Tag: puppet up

Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 6 – Stuck In An Elevator


For me, one of the perils of being away from home and in a different time zone is that my sleep patterns get really messed up. Last night was probably the worst since being here in Toronto. I was up well past four. Just couldn’t shut off my brain and go to sleep. Of course 4AM here is only 1AM west coast and I’m usually up that late as it is. Still it’s rough to lie there, wide awake, hoping for sleep.

I did get up a little after noon, so I did sleep somewhat. I have come to accept the fact that I’ve come down with some sort of travel bug. Scratchy throat. Cough. Sniffly nose. My voice is a fe octaves lower than normal, but at least I still have it. I seem to hit low notes in the show’s songs much better now though. For the past few days I’ve been drinking tea like crazy and that will continue. Didn’t to much during the day other than hang out in the hotel room, write a little, listen to music and just relax.

About an hour before call I met Dan and Brian for another dining adventure. Last night it was pan fried dumplings (which I worked into last night’s show). Tonight we tried and indian restaurant right next door to the theatre. Having never had indian food before I have to say…I LOVED it. It was so good and I will, for sure, be going back before we leave.

Tonight’s show was a really great show and really defined the word improv. To get to the stage we’d been taking an elevator. Moments before showtime, a stagehand was coming down to pick us up and the elevator got stuck! There was to be no using it at all. Our options became, go through the audience or out the back alley of the building to the stage. Needless to say, there’s a lovely alley behind the building.


The crowd was fantastic tonight and there were some really great scenes. There was a Shakespearean scene that Michael, Peggy and Brian were in that just killed. It was one of those scenes where you’re watching going, “I want to be in this scene! It’s so good!” Just really fun.

The Alien Barbershop suggestion was Proctology. The rhyme I came up with was:

My doctor’s finger
Is inside me
But I don’t mind
He’s doing it for free

Got a good laugh from the crowd. During the puppet variety show, of which the barbershop is part, Colleen does these amazing intros and just when you think she’s lost her mind, she wraps it up beautifully and introduces the act. They are truly things of beauty.

Before the finale, there were some tech issues and Michael and I began imrovising as these two new giant Monk puppets that are part of the finale. It was something we did as a goof during rehearsal and suddenly we were doing it for a packed house. They were very generous with Theo and Lonius (the Monks) and their really bad jokes. Soon the tech gremlins were smashed and we were on our way with the finale.

Now, it’s off to bed! Two shows tomorrow! I can’t wait. I love doing this show and tomorrow I get to do it TWICE! Huzzah!

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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 5 – TV!

Before I tell you the story of today, I have to tell you about my fellow improviser, Brian Clark. Brian is just a great guy who embodies fun wherever he goes. He’s a true friend and can always be counted on to come up with a crazy idea in an improv or in just normal, day to day, conversation.

Yesterday, Brian got it in his head that we should have a Puppet Up Pool Party at noon at the hotel’s indoor pool. He was very insistent that everyone attend, so last night I knew if I did one thing today it would be to be at that pool party.

I was up early at 7AM this morning because I had to meet in the lobby at 8AM to go do a quick television spot to promote the show. I met Julianna in the lobby and we were off. By 8:20AM I was in my mic and we were on the streets of Toronto to shoot this quick 90 second spot. I was extremely happy it was only 90 seconds as it was COLD and I couldn’t wear my heavy jacket because the sleeve wouldn’t fit into the puppet!


The piece went great. I’ll try and find a copy of it online. It was short and just basically got across the info of the show. The interviewer, Rosey Edeh, spent most of the time talking to the puppet which is, actually, the best compliment you can pay a puppeteer.

At about 8:45AM I was back in my room and I crawled back into bed to catch some sleep before the Pool Party.

I woke up and looked at the clock…12:45PM! Yikes! I was late! I donned my suit and dashed downstairs and, luckily, the ‘party’ was still in full swing. Spent about 230 minutes or so swimming, then a quick hop in the sauna.

Later that afternoon, I explored Toronto a bit. Had lunch, which included French Fries with Gravy and explored a bit more. Then back to the hotel to chill a bit. Around 4:30PM Brian, Dan RIng and I went and had some dinner right next to the theatre and it was showtime!


Another great show tonight. The theatre was packed with very few empty seats and the audience was fantastic. We actually got a standing ovation.

20131025-005039.jpg (Patrick & Greg)

20131025-005253.jpg (Julianna & Amanda our Puppet Wrangler)

Some great scenes tonight. A Manners Movie about the dangers of walking and texting, A Bedtime Story called: Shopping At Ikea a.k.a. The Diarrhea Monster (that’s what the audience wanted), the climactic scene from a play called The Menstruation Proclamation (again, the audience wanted it) and a fantastic date scene.

Alien Barbershop got a good laugh. The topic was Government Shutdown. My, wordy, rhyme was:

The Government’s Shutdown
The Senators aren’t working today,
But nothing’s really changed
They never work anyway.

Had another good run at Java as well. Still trying to nail down certain beats, but I’m getting better at it. I think doing Java may be my new favorite piece above Alien Barbershop. It’s just really an honor to be in that piece.

Lots of fun in the lobby after the show meeting the audience and posing for pictures with the puppets. After the show it was back to the hotel to write the words you’re now reading.

I’m truly lucky to get to do this and I’m thankful for every minute. I never want it to end. Now we head into our weekend shows including two shows on Saturday. I can’t wait!

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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 4 – What A Show!

Today began slower as I was getting a bit of a sore throat and I wanted to rest it a bit. So I slept in quite late and then just sort of lounged around my room. I made myself breakfast, watched the rest of the Apple Keynote I’d missed yesterday, surfed the net….you know, life of a puppeteer on the road.

Also spent some time searching for reviews of last night’s show. Found three really positive ones including a 3 1/2 out of 4 star review from the Globe & Mail. The response on Twitter & Instagram seems very positive as well. Toronto loves us!

I got out and went for a walk later in the afternoon. Lots of great shops, restaurants and more in this area of Toronto. I want to explore the city a bit more in the days ahead. It’s really got a great vibe. It’s sort of very bustley like New York but has buildings that give it more of a Boston feel.

We were called to the theatre to fine tune some bits and everyone seemed sort of loose and relaxed from their first morning off with no early call. There was definitely a relaxed atmosphere backstage before the show.


And that show….Now THAT was a show! From top to bottom it was a great show and the audience gave us amazing suggestions all night long. Select highlights were: An eyewitness scene where two concert goers watched Justin Beiber commit regicide, an amazing date scene, a hilarious audience participation bit about a bingo caller and a fantastic puppet variety show with a creepy bunny who just watched each act. The cast was on fire tonight and each scene was just as good as the next. We seem to be really great at playing off each other. A good combination.

The suggestion for Alien barbershop was: Astrophysics. As we got closer to the song I was putting together a really complicated rhyme about physics in space and the movie Gravity and I suddenly said to myself, “I have no idea what Astrophysics is.” ANd I just decided to go with that. So my rhyme was…

Oh astrophysics
Don’t mean shit to me
And that’s because
I have a theatre degree.

It killed.

Java tonight was really fun as well. It’s just such fun to puppeteer on a classic Henson piece and walk in some very big footprints.


After the show some of us go to the lobby to greet the audience with puppets. It’s always a fun time. Some new merch on this tour. Love the ‘evolution’ shirt. Also, the theatre knows a cookie maker who made cookies of the Hot Dog & Alien puppets. I may have to partake before this run is over.


Now I’m back in my room writing this. Need to turn in early because tomorrow it’s up for TV! I may be doing weather with the puppet. I think it’s streamed online, so keep an eye on my twitter feed for info.

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Puppet Up Toronto Tour Diary – Day 3 – Opening Night

Yesterday I promised pictures of the lobby and here they are below! As you can see it really seems like the Puppets have taken over! Just the way we like it.



Today was the day of out big premiere. Very exciting. I did wake up with a bit of a scratchy throat so I went to get some tea. Seemed to do the trick. While sitting in my room I heard the sound of a voice talking through a megaphone or some other sort of amplification. I looked outside and right off my balcony, a street naming was taking place. No matter what else happens on the rest of this trip I can always say I was there when Macy DuBois Lane was named.

I spent the time before out 2PM call watching the apple keynote. Some good stuff there but it was all quickly forgotten when it was time to head to the theatre and get to work.

Today was a very tech heavy day. I’d love to say that it all went off without a hitch but our show does have some tech elements that really need to be tweaked. I will say our crew is the best and they take care of every detail. Between tour manager Juliana and production manager Greg, any issue gets squashed. They rock.


Our call was early because there were still some pieces we wanted to finesse and get nailed down even more securely than yesterday. We ran the set pieces and nailed down cues and crosses, tightening things for our opening night.

After a short dinner break it was back to the theatre to get into our ‘show blacks’ for curtain. The show was really great. The crowd had some great suggestions and I believe we paid them off pretty well.

I’m always in awe of my fellow puppeteers. Colleen is just an incredible improviser and it’s always fun to be in a scene with her. Ted is also brilliant and I always look forward to being in a scene with him. Our ‘spot’ scene about two airline pilots was a ton of fun. Michael Oosterom hit the second act opener ‘usher’ bit out of the park. His first time doing it and he rocked it. Same with Peggy who, did a great job with I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. Especially considering the riser she was standing on was placed too far from the rail and she basically did the whole thing on her tiptoes in her giant boots. And Brian Clark is just crazy fun to be on stage with. His entrance as ‘Flamey’ a little ball of fire, in the Puppet Variety Show was hilarious. Totally ‘Hesnon.’


I had a so-so show. Felt a little flat in some of the improvs and Java, while going very well, had a small slip in it that will be corrected tomorrow, for sure.

I got to do the rhyme for the Alien Barbershop tonight and, while I think the joke was a little too predictable, it got a pretty good reaction. The suggestion was: Circumcision.

Now just hold still
And get a firm grip
Because if you don’t
I’ll take more than the tip.

Eh, so-so.

The finale will also need some tweaking on my end as well, to nail down the proper beats. I think, speaking solely for myself, things have been so technical leading up to tonight the ‘fun’ and ‘play’ of doing the show has sort of slipped to the back burner. Now that the tech stuff is nailed down, it’s time to really have fun.

Excited for tomorrow’s show. Excited I get to do this 13 more times. Grateful for every single second.

Ready for tomorrow.

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