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Friday, June 10, 2011

Robin (The Only Bar) Henderson's Fringe Blog (New Feature)

CharPo is very proud to be publishing Robin Henderson's Fringe Blog. Henderson is director/choreographer of The Only Bar, to which CharPo gave a 5/5 charpie rating. (See our review here.) Photos are provided by Ms Henderson.

FRIDAY, JUNE 10th, 2011

Hey Montreal Fringe,

So last night marked the opening of “The Only Bar” at the historic tavern Verres Sterilises and phew! what a night it was!!  Forget that there was media there, my nerves were twisted like a pretzel knowing that Alain (our script/lyrics writer extraordinaire) and Mark (of Louch brothers fame and our set/lighting designer) would be seeing the show in its entirety for the first time.  I really wanted to make these boys happy as “The Only Bar” marks the first collaboration of Robin Henderson Productions with Le Nouveau International and the first time Alain has let someone else direct his script.  So whatevs, no pressure or anything. 

To back up slightly, this crazy-theatre-train began at the 24-Hour Musicals event held at Theatre St-Catherine back in November.  Alain, the cast and myself were all partnered up randomly.  And to be super honest, Alain and I were hugely sceptical of each other.  We were Facebook friends but we really didn’t know each other at all.   He thought I was going to “Dance Animal” his script and I straight up thought his jokes wouldn’t be funny.  Fortunately, magic kicked in and our artistic styles complemented each other beautifully.  Throw in a dash of Lise Vignealt, Karl Werleman and Steph McKenna and we rocked the house that night!!!

So now its June 9th.  Montreal is melting from the humidity, the air smells like Fringe and we are fifteen minutes from our opening.  I go down into the “cave” to check on the cast.  Surrounded by jars of pickled eggs, pork tongue and sausages, their nerves are running high but all is good.  I head backstage to check on Karl when all of a sudden our attention is drawn to the window as a HUGE brawl breaks out in the middle of the St-Hubert and Rachel intersection.  Like directly in front of the bar.  Scary as shit escalated FAST!!

I didn’t see the whole thing, but Mark did so I figure best to let him tell the story. Check out the linked video for his drunken re-interpretation of the drama. 

So the show finally starts and I can see the shock on the actors’ faces. The first 15 minutes of any opening night are tough but consider that “The Only Bar” audience is directly in front of the actors, the room is tight, there are tv screens everywhere and the Verres Sterilises’ regulars are still going about their business of sports watching, beer drinking and seemingly pissing every 2 minutes.  To their credit, we know they were washing their hands as the air dryer kept booming through the venue. 

Super tough gig for the cast but they handled it like true (yet severely underpaid) professionals.  All of a sudden, I found myself being really thankful that we often had to rehearse in the offices of Theatre St Catherine where there always seemed to be a group of improvisers, acapella singers, children’s birthday partiers, film editors or random stragglings of TSC friends making a ton of noise in the green room as we tried to “sing our songs”. 

The show wrapped and the applause was so very warm at the curtain call.  Music to my nerve-wracked ears.  But even sweeter was getting a smile and an “almost tear” from Alain and Mark. YES!

Tonight we hit the stage again at 8:00 in full effect- but this time it will be “The Only Bar” vs the screaming regulars vs the Canucks and Boston match.  

It doesn’t get more method or more Fringe than this.  BRING IT!!!!!!

Later skaters,

Robin x

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