Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special – Performer Spotlight – Nicole Byblow

Nicole first worked with Bygone on our last Retro Radio Hour, back in May 2013.  She joined us again as the Sound Designer for “Dial M For Murder”, and is now once again lending her singing talents to our radio show! You can also see Nicole in her covers band, Dirty Rumours, which is playing a show at Rancho Relaxo on November 22nd, 9:00pm; dance pop covers, tons of fun!

Nicole Byblow

Nicole Byblow

What made you want to be a part of Bygone Theatre’s “Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special”?
It was tons of fun in May, and I couldn’t wait to join the same awesome group of people!

What is your favourite holiday movie/tv special?
 My favourite is the Grinch, and National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. I love the scary face the Grinch makes when he thinks of his “perfectly awful idea.” That and Boris Karloff’s narration.

What is your fondest holiday memory?
Making and eating shortbread cookies with my mom! I’ll miss it this year cause of the whole gluten free thing … 😦

What is your funniest holiday memory?
When I tricked my mom into telling us there was no Santa Claus. I caught her buying a gift for my sister that was marked “From Santa.”

What are you most excited for in regards to “Retro Radio Hour”?
I’ve never performed Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas before, despite it being my favourite Christmas song and despite Judy Garland being my favourite singer. I can’t wait to perform it!

Come out to hear Nicole belt out a Judy classic on Saturday November 30th at the Winchester Kitchen and Bar; only $5!

Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special – Performer Spotlight – Leete Stetson

Leete has been involved in every one of Bygone’s productions so far, and we hope to keep seeing a lot of him. Most recently he starred in “Dial M For Murder” as Tony Wendice. Leete is also working with AD Emily Dix through his company Theatre Double Take, run by himself and Grace Smith.

Leete Stetson

Leete Stetson

What made you want to be a part of Bygone Theatre’s “Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special”?
I was contractually obligated to when I killed Santa

  1. What is your favourite holiday movie?
    A Christmas Carol with Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet and Mary Lou Retton
  2. What is your fondest holiday memory?
    Mom and Mr. Gailey buying a house with a swing in the back yard.
  3. What is your most awkward holiday memory?
    Getting my tongue stuck to a lamp post.
  4. What are you most excited for in regards to “Retro Radio Hour”?
    Matt carving the roast beast.

 

Don’t miss Leete’s hilarious antics! Come see him and all the gang on Saturday November 30th; check the event page for details.

Friends of Bygone – UC Follies

Bygone Theatre has a lot of close ties with the UC Follies; they co-produced our first production, “Doubt: A Parable” back in January 2013, and were a sponsor for our most recent production, “Dial M For Murder“. Deborah Lim, director of their current production, “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” also assisted backstage on “Dial M”. Here we ask her a few questions about her show:
 
51fc1baa5a5caCaesarWhat is your role with the UC Follies and “Julius Caesar”?
I’m working as the artistic director of UC Follies this year and I’m directing Julius Caesar.
 
Give us the UC Follies history – how and why did it get started?
The UC Follies is University College’s student-driven theatre troupe, entertaining University of Toronto’s St. George campus community for over 100 years with one simple goal: to provide an inclusive space for students to bring their talents outside of the classroom, and onto the stage. The UC Follies began its summer season in 2011 to provide opportunities for students who wanted to participate during the summer.
 
Give us a quick run-down of “Julius Caesar”
One of Shakespeare’s most well-known plays, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar tells the story surrounding Caesar’s rise and fall. Taking modern ideas and applying them to the classic story, UCFollies is proud to present a dark re-telling of the beloved story of Julius Caesar.
 
What has been your favourite part of working on “Julius Caesar”?
My favourite part of this process has been working with such a talented and committed team. I’ve been working on this play for over a year as an abstract concept inside my head. But to have a cast and creative team who is able to take my ideas and run with them is truly rewarding.
 
Any fun rehearsal/performance stories or anecdotes you’d like to share?
We had a part in the play that involved a play parachute that we had to eventually cut out, but one rehearsal during our break, like children on a playground, we played the parachute games and all hid under the (not very large) parachute. It was a fun return to childhood.
 
Where and when can everyone see the show?
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar runs September 13, 14, 19-21 at 7:30pm in the UC Quad (15 King’s College Circle; centre of the building, west entrance). Tickets are $10 general, $8 students/seniors.
 
Anything else we should know?
For more information, visit UCFollies.org

Theatre Magic: Brick by Brick

Our Production Assistant Janice Li was interested in learning some theatre production techniques, so set designer Jackie McClelland taught her how to make some inexpensive fake bricks for the exterior flat for “Dial M For Murder”.

Jackie started out by giving Janice this simple design: Window Flat exterior.

Janice’s first step was to cut out a bunch of cardboard “bricks” – keeping the size consistent was important, but the edges could look rough, just like real bricks.

Start off with some cardboard

We got this cardboard for free – 3 cheers for recycling!

Then Janice painted them all using Krylon Make It Stone paint (Jackie chose “Charcoal Sand”, but there are several different colours available.

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Painted with Krylon Make It Stone paint

Jackie stressed that, like real bricks, there could be some small imperfections, but that it should still cover as much as possible.

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The painted “bricks”

In the end, we had a very inexpensive, easy-to-do brick wall, as you can see here:

The finished product onstage

The finished product onstage

Of course there are many ways to achieve a similar effect;

I found an excellent post on how to make a very realistic faux brick wall, something that looks considerably harder but would be great it if was to be seen up close. That method is probably more for interior design than set design.

Another great post shows a similar but more labour-intensive version of what we’ve done, swapping out the cardboard for styrofoam which can be given a more “brick-like” texture.

And of course if you have more money, but less time, you can opt for the paintable wallpaper or panels, like they use in this post.

I’ve also seen especially skilled artists do amazing effects with just paint alone, but with all the great things you can use for depth and texture (not to mention my abysmal painting abilities) I don’t think I’d be trying that any time soon.

Do you have a great faux brick method you want to share? Leave a link in the comments.

-E.

To Cast, With Love – Director’s Notes from “Dial M For Murder”

There’s never enough space in the tiny little programs to say all that I want to about a show, and about all the amazing people who’ve helped to make it happen. I’ve considered doing what some directors do, and making a speech at the end of closing night, but that always felt more like a selfish statement than a good time to thank everyone; no one wants to see the boring old director after seeing the awesome show, and I don’t want to keep the cast and crew from getting out and celebrating. So in an effort to say all my thank-yous, but keep our program from becoming a full length novel, I’ve decided to write here the “director’s cut” version of my notes on “Dial M For Murder”:

First off, to my fellow producer and co-founder of Bygone Theatre; Matt McGrath. Matty is my best friend and my go-to for just about everything in life. When we started this company, he was mostly interested in being involved as an actor, but as the company has grown he has stepped up and taken on some major production roles, most of which he had no prior knowledge of. Matt does everything from scraping together the funds for the show, to working on the set, to going out and putting up hundreds of posters. He essentially functions as an assistant director and I often go to him for advice on scenes or moments in the play, be it just for reassurance or for actual help should I ever find myself stuck. He is an invaluable part of this company, this production, and my life. So many thanks, and a thousand hugs and kisses go to him.

My stage manager Jayden Hsueh has not only take on the dreaded SM tasks like booking rehearsal spaces and working out scheduling issues, but he has stepped up to help with finding props and building sets as well. Jayden is always a happy, positive influence in the room, and his smile (and the cookies and doughnuts he often brings to rehearsals) helps to keep everyone’s energy up. Jayden is motivated and reliable, and I can’t wait to work on another production with him.

Alexis Budd, our fight director, is a great guy to work with. He is smart, funny, and always patient when teaching actors the choreography. He has a creative mind and is great with thinking on the spot, but is always open to suggestions from actors or myself as well. His acting experience helps him not just give tips on how to safely move and fake things like slaps, but on how to really sell it as well. If I ever find myself needing another fight director, he’ll be my first call.

Jackie McClelland is our props master and one of our set designers for this show. I was thrilled to get her, as Jackie is working with increasingly bigger companies and productions, and I worry one day she’ll go off and leave us behind! Jackie is clever and a great problem solver, and has worked out all our props issues. She has a great eye, and is a fun and positive person to work with; I hope we’ll get the chance to do another show together again soon.

Mike Bazzocchi is an amazing builder. He has a unique background that includes engineering and acting, so he not only knows the practical elements required in making a set, he knows what will look good and what the actors will need as well. He’s quick on his feet, positive, and great at explaining things to those of us with no design knowledge. I hope to be able to give him a more creative set to design one day, as I know he is capable of coming up with really original ideas as well as making something that looks like an authentic 1950s living room. He makes me laugh, and I always feel confident any task left to him will be done, and done well. Thank you for that.

My mother Karen Henderson made not just our lovely pinch pleat curtains, but all of Margot’s dresses as well, which not only saved us a lot of money (and me a lot of time), but meant that we could have authentic 1950s dresses that fit our actor perfectly. She is a life-saver as her sewing expertise means I can pick out virtually any pattern and fabric, for any actor, and leave her to do all the hard work of actually making the thing! Every time we do a show and I pile more and more costumes on, she swears it’ll be the last time, but hopefully it doesn’t actually come to that as her costumes are a big part of what makes our shows look great.

Reg Matson is our technical director (and Inspector Hubbard, but I’ll get to that), and has helped me to solve problems from how to run sound from strange spots onstage, to what should be done with the lights. Reg not only has vast theatre knowledge, he has a great artistic mind. He never tells someone what they should do, but asks them questions and helps them to figure out what it is they really want to achieve. He’s been an amazing positive influence in so many ways these past few months, and I know we’ll continue to work together in the future.

Nicole Byblow chose all the lovely period music for the show. Nicole and I first met when doing “Retro Radio Hour”, and I’m so glad to have found not just a talented performer, but a fellow Judy lover as well! Nicole has a great ear and a real understanding of the period, so she’s certainly someone I will work with again. She’s a fun and sweet person, and great at everything she does.

Janice Li is our high school production assistant, and has helped with everything from sitting in on auditions, to making the bricks for the exterior wall, to doing random tasks like coffee runs and sweeping the stage. She’s always up to any task we give her, and I think she will do well as she goes off to focus in production design. I hope she’s managed to learn someone along the way, or at the very least had some fun – we’ve certainly needed all her help!

There have been dozens of people who have helped out with things along the way, and I hope I can remember them all here, so thank you to;

My aunt, Heather Henderson, who donated all our concession items and helped to make the cast t-shirts.

My sister, Rebecca Dix, who worked on the display boards, the concessions, and running Front of House.

My father, Kevin Dix, who shuttled around props, costumes, and concessions, driving up from Waterloo to do so.

Our former producer, Tom Beattie, who donated funds, supplies, and his time to this show.

Brian and Margaret McGrath, Matt’s parents, who donated both money to the show, and allowed us to use their garage to build the set, while putting up with not just the noisy actors and the mess, but with feeding all of us as well!

Danielle Son who took lovely photos of the show.

Kyle Pearson, K. Nolan, and Chris Ross who all came to help out with the load-in.

UC Follies, who helped with both cross-promotions, and who leant us space and props for the show.

Orphaned Egret Productions
, Newborn Theatre, BeMused, and Hart House Theatre, who all helped to promote the show.

Jesse Watts, who was the first to make a donation to “Dial M For Murder”.

Noa Katz and Deb Lim who are assisting backstage.

The staff at the Robert Gill Theatre; the late Lou Massey who helped with our initial set-up, Paul Stoesser who helped in running tech week, Teo Balcu who took the lead in our lighting design, and Vanita Butrsingkorn who assisted in all sorts of backstage and technical elements during tech week.

TAPA, TO Tix, and The Robert Gill Theatre for all the help and support.

Insomnia Restaurant and Lounge for sponsoring our opening night after party.

And, last but not least, my fabulous cast.

I’m so happy to have met Leete Stetson. He is a talented actor and a wonderful friend, and I thank him for all his support and advice on and offstage. We became friends while acting together in Hart House’s “Romeo and Juliet”, and quickly discovered a mutual love of musicals, and a lot of similar tastes. While he and I may disagree on some fundamental theatre things (like bare walls versus a full set), the debates are always friendly and useful. I know I will work with him again, and can’t wait to see what amazing character he does next.

Rebekah has been a total joy to work with. Every note I give her she takes and acts on immediately; she started out as Margot looking and sounding great, but the progression I’ve seen her make through the rehearsal process has really been astounding. She’s turned what could have been a 2-dimensional, typical 1950s housewife into a complex and compelling character, and she makes these changes with such ease that it’s clear she’s one to watch out for. On top of her talent onstage, Rebekah has helped with things like hemming pants, and has offered to pick up the slack wherever it’s needed. I hope we will work together again as she is a lady of many talents, and a very sweet girl to boot.

When I first met Kenton I hoped that he would be as talented as he was sweet and charming, because after 30 seconds of talking to him you know he’s someone you want to work with. Lucky for me, he was. Kenton takes initiative not just with learning and running lines, but with running warm-ups with the group as well. He has amazing stage presence, and is a total joy to watch. A man of many talents, I know he will go far, and I just hope that before he gets too big I have another chance to work with him! All that energy he has is bound to come in handy as he is one who I think will find himself constantly working.

As an actor, Reg is thoughtful and deliberate. He has a very analytical approach to acting, and often pauses to talk through the motivations of all the characters onstage. He is clever and committed, and I love to watch him go through his process as it often brings out new and interesting moments in the show.

Jason  has been a total joy to work with, because he is a kind, thoughtful and genuine human being as well as being a talented actor. Despite having a relatively short amount of time onstage, Jason has been at nearly every rehearsal and has helped with things like being on book, or reading for someone who wasn’t there. He’s always quick to offer assistance with anything, and is always in a positive mood. He takes notes to heart, and has created in Lesgate a truly disturbing character that is so far from his real self that it is a testament to how good an actor he really is.

Despite being onstage for only about a minute in this show, Ian has shown up to all the rehearsals and stayed attentive, offering suggestions, advice and questions throughout the process. He has truly taken the “there are no small parts, only small actors” motto to heart and has created several distinct characters for his brief phone conversations. He has been helpful by being on book and keeping track of actors blocking while he’s not onstage, and has always been a positive influence in the room. And with a voice like his, there’s no doubt he’ll find himself more work in theatre, or radio!

To everyone who helped in anyway, be it by working on the show directly or just being someone to talk to when the stress levels got high, thank you. And to everyone who came out to see all our hard work, thank you – none of this could happen without you.

-Emily Dix
Artistic Director
Bygone Theatre

Dial M For Murder – OPENING NIGHT!

Tonight is the night! Join us at the Robert Gill Theatre for the opening night of Bygone Theatre’s “Dial M For Murder”. Directed by Emily Dix, produced by Matt McGrath, fight direction by Alexis Budd, stage managed by Jayden Hsueh, costumes by Karen Henderson and Emily Dix, set design by Mike Bazzocchi and Jackie McClelland, sound design by Nicole Byblow, lighting design by Teo Barclu and Reg Matson, with production assistance by Janice Li. Starring Leete Stetson, Rebekah Manella, Kenton Blythe, Reg Matson, Jason Manella and Ian McGarrett.

We have an opening night gala in the lobby from 7:00-8:00pm. Free food and drinks, lots of displays that detail the rehearsal process and highlight the cast and crew, and a chance to meet some of the crew members! If you’ve purchased your tickets in advance, you can join us after the show at Insomnia Restaurant and Lounge for the after-party; more free food and some cheap drinks!

Hope to see you there!

-E.

“Dial M For Murder” – Rehearsal Photos

We’re doing runs all week so I thought I’d nab some quick rehearsal photos – here’s the cast in their new “Dial M For Murder” t-shirts!

Remember, the show runs August 15-17 at the Robert Gill Theatre. Tickets are available through TO Tix and we highly encourage you to buy in advance!

If you like these pics, check out our facebook page for more!

The cast of "Dial M For Murder"

The cast of “Dial M For Murder”

Kenton Blythe as Max Haliday

Kenton Blythe as Max Haliday

Leete Stetson and Rebekah Manella as Tony and Margot Wendice

Leete Stetson and Rebekah Manella as Tony and Margot Wendice

Jason Manella as Captain Lesgate

Jason Manella as Captain Lesgate

Reg Matson as Inspector Hubbard

Reg Matson as Inspector Hubbard

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Jayden Hsueh

Jayden has previously worked with Bygone Theatre as one of the altar boys in “Doubt: A Parable”, and assisted with front of house at our “Retro Radio Hour” fundraiser. He is stage managing “Dial M For Murder” and also assisting with set design.

Stage Manager Jayden Hsueh.

Stage Manager Jayden Hsueh.

Bio: Jayden graduated from the University of Waterloo and is currently pursuing a Master of Science at the University of Toronto.  During the last year, Jayden has been involved with the UC Follies as a head builder and was cast in Bygone’s production of “Doubt: as a choir boy.  After working with so many fantastic individuals, Jayden is excited to work on another show with Bygone Theatre.

Dial M For Murder – Crew Spotlight – Michael Bazzocchi

Michael has worked with Director Emily Dix before, but this is his first time working with Bygone Theatre. Michael is one of our set designers for “Dial M For Murder”.

Set Designer Michael Bazzocchi.

Set Designer Michael Bazzocchi.

Bio: Michael Bazzocchi has been designing sets for international competition and theatre for the past five years. He is beginning a Masters of Applied Science in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto, having just completed an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering (BASc in Eng.Sci) at U of T. Most recently, Michael’s set design for a cloud factory received 1st Place at the Destination Imagination Global Finals competition for its unique incorporation of mechanical movement and bubbles into a 16ft tall semi-trapezium dome. Michael has experience designing sets for a variety of architectural and theatrical styles including large artistic set pieces in the Victorian, Gothic, Greek and Seussical styles.  He particularly enjoys enhancing dramatic performances through the innovative incorporation of mechanical components into his set designs. In his spare time Michael also enjoys doing community service. Michael is the current President and one of the founding members of the Trek for Teens Foundation for homeless youth. Michael is very excited to be involved in Bygone Theatre’s production of Dial M for Murder and looks forward to working with the cast and production team to develop a very entertaining and professional show.