Cheque, please!

Our director (and production designer) Emily Dix quickly walks you through the process for making a faux cheque for theatre.

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I get a kick out of little details in things, which is why I often spend too much time on small prop details that likely won’t be noticed by anyone but myself. Today’s example? The certified cheque prop needed for Bygone Theatre’s upcoming production of His Girl Friday.

Really, it’s a pretty simple one, and since we’re seeing the cheque before it’s cashed, I’m not going to the trouble of embossing it, I did however want something from around the right date, and double-sided.

Since this show will be on a real stage, and not something that requires the same accuracy as was needed for shows like Rope, which practically happened in the audience’s lap, I just searched for 1930s or 1940s certified cheques and settled on one from 1933;

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I found this through a memorabilia site – it works great as it doesn’t have a big distracting…

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Cast Spotlight: Michael Barkey

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Michael Barkey is playing reporter Endicott in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this will be his first Bygone Theatre production.

Bio: Michael Barkey, who plays the role of Endicott, is proud to join the cast of His Girl Friday. His most recent theatre role was as Marc in Sandworms! at Alumni Theatre.  His favourite role of 2016 was as Detective Carling in the feature length, sci-fi film Transmission, to be released in 2017.  Michael has trained at George Brown College, Second City, and Armstrong Acting Studios. He is a trained linguist, a licensed electrician, and has held diverse work and volunteer positions around the world.

1. How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I discovered the casting call for the production on a casting website and applied right away. I didn’t know about Bygone Theatre before this but it’s clearly one of the best companies in Toronto!

2. What made you want to be involved? / What do you love about the story?

His Girl Friday is hilarious, see, and I love a good laugh. This is a chance to work on comedic timing, accents, and period specific themes.  The story is well crafted, and has substance and social relevance.  How grand that this is a screwball comedy but also touches on some darker themes such as greed, selfishness and corruption. 

3. What’s your favourite old movie?

At the moment, I’d say “The Big Sleep”.  Of the many amazing film noir stories, this classic stars a hard-boiled detective and has the delicious blend of an intricate plot, an undercurrent of desire and sexuality, and a cynical perspective of human nature that keeps me coming back for more. 

4. Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

This is definitely the first time I’ll be acting in a stage adaptation of a classic film that was itself an adaptation of a play to begin with. What a treat!  

My most exciting recent role is in the independent, sci-fi, noir film “Transmission” due for release later in 2017.  You can find our more about this made-in-Toronto, soon-to-be-cult-classic, at the following website:

www.famousmotionpictures.com/films/transmission

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Michael Barkey in TRANSMISSION, Famous Motion Pictures/ Matthew Scott

5. Why should people come and see the show?

Come to see His Girl Friday for the damn good story and come for the laughs!  Come for the fast-paced passion, deceit, and moral ambiguity. You’ll also get a steamy glimpse into the world of the newspaper business in the early 20th century, with all it’s dubious practices.  Asking questions about the media and journalism is crucial these days and boy, this was quite the chapter in the history of the dissemination of information to the public.  Anything to get the story!

See Michael onstage this March in His Girl Friday – tickets on sale now.

Designing His Girl Friday, Part 1: Vintage Office Desks

Director & designer Emily Dix talks about the set for HIS GIRL FRIDAY – learn all about vintage desks!

Till Next We Trod The Boards

While His Girl Friday won’t open for another 4 months I’m already busy prepping things on the production side. The budgets are set, fundraising & marketing scheduled, so now I get a little time to spend on one of my favourite parts of putting together a show (and part of why I started Bygone in the first place); designing.

Anyone who’s seen a Bygone Theatre production knows that we always do things set in the 20th century, and while there are of course budgetary restraints that don’t make 100% accuracy possible, I do work hard to get an authentic period feel to our shows, both with props and costumes, and when possible, set.

His Girl Friday is set in 1940 and takes place primarily in a newspaper office, which means that I have to find a lot of period office supplies. The good thing is, since it’s an office (as…

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Top 10 Jazzy Halloween Songs

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Part 2 of my Top 10 Halloween songs, this list features some fabulous jazz numbers, great for you guys and ghouls who like hosting a classy Halloween shindig.

I Put a Spell On You (Because You’re Mine)
There have been a lot of renditions of this one, but I don’t think any can top Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

2. That Old Black Magic
Another classic that has been done in about a dozen arrangements, from beautiful ballad to upbeat swing. Sammy Davis Jr. did one of my favourite versions, though Judy Garland would be a close second.

3. Skeleton in the Closet
Who doesn’t love Louis Armstrong? This number is from the film Pennies From Heaven.

4.The Boogie Man (A Jazzy Halloween)
Admittedly, this has a bit of a creepy stalker feel to it, but maybe that just adds to its charm..? “Bad little girls” better watch out for this…

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Top 10 Retro Halloween Dance Songs

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I started to make a simple “top 10” list for my favourite Halloween songs and it grew so quickly I decided to split it up. Here are my top 10 (in no particular order), 1950s/60s dance songs that are sure to make your retro Halloween bash a smash hit.

1.Sinister Stomp
Including The Monster Mash would be too easy, but we can’t have a list like this and not feature something from Bobby Pickett, so enjoy this lesser-known hit.

2. The Mummy’s Bracelet
Gotta love that bass line. Check it.

3. The Transylvanian Twist
Can’t have a retro dance party without the Twist!

4. She’s My Witch
This groovy, bluesy number is sure to be a hit later in the evening.

5. Graveyard Cha Cha
If you are looking for something to dance to I don’t think you can beat this – “now shut up and get back in your…

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REVIEW: Dan’s Inferno

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Our AD reviews Dan’s Inferno, playing now as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival.

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You may have seen versions of Dante’s Inferno before, but I doubt you’ve seen one with a talking toilet, and while we’ve all seen plays about the regrets we have at the end of life, chances are you haven’t seen one as strangely funny and sincerely touching as Dan’s Inferno, playing now as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe.

The show comes from the minds of Toronto’s Fratwurst comedy troupe, and features the talents of Eric Miinch (Fratwurst), Josh Murray (Fratwurst, Second City Education Company), Evan Arppe (Fratwurst, Host of The Watchllist on CHCH), Natalie Metcalfe (2 Humans, CBC-True Dating Stories), Lance Byrd (The Weaker Vessels), Peyton LeBarr, (Twelfe Night- Ale House Theatre) and Chris Murray (Chaisse Gallerie- Red One Collective). It’s a story about Dan (Miinch), a young man who wasted his life on Earth but finds purpose in what comes after. Sound typical? A bit. But the twisted collection of characters (trolls…

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REVIEW: Behold, The Barfly!

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Our AD reviews Behold, The Barfly! playing now as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival.

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If you’re looking for nudity, strobe lights and God himself, check out Spoon Vs Hammer’s Behold, The Barfly!playing now at the Monarch Tavern as part of the 2016 Toronto Fringe. Written and directed by the very funny Justin Haigh, this laugh-out-loud sketch show features the talents of Elizabeth Anacleto (Mark Purvis Award winner, Toronto Festival of Clowns), Jeff Hanson (Edmund, Storefront Theatre), Steve Hobbs (writer for Second City, CBC Punchline), Marsha Mason (Second City National Touring Company), Kevin MacPherson (Sex T-Rex, Robin Hood: The Legendary Musical Comedy), Eric Miinch (sketch troupe Fratwurst, Bygone Theatre’s Wait Until Dark), Ned Petrie (CBC Radio, Second City, Teletoon’s Night Sweats) and Sarah Thorpe (HereticLove Is A Poverty You Can Sell); with a cast like that you know you’re in for a good time.

I won’t describe any of the scenes as I…

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My Top 5, 2016 Toronto Fringe Picks

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Our Top 5 Toronto Fringe Picks! #Fringe2016

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Every year at the Fringe those of us in the theatre community get very excited & very overwhelmed; it’s a chance to see everyone (many describe it as “Christmas for actors”) but also a time when you try frantically to fit into your schedule all the shows you feel you “must” see. I know there’s already a lot of “must see” lists out there but, hell, why not throw one more into the mix? These are 5 that I know will rock because of the fantastic people involved.

Behold, The Barfly!

Where: Monarch Tavern, 12 Clinton Street (Site Specific)

When: 
buy tickets  June 29th at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  June 30th at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  July 1st at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  July 2nd at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  July 3rd at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  July 5th at 7:00 PM
buy tickets  July 6th at 7:00 PM
buy…

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Building Prop Food for Wait Until Dark – Part 1, Research

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Check our director Emily Dix’s blog about building props for our recent production of Wait Until Dark!

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I usually try to do posts throughout rehearsals and leading up to a show but this past month has been too busy. On top of my work at Tarragon and rehearsals for Wait Until Dark, I have been prepping for Vaudeville Revue, have run another Retro Radio Hour, and moved into a new apartment only 2 weeks before opening. Now that the dust has settled, I’d like to go back and highlight some of the work that went into the show, starting with one of my favourite things, prop food.

I’ve done a post on vintage labels before, a brief one that highlighted using public domain images and another with the focus on old liquor labels, but what I needed for WUD was a little different.

A key piece to the set was a fridge, and knowing it would have to be open a lot, I…

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