Memories of Triple Take past…my turn! We turn 25 today!

Memories of Triple Take past…my turn! We turn 25 today!

This is quite a moment for me…never did I think, 25 years ago, that we would reach this point after producing so many plays as well as short films, sketches, a feature film and publishing scripts.  Right now, I’m more focused on the published scripts produced in recent years (including plays previously produced and one yet to be produced: The Aquarium, The Paradise Lust Romance Series, It Was Kit and Shakespeare’s Brain, Crime and Etiquette and Horror at Terror Creek; and film scripts produced and yet to be produced: Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem! and They Suck) and the novellas and novelette that spawned from those scripts (“The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham”:  Space Zombies!, They Suck and Horror at Terror Creek), as well as my picture books and up-coming novels…but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a play or possibly even a film in Triple Take’s future!  Stay tuned…we’re not done with theatre, film and television yet, nor have we released every script to be published…

Of course, I have accumulated many, many memories over the past 25 years.  I thought I’d share at least one per “production”…starting from the most recent and wrapping up with our very first production in 1993.

  • Our most recent productions have been online – improvised scripts created via Facebook Event Pages.  Actors recreated characters from recent novellas They Suck and Horror at Terror Creek attending their own book launches on these Facebook Event Pages, resulting in some hilarious live improvised interaction.  Check out the resulting scripts on this website under their individual production pages or stop by my horror author site to see the scripts for Horror at Terror Creek and They Suck!

(Dr. Audley Salmon from Horror at Terror Creek)

  • During the production of 13 episodes in the A Man of Great Importance Explores the Scary Changes, and Social Decline, and Secret Horrors of the World, and He Doesn’t Like it One Bit!, Jason partly memorized and partly read from cue cards for fewer takes than you might think, as Kevin operated camera and I looked on in the party room of Kev’s and my condo.  It was low budget and low tech, in the great tradition of Space Zombies…and I was so happy to gather together a few guest stars, including Dr. Vic (Kevin Risk), Zombie Lord (Conor McCreery), Inspector Gidget (Albert Masters), Lance Serious (Rob Downes), Mrs. Smith (Andrea Lyons), Zombie Boy (Darcy Windover), the Star Fish puppet and Monster Toad Beast (rubber stunt double), and via previously recorded footage, Ju-Jube (the late Frodo B. Macaulay-Risk).  An excellent way to celebrate 13 years of Space Zombies!

Check out Jason’s performance, starting with Episode 1.

  •  I decided to publish some of our produced scripts from 2012 – 2014 (titles listed above), which led to much reminiscing at the time, too.  Publishing the scripts also led me to write novelizations of the three scripts that comprise “The Trilogy of Horrifically Half-baked Ham”.  Check out the Publishing and Licensing page for more info.

  •  We had a reading for the as yet unproduced play, Horror at Terror Creek, in October of 2010, only a few months after our run at the Fringe.  My fondest memory of this reading was how perfect the reading cast was – almost every single person brought their character to life in such a way that they duplicated the voice of each character I had heard in my head when writing the play (of course, I had certain cast members in mind as I wrote the play during breaks at my part-time job at the time).  You should really check out Scott McCord’s recording of the single song included with the play (and the novella), My Turn (music by Scott McCord, lyrics by Scott and I), on our news page.  Love it!

  • Prior to the Horror at Terror Creek reading, we had multiple readings of the screenplay, They Suck, but the most memorable for me included the screen tests and the reading at Hart House, U of T…it was here that Albert Masters caused lifetime lovers of the classic children’s novel Charlotte’s Web to both laugh and weep at his salty recitation in his role as the Gardener.  Even if this particular screenplay is never produced by Triple Take or anyone else, I have these bits and pieces, as well as the novella, to cherish.

  • In 2010, Rob Downes and I co-produced two plays in the Toronto Fringe at once – The Aquarium and Tightrope.  Most of my memories involve The Aquarium (which I co-wrote with Allison McWood and directed), including a carefully choreographed slap-stick scene near the end of the play involving accidental punches landed, an opening front door, a character falling over a couch, and on and on leading to a guy ending up falling out a window offstage.  I am forever grateful to Kevin Robinson for designing this sequence with me!  It was never exactly the same night by night – how could it be – but it was brilliantly performed!

(Anthony Palmer, Scott Moore and Allison Price where some of the cast involved in the big slap-stick scene)

(My Red-eyed Tree Frog, Dido, and I in a promo shot for The Aquarium)

(A scene from R. J. Downes’ Tightrope)

  •  Without Whom was a show I co-produced for two Fringes in 2008 with Rob, who wrote the show based in part on the life of Ray Bradbury, and made me tear up at particular points every time I saw it.
  •  Ah, Last Dance of the Dark Cloaked Avenger…the show of missed cues (see Andrew Dundass’ memory), beautiful 1940s period costumes, and working on the old Alumnae Theatre mainstage!  Some of my favourite memories actually involve the recording of three promotional episodes of the radio play The Dark Cloaked Avenger:  Slither of the Snake, which were recorded in Kev’s and my bedroom walk-in closet!

(Greg Corkum as The Dark Cloaked Avenger)

(Andre Davey created live Sound Effects for the show)

(Kevin Risk and Linzee Barclay performing “on air”)

  •  It Was Kit: The ‘True’ Story of Christopher Marlowe…One of my fav moments was the corpsing – corpsing actors (Kevin and Jeff) in and around the same spot in the same scene over several performances during both the Fringe run and the Best of the Fringe run.  I admit it, I sat in the front row for one performance during the Best of the Fringe specifically to make sure the corpsing happened!

(Jeff White, Kevin Risk, Jason Reilly, Albert Masters, Scott Moore, Chris Coculuzzi and Stephen Flett in an It Was Kit promo photo)

(It Was Kit cast photo)
  •  Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem! (or the three short film episodes – Space Zombies: Terror From the Sky!, Space Zombies II: Monsters Unleashed, Unabridged and Unplugged! and Space Zombies III: The Incredible Duel-Headed Cat Freak!)…So many great moments during this production (far more many frustrating moments during post production, especially for Kevin)…Kelsey acting like she was a cat with a poor British accent; a crazy 20 hour shoot at the Cat Doctor (subbing for many different locations, including Dr. Vic’s Cat Clinic, Zombie Tech Labs, and the old Cat Doctor basement was both Dr. Vic’s Cat Clinic and the Space Zombies’ ship); Johnny (our camera operator) shooting from the open trunk of a moving vehicle while Boolashacka, the Duel-headed Cat Freak (better known as Kyle) gave chase; Dave pretending to hit Kevin over the head repeatedly during a spaceship crashing scene…

(A Space Zombies ship battles a Monster Toad Beast and Mutant Starfish in downtown Toronto)

(Boolashacka, the Duel-Headed Cat Freak, chases a car – where Johnny shoots from, in some shots!)

(I’m Zombie Girl, with Darcy Windover as Zombie Boy, Conor McCreery as Zombie Lord, and Frodo B. Macaulay-Risk as Ju-Jube!)

  •  SketCh TV…Kev’s “Lack-an-Accent-Foundation” PSA sketch is definitely one of my favourites.  The Dancing Man segues were also delightfully mental.  Andrea’s pants stuffed with padding in the “It Depends” commercial sketch and Rob screaming almost incoherently in the “Crazy Mike’s Computer and Pet Emporium” sketch stand out for me as well – not to mention Conor’s voice over and Shona’s teeth in the “Crust Toothpaste” advertisement.

(Micah Thomas as Dancing Man, with Andrea Lyons in the opening credits)

(Judy Singh and Rob Downes with one of the old Toronto Moose Statues (wow, that really date things) in the opening credits)

(Rob Downes as Crazy Mike, with Frodo!)

(Conor McCreery, Prea Macaulay-Risk and Kim Croscup in a still from the Cat Clinic sketch)

  •  The Paradise Lust Romance Series…I just wanted to take this moment to thank this cast AGAIN not only for their terrific performances during each act of the play, but for being real troopers and performing in intermission sketches every night (and each night we had different sketches – whether it was a stolen musical number from The Rocky Horror Show or a borrowed sketch from Monty Python).  These guys really went above and beyond.  Oh, yeah, and they were awesome in the actual play, too!

  •  Balaclava (a film trailer)…The greatest moments during this strange endeavour involved both the production and the pre-production location scouts – in other words, the trips to various ghost towns of Southern Ontario.  Rob, Kim and I went on a scouting trip to search for around 10 different ghost towns all tucked away in various corners between Toronto, Bancroft, Renfrew and Douglas.  Kev, Kimmie and I returned to Marlborough and Balaclava to shoot the actual trailer.  Maybe someday there will even be a full-length script to go with this little trailer/pitch!

(It was just Kim Croscup and Kevin Risk and I shooting the Balaclava trailer up north)

  •  Watching Mr. Body…Two shots – one static (with over 20 takes – and we needed them – we used the very last take), one single shot in motion weaving all around a park.  A good sort of short film for theatre actors to perform in.  😉

(The Watching Mr. Body cast and crew for the outdoor shot)

(The Watching Mr. Body cast and crew for the indoor shot)

  •  Crime and Etiquette…the play where I met Kevin Risk (whom I married October 31st, 2004).  Full stop.  🙂

(A promo photo for Crime and Etiquette with Jason Reilly, Luc de Bruin and Kevin Risk)

  •  Music and Laughter & Homesick…Judy’s sass and Kim’s time to direct!  I also fondly remember the Recycled Classic Theatre and its airplane seats and leftover old fashioned projector.

(Homesick cast photo)

(Music & Laughter cast and crew photo)

  •  The Scary Bitch Project…Mom’s catering AND performance!  Dad’s performance left a little to be desired, but we were able to make it work to our advantage in a big way!  The random Fergus Ontario citizens we stopped to get “authentic commentary” from were pretty awesome as well.  There was also this guy who seemed to fancy himself the unofficial guardian of the forest on the border between Fergus and Aboyne.  He warned Judy and Greg not to “set up camp or do any drinkin’ here.”  I think he also took down the small markers Mom and Dad had put up to help us find certain settings we wanted to film in.  Later that night, Rob and I were stuck in the complete and utter darkness of that woods, while Judy and Greg filmed Jeff and Kimmie by the shack (also an odd-ball thing about that woods – some kid…or maybe the guardian guy…made the effort to build a log shack in the woods).  Rob had to shout off camera and I had to ring a school bell for the sound effect.  I swear twigs snapped behind us and something was out there.  It was kinda terrifying.  Rob and Kim both had to wander off straight into the darkness a couple of times, and there was enough screaming that we thought someone from a nearby neighbourhood would surly call the cops (yes, it was a very small forest, and yes, there were houses mere minutes away, but it was still freakin’ dark!)…

(My step-dad, Doug Bell, as the Fisherman in The Scary Bitch Project)

(Jeff Hannaford at the end of The Scary Bitch Project)

(Kim Croscup cries very well on camera!)

(Rob Downes complains with toilet paper in the background in a forest in Fergus, ON)

(Cast and crew photos for The Scary Bitch Project)

  •  Bitter…Such a gifted cast.  That’s my most prominent memory.  Working with Dylan, Mark, Blake, Kimmie and Rob was a great way to wrap up my final year at Ryerson U.

(Cast and crew of Bitter: Dylan Trowbridge, Mark De Angelis, Blake Thorne, moi, Kim Croscup, Jason Law, Robert Scott Nardecchia , Blair Dwyer)

  •  Sketch TV…1997 was when we made our first attempt at Sketch TV, filming four sketches (one of which ended up in the final version of SketCh TV).  Jay did most of our camera work, Rob and Blair and Judy and I wrote one sketch each and swapped sketches to direct.

(Cast and crew of the original 1997 sketches shot for Sketch TV)

(Ella Says was the band that allowed us to use several of their songs in both versions of Sketch TV)

  •  The Foreign Film…Writing with Blair, Jay and Rob based on old notes from sketch comedy brainstorming sessions Rob and I had done in high school with Shina and Fred really stands out for me.  I also remember sorting out how to make the video (betacam) look like old, scratched up film and having three versions of the script (one in English, written for the benefit of the actors having a translation, one in Italian, the language the actors had to perform on camera, and one in English, written as if the audio had slipped in post production, which is the joke).

  •  Where are the Birds?…This was our first Fringe show ever.  I’m glad it was the first of several.  Loved having a chance to work with Judy again, and with Shina (especially having her act), and so glad to have met Kim during this show.  Also, Insurp (now Ins) Choi was the lead in our show (he went on to write Kim’s Convenience)!

(Cast and crew photo for Where are the Birds? at the 1996 Toronto Fringe Festival)

  •  Evenings of Multiple Madness…The first was a blast (produced in Whitby), the second was good (Whitby again), and the third was a bust (North York).  Oh, well.  You can’t win ’em all.  😉

(Cast and crew of the first Multiple Madness show)

  •  Evening of the Absurd…Rob ran with this one entirely on his own in our home town of Whitby.  It was nice to have a chance to “just attend” as nothing more than a producer.

(A scene from short play Synthetic Dreams, by R. J. Downes, in Evening of the Absurd, with Rob Downes and Doug Fost)

  •  Paradise Lust & Judgment…This was the first version of The Paradise Lust Romance Series (basically, it was the first act).  It was written as a radio play project for a class in my first year in Radio and Television Arts (Ryerson).  It was co-written with Judy Singh (with whom I had just reunited, having been friends in kindergarten!), Nat Lauzon and Julianne Grenkie.  And Judgment was my second shot at Stage Management (though it was Rob, who wrote Judgment, who went on to Stage Manage many more shows than I ever did).

(Cast of Judgment)

(Cast and crew of Paradise Lust)

  •  A Short History of Night…Triple Take’s first show.  It was a grade 12 high school project for me, but with the help of my cast and crew, we were able to fund raise, rent the Oshawa Little Theatre for two nights, and after many summer rehearsals in my mom and dad’s living room, perform the play by John Mighton “for real”.  Rob registered Triple Take Productions’ business name as a partnership between the two of us on this date in 1993, well in time for our August performances.  John Mighton attended on our second/closing night and was proud of us.  In particular, he was impressed with Simone Cordice’s performance as the dwarf, Jepp, originally written as a male role.  I had to request permission from Mighton’s agency to change Jepp’s gender, which may have been a major reason he wanted to attend the show (not to mention being curious about how a bunch of high school kids would interpret his comedy about the darkly wacky life of astronomer/astrologer Johannes Kepler).  He was so pleased, he later told me he would consider changing the role officially to allow for women to play Jepp as well.  It was all just the beginning, but it was also a pretty big deal to me, too.

(Cast and crew of A Short History of Night performed at Oshawa Little Theatre)

…Not to mention a number of films, plays and radio plays that didn’t get off the ground, but may yet someday.  There’s a silent horror film meant to be created using technology from the 1920s…radio plays, plays and a short film written by Kevin Risk…and a play I’m almost ready to publish.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Triple Take Productions!  25 more?


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