Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Slings and Arrows

Slings and Arrows is a Canadian television series about the theatre starring Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant, director at a thinly-disguised Stratford Festival called the New Burbage Festival. Slings and Arrows appear in Hamlet's famous To be or not to be monologue. Richard Burbage was Shakespeare's leading actor and Burbage's father had built the Globe Theatre in London.

Slings and Arrows was introduced to me by Jacob James a couple of years ago and I watched a couple of episodes and then my daughter recently brought the whole 3 season set back with her for the Holidays. Both Jacob and my daughter have acted so they loved the series. They had in fact played Romeo and Juliet together on stage at The Grand Theatre in Kingston, Ontario.

This show is brilliantly written by former Kids in the Hall member Mark McKinney, playwright and actress Susan Coyne, and comedian Bob Martin.(of Drowsy Chaperone fame)

The insights into theatre, both of the creative and the personal nature are bang on. Having directed three of the plays featured from Shakespeare's canon in this series, I can certainly empathize with the process described in the show. I wonder though, if the show, which is so theatre specific could be enjoyed by people who haven't been in theatre. 

But it rings loud and true about what it takes to put on a show and to survive in a world where Paul Gross' character Geoffrey Tennant says that the average Canadian professional actor makes 11,000 dollars a year. 

The last season is about Tennant's production of King Lear which is very moving and so true. William Hutt plays the aging thespian rescued from a senior's home to play Lear. Sarah Polley plays a dedicated young actor who plays Lear's daughter; Cordelia. Great acting from them both. In a parallel story, Don McKellar's outrageously affected Darren Nichols is directing a work-shopped Canadian musical called East Hastings, in the studio theatre. As the last season progresses, the King Lear is fraught with difficulties and that show is demoted to the studio space while the accessible success of the musical sees it take the bigger stage. I think it mirrors the real world. Musicals have risen at Stratford at the expense of Shakespeare's work. Hutt's poignant decline as the series edges to a close, is remarkable and fascinating. 

My friend Jacob who had brought the series to my attention in the first place had acted as Ariel to Hutt's Prospero at Stratford. Ironically, Prospero is the story of a man with magic powers giving them up as the sunset of his life approaches. Shakespeare as writer was also, at the writing of the play, watching the decline of his own powers. Hutt died not long after his performance in The Tempest.

It is refreshing to see a Canadian television show which is so well-acted and so well-written. 

**** stars

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Local youth star in Cinderella

Bottle Tree Productions performance of Cinderella Saturday December 17th at The Kingston Christian School  and Sunday December 18th at the Octave Theatre features some tremendous performances from some rising stars. The young cast are the products of schools throughout the area. John Macpherson, who had attended NDSS and starred in this year's Kinsmen's production of Footloose plays the nerdy Prince Charming with comic awkwardness before becoming the suave prince. His rap is very entertaining. Sara Sturgeon from Marie Riviere is a beautiful Cinderella with a sweet voice. Ian Macpherson, from Prince Charles School in Napanee has had a role practically created for him to accommodate his talent. Only twelve years old, Ian has a great future in front of him and anyone who saw him in The Meistersingers production of Oliver! as the Artful Dodger would agree.

Khira Wieting, from LCVI and Daniel 'Rainbow' Powell from QECVI's Theatre Complete Program are hilarious as the ugly stepsisters. They are both great singers.

Allyson Foster plays the beautiful fairy godmother and sings beautifully. Allyson is attending Theatre Complete.

To round out the cast, Bryden Trapp from Regiopolis High School plays Cinderella's mean stepmother. Daniel Smith from Frontenac Secondary School is very funny in his cameo appearance as the king. Meg Morgan from LCVI makes a funny queen. Ian Lamb from LCVI, Eric Sturgeon from Marie Riviere and Ted Mathers from The Leap program at Calvin Park Public School as various animals round out the cast.

Almost rounds out the cast. Lawyer John Farant is the slightly bemused, slightly foggy Doc Doc who would likely keep personal injury lawyers busy with his unique approach to medicine.

Keep your eye on these people. You will be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

For more info on the show go to Cinderella

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cinderella-A Christmas Pantomime.

Bottle Tree Productions presents; Cinderella-A Christmas Pantomime

at The Kingston Christian School located at 1212 Woodbine Road in Kingston's West End on December 17th, Saturday afternoon at 3 pm and Saturday evening at 7 pm

at Octave Theatre on Dalton Avenue off Sir John A. McDonald Boulevard on December 18th Sunday afternoon at 3 pm and then Sunday evening at 7 pm

Tickets are $15/adults, $12/seniors, $10/children/students, tax included.

This version of Cinderella was adapted for the stage by Charles Robertson with music and lyrics by popular local musician; Michael K Myers.

Prince Charming and Cinderella
This year, it's a Family affair! The talented MacPherson brothers; John and Ian have already recently starred in two big musicals in Kingston. John starred in the Kinsmen Production of Footloose where he starred as Renn while Ian played the Artful Dodger in the Meistersingers production of Oliver! The boys hail from Napanee.

Sara Sturgeon and her brother Eric Sturgeon also had recently appeared in Oliver!

Director Anne Marie Mortensen of her experience with Oliver! said ”Ian, Sara and Eric were great to work with. We feel very lucky to have them perform in Cinderella. They are very dedicated young actors. And what's more to have such a talented young actor as John involved in the show is great.”

Anne Marie's son Daniel also had played in Oliver! Her daughter Hannah will add to the festivities by singing before the show. She recently starred in KCVI's musical Blood Brothers as Mrs. Johnson.

Co-director Charles Robertson said ”Both Daniel and Hannah are very dedicated and talented kids in both acting and singing. They are also extremely high achievers in academics. They have a great work ethic.” He went on to say “Each theatrical production creates its own family where often times life-long friendships are formed. There are never friendships anywhere else like those that are made in theatre. For a show to work, actors and crew need to be able to trust each other, to be able to pull together as a team. I think that after a show is done, many performers feel a great sense of loss. But while it lasts, its a wonderful family to belong to. ”

Anne Marie Mortensen (Oliver!) and Charles Robertson (Romeo and Juliet) co-direct this family-friendly pantomime version of Cinderella; the rags to riches story of a kind young girl forced to work from morning til night by her mean step-sisters and mean step-mother. Forced to wear rags and to sleep, not in a bed but by the fire place, she dreams of meeting the handsome Prince Charming.

But Prince Charming has problems of his own. Prince Charming has no charm. He is a nerd. Boy, is he a nerd! A fun-filled treat for the whole family! Starring John Macpherson (Ren in Footloose) as the shy and awkward prince, and Sara Sturgeon (Oliver!) as the beautiful and kind-hearted Cinderella. Other cast members include John Farant as the malpractice-waiting-to-happen; Doctor Doc and Khira Wieting and Daniel Powell as the ugly stepsisters. Try to guess which step-sister is really a girl. Bryden Trapp is their conniving mother. Ian Macpherson who starred as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! plays the long-suffering servant to the prince. The boot scene alone is worth the price of admission. Allyson Foster plays the beautiful Fairy Godmother who gas a few magic tricks up her sleeve. Daniel Smith and Meg Morgan play the king and queen. Catchy songs and silly dialogue make this a light treat for the Holiday season. Ian Lamb, Eric Sturgeon, and Ted Mathers also star. No actors, animals or pumpkins were harmed in this production. Stage managed by Claire Morgan. For more information and to purchase tickets please go to

Pre-show entertainment will feature songs by 18 year-old Hannah Smith, who teams up with Alex Whitehead. Her great contralto voice is sure to leave you wanting more.

Bottle Tree Productions contact or
or call us at 613-384-8433

Purchase Tickets Below

Cinderella-Kingston Christian School 3 pm

Cinderella-Kingston Christian School 7 pm

Cinderella-Octave Theatre 3 pm

Cinderella-Octave Theatre 7 pm

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thousand Island's Playhouse Aces 'Billy Bishop Goes to War'

The Firehall Theatre at The Thousand Islands Playhouse is an alternative playing space -- a black box theatre that can accommodate almost any artistic vision for a production. So how do you best arrange the space for one of Canada's best-known war heros?

You make the place feel like the Royal Canadian Legion, that's how. You make sure that your patrons can sit at a table with the refreshment of their choice while they enjoy the show. You make people comfortable - and above all else you give them a great show.

"Billy Bishop Goes to War"  is that show. This production has two actors present on stage, but is for all purposes, a one-man show. Don't let that dissuade you. Let it convince you to attend. This one man is the extravagant, story-telling, larger-than-life Uncle of your childhood. You know the one. The one who kept the family entranced with stories about his life. This man is Billy Bishop - top WWI ace of the British Empire. And his stories are really good - and his songs are even better. Little war ditties that are hauntingly familiar -  helping to flesh out the story and the flavour of an era gone-by. Helping to set the stage for a more gallant time, a  personal war, a more involved life.

Jacob James, the actor who brings Bishop to life on stage, is a familiar face. He is a Kingston native with a passion for theatre that knows no bounds. James, in his late twenties, has extensive credits; a degree from National Theatre School, training at the Stratford Shakespeare conservatory and at Second City, and has performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for over five years. He is a seasoned veteran of the stage and one of the most personable men you could meet. This personality is brought to bear in his current role of Billy Bishop.

James plays Bishop with flair and panache. He is a raconteur, a charmer, a comic, and a singer of war songs. He holds the audience spellbound for two hours, giving voice to Bishop and several other characters along the way. James is a fabulous character actor who has no problem convincing us that he is Billy Bishop, Lady St.Helier, St.Helier's butler, British hero Albert Ball, and  a host of others involved in Bishop's life. This play is truly a vehicle for him, as he shows his strengths and ability to single-handedly carry a show. James can sing, too. He has a very nice voice, possibly an inheritance from his father, entertainer Roger James.

Sandy Thorburn, director, musical director, pianist and narrator has done a brilliant job with this production. I am told that the role of the pianist/narrator has sometimes been made larger, but his choice is to remain a backdrop to the main character. He stays in the background, adding music or voice as necessary, just like the entertaining soldiers at the Legion - you know the type - the piano players don't get half of the attention that the balladeers get. And so it should be, the director/pianist/narrator supports the show as the piano player supports the singers who tell the story.

Thorburn and set designer Robin Fisher have created a wonderful world upon a sparse set. The stage is a thrust - a catwalk, really - very much like a long wooden dock or an old loading platform. It is adorned with several crates of different shapes and sizes which serve in turn as a barracks, a hospital, Royal Military College, a canoe, an airplane, a drawing room, and more. That is the thing about this production - it recognizes that the audience has an imagination and it allows us to use it. By this device, we can fully flesh out the various and sundry settings of the story, which would be impossible to realize with concrete scene changes. The story is seamless, enchanting and energetic because of the simplicity of the set, the vision of the director and the talent of the actor.

Tying all of this brilliance together is lighting designer Adair Redish. Every nuance of every expression is captured and subtly highlighted by his extraordinary lighting design. We never want to 'notice' lighting - it should always be taken for granted by the audience, and we can focus on the story because of the lighting design for this show. Trying not to bore the lay audience - but the lighting was exceptional.

This show has been launched strongly and it will take little effort to keep it in the air - it is deserving of full houses for every performance, and may very well get them. Do yourself a favour and buy tickets now for the show, which runs at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in the Firehall Theatre, Gananoque, Tuesdays through Saturday evenings and matinees on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 3. Everyone should experience theatre like this.

Come on down to the Legion and hear Billy tell his stories.

For details, see the Thousand Islands Playhouse website:

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Actor's Kitbag: Practical Items For Actors

Every year, we produce six to eight plays, one or two of which are musicals. Over the course of the years, that is a pile of work, and from this side of the fourth wall, it becomes simple to know what the average amateur actor needs to own. These are basic items which will serve you well in almost all productions, and ought not to cost the world. They will make your life easier and allow you to concentrate on the production, and not the little things.

Everything on this list should be stored in a special tote, or another bag that is reserved for theatre use. That way, you are always prepared for the show, because your kit is at hand.

1. Blacks. The point of wearing blacks is to make yourself invisible. They should cover as much of your skin as possible. Simple, form fitting, comfortable black clothing is a must for theatre people both onstage and off. Yoga pants (the long ones that go to the ankle) are wonderful if you are comfortable in them. Long-sleeved tees or yoga-style tops are also good, but make sure that they (as well as the trousers) do not have any markings, not even small logos or snaps. These reflect very brightly in a dark theatre and make the point of wearing blacks null. You will use these items of clothing often in your theatrical life, so get something that you like, either second-hand or new.

2. Form-fitting underwear. For both sexes, you will need nude-coloured underwear that fits smoothly. When I say 'nude-coloured', I mean that it should match your skin tone as closely as possible. Men, when you get cast in 'that production' that asks you to wear tights or a bodysuit, please invest in a dancers' padded belt. This is one piece of underwear that most theatres will not tell you to get, and will save the audience some discomfort. Women should also have 3 nude-coloured bras; one teeshirt bra, one push-up bra, and one strapless bra. You can buy a back extension for your bra to allow you to wear open-backed garments. A nudie-suit (flesh-toned bodysuit) is also a very good investment, and can be worn under costumes for quick-changes, or worn with revealing costumes to prevent 'wardrobe malfunctions'. Spanks are also very good investments. They are the modern equivalent of girdles, and will give a smooth silhouette in tight costumes or under clingy fabrics. These items, especially for women, will unfortunately be an investment.

3. Hosiery. For men, buy black dress socks, as well as one pair each of women's opaque tights (not nylon stockings) one black, one white. I normally choose queen-sized for the men in our casts, that size seems to fit everyone.  The tights will come in very handy for period-costumed shows. Women - make sure that you have black dress socks, white and black and nude hose (both nylons and tights, if you can do that). Hosiery can be expensive, but you don't need to spend a fortune. Look for sale items, or buy from the local thrift shop (wash them well at home).

4. Simple black shoes with quiet soles (rubber is quieter than leather, as long as it doesn't squeak). If you are a male, your choices are more limited. I suggest getting slip-on shoes, because they are quick to change into and have a more generic look. If you are female, you may want to buy both flats and character shoes. Pre-owned are fine - and learn how to polish them! (buy polish). Fancy shoes that go with the costume are normally the responsibility of the production. *Dance shoes - if you are a dancer, add your jazz, tap, latin/ballroom and ballet shoes.

5. Makeup. Unless the production requires specialty makeup, you should be prepared to do your own face in a natural way. Stage lights will strip the colour from the most robust complexion, and your best assurance of looking great on stage is to have your own makeup. Both sexes need at a least a moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, pancake foundation that matches or is slightly darker than their skin tone, powder, rouge and lipstick. Women should have one red and one lush pink lipstick, not glossy. Men should have one lipstick that is the same tone as their natural lip, but one or two shades darker, also not glossy. Matching lip liners are a nice addition, if you can afford them. Women - do yourselves a favour and buy a set of natural-looking false eyelashes. You will not believe the difference that they make on stage. You will also need makeup remover, olive oil, or cold cream, cotton pads, Dove soap and a washcloth or babywipes. Makeup sponges, powder puff and brush, and application brushes are important to get a good finish.

Sometimes, there is no makeup for amateur theatre, and day-to-day makeup is used instead of theatrical makeup. Normal makeup will not look as good on stage under the lights as the professional stuff, however, if you are the only one with professional makeup, ask your director what you should do, because you will be the one who looks the most 'alive'. It may be that you will have to resort to daily-wear foundation in order to keep the look of the show.
*NB - sharing sponges and brushes, and makeup, especially mascara, eyeliners and pancake foundations is a quick way to skin and eye infections, and it will spread viruses as well. DO NOT share your makeup, sponges or brushes. DO NOT borrow them from others.
You will need to have a leak-proof bag (large ziplock freezer bags work well) to store all of your makeup in. You definitely do NOT want to open your kit and find that your mascara or oily makeup remover has leaked all over the rest of the contents of the bag.

6. Personal grooming items. Have a hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, nail file, babypowder, washcloth (baby wipes are good), hair pins, barrettes, clips and hair ties in your kitbag. If you are a man, you may want to add a gel to give your hair a pomaded look. Hairspray is a good thing to have in there as well, to keep your coiffure looking good. Men (and women) may also want to pack a razor to touch up the rough spots if necessary. Men and women both may also find a cloth hairband very handy to keep hair off your face when applying and removing makeup. Shaving kit bags are wonderful for storing these items.

7. Little things that mean a lot. This could be a list unto itself, but I will be as brief as possible:
 - a clothes brush (so that you can be lint-free on stage)
 - a small sewing kit  (so that you can reattach that button easily)
 - a packet of safety pins (in case you don't have time to sew that button!)
 - a hard-sided water bottle, preferably with a drinking spout, not an open top (so that you don't use the noisy bottles that water will be supplied in)
 - a pencil, notebook and eraser (for notes!)
 - your script
 - a novel, crossword book, or knitting for your quiet downtime (to pass the time when you are offstage)
 - a bundle of blank note cards and a pen (so that you can thank cast and crew on closing night)

This is clearly a wishlist based on my own observations about theatre - I have included in it things which are personal in nature (like underwear!) and which are not out of line for actors to invest in for themselves. Having a kit like this ensures that you can be comfortable (and healthy) knowing that the basics are covered. There is a significant amount of overlap between this list, and lists for Stage Managers and Costumers, however, it's good to take responsibility for yourself and your own character. Theatre is a team effort, and your effort counts!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Musical Theatre Classes in Kingston Ontario

Bottle Tree Productions is launching its Fall Musical Theatre classes on Saturday, September 17th/2011  from 3:30 to 5 pm. Kids from 7 years old up to 18 have starred in our musical theatre class productions. In the spring of 2010, we show-cased our kids in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. In the spring of 2011 we performed Willy Wonka. I wonder if Johnny Depp's involvement in the filmed versions of these shows had anything to do with it. Anne Marie Mortensen is in charge of our musical theatre classes, and whether a child has little musical experience or a lot, they have the opportunity to improve and develop their abilities. Musical theatre involves a lot of hard work but the rewards are enormous., including a sense of well-being, confidence and a sense of achievement. In the performing arts, we lay down a foundation for team work. The sum of the parts is always greater than the whole. We can't make you better if you don't work. There is no magical formula for achievement in the performing arts. An honest desire and a work ethic can achieve wonders. Anne Marie's catch phrase for running the classes is 'Great, Do it again!'

The Musical Theatre classes are a more demanding discipline to teach than acting classes, because there is singing, dancing and acting involved.

Because it is a musical theatre production, we want to give the kids as polished a performance as we can, so to that end we have a three to four week rehearsal schedule towards the end of the class and before the show. This might include up to 4 or 5 rehearsals a week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pretty Pieces

Five years ago I wrote Pretty Pieces.

It is a very difficult and demanding play.

Pretty Pieces is a dark and twisted domestic tragedy. A brother and sister find themselves living in desperate circumstances. The past is a puzzle. Dark and threatening, the family history looms over the present. Something horrible happened a long time ago. The audience never finds out what that horrible thing is. What they do find out is the impact this post traumatic stress condition has on the doomed couple. The play chronicles their destruction and not the simplistic reasons for it. Incapable of saving themselves, the brother and sister are marched to their terrifying destiny. The girl is trapped by her anxieties in her run down apartment. She tries to unlock the door to the past. She can't remember why she turned out the way she did. The boy remembers all to well and runs away to drugs and street sex.

The girl becomes unhinged when the boy tells her he is moving out of the apartment to live with an older man.

Filmmaker Leigh Ann Bellamy of Curious You Productions is directing and starring in the filmed version of the play.

Leigh Ann and Zorba Dravillas starred in the original version of the stage play.

To purchase a copy of the script please go to Pretty Pieces or to find a royalty free monologue from Pretty Pieces please check out Teen Monologues or go to Amazon Buy Pretty Pieces from Amazon

To Purchase Performance Rights

Click the paypal button below to purchase as many performances as you need. By clicking on the paypal button you are saying yes to the Royalty agreement spelled out below

1.1 The Author (Charles Robertson) is sole owner and Author of the play of which is wholly original with the Author and has not been otherwise copied in whole part from any other work; the play and use of the play as herein contemplated do not violate, conflict with, or infringe upon any intellectual property rights of any person, firm, organization, corporation, or any other entity.
1.2 The Author (Charles Robertson)has sole and exclusive rights to enter this Agreement and has the rights authority to grant the rights granted by Author herein
2.1 The Author (Charles Robertson)hereby grants to the Producer the right to produce and present the play
3.1 In consideration for the right to produce the play, the Producer agrees to pay the Publisher (Bottle Tree Productions) $20.00 per performance. Upon payment the contract shall be considered signed.
3.2 The Producer shall not have the right to produce any additional performances of the play unless paid for.
4.1 The Producer, recognizing that the play is the exclusive creation of the Author (Charles Robertson), agrees that it will not make or permit to be made any additions, omissions and/or alterations of the play, including dialogue, and stage directions without prior written consent of the Author. Any violation of this paragraph will be sufficient cause for Author to immediately terminate all rights of the Producer hereunder.
4.2 The Producer acknowledges it is the Producers responsibility to obtain the the rights to any music mentioned in the text of the play. The granting of the rights to produce the play does not include the rights to the music mentioned in the stage directions of the play.
5.1 The Author (Charles Robertson) shall receive billing credit in all programs, posters, flyers, advertising and publicity of the play under the control of the Producer. The Author shall be accorded billing with the respect to the play on a line by itself, immediately following the title of the play. Said billing shall be in a type size no less than 50% of the size of the title. No other person receiving billing shall receive larger type than Author.
5.2 The Publisher (Bottle Tree Productions) will be sent a copy of all promotional materials as part of the agreed to contract. Any digital recording of the play must be granted by the Publisher before any performances. The Publisher upon permission will be sent a copy of the video-
6.1 All rights in the play not expressly granted by the Producer in this agreement are reserved to the Author (Charles Robertson) for the Author’s uncontrolled disposition and use.
6.2 The Producer acknowledges and agrees that any copyright of the play, including any extensions or renewals thereof throughout the world, shall be exclusively in the name of the Author. (Charles Robertson)
7.1 The Producer agrees to the purchase of three scripts from Bottle Tree Productions ( ( or
8.1 The Producer shall email info (at) bottletreeinc (dot)com with the show dates, times and location.
8.2 The Producer shall pay for scripts and performance rights before the first rehearsal. (amount/($20 per performance) no later than date of first rehearsal.

We will email you once you purchase performance rights to ask for times and dates

Friday, July 1, 2011

Movie Acting and Theatre Acting

What are the differences between acting for the camera and acting on stage? On stage an actor has to be big. On stage an actor looks small, so the actor has to reach the back of the theatre, to the last seat in the house to be heard. Visually their movements must be big. They must be 'on' for the entire time they are onstage. When they are speaking, they must cheat out towards the audience to be seen and heard. I have a little demonstration video that shows the differences.

Acting for the camera involves stillness. Every movement is magnified. In film, when 24 frames/second are used, any sudden movements can be jarring. An eye blink can send audience members into nausea. There is a narrow vocal range, compared to the stage, for film actors. The sound is edited into a narrow decibel range.

Onstage, you need to be loud. In film-no. 

Acting for film usually involves a bunch of takes of a particular scene. They are usually short, and your best acting bit will not likely be used. The reason for this is that there are so many variables affecting the shot, that it is likely how you look in a particular clip as opposed to your acting.

In stage acting, you need to know the whole play if you have a lead. Having a lead in film means a bunch of unconnected scenes. On stage you would have one chance that night. Your focus for two hours has to be very strong. You have to remember a lot of lines and deal with the mistakes that invariably occur during a performance. 

If you make a mistake or someone else does in filming, the director will just reshoot.

One thing that film and stage acting have in common, is that the actor usually has to 'face out' when delivering lines. In film the camera will acts as the audience, and the angle is shot from where the audience would be. On stage, the audience is the camera, and since they can't move, the actor has to cheat towards them when delivering lines.

In both medium, the audience wants to see the actor's face. They don't want to see the back of their heads because the back of people's heads are usually not very entertaining. 

There are obviously many more differences and similarities, but I thought it would be interesting to give a demonstration of a monologue by Shakespeare. One delivered for the stage and one delivered for film by the same actor. On film, stage acting looks very exaggerated. On stage, film acting looks very boring. But the techniques and art of stage acting is much easier to transfer to film than the other way around.  It is always easier to pull it back than to ramp it up. 

Film is the director's medium with the actor only one small part of the process. On stage the actor has a much bigger role to play. 

For the actor, film is a series of repetitive sequences of acting. For the actor, stage acting is a rush of excitement for two hours, buoyed by the instant gratification of audience response. There is no audience response in filming. The actor needs to wait months or even years to see themselves in front of an audience. 

On film your performance can be relived again and again. On stage, it is only a memory to those people that were there at that particular time.

Film acting

Theatre acting

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Articulation-Bottle Tree Productions

A comment was made about my obsession with articulation at the expense of other forms of acting techniques. I certainly appreciate the dialogue. The comment suggested that articulation alone does not work in big theatres. It sure doesn't hurt. An audience wants to hear the story. They want to hear the words the writer wrote. At least I do. Sometimes, a small theatre can have worse acoustics than a large one. Sometimes the theatre has an echo, or dead spots. The audience can affect the actors words, often swallowing them up with their presence. What sounds good in rehearsal can be inaudible during performance.

But what to do in a big theatre, assuming that the acoustics are fine. Well, turning out is a good start. Turning out aims the voice at the audience. Use your diaphragm, the muscle below your rib cage, to push the words out. You can't move your upper jaw but you can certainly drop your lower jaw when speaking. An open mouth will effortlessly take your words throughout the theatre. Imagine an egg in the back of your throat to keep it open during speaking(singing as well). Learn to breathe and to relax so that there is no tightness in the avenue of your vocal arsenal that will inhibit speech.

Practice in the theatre, on stage, before the show. Warm up vocally. This will allow you to be able to find the range of the house. If you have lines gto be delivered to the wings, or to the back of the stage, make sure you are that much stronger in vocal delivery. One reason, working on your consonants is important in theatre is that articulation of the words with emphasis on the consonants takes a lot of breath and energy. It is a workout in itself. This trains you for work in bigger theatres.

And one simple trick to let your voice carry to the back row, is to look at the back row when you are delivering your lines. We all know about actors looking over the audiences heads. One reason is to keep in the moment without succumbing to an inadvertent connection with an audience member. Another reason is to aim that voice at the back row. It is like throwing a ball. If you do not look at the person you are throwing the ball to, it is very difficult to get the ball to your partner, unless your name is Dan Marino. We look at who we are talking to, and our brain alters our vocal volume without us really knowing it. If you want to reach the back row of a big theatre, make sure you are warmed up, you articulate, drop your bottom jaw, use your diaphragm, keep that egg in the bag of your throat, face the audience and look over their heads to the back of the theatre.

What is ironic is that more amateurs will likely play in big theatres than professionals, at least in Ontario as 800 seat old opera houses have been converted to community theatres, while professionals work in smaller venues due to the unfortunate costs in maintaining professional theatres.

The Black Swan struggles to keep afloat. Bottle Tree Productions Movie Review

The Darren Aranofsky directed The Black Swan is a fascinating look at the disintegration of a personality.
The ugliness inside the beautiful cover was made memorable in Roman Polanski's disturbing 1965 film; Repulsion which starred Catherine Deneuve. Natalie Portman's beautiful ballerina Nina has a repressed personality which cracks under the stress of her playing two different leads in a ballet; The Black Swan and the White Swan. The camera is close up on Portman's beautiful face creating a claustrophobic feeling. Her careful control slowly cracks, like the mirrors she is obsessed with. Barbara Hershey is a wonderful worn beauty as the controlling stage mother. You can see why Portman is drowning psychologically.

Mila Kunis is charismatic as Nina's rival. Vincent Cassel is wonderfully narcissistic as Thomas Leroy, the Artistic Director. Perhaps more of a stereotype than a fully fleshed-out character, but compelling nonetheless.

The film is a horror film with special effects, but it is psychological horror, an interior horror. Nina is running from herself.  We see the world through Portman's eyes, and so the audience cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is not. As she is overwhelmed with dark fantasies that threaten to destroy her, Nina battles for her life against the monster within. Portman portrays Nina's obsessive compulsive behaviour with scratching and her eating disorder truthfully. For dancers, the person in the mirror is so important and so controlling, that it owns them, it can destroy them. In the end that piece of mirrored glass makes Nina's performance as The Black Swan a once in a lifetime experience.

Though I liked this film there are caveats.

This film is more film than movie, more art than craft. While Portman walks a psychological tightrope between sanity and the abyss, the film walks a tightrope between silliness and wonderfully disturbing. As an audience member you will make the decision whether the film is laughable or whether it works as a personal horror story. For me, Nina's transformation at the end, into a bird is pretty unbelievable. The end as well is very stagy. However it was compelling until it actually dealt with the performance on the stage.

The film seems to have some great ideas that remain only great ideas, perhaps because they weren't carried out as well as they could have been, weren't as convincingly realized on the screen as they might have been. They had a tight schedule for filming and it shows.

Rating ***stars

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Group Sales for Romeo and Juliet

The Wellington Street Theatre Project is offering discounts to groups of 6 or more that wish to attend Romeo and Juliet at Sydenham Street United Church, Wednesday July 27th at 7:30 pm.

William Shakespeare's popular story of young love as told by many of Kingston's top young actors. Take part in this great event by gathering a group of friends and saving up to 50 percent on ticket prices.

Live Theatre is a great opportunity to get out in the community, see old friends and make new ones. To get started go to Group Sales  Live Theatre is a great opportunity to get out of the house and check out some of the best young talent Kingston has to offer.

Stay after the show and meet with the actors!

We have general seating. Doors open at 7 pm.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beauty and The Beast-Wellington Street Theatre Project

The Wellington Street Theatre Project is partnering with Sydenham Street United Church in Kingston, Ontario, to present Beauty and the Beast for one performance only Wednesday, July 27th at 2 pm. Tickets are $12/person and are available online at and Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

Beauty and the Beast was originally popularized by French writer; Charles Perrault in 1697 in a collection of stories in 'Tales of Mother Goose'.

The story concerns a merchant who loses everything to his unscrupulous partners. On his way home, a great storm drives him to seek shelter in a magnificent castle. Unknown to the merchant, a fearsome beast lurks in the castle. The Beast, who is really a handsome prince, has been placed under a spell by a jealous witch. The Beast threatens to kill the merchant unless he sends his youngest daughter to live with him. Unhappily the merchant agrees to this terrible bargain.

Beauty is frightened but for the sake of her father, she agrees to go live with the Beast. The story is a wonderful example of transformation, both for the Beast and for Beauty.

Lots of comedy, magic and music. Fun for the whole family!

This stage version has been adapted by Charles Robertson with delightful music and lyrics by Michael K Myers.

Anne Marie Mortensen directs.

Megan Ready-Walters (Grease, This is a Play, Cinderella, Sweeney Todd) stars as Beauty.

For more information call 613-384-8433

Friday, May 20, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

One Performance Only!

The Wellington Street Theatre Project presents Shakespeare's
most popular play at Sydenham Street United Church for one
performance only Wednesday July 27th at 7:30 pm.

Tickets are $20/adults. $15/seniors & students. $12/children 12 and under.
Group rates available for eight or more. $10/person.

Juliet's balcony

Photo from

Tickets can be purchased online at and or at the door.

Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare's popular story of young love set against a back drop of gang violence in Italy. Two families; the Capulets and the Montagues are battling each other for control in the ancient city of Verona. Romeo and Juliet fall in love despite the fact that their families are sworn enemies. Their secret romance turns the gears of this tragedy of 'star-crossed lovers'.

Sydenham Street United Church is a great environment to do a classical play. In many ways it mirrors old European theatres.” Over the years, Romeo and Juliet has been performed in a multitude of environments, including theatres, parks and bridges. A friend of mine; Lynne Rafter, directed Romeo and Juliet in a former hostel in Toronto as a punk take on the bard's work. Many young people write poetry as a way of healing their wounded souls. Romeo and Juliet rises above other hurting heart tales because the poetry with its rigid rules and rhythms much like a romantic ballad can more easily tug at the emotions. Prose cannot possibly reach the heights of emotions like poetry can. In Hannah Smith who has won 13 awards for acting in her very young career and Alex Whitehead; an accomplished actor who also happens to be the current provincial fencing champion, we have two very talented leads. These young actors are just the latest in a long line of talented young actors that I have had the pleasure of working with.

Below Hannah Smith and Bonnie McLeod in rehearsal as Juliet and the nurse

A Wellington Street Theatre Project Production in
association with Bottle Tree Productions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Acting Summer Camp-Bottle Tree Productions

Looking for a fun summer camp for your child? What about acting?

Bottle Tree Productions has a full day and half day acting camp at the Kingston Christian School on Woodbine Road in Kingston West.

Dates are July 18-22 2011

Price is $250 plus hst for a full day camp and $175 plus for a half day camp

Your child will learn acting skills, voice, movement, imagination and creativity. Basic theatrical skills for the first timers and more sophisticated training for experienced kids.

For kids aged six to sixteen.

A production will be written especially for the kids to be presented to friends and family on Friday afternoon.

For more information go to Bottle Tree Productions

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Fighter-Film Review

Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti had three memorable fights, fights that will go down in history. Gatti; from Montreal, and Ward from Lowell Massachusetts. Two warriors that never gave up, that had tremendous heart, that punished each other with their fists, that sent each other to hospital.

The Fighter is the story of one of those warriors; Irish Micky Ward. It is also about his brother, his trainer Dicky Eklund, who once went ten rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard and knocked the hall of famer down, on route to a loss.

The Fighter is a realistic, no punches pulled, round by round account of Ward's family life, his brother's struggle with drugs and subsequent imprisonment and his soul mate Charlene.

Every one battles in this film but there is a great love there.

A viewer might wonder how everyone can be fighting and still love each other. Watch the youtube fights of Gatti and Ward. After two of their three fights both fighters were in the trauma ward, yet they when the bell sounds to end each and every fight, they hug each other like long lost brothers. Brothers in arms. Watching the film I was hoping to see Ward and Gatti fight, but alas, it was not to be.

Mark Whalberg plays the taciturn Micky and Christian Bale plays his flaky brother, tortured by lost potential and crack abuse. His performance is brilliant. Melissa Leo is the tough-talking matriarch of the family, and Amy Adams plays Charlene, a match for Leo's character; Alice and a match for Ward. She later became Micky Ward's wife.

The Fighter is a gritty look at life in bars, crack houses, boxing gyms and low income lives.

Arturo Gatti casts a shadow on this film because Ward is remembered for those fights more than anything else. Gatti had a tumultuous personal life which ended with his murder.

As the fights in the film demonstrate, when your skills desert you in the later rounds, due to the beating you have taken, do you have the heart and the will to win. Micky Ward would not back down. The heart of a lion. A will of iron.

This is no black and white film, no right and wrong, it is black and blue in its look at family, at love, and of course at life in the ring.

**** stars

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Acting Classes starting March 26th

Bottle Tree Productions starts its ten week long Spring Acting Classes March 26th at The Kingston Christian School on Woodbine Road in Kingston's West End. A great way to pump up your child's self confidence and to develop the talent that lies within your child. Scheduled times are 9:30-10:30 am for kids 6-10 years old. 10:30 am-12 noon for kids aged 11-12, 1-3 pm for teens. Each child will get a part written specifically for them in the end of class show. We allow each child to grow at their own rate. Kids get enough pressure put on them in the school system. Pressure to conform, pressure to succeed, pressure to do homework and fear of failure. We have a system where failure is a part of growing and learning. We provide a safe environment for these kids where they learn that failing is an integral part of succeeding. Award-winning playwright; Charles Robertson provides the scripts for the kids. To register and pay for classes online go to Bottle Tree Productions Acting Classes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Acting Classes in Kingston Ontario

At The Wellington Street Theatre in downtown Kingston, professional Toronto actor Tony Babcock brings his Acting Out Loud workshop to Kingston on the last weekend of the March Break. On Saturday March 19th from 9 am to 6 pm, Tony will teach kids aged 7 to 12 a fun high-energy workshop designed for kids who want to learn about acting on stage, acting in film and hilarious improv and theatre games.
Cost is $100 plus hst.

Secure your spot in The Acting Out Loud Workshop

Acting Out Loud

On Sunday March 20th, from 9 am until 6 pm, Tony teaches teens the ins and outs of showbiz. As an ACTRA performer in Toronto, Tony can give aspiring teens plenty of good advice about the actor's union, about agents and about the work. His high-powered workshop will energize any teen. Cost is $100 plus hst.

Email us at info[at] bottletreeinc[dot]com for more info or check out our website at Bottle Tree Productions

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Elocution is Important

Every day, in every class that we teach, in every rehearsal that we direct, Charles and I take time to correct actors' speaking habits.

We live in Kingston, so in our daily lives, we say 'ahl' as the contraction for 'I will'. ("Ahl go'd'the store.") We say 'gunna' instead of 'going to'. And don't let's forget that classic American interpretation of Canadian accents' 'aboot'. I could go on 'aboot' how I never hear us say it like that, but we do say it differently - and it's hard to write a phonetic approximation of 'about' - so I won't. You will just have to find a Canadian and ask them to say 'Out and about'. In addition to that classic mispronunciation,  lots of terminal consonants are dropped entirely, and words blend together without the distinction of where one ends, and the other begins.

This is all fine, when you are speaking to others with the same accent, but on film and especially on stage, actors need to be clear. Writers don't create work so that it can be tossed off  by an actor with a mouthful of mashed potatos. Audiences and moviegoers can forgive missing a little bit of visual action, because they can make up for it fairly quickly and comprehend the story unfolding, however, if they don't hear or understand what has been said, they will spend time immediately trying to decipher those words. In that process, they lose the next lines, because they were not paying attention, and the thread of the story gets dropped.

I heard an unfortunate radio announcer talk about the overpopulation of elk in a neighbouring township. The solution was to open the hunting season up to include a number of the unfortunate animals. Imagine our shock, when the announcer forgot her best practises and mangled her announcement that there will be an 'elk hunt' in the fall! (use your imagination)

So, please consider the poor unfortunate elk, and speak clearly. We can teach you how.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bell is Strangling the Internet in Canada

The recent CRTC decision to allow Bell Canada to charge exorbitant rates on individual consumption of more than 75 gigabytes is an economic disaster in the making on so many levels. The opposition Liberal and NDP parties were against this attack on net neutrality. Net neutrality is essentially a consumer and competition based view that cable companies and telecom companies or gate keepers should not destroy the relatively free access to the web by charging fees which would hold consumers and the web hostage.

The inflationary pressures that Bell Canada is putting on the Internet will drive up costs for everybody at a time when the world is still reeling from the fallout of other disastrous economic policies. According to CBC news, consumers in Canada are being cut off to 90 per cent of the Internet traffic starting March 1st. Now if Canada was a dictatorship where the goal is to suppress the news that might be understandable.

As any barely literate web trafficker knows, even basic content from the web is demanding more and more bandwidth with a deflationary pressure on computer hardware and storage systems as proof.  Bell Canada is trying to drag us back into an artificially inflated economic trap, driving up prices where they are falling in every other country.

And I would argue that this innovation killing strategy runs afoul of our free trade agreement with our neighbours to the south since NAFTA is supposed to guarantee unfettered trade between our two countries without a legislative barrier or tariff prohibiting this trade. Bell Canada is using the CRTC to block American companies like Netflix, Apple, Google and Amazon from offering cheaper goods to Canadian consumers. This government initiated tax on free speech and free use of the Internet is government-legislated protectionism designed to prop up a weak business model.

Open source applications will conceivably suffer from the squeeze being put on the travel of goods and services over the web. This policy should effectively knock Canada back into the dark ages.

These Canadian gatekeepers are also strangling Canadian innovation on the web in both software and hardware by making it more expensive to compete. There is no reason Canadian companies can't compete with American companies but by sabotaging the Internet, Bell Canada is making sure that new Canadian companies will wither on the vine. By putting the squeeze on consumers this is also an insidious form of censorship, by charging what will be an ever-increasing tax on internet usage. It will be an ever-increasing tax because more and more bandwidth will be needed for basic communications, web visits, downloads and other internet applications. Even if you didn't use your computer for anything but email and visiting sites without downloads, you will be taxing your bandwidth limits in a few short years.

But when a company deprives the people of the goods and services that they want with heavy taxation, it is a doomed business model and when a government agency assists in the fleecing of the public it dooms its political masters.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Groupon in Kingston

Groupon: a Chicago-based coupon company has set up shop in Kingston. If you subscribe to Groupon you will get 'the deal of the day' emails letting you know about the hottest deals for you as a consumer in Kingston. Groupon started 2 years ago and has grown so fast that Google recently offered to buy them for 6 billion dollars. Groupon turned them down.

'Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason initially created a site called The Point in 2007 that would organize collective action around social or charitable causes. When The Point failed to turn a profit, Mason retooled the site to focus on daily deals for local services. The new idea became Groupon, which launched two years ago.

Earlier this year,(2010) the company rolled out personalized deals, a feature that targets offers to users based on gender, (location) and purchasing history. This program allows Groupon to serve up multiple deals in each market, keeping any single business from being overwhelmed by thousands of new customers. The move also loosens up a crowded queue of local merchants eager to participate in a Groupon promotion, since the company turns down seven businesses for every one that it features.'
from a piece by Melissa Harris and Wailin Wong of Chicago Breaking

Groupon currently operates in 500 markets in North America; Kingston being one of them.

“Known for its arts, entertainment and higher education, Kingston is an excellent match for the Groupon model,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “We look forward to bringing unbeatable deals to Kingston students and residents, while driving new streams of revenue to local merchants.” Business Wire

To be able to take advantage of the discounts which range from 50% - 90% a group of people have to participate. The number is decided by the Kingston company. If you refer friends to Groupon. You get a further ten dollar discount for each friend you refer. The discount can be applied to any offer.

To sign up go to

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Secret in Their Eyes

The Secret in Their Eyes won the 2010 Oscar for best foreign language film. It is a 2009 co-production between Argentina and Spain, set in Eva Peron's Argentina, which was immortalized by Andrew Lloyd Webber in Evita. Directed by Juan José Campanella and based on Eduardo Sacheri's novel La Pregunta de Sus Ojos.

This film is a twisted journey through time, beginning with a lonely retired federal investigator; Esposito, (Ricardo Darin), who is haunted by the twenty-five year old rape and murder of a beautiful young woman. Apparently the crime was solved but justice was thwarted in Eva Peron's corrupt Argentina. By writing a novel about the case; Esposito struggles to find closure. He hopes to make sense of his life.

He seeks out his former boss; District Attorney Irene Menéndez-Hastings (Soledad Villamil). He has been in love with her for years and she him, but that secret remains in the glassy margent of their eyes. (To misquote Shakespeare)

When he tells her what he is doing, writing a novel, she gets him the old Olivetti typewriter he worked on years ago. Old like him. It is missing the 'A'. As she says, his handwriting is unreadable. Alone, in the night, he writes on a sheet of note paper; I fear. Perhaps he is like the mountain climber afraid to go forward because he has looked down into his past, at where he has come from and so he is afraid to go forward. He is stuck.

The film flashes between the past and the present, the crime and the aftermath. For all the characters, time essentially stands still for 25 years.

The young husband of the murdered woman; Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago) does not give up when the case is initially closed, watching and waiting to catch the killer. Esposito and he become close. Esposito has never seen such love for a woman. Morales says he was terrified at first to ask the beautiful woman who was to be his wife out. Esposito is similarly paralyzed by fear. He has let the opportunities for happiness and love with Hastings fall by the wayside. He writes in his notebook; I fear.

After the murder, Morales contemplates a future without his wife as a life full of nothing. Esposito, too sees his life without love as having been full of nothing as well.

Esposito's partner; Pablo Sandoval (Guillermo Francellais) a self-destructive drunk who is nevertheless a good cop, figures out where to find the murderer by enlisting the regulars from his bar as experts. Letters are decoded and the hunt is on. The movie is about passion, Men's passions, be it love, alcohol or in the case of a climatic chase scene wonderfully wrought in a soccer stadium, soccer.

The dead? Their final chapters have been written, but what about the detective on the hunt for the killer of a young woman, the killer who escaped justice, the grieving husband, the D.A. Their final chapters are yet to be written.

In the climatic scene Esposito sees how people are imprisoned by the choices they make and that is when he realizes the life he has been living has been one of fear and confinement. On his notepad, he adds the missing 'A' to I fear which in Spanish, in this film, translates to I love. He walks away from his prison. He has been set free. He has the courage to finally love, the passion.

The film starts slowly and quietly and rolls on a wave to its magnificent conclusion. Great acting, directing and writing.

Rating ****

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wall Street-Money Never Sleeps

Oliver Stone and Michael Douglas bring us the second act of the Wall Street saga. When the original came out, it starred Douglas and a much more innocent Charlie Sheen in a tale of corporate raiders, men like Canada's own Conrad Black who would take over companies and gut them, in the never-ending journey to turn a profit.

When Wall Street came out in the eighties, Stone had something to say. It was a stylish morality play with Douglas playing the cold-blooded Gekko.

In Money Never Sleeps, Douglas becomes a warm-hearted family man which dilutes the bite of this film, Josh Brolin is the bad guy here and does a commendable job. I think Stone wanted to do Eli Wallach a solid by putting him on screen. He wasn't doing him any favours. Wallach has a long and storied career and this appearance isn't going to add anything to his legacy.

Shia LeBeouf is good as the innocent, but in this film and the Crystal Skull debacle, he gets to escort aging Hollywood stars through their walk of fame.

Money might not sleep but you might as you watch this film. It lacks the edge and style of the original.

The movie takes us into the biggest crash on Wall Street in 70 years, but the mechanics behind it seem to escape Stone. In the original, Stone took us into the heart of Wall Street with the infamous; 'Greed is Good' quote. Summed up a generation perfectly. But the whole toxic soup of derivatives, easy credit, deregulation of Wall Street and the housing bubble seems to be beyond Stone's grasp, but of course, if the engineers on Wall Street didn't and still don't get it, then how could an outsider like Stone.

Now had Lebeouf been an engineer who turns from his dad's engineering firm to go into wall street mirroring the original and uses his skills to create one of those derivative formulas without knowing the consequences, then we would have been inside the maelstorm, but we are only on a park bench watching the bus go by.

An entertaining enough way to pass the time, but an opportunity lost.

Rating ** 1/2

Monday, January 17, 2011

Facebook-The Movie

The Social Network
Adapted from Ben Mezrich's book; The Accidental Billionaires. screenwriter Aaron Sorkin who penned dialogue for television's West Wing, has created characters with all the depth of a facebook profile. And I think, this is the point. Jesse Eisenberg, plays Facebook icon; Mark Zuckerberg as a monochromatic character. He is portrayed as an arrogant jerk. No doubt one reason for this is that the writer of the book only got to hear one side of the story, that from Eduardo Savarin, Zuckerberg's jilted ex biz partner. According to the movie, Facebook is birthed in college from computer nerds longing for girls. Sorkin's dialogue is clever, and the look of the movie (directed by Fight Club's David Fincher) is hacker heaven. When the two Harvard University geeks, Zuckerberg and Savarin (Andrew Garfield), find out that their nascent social networking site has given them groupies, they begin to move in circles reserved for rock stars, a point cemented by pop star's Justin Timberlake's star turn as Napster founder Sean Parker. The acting is top notch. But as far as getting to know the mechanics behind facebook and Zuckerberg, it is like Facebook itself, not an in depth character study but only a profile. Relationship statuses. I like you. I hate you, Take a hike; I am being business partners with somebody else. Fine, lawyer up, I'm coming back for everything. The seduction of Zuckerberg by Justin Timberlake's serpentine Sean Parker of Napster fame is a blast. The lawsuit scenes are witty and revealing. Armie Hammer plays the Winklevoss twins, who end up suing and winning a nice chunk of change from Zuckerberg. The twins had hired him to do a facebook-like project while they were all at Harvard, and Zuckerberg took their ideas to create Facebook. Zuckerberg is arrogant and dismissive of Hammer's twins. He resents them because they are what Zuckerberg is not; charming, athletic, moral, socially successful, and walking in a golden light. It is the revenge of the nerds. Rooney Mara plays the girl who lights the match that creates facebook by dumping Zuckerberg. Of note, she will play Lisbeth Salander in the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo american remake.

The Social Network is stylish film making and is a cautionary tale about facebook friends and how quickly they can unfriend you.

Rating ****

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Killer Inside Me

Casey Affleck is a nice guy deputy who meets a prostitue played
by Jessica Alba that doesn't follow the rules and she drags him
into hell. She manages to pull a trigger that is hidden deep inside him and he switches from abiding law officer to homicidal maniac.

Because it is a first-person narrative, it is a disturbing foray
into a diseased mind.

Casey Affleck wears a flat and ineffectual mask that covers a
sociopath inside. Most of the acting is very good but Jessica Alba
is weak and unbelievable as the prostitute. Kate Hudson as Affleck's girlfriend is very good.

Jim Thompson wrote the novel in the fifties.

For those of us in Ontario that had to put up with the Russell
Williams saga, it rings a bell of truth.

Not a great film, with two glaring editing errors but a good
independent effort.

Simon Baker from Austrailia as the investigator was great and so
was Elias Koteas from Montreal as the union brother who knows
what is going on inside Casey Affleck's character.

A good film to cosy up to with criminal minds on a lost weekend.

It is disturbing because it drags you into the role of the
narrator; the killer