10 questions: Brendan Gall

1) What the fuck is going on?

Man, I don’t know. I was heading down to the Westbound platform at Broadview Station and someone had left something inside a plastic bag on the stairs. I saw it and my heart just started pounding. I mean what is that about? And, okay, so we run out of oil in ten, fifteen years; no more cars, big deal. But no more plastic? Explain to me how that’s going to work… Last night I carved a pumpkin with my girlfriend, using only basic shapes (circles, triangles, squares), but somehow it still looked like a face. I don’t get it. Besides that? MySpace is taking up too much of my time. UnSpun’s having a FUNRAZOR! at Clinton’s Tavern on Friday, November 3rd. Comedy by The Remainders and Dinkus + Music by The Northwest Division and Sunparlour Players + supporting independent theatre = Awesome.

2) Most challenging role you’ve attempted?
‘Malvolio’ in Twelfth Night. As a preying mantis. With a German accent. In geisha-girl make-up. In Fayetteville, Arkansas. (In case you’re wondering, there is no terrifying like the terrifying of two thousand people all slowly chanting, “Soooooooooey Pig…” in unison. It was like the college football version of Lord of the Flies.)

3) Seen any good theatre lately?
Yeah, Spain by DIY Theatre. There were eight people in the audience and one of them was the playwright. But don’t worry, I hear they’re bringing Phantom back.

4) What’s the best thing to spend money on?
Investments. I’m sorry, I don’t know where that answer came from. Groceries and rent.

5) What should everyone stop doing?
Believing liars and ignoring their environment.

6) What’s the best thing about theatre in Toronto?
It refuses to give up.

7) Johnny Depp or Sean Penn?
Sean Penn by a nose. Although I hear that All The King’s Men is insufferable. Apparently it’s an exact reprisal of his role in I Am Sam only with more screaming.

8) Who would you most like to work with, but haven’t yet?
Would have said Daniel Brooks until last week. Ah screw it, Daniel Brooks. Two days doesn’t cut it.

9) Do you have any unifying theories when it comes to acting?
I think good stage-acting is more like good film-acting than people want to think, especially in smaller venues. Also, when you play a role I think you should use as much of yourself as possible, because you’ve had your whole life to work on the character and it’s probably going to be more interesting than a limp or a stutter. Unless you already do those things; then by all means, incorporate them.

10) What are you working on these days?
Co-creating and directing UnSpun Theatre’s Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, running from November 29th to December 16th at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

UnSpun puts the FUN in Friday

Join the UnSpun Theatre crew this Friday for its fun-filled FUNRAZOR! – a fundraiser for its upcoming production of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump!

Friday, November 3, 2006.
Clinton’s Tavern – 693 Bloor St. West

(east of Christie Station)
Doors at 8:30 pm.
Admission $10.

The sketch comedy of Dinkus and The Remainders; and the music of Sunparlour Players and The Northwest Division!

Silent auction! Drinking! Laughing!
Clapping and stomping! Romance!* Visiting!
*May not contain romance.

All funds raised at the FUNRAZOR! go toward the costs of UnSpun’s upcoming indie production Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

10 questions: James Murray

1) What the fuck is going on?
Well, I will be getting back into acting classes in a few weeks. My bathroom is clean. The new Robert Pollard album has been very good to me. I’m nursing a bar vodka/Bushmill’s hangover and my father just bought a $1000 kilt for the Tartan Day service at The First Presbyterian Church in my hometown of Pembroke, Ontario.

2) Most challenging role you’ve attempted?

‘Laertes’ in Hamlet. We were rehearsing for six weeks, and with a week left before opening it was cancelled by the SARS pandemic, which devastated all of us 30 million Canadians . . . devastated, in every sense of the word.

3) Seen any good theatre lately?

Hanna’s Suitcase. I really appreciated and admired how they conveyed those particular aspects of the Holocaust to the children. It was initially intended for children ages 10 and up but they mesmerized the 5-year-old girl sitting next to me. My emotional breakdown took place when Jo Chim’s character and the kids finally track down Hanna’s long lost brother George, who currently resides in Toronto. That specific moment when they hand him the suitcase, the expression on Eric Trask’s face . . . wow, that’s why we do theatre.

4) What’s the best thing to spend money on?

Venue rentals, publicity, advertisements, canisters of film, film equipment rentals, prop rentals, costume rentals, location permits, classes, C/Vs, theatre tickets, CDs, Leaf tickets, booze, duds, dinner, novels, mags, administration fees . . .don’t worry, I’ll stop there.

5) What should everyone stop doing?
I think insecure people should stop wearing designer clothes. Nice clothing should decorate one’s personality and character. I wish it was a more common pairing. For example: if you are insecure and decide to go as George Stroumboulopoulos for Hallowe’en, no one will know who the fuck you are. So to those of you who are fractured by the ‘clothes make the man’ mentality, please learn to accept the fact that you have a soul, place your ego in a more respectable position and then purchase the ‘Toronto Signature Series’.

6) What’s the best thing about theatre in Toronto?
That it exists, that I am a part of it and Praxis.

7) Johnny Depp or Sean Penn?

Penn. When his films hit theatres, I see them the weekend they open. I am far more interested in his choices of roles and projects than I am of Johnny Depp’s. One of my favourite films of all time is [the Penn-directed] The Indian Runner, and he’s not even in it.

8) Who would you most like to work with, but haven’t yet?

This week I’d like to work w/Asia Argento (Marie Antoinette, The Stendhal Syndrome) and Angela Bettis (May, Sick Girl). I’ve always wanted to work with . . . okay, the list would be too long. In general, I like/would like to work with people who inspire me, who I look up to and can learn from, who understand and respect me for who I am and what I do . . . all that stuff.

9) Do you have any unifying theories when it comes to acting?

I don’t mind talking about or trying to theoretically analyze acting on my own time, but it’s way more efficient when you’re actually doing it. Amid a rehearsal process or when a film is in production, ‘theorizing’ as opposed to ‘doing’ will impede the project. In a theatre school, it’s dangerous for students to pay too much mind on theory of ‘how to act’ because when they finally get down to playing a role, their minds will be fixated on recollecting what Stanislavsky or Hagen said instead of practicing being alive in a moment. Acting is an emotional sport that needs to be practiced at all times and acknowledging your life experiences

10) What are you working on these days?
I just finished an independent short film called Synapse, a psychological thriller that required a lot of research on a type of mental disease . . . I don’t want to mention too much since it’s just starting post-production. The creator/director is this precocious fellow named Andrew Stephenson who was a real pleasure to work with. It was one of the most interesting experiences I ever had.

Six things to do this October in Toronto

ARCfest – Toronto’s Social Justice Arts Festival, runs from October 22nd-29th and features over 100 artists in 25 events exploring local social justice issues. Taking place in Queen West, Parkdale, and other venues across Toronto, the festival includes a diverse program of seasoned and emerging artists, panel discussions, speakers, workshops, and artist-community collaborations.

Here’s what’s happening at the theatre end of things:

All performances at The Great Hall Downstairs 1087 Queen Street West (at Dovercourt).

1) blood.claat
written and performed by d’bi.young, percussion/vocals Amina Alfred, directed by Weyni Mengesha
Wednesday, Oct 25th, 9:00pm.
Suggested Donation $20

2) The Palace of the End

a staged reading of a new play about the war in Iraq written and directed by Judith Thompson, featuring Anne Anglin, Erin Mackinnon, and Julian Richings
Thursday, October 26th, 8:00pm.
By Donation

3) Behind the Brickz & To The Power of Me
original plays by two new youth theatre companies, The A.M.Y Project and The Circle Playhouse
Friday October 27th, 8:00pm.
Suggested Donation $10

4) One Block in Parkdale
an original site-specific play taking place along an entire block of Parkdale
4 performances on Saturday, October 28th. 2:00pm, 2:30pm, 3:00pm, 3:30pm. Meet outside the Parkdale Library 1303 Queen St West.
By Donation

5) Professionally Ethnic

a staged-reading of a new play by Bobby Del Rio, directed by Ross Manson, featuring Mark Andrada, Nick Carella, David Ferry, and Cara Ricketts
Sunday, October 29th, 2:00pm.
By Donation

6) The Wrecking Ball
– new political theatre
featuring readings of new works by Daniel MacIvor and Hannah Moscovitch
Sunday October 29th, 8:00pm.
By Donation

www.arcfest.org (for a full program of events)


BUY TICKETS NOW at www.UofTtix.ca or call 416-978-8849