A short seventeen hours of driving with two ferry rides (and a bit of waiting around) and any Edmontonian can find themselves nestled away on Gabriola Island…. I know, but why? Well, if you’ve never been to the mystical islands just off the coast of Vancouver, then I’m hoping this brief blog essay will answer that simple question. In short… it’s utterly breathtakingly beautiful. Time stops. Or at least slows down. And while I look towards my future travels, and start planning a potential four month stay in New York City… these pictures give me great peace.
The world is full of beauty. Go out. Explore. Find it.
I just finished a really special contract, with a fantastic group of people. Typically, I’m not the type to get post show blues, or remorse over the closing of a show. One of the things I love about being an actor is the contract work. I do a show, and inevitably it will end. Some shows are akin to the Edmonton winter, where it never feels like it’s going to end, and others fall more towards the Edmonton summer, they are over too soon. But from the get go, there is an end date and while it’s not something I fixate on, I take solace in that ever approaching completion.
All that being said, this contract is a hard one to leave behind, it was the perfect storm. A great cast and crew, a great script and a great theatre…. and before it’s gone into the night, I wanted to post some images I took during the last week of the run.
I set up a very modest little studio in the back of our dressing room and during pre-show, intermission and after the curtain… I snapped a few character portraits. Then, for closing, everyone in the cast and crew got a stack of sixteen 4x4 photos (all the characters) wrapped in string with a bow. I rarely do closing night gifts and I also rarely print my own photos… something I’m going to do more of (on both fronts). Here’s to the Citadel Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors and a huge group of friends. “Guvnors on tree.”
It’s been one year since Susanna Patchouli took to the Varscona stage for her last hurrah, which I was lucky enough to be at. To celebrate the first year of her retirement, I’ve made a little blog post of images from her finale.
For me Oh Susanna was crucial in helping me develop myself as an artist. It’s on the Varscona stage, at many a late night Oh Susanna’s, that The Be Arthurs were able to perform and build our audience and repertoire. I’m currently performing with The Be Arthurs (as the Craze) on the Shoctor stage in the Citadel Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors… and I cannot help but think if it wasn’t for launching pads like Oh Susanna, we would never be where we are today.
I miss the fear of just learning a song two days before and huddling in the basement for the entire show rehearsing it….. wishing that time would slow down but also praying it would speed up so we could be over and done with it. I miss the packed Varscona theatre, the smell of sandwiches and BOOZE! The entire audience chanting along with Susanna “Because I don’t want to go to jail dressed like this!!” and “The Game! The Game!” I miss the crowd giving audible gasps or laughs when they realize what song we decided to cover… and I miss the many fantastic conversations, jokes had in the backstage of the Varscona…. before, during and after.
Not many of you may know, but the tradition of Oh Susanna has been carried on by a new generation of Teatro Ensemble members. I encourage you all to go and laugh your but off at ‘That’s Terrific’. It’s not just terrific… it’s fantastic! Their season just started, the first show was last week (sorry, you missed it) but there are many more this coming year!
Here’s to the one and only Susanna Patchouli and all that helped her succeed!
Okay, I have to say, this was such a fun shoot! Lee and Greg Portas were winners of a headshot session I provided to Rapid Fire Theatre for one of their silent auction fundraisers. When they first contacted me, they were curious if they could split that session into getting two portraits of their daughters Brynn and Magda and I, of course accepted. I figured if their daughters were coming then they might as well get a group shot. Recently, for my sessions with kids, I’ve been offering a ‘just for them’ portion of the shoot… which can be used as a bit of a carrot for the kids if their not super keen on getting a portrait. It’s a shot or two that’s just for them, if they like Karate they can get in their Karate clothes and jump, or if they like dressing up like a princess or Batman…. you get the idea. It’s become one of my favourite things. I was SO happy to see that Brynn and Magda were avid skateboarders…. Brynn, also brought a pogo stick!
It was such a hoot. I absolutely fell in love with Brynn and Magda and so did my wife while she watched the photos load onto my computer later that day.
Die-Nasty, the live improvised soap opera, is opening the Varscona doors tonight for their first show of the 24th Season. A few weeks back I helped them out with getting some images for their poster. This season’s theme made for a really hilariously awesome couple of hours in studio…. shooting Vikings. Have a look through the studio shots, they’ll be sure to get you ready for some pillaging! The end of the post has the brilliant poster that Troy Lissoway put together.
For anyone out there in the Edmonton region that doesn’t know about Die-Nasty, it features a continuing storyline and recurring characters, which runs every Monday night from Mid-October to late May. You don’t have to see every one, if you miss the first few, you can still join in at ANY point during the season and catch on super quickly to the current storyline.
Enjoy! And if you can, get down to support this wonderful company of some of Edmonton’s finest comedians and improvisers!
In celebration of opening night, I thought I’d throw together some fun snaps taken during a promo session on a very hot day at the end of August. Thanks to Fringe Theatre Adventures, we set up in the Orange Hall just off whyte ave… and then… Jason Hardwick and Chelsea Preston just started jumping.
Look at the height! Look at those smiles! Don’t miss this ‘sure to be a riot’ revue! Friday October 17th at 8pm Saturday October 18th at 8pm SundayOctober 19th at 2pm!
On August 10th, 2014 my wife and I celebrated our first anniversary. It’s hard to believe that an entire year has gone by and at the same time, I question if it’s possible that I’ve only been married to her for one single year… for in my mind, it’s been since forever that I fell helpless into her heart and her mine.
With our approaching anniversary, we were delighted to also be featured in the Edmonton Journal’s column ‘Wedding Tale’s’, which worked out perfect as in the tradition of one year anniversaries; paper is the gift of choice.
The more I live alongside Claire, the more I love her, the more I love life, and the more I love myself. Meeting her was and always will be the best thing that has ever happened to me…. and every day I’m forever grateful she said yes to a simple request for coffee, or some sort of beverage (in case she didn’t drink coffee).
Here is the beginning of a new tradition; a photo shoot every year, on our anniversary day, in our wedding attire. One we plan to follow through with until we’re old and grey… and/or bald… Hope you enjoy.
Stop what you’re doing. What are you doing? If it’s not important, then stop… if you’re driving or doing open-heart surgery… PUTDOWNYOURPHONE/DESKTOP and focus on the road/heart. Okay, now that we’re all settled and the people have left that shouldn’t be here, go to this link HERE and get tickets for FATBOY because you do NOT want to miss this show.
I had the extreme honor of doing some promotion shots for Edmonton Actors Theatre and their production of FATBOY opening September 18th at the Roxy Theatre as a part of Theatre Network’s Performance series.
The concept of the shoot was thought up by the shows director, Dave Horak… he wanted to capture the beauty of the rundown-ness of the Roxy’s backstage and allow that to help bring out the broken down quailites of the characters in the play.
I absolutely love shooting pictures backstage in theatres. They have grotesque, messy cave-like qualities. If I was a paint room, I’d want to look like I exploded gallons of paint everywhere… it shows I’m useful and used often and people need me. For someone a little O.C.D. sure, yes, a clean minimal shot of an iMac on a desk in a sunlit studio apartment hits me in the right places… I think, “Oh, I want to go to there.” “How clean.” “How perfect!” But do those places exist? I mean, seriously give me a few seconds to start working at that desk and it would quickly become messy, I’d have to shut the blinds so the sun wasn’t messing up my screen/color and gamut and I would have transformed that beautiful wide open minimalistic world into a cave with important things I need, or can’t be bothered to put away… scattered all around the place. Words from Albert Einstein: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign of?”So, I go back to the messy cave-like qualities of the backstage in so many theatre’s, theatre’s that spawn some of the most inspiring and remarkable art and I believe there’s a link… also, they are beautiful, I mean look at all the textures and colors in that paint room!
This past weekend was 22nd Annual Die-Nasty Soap-a-thons and while I regret to say I wasn’t able to hang out for the entire 50 hours of the continuous improv-a-thon… the 5-6 hours I spent there over the weekend was hilariously fun. It’s an addictive thing to be around and it was very hard to pull myself away from the dark corridors of the Varscona Theatre… if only I didn’t have prior commitments this weekend. This being the very last soap-a-thon in the Varscona Theatre (the Varscona will be rebuilt from the ground up this coming year), I wanted to grab some more candid shots of my pals adventures. Here are the top shots from my visits. Enjoy!
Every year, since first meeting my wife Claire, we’ve made our way out to the Rocky Mountains for a tiny get away and reset during the summer months. It’s become a tradition for us and it’s a tradition we look forward to every year. Well, every year except last year due to our wedding, which was followed by our Honeymoon to Italy (we weren’t complaining!!). That being the case, we haven’t let our feet land on Jasper soil since the summer of 2012… needless to say, we were very excited by this trip.
When we venture out, we always camp, and we always camp at Wabasso Campground. The site has long been one that Claire and her family frequented throughout her childhood and one she introduced me to when we first started seeing each other. It’s the best of both worlds; for tent campers, the lots are private enough, far away from the RV’s (so sound is not an issue) and the bathroom’s have running water with flushable toilets…. and best of all, the campsite runs along the Athabasca river and looks out to Mt. Tekarra.
Most of the trip is spent hiking; our first hike was a 14-kilometer (total) trek up and around the Bald Hills, which is one of our favorites. Starting at the base of Maligne Lake, it’s a 1.5-hour climb up a fire road and optional shortcut through a rooted meadow switchback… ending in a final push to the summit… of which you have three separate peaks to then venture to and a plethora of valleys and meadows you can navigate through. Our second hike was through Wilcox Pass, which was 5-kilometer trek (10 in total) ending on the cliffs adjacent to the Columbian Ice fields, where we parked ourselves for lunch and found the perfect winds for flying a kite.
Due to the +31 degree weather, each day we were up at 6am on the trail by 8/9am and in Lake Annette by 3pm… I could live that life for eternity.
Ryan Parker is a freelance Headshot, Portrait and Studio Photographer based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is also an accomplished film and theatre actor and takes his experience from the acting world into his studio.