My Life as a Boob

Adventures in comedy, child-rearing and combinations thereof.

Final Fringe Show! August 6, 2009

Filed under: comedy — jennywynter @ 10:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,

When we first decided 100% to return to Oz, I was absolutely determined not to waste away our last couple of months in Canada by spending the whole time dreaming about our future life back home. I have this horrible tendency to do that, meaning that I often find myself detached from all the awesomeness that’s right in front of me in the moment.

On the plus side, I’m happy to report that I’ve pretty much achieved that. I’ve stayed focused on all the good stuff here in our final laps of Canadian life and have indeed, enjoyed it hugely. On the minus side, I’ve been SO focused on Canucky stuff that I have a feeling now that when we get back to Australia I’m going to be in a massive state of shock: what do we do now?

Anyhoo, life in the past few weeks in a nutty nutshell:

– we polished off the roadtrip with a camping experience with our good friends Dave & Junko.

– upon debriefing, we have concluded that we tried to do WAY too much in too little time on this trip. Something to bear in mind for future travelling expedtitions for sure.

– then jumped madly into the final preparations for my first ever Fringe Festival show…

Night One:

After Tim and the kids got evicted from their usual hang-out space behind the Moose due to a crew filming a project, they launched themselves upon the theatre itself. Meaning that my tech run involved two children chasing each other screaming around the aisles, tearing through my collection of balloon props while my baby slept on the couch, my main set piece. In other words, my nerves were rather shot by the experience. Very poetic, given the subject matter of the show.

It was with eight minutes before call time though, that I seriously freaked out. The fringe being the fringe, is absolutely adamant that each show start ON TIME. No exceptions. No latecomers. Including the performers. So I’m there backstage, feeding Littlest Boob, my hair unbrushed and have apparently lost my makeup bag – it was with four minutes to go that I officially thought “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!?!?!”

Thankfully I had amazing hubby and incredible Loose Moose posse to help me out, loan me whatever makeup could be smattered together (thank you Kat!) and take over child-sitting duties (thanks Mel!) so that hubbster could even watch the first show.

I was so so nervous, this being the first fringe show naturally, but also with 95% new material, I had absolutely no idea how it would go and also whether we would even have an audience. But both turned out better than expected. I did, however, make the mistake of reading a review from that first night, something I swore I wasn’t going to do until the festival itself was over. And then I kicked myself. I should qualify this by saying that it was mostly positive. But then it did point out the weak points of the show too. The thing is, the review – in my opinion – was completely bang on. I couldn’t agree more with what the reviewer thought was wrong. I just wish I’d waited til after the festival to read them. Anyhoo, Dennis Cahill (who has been SO amazing with guiding me in this show) had exactly the same notes following the show, so these aspects have – touch wood – changed quite markedly since that first run.

NIGHT TWO:

Bolstered by the fact that I knew now I could do it, and that we were getting a satisfactory sized (and NICE!) crowd, I definitely felt more confident going into this one. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the improv segments went better than the night before, which were the mainly problematic areas. Shawn Kinley gave me some wicked feedback at the end too, which I’ve since incorporated – and continue to incorporate – into the run.

NIGHT THREE:

I rocked up early and got dressed first thing this night, meaning for the first time on this show, I’ve had a good twenty-five minutes pre-show just to relax, stretch and focus, rather than the typical “oh my goodness, is everything in place? Is everybody okay? Oh what, we’re ready to go? AGH!” madness that’s preceded!

I felt so much more connected and on track – Shawn’s tips were so helpful, especially in the improvised segments, plus my fabulous tech team of Lee and Sam have done such an awesome job of nailing it. I feel like we really gel together so well now, like in the performance art piece, they came in and out with sound and lighting EXACTLY where I’d hoped they’d be. Then right at the end of the show, as we were doing curtain call, I saw a few audience members stand in silhouette. The final number is spot-lit, and it’s up so bright that I honestly can hardly see anything in the crowd at all. So at first I’m all “Oh boy, they’re leaving already, wait, wait, the final gag is just coming up!” and then I see more heads rising, more heads rising and it clicks and I suddenly feel really overwhelmed with what it turns out, is not a mass exodus after all but my first proper standing ovation. I can’t wait to get home and tell hubby. It is, after all – as anybody who’s seen it will know – as much his show as it is mine.

Completely buzzing, I return home to find all three children screaming.

Enough said.

***

So I had a night off last night, it was a great relief actually, just to have some downtime with the fam, to relax and regroup and then once we’d gotten them to bed the hubbster and I ran a few rewrites of the problematic parts of the show through. It’s still not perfect by any means, but I’m so happy with this week – we’ve had more people come than I ever expected, it’s had some great reactions and I’m just so pleased with how it’s evolved and changed so much even over the past few days. That’s exactly what I’d hoped for.

So tonight is closing night – my last performance at Loose Moose for who knows how long. I’m so excited. Nervous? A little. Of course. But mainly just so stoked and pumped to give it everything I’ve got – this time performing with the Moose has been an absolute undeniable highlight of my life. And I can’t believe I have the privilege of treading the boards there for my final show.

What an honour.

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The journey continues! (Or, ‘the Boobs descend on Kelowna’) July 10, 2009

Filed under: comedy,family life,travel — jennywynter @ 10:04 pm
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Turns out getting upgraded from the teepee was a very lovely twist of events indeed, considering that the weather dampened – and cooled – considerably overnight. We took our good time getting sorted in the morning, photographing hummingbirds (so cute!), avoiding psychotic geese in the on-campground pond (they’ve now joined Hannibal Lecter on my list of mortal enemies) and finally proceeded to make the leisurely two hour jaunt to Kelowna.

Canada the final leg 123

Miracle number one of the day was getting everybody ready and into the van with minimal fuss. Miracle number two was getting ALL THREE KIDS TO SLEEP AT ONCE. I know. Inconceivable. Awesomeness in that we had some blissful peace in which to chat between us  – not that we haven’t talked the rest of the trip, only this time we didn’t have to do it over the blaring sounds of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Doctor Seuss’ ABC’ or the french version of ‘Pocahontas’, previously loved but currently heading to destination: hatred after waaaaaay to many plays.

Canada the final leg 133

Ah, BC. So beautiful. So breathtaking. Lovely. I must admit though, I’ve probably been looking forward to the Kelowna leg the least of the whole itinerary. Namely because of all the places we’re visiting on this trip, this is the one we’ve already done – this time last year in fact – and I felt like we’d pretty much already sussed it out. But inspired by a book on ‘Adventuring with Children’ which Master Boob and I take turns reading chunks of to each other as the other drives, we decided to make the effort to check out some cool things to do within a half to hour’s drive of our hotel this time around.

Canada the final leg 156

Starting today with a tour of a very friendly fruit orchard, resplendant with a very quaint little gift store, free wine and apple juice tasting, a hay wagon ride throughout the orchard (lovely, but a little hair-raising given that the tourguide a) had no qualms about turning his entire body towards us to deliver his very informative spiel with his BACK FACING THE WHEEL and then b) letting kids aged between 7 and 11 take turns driving us while we eyed off a good fifty feet drop beside us!

Canada the final leg 137

Anyway, we came, we saw, we ate tons of apricots.

Canada the final leg 151

It was cool.

Oh and the gig last night was surprisingly awesome – the crowds can be a little unpredictable around here, I’ve heard tonight the place is likely to be packed with Hells Angels and tomorrow night is an insane football match or something, so yes, me, complete with my tin whistle, should find myself with a real audience made in heaven.

Now, off to satisfy my whingeing kids insatiable desire to frolick in the pool. What can I say? It’s a tough life.

 

The past fortnight in (not so) brief June 23, 2009

Filed under: comedy,family life — jennywynter @ 6:22 am
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Okay then, if you insist:

– We’re moving outta this place in exactly 7 days. The good news is we’ve actually pretty much sorted out all of our stuff. The bad news is that the place is thus a complete and utter catastrophe, boxes of stuff here, suitcases, there, kids’ attitudes strewn about the lounge-room like spaghetti. Young Master Boob has regressed to toddler-dom, choosing to throw tantrums daily (this whole Canadian summer with 18 hours of daylight certainly doesn’t help things on the sleep front) and even placing his noodles strategically over the carpet today. A lady who came to pick up some donated kids’ items today shook her head at me, smiled and said: “Bless your heart. You’re a braver woman than I am, I could NEVER do it with small kids.” I just laughed it off and didn’t really think about what she meant. But after tonight? Okay, okay. I get it.

– Mister Boob finishes up teaching tomorrow – we were in his classroom today helping him to start packing stuff up and I found myself getting really emotional about him saying goodbye. He hasn’t even told his kids yet that he’s leaving the country, I think mainly because a) he was advised to leave it as late as possible so as to not cause anxiety in them and b) he himself has been somewhat in denial about the fact that we’re going. I actually feel upset for the little munchkins; saying goodbye can be hard enough, let alone having it suddenly sprung on you that you’re not going to be seeing your teacher in all likelihood – for years, if not EVER AGAIN. Am I just being melodramatic?

– I’ve pretty much sorted out our road-trip now and I cannot wait, even though I’m a little daunted by burning out on the road. But we have opted to take a slightly less frantic itinerary, in fact, omitting quite a few points of interest that sans kids, would have been high on my priority list. But this time round we figured better to take it slow and spend more time in fewer places so we might actually enjoy the journey, rather than trying to squeeze in absolutely everything at a crazy pace. I definitely do NOT want to spend every minute in a car with kids, especially now that for some bizarre reason, our van has decided that it will never allow us to open it’s main passenger door again. Aye aye aye…anyhoo, so we’re going all through BC all the way to Vancouver, then down to Seattle, back up through the States to the faboosh Nelson, then back to the Bow Valley til early August, whereupon I begin my Fringe show run in Calgary. Speaking of which…Jenny Wynter One Night

– My solo show for Calgary Fringe is coming along BEEEEEAUTifully. So, so happy. It’s the first time I’ve ever really focused on narrative – Dennis Cahill, Artistic Director of Loose Moose, has been so fantastic helping me nut it out. So far we’ve just been working on the structure, just talking through key relevant events in my life and having his spin on it and how it all fits together has been both enlightening and affirming. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve EVER been this excited about performing anything. It’s also been so great just to finally see the fruits of my Banff Centre Residency beginning to bud. That was a lot tougher than I thought, i.e. during the residency itself, you’re very much in the initial stages of bringing this new work into life and sometimes it can feel like nothing’s really happening at all – like you’re just pontificating and not really producing anything and oh my goodness, what if I finish this whole residency at come out with NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT? So now, months later, to see the pennies beginning to drop and it all coming together, is just such a great lesson in itself in trusting in the creative process. However frustratingly slow it may seem.

(PS If you are in the Calgary area you can come check out the show here.

Oh and HUUUGE props to my lovely and amazing and fellow Heathers fan Jennifer Bain for creating this amazing concuction that is my show poster. I quite simply cannot put it any better than Gollum: WE LOVES IT!

cassidy 2– Littlest Boob continues his quest to be crowned best baby in the entire galaxy – I seriously can’t believe how lucky I am. I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. He’s just so scrummy, he makes me want to have a million babies. Hmmm. One to add to the to-do list.

 

Yay! Officially updated! I feel so accomplished! What’s next? More facebooking? SEE HOW ACCOMPLISHED I AM!

 

Chess and comedy: who knew? May 25, 2009

Filed under: comedy — jennywynter @ 4:01 am
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So I was talking comedy to Mister Boob today, or more specifically, talking about the bad blood that can arise between comics upon watching somebody else climb the ranks a little faster than they believe said comic deserves.

“Hmm,” mused Mister Boob. “Well, you know, it’s like my chess game I’ve got going right now. Early on in the game the other guy made a stupid mistake and left a piece unguarded, so I took it. And for a little while there it looked like I was dominating. But now it looks like that piece getting taken has actually worked out to his advantage, even though he never meant for that to happen.”

Did I mention my hubby’s a complete and utter chess geek? And that he is prone to wander for hours on philosophical tangents that leave my mind either reeling or escaping to random daydreams involving popular culture and whipped cream?

Well, he is. And he is. Evidently.

“Anyway,” he said, speeding up towards his conclusion so as to stop me from escaping to a happy place, “my point is that a small twist of luck went his way, which makes it really tempting to feel bitter and just blame everything on his good luck, but what you’ve gotta remember is that he could only capitalise on his luck because of the good things he’d done earlier.”

“In other words, he must have something going for him to have gotten this far!”

And there you have it.

Checkmate.

 

Comedians vs Reviewers April 18, 2009

Filed under: comedy — jennywynter @ 6:09 am
Tags: , , ,

So I’ve been depriving myself of further sleep not thanks to my little 8-week old Boob, but to keeping tabs on the far away Melbourne International Comedy Festival back home in Oz. Specifically, I’ve been rather interested in this debate here, that being whether comedians are too sensitive: i.e. they can ‘give it but not take it.’

I’m straight away reminded of an encounter I had with a reviewer (at least I think I did – the commenter on my particular post on the subject refusing to identify himself), where I found out that reviewers really don’t like being reviewed. The irony that a reviewer could ‘give it but not take it’ is not lost on me here!

Now so much has been written on the subject, I want to at least try to keep my thoughts brief:

– I agree that reviewers are not only valuable to comedians, they are absolutely necessary to draw bums on seats. I don’t really think there’s any comics out there who would want to ‘abolish all reviewers!’ are there?

– That said, I DO believe that comedy is completely subjective. Not everybody is funny to everybody and shock, horror: that’s OKAY. I might not like eating asparagus, but it doesn’t mean that I demand its removal from society. (Okay, so most reviewers don’t demand this of comics they don’t enjoy, but the review I reviewed did indeed suggest – very mean-spiritedly in my opinion – that most of the comics that night should throw in the towel). My point is, comedy is subjective and a good reviewer – whether they themself adored the show or not – needs to take that into account when communicating a particular show to their readers.

– THUS…I think reviewers should at least be reviewing shows they have a chance at liking. Yes, their job is to present an accurate picture of the show – for better or for worse – so as to inform their readers as to whether or not this is a show for them. It would seem only fair then, that they themselves should be an accurate representative of that comedian’s target audience. Just as a punter is only likely to check out a musical comedy show if they know they’re into the genre, so too should reviewers be checking out things they at least MIGHT like, to best put themselves in the shoes of the average audience member.

– And, for the record, I actually DON’T think that open mics should really be reviewed at all. Really? Really. All new comics suck. They have to. It’s part of the deal you have to go through to get good. EVERYBODY SUCKS AT FIRST. I really don’t see the point in going along to an open mic night to review it IF your only intention is to slaughter. Because of course you’ll be able to (see above point referring to suckage). Okay, so there’s some who might say that there’s valid criticism to be found in said reviews that can help comics – perhaps that’s true on rare occasion, but more often than not I think the negative reviews are less informative or helpful and instead are just…well, nasty. I mean, check out the Tim Minchin review which inspired a song in his latest show. Its criticism could hardly be seen as constructive, am I wrong?

– Finally, on this whole ‘are comedians more sensitive than others?’ issue: I call BS. Comedians are human beings. Human beings are sensitive. I don’t know of one person who actually enjoys being criticised.  I’m not talking criticised as in “here’s how you could do things better” but criticised in terms of “you suck”. (Well okay, there is one, but he has serious issues.) So if comedians need to harden the heck up – which may indeed be true – then it’s only because we all do.

That is all.

 

New York, New York???????? March 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jennywynter @ 4:47 am
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I’m so excited, yet not wanting to be TOO excited, lest this should not all come off the way I want it to. But…the bottom line is I just can’t help but BE excited, cos you know, it’s exciting. See what this news is doing to me? It’s severely impeding my vocabulary. Joy.

What is this news, exactly? Well, as of tonight, I got word that I’ve been accepted into a Master Improv Retreat in upstate New York (I’m assuming it’s upstate,  mind, geography not being one of my strengths in this life) in the summer. This is extremely cool for several reasons:

1) The program looks AWESOME. I mean, just check out the people teaching the damn thing!

2) I have been DYING to get my butt back to New York since I first laid adoring eyes on it back in 2006. Even though this would not be NYC itself, it would be close. Geographically and metaphorically.

3) It’s scheduled in the summer time, which is Tim’s holiday break, meaning we could actually do this as a family and enjoy it. Cos the place they’re holding the retreat is actually – shock, horror – family friendly!

Now there’s just the issue of $$$. Ah yes, $$$. Perhaps a diet of baked beans for April. We might stink, but damn it, we’d be stinking in New York. With some of the best improv/comedy folk around.

Sure brings new meaning to ‘gas money’.