Yes, this post is late. I got back from Readercon on Saturday night, and proceeded straight from the airport to Postscript, the Toronto Fringe patio/general hangout area. Then we had our final show Sunday afternoon, followed by one last night of Fringing.
Monday was mostly naps and lounging, to be honest.
But here we are! Fringe and Readercon both behind us! It’s an awful lot of emotion for any one blog post, but I do want to say this:
I am so very, very lucky in my friends and communities.
Fringe first: I couldn’t believe the support given to Six Stories, Told at Night. From the GoFundMe to the general logistical assistance, from everyone who came out to see the show (and some of you travelled a long way, I know!) and everyone who held our hands and told us that everything would be Okay—we’ve been overwhelmed with your kindness.
So thank you. Truly, sincerely, deeply—thank you.
And then I went to Readercon, where I caught up with wonderful old friends, met amazing new ones, and plunged headfirst into insightful, well-organized programming. Again, I felt swaddled with kindness and care. The writing and theatre communities share a lot of similarities ; this support is certainly one of them.
You’re all awesome. That’s my point here.
Now, more general updates: there are still some GoFundMe rewards to deliver! Specifically, the Super Secret Magic Seventh Story and Coxwood 2.0. What’s going on there?
The seventh story is mostly figured out (in my head, at least). We have a plan for recording it. I just need to write it. Because my 2018 is ridiculous, I have a major deadline on August 1st. I’m trying to write this story alongside that work, but it may need to wait just a few more weeks. But it is definitely on my radar.
Coxwood 2.0 is also on my radar, never fear! It’s going to be later in the year, though. Once the ridiculousness of summer dies down, I’ll be reaching out to actors and seeing what sort of cast we can put together. A gentle reminder that it won’t be as long as Season One…but I have some ideas percolating. It’s gonna happen. Don’t fret.
That’s it for now, I think. Blythe and I have some loose ends to tie up and some plans to bash out. No rest for the wicked, after all.
But we are really, really happy. That’s my other point. The Toronto Fringe has been the most challenging experience of my creative life—but also the most rewarding. I am so incredibly proud of our scrappy underdog play. The reviews speak for themselves!
Originally a podcast drama, this adaptation makes rollicking, enjoyable show…it’s clear that Bryski is a storyteller to watch. (NOW Magazine, NNNN review)
A love letter to broken hearts and letting go, to ambiguity and formation, this is a rich, complex play that had many an audience member discretely dabbing at tears. (Mooney on Theatre, “Rave Review”)
The folding paths through which the play presents itself are prevented from getting too murky or confusing through the anchor of the intensely realized, warts and all friendship portrayed by the leads, Blythe Haynes and Alexandra Milne. The heart of an almost delicately intricate, multi-narrative sequence remains throughout the emotional ties between two young women… (My Entertainment World)
Of course, none of that would be possible without amazing people. In addition to the love from our community, we are so grateful for the hard work, dedication, and professionalism shown by staff and volunteers at the Toronto Fringe and Theatre Passe Muraille. We literally couldn’t do it without you!
And there’s our creative team: cast, crew, and everyone who helped along the way. You gave your hearts and souls to this story, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
And of course, my creative partner-in-crime, who’s been with Six Stories from the beginning.
In my head, I see Six Stories as a scruffy little waif who runs around punching things. We can’t wait to see where the journey takes us next.
What I’m Listening To This Week
A little Lord of the Rings music. I’ll be moving to a hobbit hole soon, so it only seems fitting!
Whooo! Toronto Fringe Festival! We’re well underway with performances of SIX STORIES, TOLD AT NIGHT. Reactions thus far have been great—and it’s such a treat to see these characters and this Otherworld come to life onstage. And of course, there are ~150 shows all across the city to check out. The sheer amount of talent staggers me.
Seriously, there’s a lot of emotion here. We’ll have a good chat when Fringe finishes next week.
I’m ducking out of Fringe to attend ReaderCon!
I’m so excited; I really wanted to go last year, but scheduling didn’t permit. When I realized that it overlaps with Fringe, I thought, “Well, of course it does.” Then I figured I’d just find a way to make both work. Because why not?
So I’m not staying through the whole convention. The plan is to fly in Thursday, spend all of Friday, and then fly home Saturday evening, in order to close out our last show on Sunday afternoon.
No big deal.
And I have my schedule!
Friday (12:00 pm)—Consent Culture in Fiction
Me, Teri Clarke, Maria Dahvana Headley, Hillary Monahan, Victoria Sandbrook
Friday (6:00 pm)—Stonecoast MFA Readings
Peter Adrian Behravesh, Me, JR Dawson, Julie C. Day, Emlyn Dornemann, James Patrick Kelly, Erin Roberts
Saturday (2:00 pm)—Alternatives to Romance
Me, Elaine Isaak, Nicole Kornher-Stace, John P. Murphy, Patty Templeton
It all sounds very exciting! And it’ll be great to dive back into writers and prose after a week of theatre. If you’re around, do come say hello. Looking forward to this con, shortened though it must be!
What I’m Listening to This Week
First, I absolutely love referring to the day of resurrection as “That Great Getting’-Up Morning.” It’s also got that emotional, rhythmic style spirituals revel in. And I think it might’ve sparked a story idea.
SIX STORIES, TOLD AT NIGHT opens this Thursday. That doesn’t seem entirely real.
But the show’s in great shape. Right now, it sits at a comfortable eight minutes below the time cut-off. The costumes look amazing. The set’s built. We’ve found all the props. We’ve run the sound/lighting cues at Theatre Passe Muraille – and the venue managers have greenlighted all of our fight scenes and intimacy choreography.
And ohhhhh, my friends. That moment. That moment, when the theatre was still in blackout, and everything was still—that moment when the first notes of the Six Stories theme played over TPM’s sound system—
It was freaking awesome.
So what I’m saying is, we’re ready. We’re so ready.
Why am I nervous?
Because it feels like stepping off a cliff, I guess. It’s here, it’s really happening, people are really coming to see our show. This one story made of many stories that grew from scratches in a notebook to…all of this.
But anyway. There’s a podcast coming on Wednesday, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. For now…
Here’s the link for tickets. And also, our schedule:
Thanks, everyone. Your support means the world to us.
What I’m Listening to this Week
The Ralph Vaughan Williams streak continues, this time with “Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus.’” I love the richly bowing strings, the way it sometimes feels nearly like Elgar…
Whoa! Here we are, back on the blog! It’s not Monday—what gives?
Our GoFundMe campaign for Six Stories, Told at Night wrapped at midnight, and a Facebook post wasn’t going to cut it!
When last we saw our plucky co-producers, they had tweaked the campaign after blowing past the initial goal on the first day.
“Well, we were going to offer a vlog,” quoth I. “And I can write a seventh story; I’ve got some ideas. And…oh man, okay. What about…Coxwood Season Two?”
“Are you sure?”
“We’ll set a ridiculous target,” I said, all confidence. “We’ll never make it.”
And so the campaign trucked along. It was wonderful! Blythe and I spent a very pleasant week feeling warm fuzzies, writing limericks, and recording messages for donors (if anyone out there is Fringing It Up, drop me a line when you’ve decided what you’d like Blythe to record for you!).
We closed Monday at $730. “Cool, cool,” I said, “we’ll see how far we can get by Wednesday night.”
Tuesday passed. We had enough to cover the admin/festival expenses, plus a chunk of production.
“What if you make it to $1500?” a friend asked.
“We won’t,” I replied.
“I think we’ll hit $1000,” I said, coming home on the subway. “I’ve got a good feeling.”.
On arriving home, I made our final “ZOMG last few hours!!!” post. Then I sat back, ready to relax into a job well done. The box office would probably still take a hit, but not a huge one. If we were careful, we could probably manage pretty good shares when it came time to divvy up the takings…
Incredibly, you guys carried us to our ultimate goal.
We got very excited:
And then the lurking migraine I’d been fighting burst forth, I threw up, and we called it a night.
But now it is morning! So—we made our ultimate stretch goal. What does this mean?
For SIX STORIES:
We can have a kickass show. There are festival/administrative expenses associated with the Fringe. Those are covered. Set, design elements, costumes, signage, programs, handbills/buttons…all that just got so much easier. We’re entering Fringe from a strong position. A lot more is within our grasp!
And of course, compensating our cast and crew is a massive priority. This is why this campaign has meant so much to us—we wanted to give as much box office to them as possible. From the entire “Six Stories” team, THANK YOU.
You’ve unlocked everything, you wonderful people!
ROAD TO THE FRINGE PODCAST!
Once this blog posts, I’m pulling out the calendar to figure out a release schedule. Get ready for interviews, chatter, shenanigans, and rehearsal snippets!
Can’t make it to Toronto? We’ve got you covered! Meet our fab cast and crew, see bits of rehearsals and design elements, and make the leap with us from pure audio to live theatre!
I’ve been noodling some ideas. I definitely know the direction I want to go in. And oh…oh, I think it’ll be so cool. For this, I’ve got to consult with the team a little. I’ll keep you all posted.
COXWOOD SEASON TWO!
I’m gonna admit, I didn’t expect to make it to the ultimate goal. But we did! So—back to Coxwood for a second mini-season! I’m not entirely sure how many episodes it will be, but I’ll be taking a look at this after Fringe finishes in mid-July.
If we can release it by the end of 2018, amazing! As always, I’ll keep you posted.
Thank you, everyone. Seriously, from both of us—thank you, thank you, thank you. We are stunned that you believe in our show like this. We’ve spent the last fortnight feeling incredibly humbled and loved.
And now the work and fun begins! Our first production meeting and rehearsal is Friday. We can’t wait to get started!
KT and Blythe
What I’m Listening To Today
When it rains, it pours! More SIX STORIES updates for all of you!
First, we needed to take promotional photos for the play. These are the images we send to the Toronto Fringe for use in the programme and website.
Y’all remember the podcast image?
We thought it would be cool to recreate it as much as possible…in real life! And so I spent a very pleasant evening tromping through Toronto’s least-sketchy ravine, looking for a suitable tree.
Although I heard my own podcast running through my head, over and over:
At the ravine’s edge, I hesitated. There could be druggies in there. Gangs. Guys like Peter.
Witches, fairies, wolves.
–Six Stories, Told at Night: “Le Chien d’Or”
Hence choosing the least-sketchy ravine. I found a very nice tree. Though it’s hard to tell without leaves, I’m fairly sure it was an oak cultivar. This is what it looked like on my scouting expedition:
And this is what the ravine looked like, post-April ice storm:
Snow by itself wouldn’t have been awful. This is Canadian theatre, after all; some snow is probably appropriate. The problem is that we’d already decided that Blythe would be shooting in a sundress—though the season is never specified in the play itself, the Toronto Fringe is in July.
She was a trouper. Armed with a portable light from our awesome pals at Missed Metaphor Productions, our intrepid photographer, and a thermos of tea, we set to work.
Table-reads aside, it’s the first chance I’ve had to see Sam come to life. And pals—it’s so flipping cool. This is my favourite part of playwriting: this moment when someone who’s only lived in your head is suddenly standing before you. While I mainly write prose, theatre gives me too great a high to shake completely.
Also—like, we were in the woods, at night, in a distinctly faerie-esque atmosphere as the April snows drifted down. “This is what Sam did,” I thought. “This is the story.” The fabric between our world and SIX STORIES’ felt a tiny bit thin at that moment.
We got the shots we needed, we went out for drinks, and there was much rejoicing.
THEN we launched a GoFundMe for the show. We’re on a shoestring budget for this show: Fringe works on a profit-share basis. Expenses come out of the box office, and the remainder gets split amongst the company.
“We don’t need much,” Blythe and I told each other. “Just to offset some props and stuff.”
We blew past our goal within 12 hours.
Which, hey, lesson learned. We didn’t think big enough the first time around. So back to the drawing board we went.
“I mean…well, we’re gonna need to get programmes printed.”
“Yeah. And it’d be nice if we could…you know…not worry so much about the set, props, and costumes.”
“Don’t forget the administrative fees…”
Currently, we’ve got a number of stretch goals and reward tiers (yes, yes, if we make the Ultimate Uber Stretch Goal, I’ll write another season of Coxwood History Fun Park). And we’re completely humbled by the response thus far. Seriously, our most sincere thank you to everyone who’s shared, liked, commented, supported…we literally couldn’t do this without you.
We want to make you proud. We want to produce the best show possible. We’re so very thankful for your belief in us.
The GoFundMe will close on May 2nd. Then…well, I guess we’ll see if we return to Coxwood. We seem to be well on our way! You can find the campaign (and donate, if you’re so inclined) here!
It’s been a lot of emotions and long nights, pals. But we are so very happy.
What I’m Listening To This Week
Ahh, Ēriks Ešenvalds, you awesome contemporary choral composer. “Only In Sleep” is neat because it kinda sounds like a traditional folk song, but it’s got choral chords and harmonies up the wazoo.
Also, super poignant lyrics. But from Sara Teasdale, I expect nothing less. 😉
So it’s Friday night and I’m going to a party, yeah? On the way, I buy a can of pop, and I’m just heading into the subway when my phone explodes.
Congratulations on getting into the Fringe!
Hey I think you just got picked!
We heard your name!!!
To which I responded eloquently: WHAT.
You see, I’d been pondering adapting my podcast audio drama Six Stories, Told at Night for the stage. So I tossed our name in the Toronto Fringe Festival lottery. The draw was Friday night. And I…well, I completely forgot about it until the announcements started rolling in. But I hopped off the subway, found cell signal, and checked the Fringe Twitter feed.
Yep. There it was. Right there. Our number.
So I called Blythe.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“So…do you want to be in a Fringe show?”
I will treasure the subsequent scream for a good long time.
Towards the end of the night I got emotional and cried a little, there on the street. It’s just been such a journey, you know? First it was the Ontario Arts Council funding, now it’s getting into the Fringe. Like—Blythe and I are heading to the Toronto Fringe this July. This is what I’ve dreamed of for years.And then I came home, and I had to do laundry with my cat’s not-terribly-helpful assistance.
And then I got a rejection on a story I was just starting to feel vaguely hopeful about.
And I still need novel words today, even as the Inner Voice whispers that maybe I’m not such a good writer after all.
And I realized:
This is it, guys. This is what they mean when they say, “It never goes away.” The rejections, the Imposter Syndrome, the unglamorous domestic chores—they are always there, no matter what you write, no matter what opportunities and accolades come your way. This is the artist’s life.
It keeps us humble, I guess. Hungry, too. Sitting on one’s laurels and basking in adulation never created great work.
So yeah, right now I feel surprisingly melancholic—but also absolutely stoked at the exact same time. For me, the biggest breakthrough right now is accepting that these two states can co-exist. It’s never going to be Either/Or. Self-doubt lies alongside the awesome, but it doesn’t undermine it.
I’ve talked about this kind of faith before: the resolute plodding forward, even as we don’t know where the road is going, or even if it’s going anywhere at all.
We just have to keep going. Creating art that makes our hearts sing. Taking risks. Tossing our names in lotteries because why the hell not?
Somehow, it’s enough. This is indeed what I signed up for. Knowing that helps immensely.Journey well.
And oh, yes…
See you at the Fringe!!!!
What I’m Listening to this Week
Loreena McKennitt is pretty cool. Her music has that mythic-otherworldly flair to it. And I really, really like this piece: “The Old Ways.” There are some beautiful touches in the lyrics, and I have fallen head-over-heels for the refrain, especially when it starts really driving in the third minute.