It’s Certain Now

I’m graduating.

Some of you may know that my graduation ceremony happened over three weeks ago and be thinking, yes, yes we know, you actually already graduated, is it only now clicking?

Well I walked across the stage, shook the hand of the President of the university and was given a diploma holder, but three weeks ago it wasn’t certain I was going to graduate.

Now realistically it probably was certain based on where I was going into exams, but to be really, really literal, our final grades weren’t in yet so we had no way of knowing and I had one class, this oneeee classssss that was worrying me a bit.

You see it was an ethics course, Ethics in the Marketplace, and while a business course it was also branched under philosophy and the last philosophy class that I faced off with nearly got me. I just scraped through that one with a D and I honestly don’t know how I even managed that. It was required for my minor and heading in I didn’t know it was philosophy. The methods and arguments all seemed so confusing and it being an 8:30am class probably didn’t help a whole lot either. When I sat down in my first Ethics class in January, a required course for my major, and found out it was a philosophy course my heart sank. And then, to top it all off, 20% of our grade was reliant on participation. My last philosophy course had gone badly and I’d never taken a business course; I felt at rather a disadvantage.

A few weeks in, time comes round for the first assignment to be due and the instructions were a bit vague so I did my best and waited to see what my mark would be. The day the assignments were being handed back I logged online to peek at my mark before the papers came round and was floored to see I had a 0. 0%? How can you even get 0% if you handed anything, like literally anything, in?!

After class I went up to the prof because my paper hadn’t even been handed back and he was like, “Oh yeah, did I forget your email in my inbox? Whoops! I’ll get that to ya as soon as I can!” (Super chill guy, probably my second favourite prof throughout university. Has like flowing, shoulder-length, ringletted, white hair and a double piercing in one ear in which he always has a set of two hoop earrings. I say he’s the retired pirate prof)

So next class, before it starts, he comes and stands in front of me and says, “So we have a problem.” My stomach drops and I’m nearly panicking, did I do it completely wrong? Did I misunderstand everything? Am I going to fail? Am I not going to graduate? Am I going to have to stay another year for this one course? Whyyyyy crueeeeel worldddddddddddd…. Etc.

“Your assignment is really good! You need to speak up more in class!” Relief could have melted me onto the floor in that moment. And while the class did end up being one of my favourites overall it was still very challenging. I always felt like I was uncertain in what I was doing and yet my marks usually implied I was doing alright so the exam was going to be the final test (like, literally, cause it was the last test, but like it also determined like everythi-you get it, it’s a bad pun :P)

Realistically I could have gotten 0 on the exam and passed the course, not well! But passed. Well, my mark was entered into the system two days ago. I done good guys… I done good.

I’m graduating.

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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

* This post may contain some spoilers for the story plot of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

“The theatre, the theatre, what’s happened to the theatre?” So asks Danny Kaye in the 1954 film, White Christmas. Thankfully today I do not feel inclined to repeat his question, as The Manitoba Theatre Centre’s adaption of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was spot on.

Paul Essiembre and David Coomber in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Photo by Dylan Hewlett (x)

The entire play took place on one set, Hallie Jackson’s saloon which I thought was an interesting choice. Having once set gave them the opportunity to put more detail into it, it could be more permanent obviously and larger, allowing for a functioning second floor etc. Smaller sets often need to be moved quickly during scene changes or intermission which does cause them to lose detail. They are less “real”.

One set, however, meant that every scene took place inside the saloon. This meant there were a number of scenes that were not explicitly shown, but rather implied or talked about after the fact. I do not think that having one set took away from the play in anyway. Some scenes had to move indoors but it still flowed well and the set was very well done.

The actors were experienced and talented, David W. Keeley and Paul Essiembre especially stood out from the rest of the cast. Keeley, who played gunslinger Burt Barricune, made you feel for Burt as he eventually admitted to his feelings for Hallie and came to realize they were not to be. Essiembre on the other hand made your skin crawl with his calm almost gentlemanly personna as the villain, Liberty Valance. He didn’t allow anyone to get a rise out of him but he had a confident, threatening presence; you instinctively knew he was not to be trifled with.

The play was unlike any other I have seen, up to this point I have mostly been to see either adaptions of classic stories or comedies so a Western was quite a different story. It was intense, but it was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you’d like a three minute summary of the story, here is the song Liberty Valance by Gene Pitney which tells the tale!

I Am a Wild Turkey

Today our acting class went on a field trip.

Now if you’re keeping track you’d tell me, Becky, it’s Tuesday, you have acting class on Mondays you silly girl! Why yes, that is correct, however field trips are BONUS so they happen whenever…! So far my week had been quite theatrical…

We went to Manitoba Theatre Centre and saw the play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang. Its a Chekhov inspired comedy and I don’t really have any idea what that means not being familiar with Chekhov’s work but you may know what it means, so it’s there for you. If you don’t know either, then comedy is the important word.

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As part of our class we had to read the plays script either before or after the play so that we can compare the two and how things were different. I chose to read it before and reading it I was a little apprehensive. It seemed a little much. Everything was very over the top and sometimes the jokes seemed, well, not funny. There were a few moment when I laughed but mostly I just thought, well this is kind of weird… So going into the play I was interested to see how live acting and sets would change the play.

As we were going as a theatre department (I think there were three or four classes that went) we bused out together from the school. That was fun, I don’t think I’ve been on a group “field trip” since like 2009… I’m getting old folks… I was in grade eleven in 2009. So we field tripped out and then at the theatre got a behind the scenes tour!

I’ve never gotten to go behind the scenes in a proper theatre before so I was very interested to see everything that was going on. We got to see administration, rehearsal hall, the literal behind the stage area, props room, set construction room, costuming, all sorts of areas! It was very interesting. There’s part of me that likes to keep the magic of theatre and films complete and not know the hows but the other part of me always wins because its just so freakin curious about how everything works and where everything is and when and why and everything. I thought they did the tour really well, we got to see a lot of places and the tour guide was very thorough in all the question answering and we got to as the director of MTC’s next main stage production of The Woman in Black for a bit and it was all a grand ol’ time!

Then was play time! We were up in the balcony, which was fun, I’ve never sat up there before! I kind of liked being able to look down and absorb the whole stage in one look. While being close is great because you can see detail of facial expression and sets and it fills your vision so you are in the play, you do also notice different things sitting further back. I noticed more big picture things: The set as a whole, how other characters reacted during others lines, things like that. I liked it.

 

The play was very good. It was the kind of play where the actors could make or break it and they made it. It was very sharp and funny and sometimes verging on ridiculous but it kept a balance. The Manitoba Theatre Centre website describes the play so:

Siblings Vanya and Sonia are left with little but each other after sacrificing their adult lives to care for their ailing parents. But when their sister Masha, an aging actress, arrives with unsettling news and her 20-something boy toy Spike in tow, their static lives are thrown for a loop. (x)

Interestingly Spike was the character I was most surprised by. Somehow reading I expected him to be a little less naive… That being said, the way he was played wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I had imagined in my head when reading it. It’s interesting how we can all read the same play, my class, the director, the actors, we all read the same thing and yet can visualize different things based on upbringing, environment, company, even mood! It’s kinda neat!

I really did enjoy the play though especially because it wasn’t one I would have gone to of my own accord. I tend to just go to the plays I recognize or am familiar with. This one I read the description (before knowing my class would go see it) and thought, ehh, doesn’t really sound like my kinda play. And traditionally it wasn’t, but branching out is good and it was funny and I think that’s my first time going to see a comedy. I’ve been to see mostly classical literature adaptions so far… (Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, The Heart of Robin Hood)
[Apparently I didn’t blog about Sherlock Holmes, sorry Sherlock!]
But anyway, seeing comedy was fun!

It was a good audience too. They were there for comedy and they laughed. In fact, they gafawed. They clapped in blackouts and after Vanya’s grand monologue (my favourite part of the play, such a massively long, yet fantastical speech. Vanya goes off on a rant about change and reading it I loved it but seeing it, it was performed so well. Steven Sutcliffe did it with such passion and range of emotion as Vanya remembered both the good and bad of the past). I think audiences make up such an important part of a play, you can feel an audience that isn’t with you and it makes everything harder, it’s like you’re physically dragging the audience along with you. This audience didn’t even need to be beckoned to they were there and they were along for the ride.

After the play there was a talkback too and the whole cast came out and answered some questions and  stuff and it was very cool. It’s always fun to see them out of character after having seen them as this particular person for two hours. it was a good cast.

 

Overall, an unexpectedly pleasant surprise! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
(even though I didn’t get the Chekhov references!)

-B

Mandy’s Grad

Good buddy Mandy graduated today!! She is now a fully fledged Massage Therapist!

Mandy and I have been good buddies since grade seven (that’s when our little gang began) and then she and I were the only ones to remain at our high school to graduate so we graduated high school together, and now she’s beat me out of post-secondary, dang not making my mind up fast enough! ;D jk

Here is a short montage of us through the years… *cue sappy music*

Beach day: Summer 2008

Snowshoeing to Grey Owl’s cabin: January 2010

The Gang: October 2010

At our high school grad with the third member of the musketeers, Hannah: June 2011

The Gang at Mandy’s and mine grad: June 2011

Last picture of the full gang before R (middle) went to become a world traveller: December 2012

And then of course, toight at Mandy’s grad!! (Look at us all growed up… ;D)

 

Congrats Mandy Miss Highest-Average-in-the-Class you worked super hard for this and NOW YOU’RE BASICALLY A TOTAL ADULT! I know, weird but true… Enjoy it! =D

-B

The Heart of Robin Hood

It’s been 24 hours and I’m still not sure I have the words. I have never enjoyed a production as much as I did “The Heart of Robin Hood”. I worried that I’d be disappointed – my hopes were so high heading in – but I see that Disappointment is not in the vocabulary of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre…

First of all I need to tell you about Rush tickets, are you an under 25 year old theatre lover wanting to sit in A+ seating to $15, have I got a solution for you! Yes, it’s true! You too can watch fantastic plays from row 8 for a grand total of $20.75 with tax.

“How?! Tell me how?” You might ask. Well hold your horses mate, I’m getting there.
On the day of the production, at noon precisely, rush tickets become available for the evenings performance and any available seat could now be yours for $15. Sure this means keeping your evening open and possibly not getting a seat but the chance of that are slim! My friend Des and I have used rush tickets twice now, first this past October when we went to go see “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily”, and yesterday, when we went to go see “The Heart of Robin Hood”. We had seats together both times, first in row 7, then in row 8. After I turn 26 I may be spoiled for theatre seating…
If you would like to know more about rush tickets, check out the MTC website because I’m moving onto the Production!

When we were at “Sherlock Holmes” Des and I saw the set for Robin Hood being built. We had already been planning on going but after seeing the partially-made set, it became unmissable. It’s a ramp? a slide? a jump? It’s a 36 foot stage that heads up into the rafters at a 52 degree angle. The actors come sliding down it onto the main stage, go clambering up it “into the trees”, they “sleep” on it, there are doors in it that open up and suddenly it becomes a castle – It is such a cool set!

It might be snowing outside, but our Mainstage has been turned into Sherwood Forest for #HeartofRobinHood.

A post shared by Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (@mtcwinnipeg) on

There was a live band performing their own original music for the production, Parsonsfield, and as they played a rowdy overture as audience members took their seats Des and I agreed that if the play never began and was really just a concert by Parsonsfield, we’d be okay with that. (We bought both of their CDs during intermission) The band members were in costume and as much a part of the play as any of the cast, they interacted, played all sorts of strange and wonderful sounding instruments (maybe I’m just living under a rock but who knew a Saw could sound so nice!). They were the perfect complimentary act to run alongside the play.

Parsonsfield in The Heart of Robin Hood. ©2014, Joan Marcus

And then the play itself, the casting was amazing, these were actors. Everyone was perfect for their roles. The costuming was beautiful, not your stereotypical green stockinged Robin Hood costumes (well, except for Marion…but, no spoilers!) but it was all earthly browns and worn leather, jewelled gowns and flowing robes.

Gabriel Ebert in The Heart of Robin Hood. ©2014, Joan Marcus

The scripting, fight choreography, and areal choreography (Yup, they were climbing up and down and twirling round on ropes…!) were fantastic. Marion is the hero of this tale, calling up Robin to become the man we know from legends, the man who steals from the rich, not for himself, but to give to the poor. And Marion is no damsel in distress, the heroine that Izzie Steele brings to life can hold her own against anyone, including Robin Hood himself…

Izzie Steele, Gabriel Ebert (foreground), Jeremy Crawford and Stephen Michael Spencer in The Heart of Robin Hood. ©2014, Joan Marcus

The humour of the show, the character development, the production quality, honestly it’s no wonder that this show has been getting 5 star ratings, I’m only surprised no one has tried to give it 6!

The show is running at the Manitoba Theatre Centre until December 6 so buy your tickets now (Yes it is well-worth a full-priced ticket if you’re over 25 – well it still is even if you’re under 25!). Check out The Heart of Robin Hood facebook photo album on the MTC website here and if that doesn’t convince you, well, this is me, a non professional theatre loving young adult giving “The Heart of Robin Hood” 6 out of 5 stars.

-B

Shall we try again?

So once upon a time I began to write a blog post every day. That was about a year and a half ago and I consistently managed to post for the vast majority of that year. Since then however, I’ve kind of fallen off the map. I’d like to try again if you’ll bear with me. I know I very rarely say anything overly interesting but I have a hard time journalling and I actually find it easier when someone might be reading it, the aspect of accountability but also of having another human know whats going on. A book can’t help when something has gone wrong, you see; people can.

So what’s happening at the moment?

– I’ve just finished my first month and a half of Bible college. I’m enjoying all of it except my main theology class as I don’t agree with the professor’s theology, but perhaps we’ll talk more on that another day.

– I turned 21 yesterday. It doesn’t feel much different than 20. I got the gifts I asked for though: tuition money and four really pretty editions of some of my favourite children’s books.

– I’ve concluded that I either have serious commitment issues or I make up my mind about boys very quickly because I’ve never gone out with the same guy more than twice. Unfortunately I think my social awkwardness and commitment issues are the main problems but that’s something I can keep working on… (third time’s the charm?)

– I made my bedroom “grow up” a couple months ago and took down most of my movie posters from when I was 14. I now have loads of photographs all over my walls.

– I bought a fish. His name is Rory and he’s a red and purple betta fish. I think he had ich a week ago and now he has fin rot so my record for killing fish within extremely short periods of time is threatening me. Perhaps I asked for it though, I named him after a Doctor Who character who keeps “dying” and then turning up again. I was hoping it would inspire him not to die. It seems to have inspired him to keep almost dying…

– At the end of August I died my hair bright orange-red ombre for kicks and giggles. It’s still pretty bright and I love it, my hairdresser did a fantastic job!

Well that’s enough for the moment, got to leave something to write about for tomorrow! I will leave you with this song that I stumbled across on tumblr (please excuse the language in the comments, but enjoy the Gandalf gif), I’ve always enjoyed music sung by Gregorian monks… (click here for the link to the song)

Have a marvellous morning/day/afternoon/evening/night/etc, I’ll talk to you tomorrow!

-B

Keep up with me elsewhere!
Twitter: @rlpbecklston
Facebook: rlpdean
Youtube: rlpdean

See you round!

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Viewing and Filming

On Tuesdays we have a morning class and then the afternoon off and an evening class so the five of us have taken to going to one of the guys apartments to hang out. Today was an olympic watching day and we watched the Olympics for like, three or four hours…? It was fun though, I don’t get to see much Olympics because my family doesn’t have cable and I don’t even actually know if the family I room with does because I have the wifi password… I don’t really go out of my way to watch any competition other than figure skating though, that’s my favourite, but if it’s on, I’ll totally watch it and probably get really into it =D

Doing some more filming tomorrow for another video for my old school. The other one I made is now live on youtube so feel free to check it out! It’s my first proper “work” type video and I’m kinda sorta pretty proud of it =)

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B