Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007


A long and busy day. We were called for rehearsal in the morning: notes and bits. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. And the show is so complex that as much cleaning as there is to do, there seems like there is never enough time to get to everything. But bit by bit.

I spent my lunch with my parents. We grabbed a baguette sandwich and sat in the Knot Garden behind New Place. There is no house on the site at New Place, but there are foundations of the house that Shakespeare bought for his family when he came back to Stratford from London. And the garden behind it is exquisite, and open to the public, and a peaceful place to have lunch.


Garden at New Place


Back to rehearsal for to work and clean Dreamboats onstage. And then a half-hour call to get into full costume for media and photo call.


Jenny Young and I were interviewed by Nala Ayad for CBC’s The National. That’s always fun. “Just a couple of working actors on the National News…” . Not bad. They also shot a sequence from the show, and an interview with Josette. And there was a media shot taken for newspapers.


Then only a one hour break and we were back for a singing and voice warm-up before the our final preview. It went really well. Oh there were mistakes and wobbly bits, but that will be the nature of the beast as we continue the run. The great thing is Penny, our fearless and wonderful Penny, is establishing a conversational relationship with the audience right from the top, so they are with her and her story. She is the thread through the play, and we, The Maids, are the fringy bits, the details of her imagination and memory. That seems to be clear in the storytelling now. And that is what we have been aiming for from the beginning.


Penny Downie in rehearsal for The Penelopiad, photo Ellie Kurttz


Go directly home. Do not pass GO, do not collect two hundred dollars. Do not be lured by The Dirty Duck. Due to my email woes I did have to go and sit in the Courtyard for half an hour to send the blog and contact a few folks at home. I am so grateful for the support from friends, colleagues, and readers!


Oh. And a bit of a special thing for all of us: Margaret Atwood sent each one of us a bouquet of flowers! There were tears. It’s all a bit overwhelming when little kindnesses like that appear. Thank-you Margaret. For giving Penelope and The Maids your unique voice.


7 Responses to “Cleaning, Cleaning, Cleaning.”

  1. Nick Collins Says:

    Thank you for the blog. So many strands come together with your story & pictures. I was born near Stratford & taught one year at King Edwards School near the theatre. I can not imagine the Dirty Duck smoke-free. Now an English teacher in North Van I remember Corinne Koslo at Langara & the PLayhouse & Arts Club. Never seen Penny live but her work on TV ..P.D. James & Morse has always been brilliant. My cousins live across the river from the theatre & I got soaked there on June 29. Sorry to miss the show. It looked brilliant on the National News tonight. Good luck to you all & break a leg. NJC

  2. Jayne Watson Says:

    Kate: I have followed your blog with great interest. You don’t know me but I know your brother Paul and sister in law Debbie because I am at the Director of Communications at the NAC…I have seen your work and admired you but never had the opportunity to meet. I hope we do when you bring Penelopiad to Ottawa ! Congrats on a wonderful blog and I hear great things about the show! Best, Jayne

  3. Lynn Slotkin Says:

    Great blog Kate. I’m glad the Canadian contingent has discovered the wondrous talent of Penny Downie, and she’s discovered our fine talent too.
    I can hardly wait to see the show in Ottawa.



  4. Tristan McElheron Says:

    Hello Kate,

    Thank you for delightful blog on the Penelopiad. I’ve been following it with interest because Corrine Koslo is a friend of mine. Would you be so kind and send her my best regards and tell her I’m especially proud of her. I’m so happy for her.

    Also, can you send a message for Philippa Domville? Tell “Pippa” I’m pretty sure we had lockers next to each other at Westmount High School in Montréal.

    Congratulations everyone!

    Tristan McElheron

  5. Kate Says:

    Nick and Jayne! Thanks for your kind comments. It’s quite remarkable to be reaching out in this way with the process of a production. A very unique experience of communication. It sort of feels like I’m sharing secrets. I hope you keep reading, and that you get a chance to see us when we are in Ottawa. I will send greetings to Corrine on your behalf, Nick.

  6. Marylin deVerteuil Says:

    Congratulations to all involved with the show. I am Jenny’s Aunti Marylin and have been searching this past week or so for info on how the play was being received. I caught your interview on the CBC National and called Jenny’s Dad, my brother, at shortly after 10pm to inform him of the interview. I actually woke him up, Yuk! so not sure if he did watch It was great to see you interviewed!!!!! Yesterday I finally saw positive (of course) reviews in the Globe and Mail, plus the Guardian on the net. Wish I could be there to see the performance!
    Love from Jenny’s Aunti Marylin

  7. Lynn Slotkin Says:

    Where’s the entries after Aug. 1. They just stop. Flooding? I live in suspence to find out about your opening night and after.


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