Am I excited. In April I’ll be acting in the Guild Society’s newest play, Cannibal the Musical written by Trey Parker of South Park fame. The show is based on the true story of American prospector, Alferd Packer and his ill-fated expedition into the Colorado mountains in 1873. I recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh.
Though I’ve acted virtually my entire adult life, Cannibal the Musical will mark my first show in over two years. In retrospect, I admit that I was having trouble maintaining a love for the stage. It takes a lot of time and effort from many people, cast and crew, to put on something that’s show-worthy. I started to wonder if it was worth the effort.
I was also dealing with a newborn baby and a job that was exhausting. My creative juices were at an all-time low, yet internally, I still wanted involvement in the performing arts because that’s what I do. It was a frustrating time.
But a great thing happened — in early 2014 I moved to Old Crow with my wife for a year. It gave me the opportunity to take a step back, breath, and re-evaluate my life. My batteries started to charge, and I slowly got that creative urge to do what I love to do. Today I’ve never felt better. I’m also reminded how the Guild and all the people involved have enriched my life through the power of theatre.
When I arrived in Whitehorse in 2009, my wife and I were virtually alone. I saw an announcement for Guild Hall volunteers in the Yukon News. I called and ended up being an assistant stage manager for their production of The Soul Menders. Working backstage gave me a real opportunity to make new friends and be part of a creative team; it gave me a social structure that helped me acclimatize to my new surroundings.
Now I am part of the tapestry of Whitehorse and its arts scene. When I walked into Cannibal’s first cast read-through, I met a plethora of old friends and new ones, yet to be discovered. I had forgotten how comforting the camaraderie of a cast could be.
In community theatre people have different degrees of talent and experience. Some are more seasoned, while others are new, trying it out for the first time. This creates a cool relationship-dynamic and an environment where we can forget about real life for a while, loosen up, and play around.
As days went on, little things I used to enjoy about theatre started coming back, like sitting in bed working on my lines, or thinking about my character’s goals, creating his intentions, and focusing on personality nuance.
So far our rehearsals have been light and fun — a little bit serious and a little bit goofy. Though we just started, and as time rolls on, rehearsals will get more focused. But intensity is gratifying too; as we get closer to opening night we get butterflies in our gut that tell us to put on the best show possible, and attain that special feeling of accomplishment.
Is it worth the time and effort? Hell yeah. Cannibal the musical runs from April 9-25. For more information on how you can be a part of the Guild Halls productions go to www.guildhall.ca.