Archive for the ‘plan c’ Category


This past Monday my collaborator Suzanne Kilgore and I re-wrote the libretto for “Call of Cthulhu: The Opera” (hopefully coming to the Toronto Fringe and/or Summerworks Festival, 2011).

Act 3, of course, takes place on board a disreputable semi-pirate ship in the south seas.  We felt the evil Sea Captain was starting to sound too PG Wodehouse-y, so the following line ended up being included:

Sea Captain: Put me in a halo and call me Mary!

That, of course, is not genuine sailor slang.

Here’s some genuine sailor slang:

WHIPJACK, a sham shipwrecked sailor, also called a TURNPIKE SAILOR.

BOOM-PASSENGER, a convict on board ship.

LAND-SHARK, a sailor’s definition of a lawyer.

JACK NASTY-FACE, a sailor.

SKATES-LURK, a begging impostor dressed as a sailor.


TRUCK-GUTTED, pot-bellied or corpulent.

YARMOUTH MITTENS, bruised hands.

SKY-SCRAPER, a tall man.

SCOTCH COFFEE, biscuits toasted and boiled in water.  (Editor’s note: EW!)

OH BE JOYFUL, a bottle of rum.

Source: John Camden Hotten’s  1864 masterpiece “The Slang Dictionary”, readable on Google Books.

I’m going to go sling the hatchet with an Oh Be Joyful.  Let’s hope no one gives me a pair of Yarmouth mittens, because then I’d have to hire a land-shark and he’s take all my money so I’d end up drinking Scotch Coffee and going about as a skates-lurk.

(I don’t know if any of this is useful in Call of Cthulhu, but it’s still awesome.)


Read Full Post »


So almost two years ago, fed up with the way my career was going, I decided to stop complaining (quite so much) about it and do something.

My reasoning: I have a hard time getting roles because I don’t have enough stage experience.

So I need more stage experience.

How do I get it without going back to opera school or doing a bunch of pay-to-sing programs that I can’t afford to do?


Write and star in my own operas.

So I wrote the librettos, recruited the composers, got my friend Jen to agree to be the one musician who plays in them, and got started.

For a little while nothing happened. One of the composers dropped out and I had to write a different libretto and get another composer involved (Ben). I kept thinking “We’ll do the show in December…no, maybe February…no, maybe May…”. Somehow or other we set the date. Somehow or other we found a theatre that wasn’t totally ruinous to rent for three shows. I asked Virginia Reh, who directed me in I Puritani, if she could recommend a student to direct us, and to my surprise (and delight) she offered to do it herself. She also found us a fantastic lighting designer/stage manager who has also ended up being our tech person. Jen painted some amazing backdrops and made a puppet theatre. We both made/sourced costumes, and I not only learned how to use puppets (for the opera about Tammy Faye) but made little outfits for each puppet character.

The date got closer and closer. I started to worry about things. No one would come. I wouldn’t get it memorized in time. The theatre would burn down. I would screw up in some small but vital way that would ruin everything.

It would just suck and no one would like it.

Well, I don’t know about the last one, but in spite of everything the show is opening tomorrow at 8, and I think it’s going to be really good.

I still have some posters and postcards left, so I’m going to go put them up in the Beaches for a bit today, finish the programmes, teach a bit, send reminder emails etc. But mostly just relax.

Can’t believe it’s tomorrow.

Read Full Post »



Fallen Voices: 3 Operas for 2 People is going up at Bread and Circus Theatre (299 Augusta Ave) on the 24th and 25th at 8 PM, and at 3 PM on the 26th. You can even buy tickets online here.

If you don’t know about the operas, this is what they’re about:

Time Will Erase (Alex Eddington/K. Mueller-Heaslip)
Who has the power to destroy an artist’s work? What does that destruction even mean in the face of death, war, and desperation? What sacrifices would you make to express yourself – and what self-expression would you give up to protect the one you love?

Based on the life of Anna Akhmatova, one of Russia’s most famous poets, Time will Erase is a lyrical exploration of the artist’s relationship with society.

Milk and Honey (Michael Hynes/K. Mueller-Heaslip)
Through all of her troubles, Tammy Faye Bakker stood by her man and her faith in the Lord and never complained, even when people lied about her and misrepresented her. Now she is ready to tell her own story the best way she can: with straightforward honesty, music, and puppets.

Electric Eel (Benjamin Mueller-Heaslip/K. Mueller-Heaslip)
“I will not be taught my business by a bunch of pipsqueaks. I am an electric eel in a pool of flatfish.” Dame Edith Sitwell, famously eccentric poet, novelist, and socialite, has come to lecture the Rosedale Ladies’ Self-Improvement League on her life and works, and to sell her autobiography in verse, Electric Eel. A touch too much Valium and a little too much vodka, however, cause her to reveal more of her life and works than she originally intended.

I haven’t produced a show in a while, so I’d forgotten a lot of the unpleasant things about it – you know, how the time you probably ought to spend practicing you spend mailing press releases and putting up posters, how you lie awake at night wondering how you’re going to get your puppets to change props without dropping one, the anxiety dreams, all that fun stuff.

But at the same time I know that if I weren’t doing this myself, it would almost certainly never get done, so I’ll suck it up and put up posters like a big girl.

After this is done, I’m performing in Nuit Blanche the following weekend, then trying to decide if I’m going to go to Italy for a new music competition in November.

Read Full Post »

One of the puppets from Milk and Honey, the puppet opera about Tammy Faye Bakker:

Lamb fatale

Crossposted to Plan C.

Read Full Post »


So, as my fabulousness increases logorithmically each day, I am constantly finding new outlets for my seemingly inexhaustible creativity.

Or something like that.  Maybe it’s more like, “I keep finding new ways to futz around with fun projects”, but keeping in with the idea of marketing oneself with extreme arrogance the first version will stand.  Anyway.

More stuff I’m doing:

– Are you extremely rich?  Then come to Powerball 2010, where you can hear me sing Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely”as a coloratura opera aria in Italian, and the fabulous Suzanne Kilgore sing the same in German in the style of Wagner.  This is a project with performance artist Derek Liddington, who’s also doing something similar for Nuit Blanche, except with Bruce Springsteen songs.  And as I am the one tasked with adapting the song into arias, I can tell you that the Orbison is much easier, since its note:word ratio is much lower that Springsteen’s, if not actually reversed.

– The same Ms. Kilgore and myself are co-writing “Call of Cthulhu: The Opera” and I am going to play Cthulhu.  Because coloratura is SUPPOSED to be scary, and while I enjoy playing fragile young girls with mental health issues, the occasional role as an evil deity intent on eating the world is a nice change.  Look for it summer of 2011.  Oh, and it will feature an all-female cast.

And, of course, Fallen Voices: 3 operas for 2 people is a go for September of this year.

So until I am discovered by the Met and made super-famous, I have a few things to keep me busy.  Speaking of “being discovered by the Met”, the recording session went very well last night, and I will hopefully have something to post by the end of the week.

Read Full Post »

On Plan C: I bitch about TVO.


Read Full Post »

New post on Plan C!

I’m not cross-posting, I’m helpfully pointing you towards the post on Plan C about what to put in a recording I’m thinking of making.  Go over and give me your opinion.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: