A belated introduction

As the new theatre columnist on Forget The Box, I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Sunday Theatrics.   In the spirit of the site, I’d also like to take this opportunity to forget one box in particular: the one that says you’re supposed to do all introductions and explanations in your first column instead of writing a review, then taking a week off then coming back and saying hi.

I have a good excuse for missing last week.   I was up north shooting material for the season two premier of JC Sunshine’s Fireside Chat and since that show is part of the Forget The Box TV lineup, I think it’s a justifiable in-house reason for my written absence.   Yes, I could have written my column in advance like our film reviewer did, but the past is the past, it’s all water under the bridge.

Anyways, as eluded to above, yes, I’m an actor. I’m not just a web-TV actor, either.   I have been in some films (mostly student stuff), one employee training video and several clips that have made their way around YouTube.   Above all, though, I’m a theatre actor.

Performing in a not-so-traditional way as part of a theatrical protest of Canadian mining practises   (photo Aaron Lakoff)

While that may conjure up images of stages, curtains, black boxes and makeup for some, I’m actually more familiar with streets, alleyways and even disreputable businesses.   Most of the theatre I do is guerilla-style street performance and culture jamming.   That doesn’t mean I haven’t performed in my fare share of more traditional spaces and less traditional stages like bars and coffee shops as well.   Usually what I perform in is quite political and/or very unconventional.

No, I don’t fit the stereotype of a typical theatre reviewer, one who just writes and doesn’t do, or used to do but has stopped.   No, I’m still acting and occasionally write scenes for shows and even help organize events.   I also have no problem writing about events and shows that I’m part of.   Expect to read reports on Car Stories in the next few weeks as well as some of what’s happening at the Buffalo infringement Festival (I’m one of the organizers of the infringement here in Montreal).

Performing in a more traditional context as part of Sinking Neptune at the University of Guelph (photo Matthias Elsdorfer)

A declared bias is much better, I feel, than the illusion of no bias whatsoever.   That doesn’t mean that this column will be all or even largely about the projects I’m involved in.   Most of the time it will be a mix of three things: reviews and previews of shows that don’t get that much or any mainstream coverage or really have something to say, reports on events that are theatrical in nature and commentary on what’s happening in theatre.

There will be some coverage of mainstream theatre, but it will be limited to shows that I feel really have a good purpose, are really good or different or the ones that throw me some free tickets.

I’m really looking to cover smaller shows, those with an activist slant or those that really offer a different type of theatre than we are used to.   If you’re putting on one of those shows (and most likely if you’re in Montreal because that’s where I’m based), please let me know at jason@forgetthebox.net.   The quality and ideas are way more important than comps in this case, but they are still welcome.

I’m more interested in promoting stuff I find interesting then bashing stuff I don’t like, so to keep things positive, I’m more likely to go out and cover stuff I expect to enjoy.   However a good review is never guaranteed under any circumstances and if your show’s budget is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, you really have to do a good job to impress me.

That said, I hope you all get set because now that I’ve said hi, your regular Sunday Theatrics resume next week…

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