Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Hey Abyss,

Finally being able to spend some ample time in Toronto was probably the best thing I could have done for myself all summer. Simply walking around and familiarizing myself with the city, as vast as it is, was gratifying.  For some reason, I had fabricated this daunting image of Toronto, I pictured myself drowning in a sea of people and getting locked into a public restroom over night... I concluded that these thoughts were completely irrational as I felt so alive in a city with that much opportunity. There is something beautiful to me about being a stranger in a new place, big or small, I feel like anything and everything can happen. Needless to say, I had a solid week there and had some wonderful experiences with both old and new friends.

I had an absolute blast with the kids in Aladdin Jr. they all did such an amazing job and brought a beautiful energy to the show. They only got to perform it once and I really wish they could have done it again, there is nothing like performing after a successful show. I was extremely proud of the work that we as a team accomplished over those two weeks, they really stepped up and restored my faith that anything is possible with dedication and hard work. Thank you guys :)

While in Toronto I was able to see the Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare in High Park. I loved it. The set was phenomenal and the cast was really strong and seemed to be having a blast despite the 45 degree heat wave that plagued Toronto for the week. CanadianStage collaborated with the Production grads from York university for the show, which I thought was a brilliant idea and really surged a young and contemporary energy into the piece.

I wish I could have seen MacBeth because a friend of mine was in the lead and it was apparently a very dark rendition of the show (I love dark, and macabre things).  Before I left on Saturday I managed to get rush tickets to the Part One premiere of Angels in America at Soulpepper, which simply blew my mind. The cast was so strong and really made me go, "Oh! those are what good theatre actors are like..." as juvenile and naive as that sounds. Being at a school where we are all training you see several stages of development in performance so it was refreshing to see actors who have been doing this at an extremely professional level for years. It just brought things into perspective for me, as most of the trip did.

I was able to stay with my friend Sébastien Heins and his very gracious family who esentially treated me like their son for the week. I felt so taken care of and informed in all of their hands, I really could not have asked for a better place to stay. I continue to be amazed by the work ethic of Sébastien, he just never seems to stop creatively. I admire this so much because he makes the art that he cares about, and people see this in him and offer him more opportunities to show his skills and talents. It is the creative life in its purest form, constantly producing. I feel that I am still finding out what makes me creatively tick, what makes me excited about acting, what I am looking to accomplish or work towards. And as always those ideas are constantly shifting.

I also got to hang out with my mentor Brendan McMurtry-Howlett who is the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruff and as always he had some really poignant and blunt answers to all my questions and concerns. I was worried about what was going to happen after I graduate, whether I should head right to Toronto or whether I should stay in Halifax for a year then go to Toronto or all of the other copious amounts of possibilities. His answer was simply to, "Stop planning things out and let them happen." Now, this seems basic but I really needed to hear it from someone other than my mother. That's not to say he is against planning, considering he is an AD, but when it comes to this career there isn't really a way to create a definite path.

This quote comes to mind: "Do what you can, with what you have, right now".

I think there is a large difference between control and organization. I am currently looking for that balance.

Brendan also brought up a point which I hadn't previously thought about: I usually talk, "all about my process" and I have been doing this "process" for many years it has become my fall back plan when working on a show because I feel most comfortable doing it compared to new processes that are introduced to us. This is a bad habit I intend to break this year. Brendan's point was that you shouldn't put your process on a project, but that the project should inform your process. This was huge for me because I have dealt with so much frustration this year regarding directors simply not letting me do "my thing" and it was because they didn't work that way and they didn't care. They were asking something specific from me and I was bucking the system, which resulted in me not rising to the challenge. If I had of simply let myself be open to the process they were showing us I would have learned exponentially more. So, I move forward with this thought in my mind into the new year.

On Monday of this week I went by myself to the Mrs. Carter Tour in Montreal featuring Beyoncé herself. I was blown away by the show and how hard she works at being completely flawless, and I mean that in the best way. Every step was on point, every problem or blip was met with complete confidence and a smile setting us, the audience, at ease. She was so professional and gracious to everyone who helped her put on the show from the technicians to the back up singers. Watching her reminded me of how much work needs to be put into everything before it can be at a place of comfort and flow. There was no hesitation or worry on her face at any point throughout the show, even when her weave got sucked into a fan.

I'm not joking.

Her confidence seems like an obvious thing, "of course she would be confident, she is Sasha Fierce!" But for me seeing her doing a live show, not some edited version, proved to me how little I actually work in preparation for a show. Joe Ziegler's floating head started to incircle mine repeating what he said to me, "You have a lot of talent, but you don't understand the work that it takes to become an actor..."and it finally made sense. Since being at the school I have always, more or less, flown by the seat of my pants when it comes to the lines and homework that is needed on the text. I have managed to get by on looking over the text a few times and running it in rehearsal, but as the roles and responsibilities grow so does my need of dedication.

Now I know most of you are probably thinking, "Wayne, stop beating yourself up! Everyone has to learn!" And I want you to know that's all this post is (as long as it is). I am learning about myself as an artist and a human and I want to progress, and progress happens when you can identify what needs to change. This year, for me, is about listening and changing for the better.

This last month has been extremely cleansing and has shed a lot of light on some of my biggest problems creatively and personally and I am extremely grateful to each an every person who continues to support me as I change for the better.

And speaking of support you can do me a solid by checking out Bone Deep, a film I am in in the Atlantic Film Festival. Directed by the very British Jeremy Webb and written by the delightful Jessica Marsh.


Night Abyss.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Hey Abyss,

I finished my first full week of the camp I am directing/teaching at this Friday, leaving me with one left. I will be heading back to Montreal and then busing straight to Toronto for a week before seeing Beyoncé and flying back to Nova Scotia on the 23rd.

I am commuting so much in the next few months and although I am happy to be doing all that I am this summer, there is a part of me that wishes that I could be home with my family and friends. The older I get the more important they are to me. And this year is going to be the hardest for me, as far as seeing people goes. There is no sense dwelling on it though, because after this year I am a graduate!

Every so often I come to the conclusion that I always work better under pressure. For the earlier part of the summer I had so much time to do whatever I wanted that I didn't dedicate anytime to anything, other than going to the gym. Now, I am super busy and I have found copious amounts of time to read! I don't usually like reading, this is mostly because I only like specific things, but recently I have been reading a lot of nutrition based literature and have completely fell in love. I am zooming through, and really learning about people and the supposed lifestyles we think are convenient.

Upon reading these books, I find myself coming to the question of: If actors work so hard on being physically and mentally healthy why don't actors take care of themselves nutritionally? I ask this because I have seen so many of my classmates become ill or suffer from physical issues that could all be resolved from having a better diet and lifestyle. This includes myself. It's not just about being flexible and speaking loudly, its about having the body that enables these attributes. If one isn't giving the body what it needs nutritionally then how does one expect it to live up to the energy requirements ones needs to be an actor?

I found I struggled a lot this year with the physical side of things, not because I didn't understand it's benefit but because I still felt like shit afterwards. So, in my mind it wasn't actually helping. Sure, I could touch my toes easier at the end of the year but I was still exhausted and lethargic so even if I was technically stretchy I wasn't able to bring the energy that was needed to class. And I know that I was not the only person in my class to feel this way.

Conclusively, I am starting from scratch! (Once I get settled back in Nova Scotia, because the next few weeks are way to insane) I am going to cleanse my body on a cellular level and then start to develop my body both mentally and physically to that of what I imagine a well oiled actor should be. I remember in first year we had this very gruff, physical teacher who was extremely blunt about getting our bodies to peak condition. He said that the actor should be like the athlete, our bodies should be able to do whatever is needed at any time. This has really resonated with me over the last few days while I have been reading.

To me acting is not imitation or learning lines quickly, it is truly becoming someone. A physical representation of a person. This requires truly athletic impulses and actions. To be able to hold positions for extend periods of time, to be able to project is strange and unforgiving actions, to carry weight and maintain balance. All of these qualities not only require physical but mental and nutritional strength, if you are missing one piece of the puzzle you will cause damage. Athletes eat certain foods and do specific training to power the way they have to move and react. Why is this any different for actors? This is the question I am asking myself, and truly want to experiment with this year.

Conveniently, when one stabilizes the body chemically and hormonally every aspect of oneself begins to improve. All of these issues that I prattle on about (Listening, focus, work, etc..) will all start to file into place once I get my body to where it should be. So, ultimately this is my goal, all of the other minor ones will fall into place once this level is achieved. Now, this blog is specifically about acting, but this rule can be applied to anyone. Everything in your life will become better and more efficient if you start with your body. The sad thing is that today people feel they don't have the time to dedicate to their health, when they do. We all do.

And I intend to be living proof.

Night Abyss.