It is a rainy Thursday here in Toronto and the Puppet Up crew has a day off. Our final day off of this run. After today it’s one show Friday and then two shows on both Saturday and Sunday.
Normally, about this time in the run, I’d be getting ‘end of tour blues.’ You see, I’d LOVE it if this continued forever. As I’ve said before, this is THE most fun I’ve had and I’d gladly keep doing it for as long they’d let me. However, the blues haven’t set in yet because I’ve just been told I’lll be performing the ‘Lady Singer’ in the recreation I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face. One of the signature pieces of the show! And I have some pretty big shoes to fill! Allan Trautman, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Alison Mork, Peggy Etra and Sean Johnson have all performed the role in the show. And, oh yeah, a guy named Jim Henson originated the role. Just a little pressure. But I’m VERY excited about accepting the challenge. Let’s do this!
Today is Halloween and the cast is planning on heading out to Church Street here in Toronto tonight to celebrate. I’m not much of a party person but I’ll tag along, at least for a little bit. I do have a costume. It’s one I’ve worn before but it was easy to pack and bring along to Toronto. It’s Jamie Madrox, The Multiple Man from the X-Men/X-Factor comics. Easy costume, I’ve worn it before.
Headed out for a great Indian Food lunch with Brian. It was fantastic. Afterwards we went shopping for Brian’s Halloween costume. I also needed an eyeliner pencil to make the Mutant brand over my eye that Madrox has now.
Brian is a blast to shop with and we were all over several stores as he created his costume. He found a big giant spider at one store and said he was going to buy a big gab of spiderwebs, cover himself with them and then put the spider on his head. He then found a box of little battery operated lights that when you pressed a button flashed light lightning and the sound of thunder played from a little speaker. He then decided he was going to be a ‘Storm.’ So it was then off to the dollar store to buy a cheap plastic white table cloth to be the cloud and yellow glitter paper that he could cut lightning bolts out of. His costume was a hit!
We then donned our costumes and headed up to Colleen’s room who was having a Halloween party. It was a blast. Everyone showed up and we sat and talked, people played poker, ate snacks and candy and just had a generally great time. The costume rundown was:
Me – Jamie Madrox
Brian – The Storm
Dan – Spider Victim (yes, Brian convinced Dan to use his first idea. Dan was wrapped head to toe in spiderwebs.)
Peggy – Spirit of Halloween
Patrick – A creepy, creepy, homemade pig mask. It was creepy.
Michael – Burglar
Colleen – Ziggy Stardust
Amanda – Nico
We then headed out onto a drizzly Church Street to join in the Halloween reverie. The street was packed with tons of people in all types of costumes. We walked to one end and then back up. It was a lot of fun. Found a few fellow mutants to take pictures with. Actually saw someone dressed as Guardian from Alpha Flight but I didn’t get to snap a photo with him.
One hilarious thing we saw was, in the middle of all this Halloween debauchery, one store was putting up their Christmas decorations. WHILE the Halloween pxarty was going on. So funny, Amanda our puppet wrangler, had to take a photo in front of it.
Then is was back home to the hotel. Time to relax. Time to chill and get set for tomorrow and our return to the stage. And my debut as Lady Singer.
Today started early with me and Brian heading over to pick up a rental car. We had a quick breakfast at this place near where the Avis was and I got my ‘Canadian Bacon.’ Well, on the menu it was called Peameal Bacon. I had never even heard of it and when I asked about it the waitress said, “Are you from the States?” Uh, yeah. Anyway it was great and I had a pancake with maple syrup as well to complete my Canadian Breakfast checklist.
After breakfast we picked up our rental car and went back to pick up the rest of the gang who were planning to join us. Patrick, Peggy and Colleen hopped in and we were off to Niagara Falls. I drove, because I love driving. Brian had rented us a Ford Flex and I have to say I loved it. It was a really super up model but was really comfortable and hi tech and was fun to drive.
The drive out was short and soon we could see the rushing waters of Niagara Falls. We parked, on the Canadian Side and walked over to the falls. I had seen it from the American side before and I have to say, it’s a lot more impressive on the Canadian Side. We walked along the falls for a bit and then walked back. We had talked about going over to the US side but some dummy, me, had forgotten his passport. So, no go there. I did film a few fun Uncle Interloper vines and Touts. The Tout go featured right away, which was kinda cool. After browsing the gift shop and buy a magnet for my dad and a pencil for a special someone, we were back in the car to explore more.
And then we discovered Clifton Hill. If you’re unfamiliar with Clifton Hill, it is the ‘street of fun by the falls.’ I was instantly, madly in love with the place. To me it was all the best things about America here in Canada! Just every cheesy tourist attraction you could think of. A Ripleys, a shooting gallery, a Ferris wheel, the Crimnals Hall of Fame, an upside down house, the crystal caverns, an indoor water park and a haunted walk through that promised ‘fill your pants fun!’ How could you go wrong?! Well, no one wanted to eat there so we drove down the road a bit to find a place to eat. A brewery type place. Had a salad and rested for a bit and then we decided to head back to Clifton Hill or ‘Tacky Town’ as it was being called.
Brian and I tried out the shooting gallery. The Crystal Caverns attraction had a great animatronic vulture out front that I could have watched forever and there were a ton of great attractions. I really wanted to go into the Criminal Hall of Fame, but no one wanted to wait for me to do so. I also tried to get everyone to take an ‘old timey’ picture but there was a lack of interest. Anyway, it was a ton of fun and I will be back.
We then drove back to Toronto. Great discussions on the way back always fun to learn more about my fellow performers.
Once back in Toronto, it was another round of laundry, this time the show blacks were watched. A really fun day and I will always remember my first trip to Tacky Town.
Ah the life of a big time puppeteer on the road. Today I got to do what, I’m sure, you’re all imagining we do on our downtime…laundry. Yes, today was laundry day. The excitement never ends.
It continued my love affair with Canadian Money. It is funny to me that Canadian Money is so different from american money. Our money seems dull and boring while Canadian money reminds of money you’d see in a sci-fi film as currency from an alien world. “I’ll pay you 15 Klurbuts for that.” and then you hand over a few slips of plastic covered paper. When we’ve gone out to eat, I often feel bad leaving Canadian money just because I feel like it’s not really paying. Of course it is, but I get the feeling I’m dining and dashing and just leaving colored slips of paper behind.
Anyway, this morning I’m at the front desk with two golden coins asking for dollar coins because, obviously they are gold so they much be two dollar coins and the desk clerk is looking at me like I’m an idiot. Of course, the golden coins are dollar coins. Duh.
At any rate, laundry was done.
The cast has discovered Kinder Eggs. We don’t have them in the states, presumably because our kids are stupid and would try to eat the toys. We’ve been enjoying the eggs and the toys inside backstage.
Today was our final show before a day off and it was a Sunday matinee. The audience was fantastic and the suggestions were great. Patrick also mixed up the casting a bit so we were all thrown into scenes we aren’t normally in and I think that helped make for a great show.
Michael and I got to start the show with a scene about a colonoscopy. Can’t get much better than that. Some great scenes in today’s show and it was cool knowing there were some friends in the crowd too! Brian K. and Ceris, both huge muppet fans, were there and it was great talking to them after the show.
Alien Barbershop was an odd one. Just a completely different type of suggestion than we normally have. The suggestion was: Training Fleas. So my rhyme was:
Oh, training fleas,
Is a tough road to hoe.
If a dog comes by,
He’ll steal the show.
It got an okay laugh for such a corny old joke. Other fun bits today featured a fantastic date scene, an amazing audience participation bit and a great round of play and understudies.
After the show, I cleared out my stuff from our dressing room so I could do more laundry (huzzah) and because we wouldn’t have access to the backstage until Tuesday night before our next show.
After getting back to the hotel, Dan and I went to a all you can eat Indian food buffet. Yeah, I may have been bitten by that bug. Don’t mind so much. It’s good. Should have tried it sooner.
After that it was home to retire to bed early because tomorrow we’re off to Niagara Falls. Look for fun pictures from that.
For not I’ll leave you with this picture of the Walk symbol from the Canadian crossing lights. To me he just looks like a really happy guy who’s excited to be going wherever he’s off to.
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.
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.