May 2016: It’s when you’re hardest hit…

May 21, 2016: So the theatre gigs are now wonderful memories. I still smile thinking about Calpurnia. Now the challenge comes with singing. I haven't sung since February and I am a bit anxious as to what will happen. Rehearsal tonight with Nadine will clear out the kinks for Monday's Chick Pickin' Nights at Grumpy's.

May 17, 2016: The day after the read of Calpurnia by Audrey Dwyer for Black Theatre Workshop's Discovery Series. I am on Cloud 9! Seventh Heaven! Floating with a natural high! I had the utmost pleasure working with professionals who are at the top of their game surrounded by a crew and organisation that runs like a well oiled machine.

My character in the play, Precy - a Filipino maid (yeah, yeah..stereotype again, right? Wait, read on) had very minimal text/lines to say. But this is the case where silence is golden, where less is more. Just her presence and the few lines that she says IS the play, in my humble opinion. In the whole story, Precy is the collateral damage in an affluent Black family who lives in Forest Hill, Toronto. The daughter who has never been or has had little to no experience with her Black-ness decides to write a screen play about Calpurnia, but she does her research in a most uncomfortable manner. There were two lines in the script that really got me. "This is my uniform" and "I taught you to read". Those lines are said at different points in the play and although they seem harmless, for me, it encapsulates the power of Precy.

What an honor it is to have read for such a powerful role in a thought provoking play. This is a moment when I say, I LOVE MY JOB.

May 14, 2016: Tonight was the last showing of Sylvia by Brave New Productions. It's been a wild ride, a roller coaster of emotions ran through me throughout the process of this play. I questioned myself a lot, to the point of losing confidence in my abilities. Why did I not listen to my instincts? I must admit that although I really wanted to honor the director's choices it did not ring true to me, it did not feel right. That sense of freedom I had when working with others wasn't there. I reached out to theatrical mentors, actor colleagues and friends who confirmed that on stage, I never went wrong when choosing the way of my instincts. I pulled up my socks, threw care to the wind, took action on my gut instincts a couple of shows into the production's run and, serenity eventually took its place.

I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Brave New Productions. It brought me back to a place of questioning, something that I seem to have lost or have taken for granted. My sense of curiosity has been re-awakened. I met new people and reconnected with some old faces that crossed my path years ago. I even caught the eye of a producer who offered me a script to consider thanks to the play.

All is well now. The loss of confidence has passed and tomorrow, I look forward to the next theatrical project - an early morning rise to rehearse for Black Theatre Workshop's  staged reading of Calpurnia on Monday. I look forward to meeting my cast mates, a mix of Montreal theatre's established and upcoming artists. I look forward to telling a story of race, appropriation and society's classes. Subjects like this reach deep into my heart. There is a particular line in the script that I've always felt but couldn't put into words. You'll have to come to the reading to know which line it is...or wait for my next blog post, after the staged reading.

I feel so blessed to have been given the chance to straddle three very different artistic worlds; music, theatre and film. Crossing over is not an easy task, but it keeps me sharp, allowing me to ways to replenish my energies and inspirations whenever I've emptied myself.  See you at the theatre!

May 10, 2016:  Actress Jenifer Lewis once said, “It is when you are hardest hit that you must acquit”. Such true words to live by.

It’s been quite a few months that I’ve been hit hard but even from my bed, I was working, planning and making sure I need to do what I had to do to make sure I keep focused on my goals. I was very difficult but now, I am out from under the dark clouds.

SYLVIA, the play by Brave New Productions is now in its 2nd week. So far, the audiences’ reactions are great! They laugh, snicker, giggle and even shed a tear or two. There are 5 shows left. I see how the play has changed and the actors’ instincts have taken over. This is the play.

Right after SYLVIA, literally the day after closing I start bright and early to rehearse for Black Theatre Workshops Discovery Series. The play is called, CALPURNIA, it’s a retelling of “To Kill a Mockingbird” from the point of view of the Finch’s maid. I will be reading with seasoned actors and am looking forward to sharing this new play written by Audrey Dwyer and directed by Jon Lachlan Stewart. THIS is going to be good! Plays like this grab me by my heart and convictions. Tickets are available >> Online or call: 514-932-1104

On the musical side of things, we’re still a work in progress when it comes to players. I’ve had a false start and must admit I was disappointed but such is life. Oisin and I continue to write music for the album, we’ve included our new drummer, Brandon Goodwin in the process. However, I am back to square one with the guitarist – I’m back on the lookout. There are a couple of good potentials and we will be seeing if it all fits.

There has been a lot of work done and there is more to be done, so we won’t be letting go anytime soon. I have a focus on this band and it goes beyond gigging. This situation reminds me of when I was starting my human resources consulting company over 25 years ago. I had started from nothing. Literally, nothing. Supposed friends told me to give up because I was having such a hard time. I didn't give up and told myself that it was a do or die situation - something that, even today, I tell myself in all my new projects and endeavours. Today, those supposed friends are the ones saying to themselves that they "should have, could have, would have" - I haven't said that at all. I have the same gut feeling I have for my band as I did when I started my company - and besides, it's only been 7 years. That's nothing compared to a corporate lifecycle. With that, I pull up my socks and keep on keeping on.