Saturday, 22 August 2015

I'm Thirty, I'm Acting, and I'm so Fucking Happy

The title is as much as I am able to communicate at this moment.  Every artist has their blocks and I have finally, after 30 years, acknowledged and started to fight these demons.  Much more to write but for now...just grateful.


Monday, 15 September 2014

The Next Five Years

I have been struggling in the past few months with some personal issues which have led me to over-share with family and (a few) friends about my situation.  If I was in a Grecian Tragedy this would be my tragic flaw, "she over shared herself to death". It's simple and complicated at the same time and as someone who strives for self awareness and simplicity of life & happiness, immensely frustrating to not have worked out and overcome yet.  The basics are this: I am desperately in love with someone who has had his own share of personal struggles this past year and the result has been incredibly detrimental to our relationship on all accounts.

Upon voicing my concerns to my moms partner Ted (who is a blunt personality to put it kindly), he simply stated: figure out where you want to be in five years and make it happen.  And so I have made my 5 year plan.  This is very personal and honest and I will not be sharing this on any personal social media as I am frankly petrified but at the same time excited to write it all down and put it out there.  I hope I inspire some people who also feel like they are figuring their worlds and their futures lives out to do the same.  It was very therapeutic.  

So here it is....


September 15th, 2014 – September 15th 2019

In 5 years from now I will be:

     Acting.  I want to be working with a great agent who respects and understand my talent, passion, and individuality.  This may only be a slice of my life but it will be there.  Whether it is play readings or regular roles in a tv show this part of me keeps me grounded, happy and whole.

       Running my successful business with the help of a fabulous staff OR have sold the company for no less than (BLANK) and started another venture (ie theatre school, theatre, acting studio), which I will be passionately and proudly pursuing.  

       In touch with only the people who make me happiest in my life.  The people who raise me up as much as I raise them.  I want to have a close relationship and be a friend to my nephew and any future nieces or nephews that are around at that point, and to make sure my sisters know how much I love and support them.  I will be still be close with my amazing girlfriends and we will laugh about our crazy younger days and our wild adventures and cry together about our current struggles.  I will maintain a close relationship with both my parents and never again take for granted that I have only one mom and dad in this life. 

     If I am in a relationship, I will be and be with a loving, responsible, passionate partner  with whom there is mutual respect and kiness...always.  We bring out the best in each other.  Someone who always gives as much as they take and is with me through good and bad.  Someone who is completely transparent in terms of honesty and doesn’t make me feel badly when I have moments of weakness as we all have past relationships and situations that we battle with in life.  Someone who when I look into their eyes, even when we are fighting, we know we are in it together.  Someone who is funny, likes to do the same activities, loves my family, loves animals, loves to do everything and nothing in a day…together.  Someone who has nice good friends who he spends time with alone and sometimes as a couple.  We will always make time for each other to go out and celebrate the little things.  We may only do this once a month but we will always make time to go out for dinner, or make a picnic on the living room floor and toast to each other and the lives that we have built together.  We will always remember to celebrate the small stuff & lead with love.  Someone who understands my crazy passions and encourages me to succeed in the ways that make me happy.  Someone who I support fully with all my heart and might in every way.  Someone who I look at in the eye and know that no matter what struggles with money, kids, jobs, deaths, general stresses of life, that we will get through it together and get out the other side stronger.  All of these qualities are things I have had recently although a couple have faltered under recent aforementioned circumstances.  Ay there's the rub.
          Living in a city or town that I love and in a home or condo that I am proud of.  Even if it's not my dream home I will treat it as such.  

          For all the successes I will have I will always give back.  I will be a continued sponsor of the Red Door Family Shelter and continue my Christmas drive every year as well as help them with other events throughout the year. 

        I will be starting a family or have started one already.  I will not panic if for some reason I cannot have children and will trust that  life works out the way it is supposed to and I will adopt babies or be a foster parent to older orphans who are in need of a loving family environment. 

           A mentor…I will give back and help younger people in any way I can.  I will take people or a person under my wing and give them the support and love that they need in the way that so many people have done to me.  It takes a village.

      Did I mention I was an over-sharer?  I hope this inspiration to anyone at any stage who is looking for a change.


      xoxo A

Friday, 29 August 2014

It's Been a While

"Hope is a thing with feathers"...

A very wise acting teacher of mine, Richard Pinter, said this quote to me in my second year at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.  I never really understood it until now.  

I grew up in a very supportive loving environment at home.  My parents both told me to work hard and follow my dreams, and so I did.  I knew that becoming an actor would be a life filled with ups and downs and plenty of rejection, but I was ready for that.  I loved the ride.  I loved the unpredictability and the ever changing schedule.  I was prepared for the "rejection" of not being cast in different productions, shows, commercials, etc. I was prepared for the instability financially and was prepared to work hard at a "Joe Job" to pay the bills...for my art.

What I was not prepared for in the weird but wonderful world of acting is the heartbreak you feel when you think you've gotten your foot in the elusive "door"...when you actually GET THAT PART that you think is going to change things but then somehow things fall through the cracks.  I worked hard on countless projects that didn't go very far (AKA didn't even get the opportunity to be seen) and my heart hurt.  I was "cast" in several "feature films" that never panned out.  My agent never came to a show I did all summer that I was very proud of and then decided to let me go off the roster. I felt like a failure and frankly a fraud. I wasn't an actor, I was trying and not succeeding at being one. I started to doubt my talent and whether my life in acting was going anywhere.  I felt the years flying by and my career wasn't even close to where I wanted it to be.  The HOPE that I once felt so strongly, seemed like a broken promise that I had made to myself.  I felt as though I was stuck in an abusive relationship with my acting career and so I lashed back at it to try to gain control.

I started to focus on my business.  I stopped hanging out and chatting with actor friends.  I stopped reading plays.  I stopped looking for a new agent.  I stopped acting...and for a while, it felt right.

I tried to convince myself (and my ever supportive family) that this was the right move, that I had found the natural transition from actor to entrepreneur and that my life was unfolding in a totally satisfying way.  This state of mind which I believed to be genuine began to fade.

The dissatisfaction I felt in my life artistically crept up on me slowly but steadily.  It happened so slowly in fact that I didn't even realize what was happening...I was just suddenly more irritable, less interested in my business, less motivated to exercise and I just sort of felt..bleh. Many months later I was asked to do a corporate acting gig (I play a fun character in a "workplace investigation" to help people train for similar situations in their work environment). I prepared for it, executed it well, and I felt great.  My energy was better, my motivation was back, and I felt more like me.  I pulled out my favorite Stars album on the drive home and blasted it with a huge smile on my face.  It was the first time I had tapped into my "actor self" in almost a year.

Everything I saw and read suddenly reminded me of acting, and I felt something in my gut that I had never felt this deeply before...REGRET.

Classmates and former acting coworkers suddenly seemed to be popping up in Feature Films, Broadway shows and even TV Commercials on the daily.  My Instagram was flooded with other peoples posts about 'following your dreams' and quotes like: 'ignoring your passion leads to slow death' etc etc.  It was as though the universe was giving me a little nudge, a little reminder that it's not too late.

Some people think it is such a simple decision...just get back at it.  Balance your business (which oddly enough is doing better than ever now) with your acting schedule and just make it work.  Give it another go.  Other people think it's crazy to throw any more of my time at a career that didn't give me the financial or emotional stability that I did, in fact end up craving more and more.  

Everyone has a suggestion, a point of view and both sides are valid. I just have to figure this out for myself.  Is there some sort of magical balance between the business and acting that I can manage or is that a pipe dream?  Am I going to hit my 30th birthday as an actor/entrepreneur or just an entrepreneur?

I don't know the answer yet.  I just know that I need to make a change because life is too short and artistically, I feel a little starved.  Whether this means teaching acting to clients kids once a week or jumping in with both feet and getting a new agent, I'm just not sure yet.

xo Allie

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Queen Marie Review!

Jeff Schissler (middle), Shelley Simester (right) and I in Act II of Queen Marie

We are about half-way through our run of Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre and so far - so great!  I've learned a lot, I mean A LOT throughout this process.  The show is a bit of a marathon, especially for the star Shelley Simester who is absolutely incredible as the late, great, Marie Dressler.

Shelley Simester (left), myself (middle) and Alison Palmer (right)
Needless to say, the weather has been no less than scorching the past couple of weeks, so managing the heat and delivering your best performance (particularly in a fat suit, as seen left!) is a challenge.  Hydration throughout the day is absolutely essential!

So far we haven't been "rained-out" once.  We had a minor "rain-hold" during our first preview, but that's it (knock on wood).

Reviews, reviews...

Often I avoid reviews until after the show closes (or altogether), but I stumbled upon this write-up by  Paula Citron (critic, broadcaster and arts-journalist for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life & more) and am excited to share her experience of Queen Marie.  Click Here to read her review.

More soon!

Stay cool :)

xo, Allie

Saturday, 30 June 2012


My plan for the day was to go to Kawartha Crossfit in the am, then rehearsal, and write my Foodie Pen Pal post on my hour break.  Unfortunately (as often happens shortly before a show opens) today's rehearsal was a little chaotic, and I ended up spending my time off helping the wardrobe team find replacement shoes for a girl who sprained her ankle (ouch!). SO - my sincere apologies for getting this out so late in the day, particularly because this month's Foodie Pen Pal Package ROCKED!

Not only did Kendall introduce me to some delicious new products, but she also did her best to combine our two eating styles, my Paleo diet with her vegan diet!  Who knew this was even remotely possible?  Since paleo is a "hunter-gatherer" way of eating, you can imagine how hard it is to find things to send in the mail.  Obviously straying slightly was necessary, but I was very impressed with Kendall's efforts.

My favorite part of the package was the "Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter".  What an awesome treat, and surprisingly few ingredients! Since I am currently living in Peterborough, I gave Kendall my Toronto address and planned to pickup my package on my day off.  My boyfriend politely asked if he could check out the contents before I got home.  Let's just say that half the peanut butter chocolate container had magically disappeared by the time I got there! And he's not really a dessert fan!  It's seriously that good.  I'm about to bite into the "Extreme Dark Chocolate Bar" right now.  I've been holding off on this one :)

Thanks so much Kendall, it was so nice to chat with you via email.  Thanks for all of the amazing food.  Keeping some of the snacks in my bag during rehearsals saved me from passing out in the heat more than once!  I'd be happy to have you do a guest blog anytime my new West Coast buddy!

xoxo Allie

Friday, 22 June 2012

#Whoisdorothy? Not me, but that's ok

Heather Maitland (right) and I: "Who is Dorothy?" in rehearsal
for "Queen Marie" the day before the open call.
The few weeks before my open call for Dorothy, I had received calls and emails from all over the place making sure I knew about the audition, and encouraging me to attend.  I even got a call from the assistant at my Dentists office! Amazing. When I learned that the first round was taking place on a Monday, which is currently my only day off of rehearsals for Queen Marie, I knew I had to do it.  I though to myself, "hey, it can't be worse than a cattle call for a Broadway show, right?"

The lineup at Front and John Street at 7am!

Lucky for me, Heather Maitland, the phenomenal actor playing Nella in Queen Marie, also wanted to attend the audition.  We helped each other prepare, and made a pact to stick together.

At 7am when we arrived in line, it was already twisting around the block. Dorothy hopefuls of all shapes and sizes waited nervously for their chance to perform.  When the registration began at 9am, everything seemed to happen in a flash.  Before I knew it I was standing in a tiny room singing my heart out to a very friendly lady. She asked me to wait in the hall afterwards and I tried to steady my breathing/heart-rate!  After a few tedious minutes I was told that was all they needed from me today. Sigh.  

I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.  I was so excited to audition for Stephanie Gorin and didn't make it to the round where I could do so.  I looked at the lineup of girls who had made it past the first audition, anxiously awaiting their turn to earn a Golden Ticket.  These girls were adorable, all dressed in their own twist of a perfect Dorothy outfit.  They were beaming.  And they were all very up to ten years younger than me!  I left the audition hall and met back up with Heather who unfortunately had the same fate as I did.  

As we walked out of Glen Gold studios and saw hundreds of potential Dorothy's waiting in line, I had a bit of an epiphany. There was something different about this open call.  It wasn't just that the people working at the audition were friendlier and more helpful than I have ever experienced in such a high stress scenario as this, and it wasn't just that I had the benefit of being with a buddy who helped me keep my head on straight.  The difference was this: the rejection was a brief little blow, and then I was fine.  I no longer have doubts about my career choice.  I no longer question whether not getting cast in a specific part is because I'm not meant to be an actor.  I've gotten over the hump of being intimidated by how "hard" the industry is and how "difficult" the rejection is.  I now know, that there is always an opportunity around the corner.  Don't get me wrong, any actor will tell you that the rejection isn't easy.  But you've got to have enough courage to move past it and trust in your own passion and talent.  Feel the pinch, acknowledge the disappointment, and then move on.  

Who knows why I didn't make it to the second round of casting. It could have been my age, my voice, or just my interpretation of the song.  I'm not Dorothy, but I am "Clare Dubrey" in Queen Marie.  Who knows what I will get to play next?  

In the words of the amazing Richard Pinter of The Neighborhood Playhouse, "If you undervalue yourself, you will be undervalued".  Well said Pinter, well said.  Thanks CBC for the opportunity, and to the ladies with the Golden Tickets, break a leg!

xoxo Allie

Thursday, 14 June 2012

First Week of Rehearsals for Queen Marie!

Here We Go!

The week before rehearsals began for Queen Marie at 4th Line Theatre was a bit of a whirlwind.  Before I knew it I was on the road to Peterborough with a ridiculous amount of luggage and no clue what I was really in for.  I settled into my billet Beverley's place (a hilarious and very hospitable Newfie!), and prepared for the first day of rehearsal on the farm.

A peek onstage at 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook, ON
So the amazing and sometimes challenging thing about doing a show at 4th Line is that the rehearsal/performance space is outside (!).  There is a "hats on" policy during rehearsals and I've been loading up on sunscreen (being the pasty lady that I am), and have managed to avoid a sunburn, and any snake encounters, but not the poison ivy.  Yeesh.  Aside from that itchy setback, I am loving my summer at 4th Line thus far. 
Shelley Simester (Marie Dressler), Sedina Fiati (Mamie) & Heather Maitland (Nella Web)
I have to give a shout out & thanks to Theatre Ontario, without whom I would not have even found out about the auditions for the part of "Clare Dubrey".

I've done primarily Film/TV gigs since my move back to Toronto from NYC, and working on this show has really got me jazzed up about my love for the much so that I've decided to audition for Dorothy in CBC's "Over the Rainbow" next Monday...oh mama.  Wish me luck!  More details about the show and rehearsals to come :)

I've started to workout at Kawartha Crossfit in Peterborough with some awesome people.  Running seems to have fallen to the wayside a bit but with a few crossfits a week and dancing in the show, I'm spent!  

Enjoy the sunshine, and wear your sunscreen!