Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car, and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
Dug through my couch cushions. Nothing. I’m not going out to my car – too cold (there’s nothing on the floor of the car anyway. I long ago scavenged all loose coins to pay for downtown parking). No loose change in the bottom of my purse. Sigh. Apparently, I’m too clean. I took out my change purse, and pulled out the first coin that I touched. A quarter. 2011.
Good lord, as I quickly scan the files of my brain, I don’t have a bloody clue what I was doing in 2011. I have a great short-term memory, but long-term? I just can’t seem to organize it. I remember things, I do. But what year they happened? It’s like my brain has put them in a big folder labelled “Memories – Keep” but hasn’t bothered to sort them.
Eventually, memories start to surface. Memories that are attached, as always, to what shows I was performing in at the time.
I was in Ottawa near the end of May performing Gordon Winter for Prairie Scene at the National Arts Centre. That show was so powerful, and we had such a great team of artists working on it. I admired everyone involved and considered myself so lucky to be part of it. We were fortunate to work with Gordon Tootoosis on that show. It was his first time on stage in over 15 years, but he gave an incredible performance. That is when I realized how much of our lives we bring with us when we step onstage. It was all there with him. He didn’t have to create anything – he just needed to share with us. He passed on later than summer. I also had a fantastic audition for Peter Hinton, and a callback for the NAC English Theatre acting company. Didn’t get into the company, but I thought it was great that I met Peter. I could keep in touch now. Then three or four weeks later, he announced that he was stepping down. Oh well.
I attended Canada’s National Voice Intensive that year. I had to arrive late (from Gordon Winter) and leave early (for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan). I enjoyed working with David Smukler and Judith Koltai, but I could take or leave the rest of the experience. It was a bit too “therapeutic” for me, and didn’t focus enough on technique. Give me something I can use in the typical three-week Canadian theatre rehearsal period. I don’t have five hours a day to explore one word.
I did Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan that summer. Really had to think hard to remember which plays we did – Love’s Labour’s Lost and The Winter’s Tale. That was the middle of a three-year run with Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan. The seasons tend to blend into each other in my memory. The year before it was The Merchant of Venice and The Merry Wives of Windsor (the last time, I believe, that I was asked to play a young boy – nope, never mind, just remembered as I was typing this that I played one in The Winter’s Tale, too). The year after it was Hamlet and As You Like It. And then my streak was over. Three years in a row is pretty good for a woman in a Shakespeare company.
At the very beginning of the year, I did Velocity as part of Persephone Theatre’s Deep End Series. I workshopped that play a few years prior as part of Spring Festival, and I had so badly wanted to do that show ever since. I remember feeling very competitive at the auditions. I’m usually not competitive because it stresses me out. I usually try to practice some form of cool detachment (i.e. pretend that I really don’t care if I get the part, and that I will be happy for whoever gets it. Lies. All lies.) I was 33 years old at the time, and I played a 15 year old. I think that is the last time I played a teenager. Not bad, not bad at all.
I think we may have traveled to Central America that winter – I can’t remember if that was 2011 or 2010. Even if it wasn’t that year, I have to tell you that Guatemala is a beautiful country with beautiful, kind people. I would really like to go back.
I also did A Christmas Story at Persephone Theatre that winter. Great cast of adults (finally got to work with Saskatoon legend Tom Rooney), and a whole bunch of kids. Every night after the show, the adults would meet in the green room, down a Scotch, and exchange stories about what happened with the kids that night. Every night brought a new adventure. I played Mother in that show. I think that was the first time I’ve been cast as a mother.
Jeez Louise, as I look back on it now, 2011 was a busy year! Maybe I should do this with 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 as well. When I entered my 30s, I started to tell myself that I wouldn’t be working as much, but apparently, that’s not true. Well, maybe it’s been true for the past year or so, but that was mainly by choice, not by circumstance.
Okay brain, create “New Folder.” Rename it “2011.” Select above memories, and move them to that folder. Save. (Knowing me, I’ll accidentally move this folder to the Recycle Bin when I check Facebook in the morning, and I need more space to take a quiz and find out which character I am on Downton Abbey because that is the kind of useless knowledge I NEVER BLOODY FORGET).