Friday, October 14, 2016


Busy. Busy. Busy.
Did I mention that I am busy?
It's October and our final Orillia Theatre show of this 2016 season is in production.
Rehearsals now and then our show- Norm Foster's "Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak" opens October 27th at the newly renovated St. Paul's Centre in Downtown Orillia.
This is exciting- partly because of this new space created by St Paul's. Double R Productions/Orillia Theatre will be the first "theatrical group" to use the new stage and space- and as Orson Hubble in "Sadie Flynn" would say- "It's big, right?"
Sure is.
Huge stage and a big, cavernous hall to fill.
We could put up to 400 bums in seats.
Now, that won't happen unless there's a miracle but we are hoping for a hundred or so at each of our six performances.
The cast comes includes Jim Dwyer, Gayle Carlyle, Teal Cochrane, Laurie Herd and yours truly. The cast comes from near and far- Huntsville, Bracebridge, Washago and of course Orillia.
Tom Ruechel is our Stage Manager and is assisted by Michael Abernethy, who you might remember from our fall show in 2015- The Importance of Being Earnest.
That show was performed at St. Paul's too, only in the "old" space.
So, if you are reading this and are close to or in the City of Orillia, come see our show and support our not for Profit Theatre Company- and St. Paul's Centre.
Opening Night October 27th we donate part of our door receipts to Green Haven Shelter. Friday Night the Cast & Crew is raising funds for "Dress for the Cause" (Breast Cancer).
Saturday night we offer our audience prizes for Best Costume- if they come in costume that is.
That should be a fun night preceding Hallowe'en on Monday.
Come and see the show and have dinner on Thursday October 27th and Saturday October 29th.
Our Lunch and Show is Friday October 28th at 2pm.
Our Box Office can be reached at 705.242.4092
Come and see Sadie Flynn. We'll be waiting for you!

Friday, September 23, 2016


Over the river and through the woods,
To Grandma's House we go...

or is it? Grandma's I mean.

M. Night Shyamalan's movie- The Visit, is about just that. Grandma's House and Grampa's too.
It's a goodie. It was released last year about this time

I always enjoyed going to my Grandma's House back in the 50's and 60's. It was a white stucco, two-storey home right next to Davey Park's barn. Sounds like it was in the country but it wasn't. It was right in Orillia where the Thor Motor's Service Department now stands. The house was bulldozed down- and the memories along with it, about 3 years ago.

Going to Grandma Reid's for Thanksgiving, Christmas and a assortment of other special occasions was a big deal. Not so much with the kiddies in "the Visit" who leave home to stay with their Grandparents for the first time- sight unseen, while Mommy buggers off for a week on a cruise with the new boyfriend. The kids video the whole experience.

The house is set in the pastoral countryside. A real charmer both inside and out. It's what happens inside and out that makes this M Night movie such a creepy thriller. Oh there are a couple of laughs too but when the unexpected happens look out. Grab your chair's arms and hold on for the ride.

You shouldn't be surprized at the tension in The Visit. It is M. Night Shyamalan after all.
I thought I had the movie figured out.
I didn't.

We watched it at home on our big-screen. I thought it would be safe.
I jumped about three times and my heart beat faster than a turkey's arse at fly-time.

It warmed me up for the Hallowe'en season I suppose.
I can't say too much because I will give the creepiness away and you should experience it on your own. I will say there are several bits when a hand-held camera gets to be a bit of a bumpy ride and because of my inner ear imbalance, I have to look away. I should make you aware of that. No need to get motion-sick watching a movie that is meant to scare you not sicken you.

For the most part you won't really recognize the actors in the movie. Makes it more real I suppose.

So children, stay out of sheds where creepy old Grandfathers go.
Don't crawl under your Grandma's house.
Keep your bedroom door locked after 930 pm.
Follow these rules and you'll be fine.

Or will you.....

Saturday, September 3, 2016


I've been busy the past few days.

I should say we.
My retired husband and myself have begun to de-clutter and purge- again.
From the house.
From the garage.
From the garden shed.
Oh and in the midst of all this purging and renewal I had to take my new Samsung Notebook 7 phone back to Best Buy- seeing that it had the capability of not only writing on the screen but blowing up and setting itself and our house on fire when in the charging mode.
I have another Samsung now. So we are safe. Friends were calling, warning me of the imminent danger of my Notebook phone.
How nice!
This time I have the Samsung Edge 7. Almost the same as the Note 7- without the explosions- but I have to write on plain old paper with a plain old pen instead of on a mobile screen.
Technology, eh?

Hennaway, back to purging and renewal, we put a bunch of stuff to the curb and a lot of it has been picked up for free by those who are hoarders. I had to move off the front veranda to the side veranda because I was making the punters nervous wondering. I guess my face was saying- "So, that's the kind of people that pick up another person's junk and take it home".
For free mind you.

We have a loft in our garage and once emptied, we had so much stuff it covered the garage floor and spilled out onto the deck.
There is still two Christmas trees in boxes, toilet paper and paper towels from Costco and a couple of bins of Hallowe'en decorations up top but I managed to use the shop vac and vacuum the rug and the bare floor up there. That's the first time I have vacuumed the floor in the loft. You know,  I think there was less dust there than what I see on tables and TV screens in the house in a normal week.
Dunno why but that's what it seemed like hennaway.

There are a dozen bags of clothes and comforters and stuff from past theatrical shows that are all stuffed into clear lawn bags and packed into the van. A trip to Value Village will soon rid us of those.

I have gone through a bunch of CD's and I have one more cabinet to go. I am however, still clinging to a stack of albums that I just haven't been able to rid myself of yet. Perhaps another day. Some of this purging it hard because the items being purged hold a bunch of memories. For instance, there is my Zenith Allegro Tuned Port speakers I bought- on time, from West End Radio back in 1972.
I loved to listen to CKFM 99.9- The Sound of Our Toronto on those speakers. The base was amazing and so was that radio station.
~heavy sigh here~

So, I thought I would update you on what is happening in my life right now.
Purging and dreams of moving to Vancouver Island- Parksville to be exact. More of Parksville and getting away from Central Ontario winters in another blog. Right now I have that stack of CD's to go through...

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


August Days and Nights.
From heat and a drought that lasted from May 11 until August 12th, today we find ourselves trying to remember how many cubits wide and long were the instructions that Noah was given to build the Arc.
I have a Wooden Arc. Not a full sized Arc but one I bought years ago at Wal*Mart, just around Christmas. It was there in the Christmas Decorations department at the "old" Wal*Mart in Orillia- before they built the super-sized version on Murphy Road.
I had always wanted an Arc.
Dunno why.
I did see Arcs in many Home Decorating magazines over the years and that piqued my interest. I thought it was quite the good fortune when I came upon this one at Wal*Mart.
They were never to be seen again,
Strange that it appeared at Christmas. The Noah story didn't involve Christmas since Christmas hadn't been invented yet.
This Arc has tiny, hand-carved and painted images of Noah and the animals. Yes, Noah is alone in my hand-carveds version of the story. The wife must have been shopping and the boys off pissing around instead of helping Dad sort out the animals.
Noah is a good story except for all the "bad" people who came to their deaths by drowning.
That couldn't have been much fun but you know God.
God likes to configure these huge disasters and get rid of a bunch of folks who don't see things quite his way.
Wouldn't God have a field day today?
I wonder who he would target first?
Women who mix various different fabrics together to make a Sunday outfit?
The Jews for killing his Son?
Gays for being Gay or the Lesbians for wearing too much plaid?
Ford for smoking crack/- although that one has resolved itself.
The list would be a long and involved one and any decision would require much thought and study.
Why, I imagine God would get such a headache from all the business going on down here on earth that he'd resign and concentrate on another planet that might only be half as much trouble as Planet Earth. Either that or he'd just take a day off to have fun and go to the CNE in Toronto where he'd eat a bunch of Candy Floss and stare at all the boys in tight, white tee shirts as they passed him by.
Oh. Wait.
That would be me.
Not God.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

RobBlog #603

Well it's been awhile hasn't it?
Where have I been you may well ask?
Directing and being in a show for the month of July is my answer.
Sister Mary Margaret and the Sisters at the Church of Little Hope have performed 14 shows over the past three weeks both in Orillia at the OCC and in Beaverton at the c.1910 Beaverton Town Hall Theatre.
The audiences have been super. ..for the most part. A couple have been like pulling teeth and one in particular in Beaverton on a Friday Night was like death warmed over. Fellow actor Claire Acott (Sister Murray Anne) and myself called time of death at 923pm in the second act. That was a tough be sure.
Sister Mary Margaret & Sister Murray Anne on stage at the OCC

Next, come October, rehearsals start for Norm Foster's "Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak". A rip-roaring, hilariously funny story about the goings on in a small town in Ontario called Big Oak. It's Norm Foster funny at his best and it runs at St. Paul's Centre October 27 to 30th! Look to our Facebook page for details:
In other news...
I turned 65 years old on Friday July 29th.
My husband Tom had a big Sunday afternoon soiree in honour of that milestone on Sunday July 31st at Casino Rama. 40 or 50 friends were there. The food was terrific and the chocolate birthday cake to die for. How can one go wrong with a 1/2 inch of fudge icing on top of a chocolate slab layer cake?Kudos to the dessert chefs at Casino Rama. You outdid yourselves. Everybody raved!
So between acing and turning 65, I haven't had a lot of time. Being all of 65 years old hasn't really hit me yet. I can't compute that figure. Like most baby-boomers my age, it just doesn't seem right. Our parents and grandparents turned 65 but not us. Not me.
However, my birth certificate does not lie. I was indeed born in July of 1951.
Older than least dirt born after 1951.
One birthday wish said:
"Growing Older is Mandatory. Growing up is optional".
That's me.
When I saw Peter Pan as a kid- before I knew that Peter was played by a "girl", I said to myself- I'm never going to grow up and I still haven't.
I try to deny the reality in many things and truly believe that Hugh Jackman and I could be twins!
Old phart that I am!
Hugh and Me- Can't distinguish the difference? That's Hugh above!
I may not be able to pull off a tight tank top any longer but I still have great legs, big tits and a kickass butt.
What more can an old fellah ask for?

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Everyone I run into these days is asking me the same question?
"So, how are ticket sales going for Orillia Summer Theatre Rob?"
"They can only get better"- the little voice in my head says, "if you get off your duff and buy some tickets!
The main focus of theatre producers today-
How to get bums in seats.
It never gets easier. Even for the big guys. That's why Mirvish calls you a thousand times to get you to buy a season subscription. Once they have your money, who cares if you show up or pass your seats on to someone else. They have your money.
For the little guys like us- Double R Production/Orillia Summer Theatre, it's twice as hard.
No wait.
It's endlessly hard.
One has to work at sales and promotion daily.
Talk. Talk. Talk theatre.
Interviews. Press Releases. Advertising. E-mails. Twitter. Facebook.
All social media and you hope that someone sees your tweet and passes it on to their followers.
Bus tours are down this year. Apparently folks are not booking daytrips- much to our chagrin, so we are focusing on groups.
PROBUS. Red Hat Ladies. Kiwanis. Church groups. Rotary. Irish Groups and even more PROBUS.
Groups get a discount and reserved block seating.
Our summer shows include one I wrote- "All for Nun...The 2nd Coming" a Habit-Centric Musical Comedy and Norm Fosters "Sadie Flynn Comes to Big Oak".
We have expanded this 2016 season and are performing our first show- All for Nun...The 2nd Coming at two theatres at the same time!
Two sets.
Two or every prop.
Only one of each actor.
We open at the Beaverton Town Hall Theatre on July 15th and at The OCC on July 19th.
We alternate locations for three weeks.
Friday and Saturday's at 8pm in Beaverton and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Matinees (2PM) and Thursday Night (8PM) at the OCC in Orillia. (64 Colborne Street, East)
We'll see how that goes.
Then, our second offering this season opens August 9th at the OCC- that's Norm's "Sadie Flynn"
Actors and crew come from Toronto, Barrie and Muskoka and well as points east and from Orillia and area too. We are Orillia's only Non-Equity (non union) theatre company providing work for actors and crew in central Ontario- and that's a big deal for us.
We audition and pull in actors (Non Equity) from many centres. This allows, good, professional actors to ply their craft without being union members. Being Equity does not make a good actor. Only an actor can be good in his or her own right- and with a lot of work and preparation.
Anyway, enough of that.
It's apples and oranges.
If you want a fun evening or afternoon out this summer comes see our productions in Beaverton or Orillia. You will have fun- and the theatre seats are comfortable too!
If you have a group of 10+ call Claire our Group and Tour Manager at 416.271.5751. If you want to skip the long distance charges- if applicable, call our box office (705.242.4092) and we'll have Claire get in touch with you.
Tickets are $27 pp at the OCC. $25 pp for a group off 10 or more.
The Box Office open in person daily from 11-2 Monday to Saturday.
Tickets are always $25 at the c.1910 Beaverton Town Hall Theatre. Get them at Maxine's Fashions on Simcoe Street-opposite the theatre, in Downtown Beaverton or call 705.426.7743
Get some friends together. Have dinner or lunch and come see one of our shows.
We hope you enjoy this 2016 season...oh, we're already planning the 2017 season- so stay tuned.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


The morning was bright and sunny as I walked from our tiny but efficient kitchen- gripping my coffee mug, heading for the balcony. The "husband" was still snoozing. He had a restless night. His knee was bugging him again so I best let him sleep. Late spring sunshine was flowing through tall casement windows that ran along the south side of our second floor home. I opened the French doors and stepped out. Paris was beautiful in the morning- well anytime to be sure.
I looked down into Victor Hugo Square to see folks scurrying along with baguettes and briefcases clutched in their hand.
I took a sip of coffee and smiled.
Ahhh.... Paris. I love you. Do you love me?
Of course you do!
Looking straight out from our second floor walk-up I could see the Eiffel Tower.
Almost unreal but truly Paris.
I pinched myself.
Yes, it was all real and I really was living in Paris.
Romantic. Special. Heart-warming.
We were lucky being able to keep our home back in Ontario as well as this wonderful Paris apartment where we have lived the past year.
Below me, kids were riding bikes and shop keepers were sweeping the pavement in front of their stores. Traffic was light this morning- but steady. Fiats everywhere and motorized bikes too.
I took another sip of coffee as the doorbell chimed.
I walked across the living room to the hall and opened the door.
There stood Madame Taggart.
"Bonjour Madame!"
"Bonjour Mssr. Clemenceau!" She always calls me that because it is a Parisienne name I dubbed myself with- Robert Clemenceau. A Metro stop in Paris is called Clemenceau. I saw it. Liked it. Adopted it. It's so Paree- n'est-ce-pas?
"Mssr. Clemenceau, I have brought you this number. It is the number huit (8) pour votre fenetre."
"Quoi? What? Pourquoi? Why? Madame Taggart."
"Par ce-que, the numbers of the flats are changing and you need to display this numero huit dans la fenetre for purposes of emergency etcetera."
"What emergency Madame?" I sipped at my café.
"Oh, it isn't an emergency immediatement, mais if one happens, you are prepared."
"Oh."- I say and Madame Taggart sweeps across the room to the window and affixes the number 8
with two pieces of cello tape.
"There. That is done! I bid you bon jour aujourd' hui " she called as she swept out the door and into the hallway outside our second story walk-up.
"What was that?" My husband Thomas was up and standing at the entrance to the living room scratching his head. He walked to the refrigerator and poured a glass of juice.
"That, My Dear was Madame Taggart sticking a number 8 on our window" I pointed, "Don't ask. I don't quite understand. The numbers are changing or something."
"Oh." he says as if it was too early to care and walked to the balcony and sat in a white wicker chair.

Once again the door chime rings.
Good God what now, I wonder?
"Bonjour Robert. Bonjour Thomas. It is us!"
"Oh Mary and Maureen. Bonjour, Hello! Ca va?"
M and M live one floor up. They too have adapted to living in Pars over the past year or so and like us, love the city and it's many moods.
"So Ladies, coffee c'est matin?"
"Absolutement." - says Mary.
"Any toast"- asks Maureen?
"In the kitchen. You know where. It's warming in the oven. Help yourself, I am going to the balcony to sit and watch Paris come alive. C'mon Mary." I linked her elbow in mine and headed for the sunshine and Paris air.
"How'd you sleep I asked my Husband, knowing the answer."
"Not too bad but this frigging knee woke me up once or twice."
"Just another month and it's being seen to." I patted his leg.
"What's happening with his knee?" asked Maureen coming from the kitchen with a tray holding toast and a coffee pot.
I looked to my Husband and said-"He's been complaining for a year and he's going in next month for a partial replacement. He'll be right as rain in a few weeks after that."
"Oh yes. I had forgotten. Amazing what they can do-isn't it?"- adds Mary.
"So what are you Paris trollops up to today?" I sipped at my coffee, smiling.
"We thought a walk around the Marais and then lunch or afternoon tea or something," Maureen says while crunching on brown toast and marmalade."
"Why don't you two come with us. It would be fun. We could stop in that flower shop around the corner from Le Bistro Paris. Their arrangements are beautiful." Mary loves flowers as much as Tom and I.
"I'm up for it. Husband!"
"Sure, I'll hobble if I have too."
"Good then that's that. We can take the Metro to Hotel de Ville and stroll from there." Mary clapped her hands in glee and poured another cup of hot coffee from the pot Maureen had brought from our kitchen.
Maureen looks at our number eight and says-"I see you got your new number from Madame Taggart. We did as well. That Madame Taggart certainly looks after us."
"Did you know her late husband was Canadian?"
"Really? I didn't know."- says Mary, "That's why she's like a mother "poulet". How do you say "hen"?
"Dunno."-mumbles Hubbie as he looked out across the square. He was watching Paris City workers clean the fountain. The algae must be getting thick again.
We all sat looking out across Victor Hugo Place towards the tower.
"Gosh we are lucky, eh Kids?" I was beaming and happy.
"Better finish our un petit dejuner and get ready. Times a wastin' and I have to shower"- says Tom, always the time keeper- even in French time.
We top up our mugs as Maureen slathered peanut butter on another slice of whole wheat while we laid out our Paris Plans for the day.
Place Victor Hugo.
La Tour Eiffel.
The Marais.
Bagettes and Madame Taggart.
Ahhhh, Paree.
Je t'aime. Je t'aime.