Wait, What's a Tumblr?

Sunday August 16, 2015

I stumbled into a Tumblr account last week.

It started because I learned that a friend had a Tumblr and I wanted to be able to follow her posts easily, so I created what I thought would be a reading-only account. That lasted all of a day, right until I realized how easy it was to hit the "Reblog" button.

Although I've been terribly lax of late when it comes to writing on this blog, I still intend this space to be my primary spot for proper posts. But for the easy sharing of photos and articles and other things I find interesting, I'll try adding Tumblr to my Twitter and Facebook Page repertoire for awhile. I have no idea how much I'll like it or how long it will last (and really no idea how Tumblr works yet, frankly) but if you'd like to follow and see what happens I'll be at  http://marilynannecampbell.tumblr.com

Are you on Tumblr? Share your link in the comments!

(And please tell me any tips you have on the etiquette of how it works. Seriously. So far it is a vast and confusing land of little hearts and twirly arrows and notes that aren't comments and "Sources" that aren't accurate and pirated photos and what am I missing with these tags that don't accomplish anything but also aren't comedy or commentary? Anyone?)

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Universal Language

by Marilyn Anne Campbell

Stage play: Sci-fi comedy, one-act, 2W/2M/1 either
When low-level staff at an interstellar supply station find themselves on the frontlines of alien contact, workplace dissatisfaction could lead to an inter-species incident. 
First Production:

Universal Language premiered in August 2015 at Otherworld Theatre's first Paragon: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Play Festival in Chicago Illinois. Taking place at the The Public House Theatre, Paragon presented 40 short plays in 2 days. (Performance date: August 23rd)

Directed by Lauren Fields
Literary Manager / Festival Programmer: Elliott Sowards


Chloe Baldwin as Zapanta
D. Matthew Beyer as Montis
William Delforge as Stanton
Maureen Mizener as the Regional Manager
Claire Allegra Taylor as the Assistant / Alien


A Little History

Universal Language was written the first time I participated in a 24-Hour Playwriting Contest. It was for the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, and participants were given four things that had to be included in the final script: a pas-de-deux, a border dispute, third base, and the phrase “the economy is the secret police of your desires”.

I didn't win the contest - I didn't even place - but I did have fun participating. Still, I thought I'd made a mistake writing a one-act sci-fi comedy, as it seemed like a stretch that anyone would ever be interested in producing it. I left it in the virtual drawer of my hard drive, gathering virtual dust.

Luckily for me the Otherworld Theatre company formed in Chicago three summers later, and three summers after that organized a new play festival looking for short science fiction for the stage. Which means the first 24 Hour Playwriting Contest I ever participated in would, six years later, lead to my first US production.

  • Premiered in Chicago, Illinois in August 2015
  • Available for future productions; contact the playwright to obtain a reading copy

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FringeKids! 2015: Thumped!

Sunday July 5, 2015

Thumped! doesn't appear in the printed Toronto Fringe Festival guide because it was a late addition to the FringeKids! lineup, brought in at the last minute to replace an out-of-town show. Production company Ten Toes wasn't even on the Waiting List after the lottery draw in November, which suggests that the Fringe organizers ran through quite a few companies before finding someone so ready-to-go on short notice.

It's a nice thing that Thumped! was added to the lineup, because with a simple story and a focus on movement, it's a good show for the very youngest Fringe-goers and can serve as a suitable first-time theatre experience.

Thumped! follows rabbit friends Chase and Hide (Emma Letki and Kelly Morden, though I confess to not remembering which one was which)  as they set out to follow a map to a secret carrot patch. This is essentially a dance show for kids, with large stretches of stage time dedicated to the bunnies moving through their world.

The show is underscored with some lovely original music by Franc Adamczyk. The guitar is gentle enough that it doesn't overwhelm the action, but is still driving enough to add a bit of intensity to the show when necessary. Here's a sample on SoundCloud:

The set is sparse, but the use of lighting cues and projections (mostly of illustrations by Jim Fitzgerald) help create different locations and reveal the dangers in the rabbits' world.

Letki and Morden are both dance artists, and their skill and athleticism show. Overall, some of the movement sequences work better than others; the following-the-map sequence could use more variation (perhaps more set pieces or levels to interact with, or actually leaving the stage to move through the audience), but the wonderful synchronized chase scene is a stand-out.

Taking the Experience Home

For pre-show activities, parents and caregivers may want to share Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny books, or Joyce Sidman's "Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow" with slightly older kids (though Thumped! really isn't really designed for the top end of the FringeKids age range). Post-show, dramatic play-acting as bunnies is the obvious choice, with all the hopping and nose-wiggling that entails. Drawing favourite scenes, creating or following a map, and making Tumble Bunnies are more great options, as is taking a nature walk to talk about the world from a rabbit's point of view.


Remaining Shows (at the George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place):

July 06 at 2:30 pm
July 08 at 10 am
July 09 at 3:15 pm
July 11 at 5 pm
July 12 at 4:15 pm

If you miss it in Toronto, Thumped! is also part of the Hamilton Fringe Festival's Family Fringe schedule this year, on July 18 & 19, and July 24-26. You can read an interview with Morden and Letki on the Hamilton Fringe Festival blog post "Fringe for the Whole Family" (which includes a photo of the elbow and back of yours truly, working Bingo the dog at last year's Hamilton Family Fringe.)

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