Thursday, August 30, 2007


Ah I know what you are thinking, I've been burned and feel the need to vent. Or I am over the moon at something someone wrote about me and just want to thank them in my blogging way.

Well you is wrong!! On both counts! Ha!

This is simply something I've been thinking about for a while, and something I find very interesting as well as ridiculously obvious. And I just thought I would write about it today.

And this is what it is:

Reviewers are people too.

Amazing discovery isn't it?

But this is what I mean. I had always understood this concept on a theoretical level. I had always gone to see the movies I was interested in and read reviews with a critical eye. I discovered which film reviewers I usually agreed with and therefore could read their articles with more faith in their observations (Richard Crouse here in Toronto, like he's totally awesome. I even met him once and I was actually star struck - he's one of my favourite film reviewers definitely). But it never really came to me just how subjective reviewing really was.

Yes yes, there are those films and books out there that get generally the same ratings across the board, but more often then not, I am finding that the difference between one review and another, well, is a matter of taste.

As an example I offer myself up on a silver platter. A few years ago I produced and directed A Weekend in the Country at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Two days into the run a reviewer came to see it. And he loved it. Not only did he love it, he was kind of obsessed with it. He happened to run into a few of my cast members at a club that night and was just gushing to them how much he loved the play, he was practically star struck in their presence. The next day he wrote a brilliant review and we had it for the full month to put on our posters and publicity materials. We got subsequently more great reviews, and one or two critical ones (which even then, concluded they still liked the play - yes okay I'm qualifying, I know), but none quite as wonderfully enthusiastic. We were lucky. We were lucky this guy had been assigned to our play, and not someone else from the same paper. We were lucky that for some reason our play was exactly to his taste. And because of such luck, we had been given the gift and ability to advertise ourselves using such a glowing review.

It could have easily happened the other way around.

But reviewing is not only dependent on personal taste, but the pre-conceived ideas that the reviewer may bring with them to the work even before they have experienced it.

I am reminded of a story my mom tells (okay and the details might not be perfect, but the idea remains the same), how at a dinner party once, everyone was served lemon sorbet for dessert. Right away people were making faces and looking at their bowls with suspicion, and someone asked, "Has it maybe gone off?" The hostess frowned and went into the kitchen. She returned moments later and said, "Would it taste better if it was banana?" Everyone tried again. And suddenly with the knowledge that the sorbet was not lemon as they had all thought, but banana, it was greatly enjoyed and I'm sure some even had seconds.

And such is the same with reviewing a book or a film or a piece of music etc. Sometimes, and it isn't an excuse, sometimes the reviewer simply was expecting something else. Again if you are lucky it turns out the same way as the sorbet scenario, them loving it despite at first being slightly disgusted. But sometimes you get the reviewer who neglects to go back into the kitchen to discover the sorbet is actually banana.

Of course this is doing a slight disservice to reviewers, in saying they are not able to see beyond their own taste or pre-conceived ideas. There are excellent reviewers out there who are able to appreciate a genre they do not like in general (my playwrighting teacher, Djanet Sears, was amazing at this. She was able to critique your piece, and work with it within the boundaries of your writing style and genre, and not try to turn it into her preferred style). And at the same time there are occasions when it doesn't matter what the genre, the work is pretty darn bad and deserves to be panned.

But I do think as artists we must remember these simple facts of taste and pre-conceived ideas. The reason is two fold.

The first is to stay sane. That is, if you have produced something you really care about, and have worked on it quite critically (usually with other people), and truly believe it is the best it could be, or at least feel proud of what you have produced, then there shouldn't be any reason a bad review can get to you. Because reviewers are just people too as we have now learned.

But it also teaches us how to be critical and good reviewers of our own creations. That when we look at what we have done, we ought to remember our taste versus that of our audience. And to attempt to wipe away the pre-conceived ideas we might have looking at our work. To see things with as fresh an eye as possible (it is impossible, I think, to be truly objective about something you create though, so don't go crazy trying to). To not get too precious about what we produce.

And to be honest with ourselves that sometimes, what we've done, eh it's not so good. It might be banana, but you know what? Banana sorbet? Personally? Not so much.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Honey! I'm Home!

Yes I have returned to the blogosphere! And I have to say, I don't know about you guys, but it feels really good to be home.

It also feels really good not to be in a lot of pain anymore.

Can I just say that when people tell you, "At least you've got your health" when really you are pissed off because you've just been dumped or there is no more cake or something, well it takes going through something like wisdom teeth removal to understand how true that phrase really is. But even more than that it makes you admire the people out there who are dealing with things ten times as worse, with medications that are ten times more intrusive, and man, props, serious props to all of them and for their ability to maintain sanity. I honestly don't know how they do it.

Let's just say, I'm not the best patient. For many many reasons, but mostly because I am not the one thing that the role requires. Patient.

Anyway. Back to the world of writing and the books and news etc. Today we'll start off slow as I do have a nice little rant I would like to do tomorrow. So for now, some pictures and a link:

Yes we have a couple more pictures of people and MY BOOK (please folks keep 'em coming) this time from Ireland (one of my wonderful and glamorous blog readers):

And Scotland (fellow blogger and AWer Nichola):

And next a link to the NY Post who this past Saturday listed Alex as a "Post Potter Pick" which I have to admit, is just a tiny bit kinda cool.

Anyway, hope you are all in good health, seriously I can't even tell you how much I mean that, and I gots to say, I really missed you guys! Thank you so much for all the well wishes and wisdom teeth empathy! Oh and I just had to repost my analogy that I wrote in the comments section comparing postpartum play depression and wisdom teeth removal because it is simply brilliant:

Doing a play is a bit like getting your wisdom teeth removed. There is a lot of pain and effort into the doing of it, but then it gets done, most often successfully, and then all that remains is a hollow emptiness.

Thank you, thank you.

Monday, August 13, 2007


It happens to almost all people involved in a play. It doesn't matter how much work the whole thing was, or how many things may have gone wrong in the lead up to the show, or how there were days you just wished it would all be over, in the end, it's all rather sad when it's done.

Yes Summerworks ended last night. And A Weekend in the Country had it's last show that afternoon. I have to say it was a rather brilliant run. Great houses, amazing audiences who just laughed and laughed (we can only as assume with, not at, us) and of course stellar performances from my amazing actors.

Oh and lots of blood getting all over the place!

Heck we even had a fan who wanted autographs from everyone after the show!

And then we celebrated with a very long party that went from the afternoon through to the wee hours of the morning.

All in all, a good thing.

I will miss it though.

Now it is all about focusing 100% on the writing! - but probably a bit of a hiatus with the blog entries as I am getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. Oh. Yay.

Hugs to you all!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What is the name of the deadly pirate ship that Alex chases?

I have been noticing in my "recent keyword activity" that strange phrase popping up every now and then.

Now what the devil was going on exactly? And why did all these people not want to read my book and find out the answer, as opposed to googling it? And darn it what was the incentive to find the answer anyway?

Well turns out this is: Competition

It is truly cool to be a part of a competition that you yourself didn't organise. A serious honour.

And so I thought I would help out, just a bit. The answer is easily found in my sidebar to the right, over there . . . a little further down. . . there you got it!

I will give one further hint:

Look at the American title.

Oh heck fine, the name of the ship is . . . oh and I am afraid we are all out of time here at Adrienne's blog! Please join us in a few days when she goes on for probably too long about what it is like to have a play go up in Summerworks! Until then, have a great day folks, and remember if it's not a blog it's probably someone's personal diary and you should put it down right now!


Monday, August 06, 2007

And we have a picture!

Courtesy of my amazing friend Heather Dann (who is also a character in the book)!

There she is standing in the book store in the Hammersmith Mall, London (right by the subway, the one I used to pass everyday and bought my copy of The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook at), isn't it just so cool!?

Keep 'em coming folks!


Yes okay, maybe announcing that my book is out minutes after midnight is a bit eager but come on!! MY BOOK IS OFFICIALLY RELEASED TODAY! Like, that is so cool!! And amazing!!! And also a bit weird seeing as I can't actually see it in bookstores and stuff as it is all the way across the ocean (which is why I officially dub any of my fab blog readers in the UK my super secret spies to find said book, take super secret picture of book and send it to me so I may post it on my blog and have the world revel in its glory - I would prefer my super secret spies to be in the picture wearing dark sunglasses and/or a trench coat, but really any outfit will do!).

But seriously folks, how can someone really express the strange multi-layered emotional insaneness that is today. How can I even begin to understand it myself? To come to terms with being an "author"? See I even put author in quotes there. I have to stop doing that. I'm not an "author". I'm an author. Yes. I am. Never ever in a million years would I have predicted this. Life just does this sometimes, it is oddly predictable in its unpredictability. Well I hope it enjoyed the loop it through me for. And I hope the loop was more like a hula hoop cause those are fun.

Anyway, so today . . . okay here's my dad's pun and I apologise profusely for it. . . today my parents are taking me for "launch" at the Royal Ontario Museum (it was just renovated and evidently has an amazing new restaurant) to celebrate.

Oh and check out Scholastic UK, where I am featured as author of the month, with a just fabulous interview with yours truly.


This. Is. So. Cool.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Jon Weinberg's "A Calm Position"

No not child's pose in yoga, or lying in a soft bed, but the book he wrote and took photographs for that won him the Independent Publisher's Award for poetry this year.

Yes my dear friend, and very talented author/photographer Jon Weinberg (whom I blogged about hanging out with at BEA here) is having a book launch in LA August 9th, and while of course I unfortunately cannot attend (seeing as I am in Toronto and all that), I think those of your on that side of the continent simply must! Just must! Not only is he a great guy, but very talented, and it would so be worth your while, I promise!

So here is the info:

The official book launch party for A Calm Position will be happening on August 9th, 2007.

Featuring a reading from the book by Jon Weinberg and two live musical acts, Kate Micucci and Nor'wester.

Photographs from the book will also be on display and for sale at the gallery from August 8th-12th.

The party will start around 7:30 and go late

For info about the book visit
Please also visit and

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Quickie

First of all thank you to everyone for the well wishes for last night, it went really well! The actors were on top form, and the audience really seemed to love it (let's just say they laughed a lot)! It's such a crazy feeling being the director, sitting there in the audience with no control over anything that happens on stage. At one point I thought for sure they were going way too slow until I realised I was comparing their pace to my heartbeat. Needless to say my whole team, actors and stage management were awesome, now all we need is to fill the house! Anyway today I am taking off and just relaxing, and then I plan on getting really nervous for our next show at 9:30pm tomorrow. Yay!

Second I just wanted to remind everyone that Patricia Wood's book Lottery is now officially out, yay! Not that she needs my help with promotion, her book is already in the top 100 at Barnes and Noble and is at #375 at the moment on Amazon (plus she's been interviewed by USA Today for crying out loud!). Still, the book is great, as is the author so I thought I'd link you all back to the spoiler free review I made a few months ago after I'd read the ARC. Enjoy! (and congrats Pat as ever, you so deserve all of this wonderfulness!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Opening Night!

Yup today is the day!! After much rehearsing and running about the city and making press packs and gathering props and burning CD's and just all that stuff . . . today is that day!!

A Weekend in the Country opens tonight at the Factory Theatre Mainspace at 11pm (! It's very exciting and also nerve wracking and oh so cool!

And here are some exciting little links from the media in Toronto about us:

An online mag (featuring our other press photo! The one based on the clue box!)

From NOW magazine, scroll down to the bottom where Julian DeZotti, one of my actors, is featured.

Wish us luck!! Or rather . . .break a leg!

(also chances are I'll be MIA again because of all this, still adore you all muchly!)