we create a safe place to address our differences and disagreements through imagination. It is a place to challenge our assumptions, to deconstruct and reconstruct community values. It is an art for neighbourhoods.
How exciting to see new works of theatre created and performed by members of our own community in Thunder Bay! The annual 10x10 Play Showcase, sponsored in part by NOWW and the Ontario Arts Council, features ten new plays each year by local and regional playwrights, stories which challenge our common values and spur vibrant conversations, deep thoughts, and plenty of laughter. Last year, over 75 artists worked together to produce two sold-out shows.
What is a ten-minute play? This new dramatic form is a short but complete play, with a beginning, middle, and end. It is not a scene from a larger play or a comedy sketch with a single gag; rather, it presents deep character transformation within a specific time limit. Sometimes called the "haiku of the stage," and "a bolt of theatrical lightning," the 10-minute play has become an engaging and popular genre for today's theatregoers and playwrights.
The 10x10 Play InTENsive offers year-round support for developing theatre artists here in Thunder Bay through free workshops, online resources, a juried play selection, and an annual production of original ten-minute plays. The Fifth Anniversary 10x10 Play Showcase will take place in April 2017 in two performances at the Finlandia Club. Why not add your voice to this diverse production by submitting an original play (only ten minutes long!), applying to direct, or auditioning for an acting role? It will be an unforgettable experience for all theatre artists and audience members (recommended ages 16 and up).
A few writing tips:
For more information on this unique project, including all submission requirements, visit 10x10tbay.ca. Submission deadline is Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm. See you on stage!
By Jayne Barnard
We’ve all seen them, and many of us have been them: authors standing up front with their nose in the book, mumbling, inaudible beyond the second row. The audience isn’t fidgeting because they don’t like the writing; often it’s the delivery that’s killing you. Yet you can land the basics of good delivery in a few minutes of practice a day. You’ll give better readings and enjoy them more (or dread them less).
The key is to relax the muscles. The mind follows the body’s relaxation. When your mind and body are relaxed, your vocal muscles are relaxed. Your voice’s richness of inflection and range of emotion are set free.
Here’s how you get there: first, relax your neck & shoulders. This is not a fitness test: don’t strain or force beyond your comfort level.
Neck scoops – turn head to one side; tilt nose toward shoulder and slowly trace a semi-circle down across your chest and up the other side. Rest on a three count and go back. Repeat 3x each way. Don’t force your neck further than is comfortable.
Shoulder rolls – slow forward 3x, then slow backward 3x. Change it up by rotating them opposite to each other.
Torso twists – forearms up front and holding each other, turn side to side slowly from the hips, no forcing or straining to go further than is comfortable. Twice each way is fine.
Do any other stretching that seems good to you.
Next, relax the tiny muscles of the face.
On all of these, breathe in through the nose for a count of 3, and out for a count of 5. Do each twice.
Run the tongue-twister of your choice three times. Exaggerate every syllable.
Now: Rehearse your reading out loud. Words your mind can say perfectly your mouth may not be familiar with; practice those. Let the emotion and drama resonate through your warmed-up, flexible voice. Mark places to breathe if you tend to forget.
At the event:
Just before you go up to read, scoop your neck once or twice, roll your shoulders. Waggle your jaw as if there’s a big wad of chewing gum in there. Then get to your position, make eye contact with one person, and remember to breathe.
Member Profile - Bonnie Ferrante
How long have you been a member of NOWW? I've been in NOWW for 6 years.
What do you normally write? I write fiction for all ages, nonfiction for young children, and picture books.
And who is your favourite author? I love C. S. Lewis.
Let’s get to know you a bit better. Tell us a bit about yourself! My picture book illustrations are in a state of flux as I develop methods that cope with my increasing Parkinson's tremor. I am still working on 3 YA novels for which I have received OAC grants and am working on several picture books in various stages. I had four novels, various short stories, and three years of newspaper columns published traditionally but am now self-publishing. I've placed second and third in several NOWW short story contests. I have more ideas than I have time left to fulfill them.
Tell us about a couple of your upcoming books! I plan on publishing two books soon. One is a YA historical fantasy set in Tudor England titled Switch. I spent a year researching although I was familiar with that period from university classes and personal interest. I worked with Tradewind Books in Vancouver for four years on this book but we have parted amicably. I will be extensively revising it closer to my original vision. I haven't touched the work for a year, so I will be reading through and making notes, then devising a new outline, pulling up old files, and rewriting and revising. My plan is to use NaNoWriMo as the impetus for this rather daunting job.
The second is a picture book called If You See a Dragon which encourages children to examine the way people treat and use animals. I've tried two (hopefully) unique illustrative representations featuring the dragon and humans. For me, picture books are a true joy to create. However, since I can't control a pencil or paintbrush since Parkinson's symptoms have increased, I hope to develop new ways to use my computer drawing tablet and PhotoShop to continue illustrating my own books.
And where do your inspirations come from? What books have impacted your writing? Since I write a review blog, I am constantly discovering writers/illustrators that challenge my concept of a picture book. I frequently babysit my granddaughter (now three-years-old) and we read a great deal. One of our favourites is Jazz Baby, by Lisa Wheeler, with oddly drawn humans and a text you can't help but rap/sing. Writers who want reviews/interviews on my blog send me their books and I donate them to the library. Sometimes it's hard to let them go. Bossy Flossy by Paulette Bogan has become a reference point for behaviour. Herds of Birds Oh How Absurd by S.J. Bushue has challenged us to memorize all the beautiful collective nouns. Donations of children's books to the Little Free Library at 240 Humber are deeply appreciated. Readers are encouraged to keep the books circulating and seek out more of the author's works.
Can we see you at any upcoming NOWW events? I will be reading 2 selections for NOWW in December.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
Readers can connect with me:
Website - BonnieFerrante.ca, My Blog - http://bferrante.wordpress.com/,
Facebook - Bonnie Ferrante - Author https://www.facebook.com/FerranteAuthor?ref=hl ,
Bonnie Ferrante - Books for Children
Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/user/Bonnie0904,
Twitter - @BonnieFerrante (Also Goodreads, linkedin, Pinterest,Tumblr).
All 17 published works are available here: Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Bonnie-Ferrante/e/B007P7LFYG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1382025411&sr=8-2
And to end things off, tell us something surprising about yourself! I recently started a Little Free Library, with the major focus on children's books, on my front lawn.