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- A Story of O’s
Because yes, it really has been almost a year. Fuuuuuck. I just posted my schedule for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival on the A Story of O’s page, and I hope to book a venue for a run of the show in Portland before the end of the year as well. I may start writing here more. I may not. Lots of change in my life over the past couple years, and I do miss this as an outlet. We shall see. In the meantime, you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Fetlife as @TonyaJoneMiller. I tend to update social media with much more regularity than this blog.
As a self-produced performer, I can’t afford to be one of those “oh I never read my reviews” actors. First of all, I’m convinced that 99.99% of people who say that are lying. We can spout our lofty artistic intentions all we want, but the truth is that if we didn’t want to affect people, we’d do skits in our basements for an audience of indifferent cats. I want to reach people, to challenge, inspire, and entertain them. I want to foster dialogue that might never happen otherwise, and to open hearts and minds.
Audience members often approach me after a show to share their own experiences. Somehow me sharing my stories gives them permission to share theirs, and I love that. But critics are able to influence others to see or not see my show, and the producer in me knows I must read all my reviews and use what I can from them to help fill seats.
I’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with poor reviews. I’ve learned that it’s ok to allow them to bother me for a little bit, and I’ve learned how to move past them. I’m able to assess whether the reviewer didn’t “get” it, and I’m also able to determine whether there’s valid, constructive criticism I can use to make my show better. I know that, particularly with A Story of O’s, not everyone is going to like the stories I’m telling. They make people uncomfortable and challenge their assumptions and misconceptions. This is intentional, a huge part of my calling as an artist.
So I won’t lie: it’s gratifying and relieving when I get positive reviews like the ones I linked to above. They help sell tickets, and I’d rather play to more people than less. This year at London Fringe, I’ve been blessed with some glowing reviews, and I wanted to share them with you.
A week from today, I leave on tour. After only doing one festival last year, it feels good to be gearing up for a four festival run. Of course, I had to switch things up. So for the first time ever, I’m performing two different shows in one season. You can find show time and ticket purchase information for all A Story of O’s and Threads by clicking those links, but here’s a basic itinerary…
A Story of O’s at London (Ontario) Fringe Festival
Threads at Ottawa Fringe Festival
Threads at IndyFringe Festival
A Story of O’s at Vancouver Fringe Festival
The amazing Eleanor O’Brien (aka, the person who introduced me to the fringe festival circuit thereby changing my life forever) and the good folks over at Sex-Positive Portland have put together the world’s very first theatre-festival dedicated to promoting sex-positivity, Come Inside: A Theatrical Orgy of Intimate Acts! And I am honored to be a part of it!
There are four shows in the festival, receptions, workshops, burlesque performances, play readings, and an open mic…Something for everyone! Individual show tickets are less than $14 including the service charge, plus you can get a two-show nightly pass for less than $22! And if you aren’t afraid to go all-in, a festival pass is under $53 and gets you into every performance and event in the entire festival (except for the intensive workshops)! That’s a pretty damn good deal, if I do say so myself…
A Story of O’s at Come Inside: A Theatrical Orgy of Intimate Acts
7:30p Friday 12 September
9:30p Saturday 13 September (Post-show talkback Q&A @ 10:45p)
7:30p Sunday 14 September
@ Milepost 5, Portland, OR
Single-show tickets $12 (+$1.41 service fee)
Two-show evening pass $20 (+$1.69 service fee)
Festival pass $50 (+$2.74 service fee)
Talking Dirty and Roleplay INTENSIVE
1:00p – 4:00p Saturday 13 September 2014
$40 (+$2.49 service fee)
When I was writing A Story of O’s, I was extremely mindful of honoring my clients and respecting their privacy. First, I used no identifying details about specific callers without asking their permission. Also, I wanted any of my phone sex clients to be able to come to the show and, if they recognized themselves in any way, feel celebrated as opposed to ridiculed. So I am absolutely overjoyed at this rave review from the Willamette Week and particularly proud of the following:
“But the show’s momentum relies not on mere erotic absurdity. Rather than reducing her clients to caricatures, Miller humanizes them.”
*deep sigh of relief* I hoped that’s what I was doing, but you just never know how people are going to interpret things. I have one more Portland performance left, this Friday, and it’s already almost sold out. Then I have a couple weeks off before heading to Edmonton. It’s going to be very interesting (read: terrifying), presenting A Story of O’s to an audience that isn’t comprised primarily of my friends, family, and the kink/poly/swinger/sex-positive communities. I mean, if people think she is a blasphemous slut, what are they going to say about me? Guess I’m going to find out. Heh.
(Sits at computer.)
Ok. Time to make a list of all the potential trigger warnings I should post at A Story of O’s.
(Goes through entire script and starts typing.)
(Reads list. Reads it again.)
Mhmm. Yep. That’s pretty much all of them.
(Breathes a little faster.)
It’s not really that bad. I mean, I barely touch on some of these topics. I certainly don’t act them out on stage. Well, not all of them…
(Gets anxious butterflies.)
(Pulse begins to race.)
I can’t get arrested for this, can I?
(Butterflies turn to full-blown nausea.)
Shit. Shit shit shit.
(Hands start to tremble uncontrollably.)
What are people going to think about me after seeing this? What if they think I’m a disgusting, awful person for even talking about these things? What if nobody ever loves me ever again?
Is it too late to cancel all my shows?
(Checks ticket sales.)
Fuck. I’ve sold advance tickets for every performance. I have to do this.
(Gets heart palpitations.)
I wonder how much it would cost to move to Belize and go off the grid.
(Thinks about lush rain forests. And unspoiled coastal waters. And not doing the show.)
Fuuuuuuck. I have to do this, don’t I? I have to do this show. I have to do this fucking show.
(Takes some deep breaths.)
Ok. Am I absolutely 100% sure I have to do this show, and how come?
(Reads the last few lines of the script.)
Oh. Yes. Right. That’s why.
Just got my venue assignment and show times for A Story of O’s at Edmonton Fringe! I have to confess I’m a little torn about my venue, #2, the Fringe Cabaret Lounge. “Lounge” is a bit of a misnomer, as the room is basically a big warehouse with tables and chairs in front of the stage and row seating on the sides. Cabaret-style, yes, but lacking the small, intimate vibe I prefer. The good news is they serve booze, and I really think a little lubrication will help the audience. Honestly, the show isn’t done yet. I keep adding and editing. But it’s already clear to me that pretty much anybody who comes to see it will have both a moment of “ewww, I really don’t get that” and “oh my god, that’s hot!” Which is of course intentional. Heh.
My show schedule is…not bad. You’re basically guaranteed to get a couple peak show times (i.e., Friday or Saturday night), a couple good times (weekday evening or weekend afternoon), and a couple crappy ones (anything after 9p Sunday-Thursday, weekday matinees). Some festivals will take your input on which non-peak times you prefer, so for example a kid-appropriate show can request an early afternoon slot over a late night one. With Threads, I always requested matinee times. Audiences for that show skewed older, as the subject matter resonated more immediately with people who lived through the Vietnam War era. But A Story of O’s is way more suited to a boozy, night-on-the-town crowd, and I have an awful lot of afternoon shows…
6:00p Saturday 16 August
8:45p Sunday 17 August
2:00p Monday 18 August
4:00p Tuesday 19 August
12:00p Friday 22 August
2:00p Saturday 23 August
6:00p Sunday 24 August
*shrug* Nothing to do about it. Such is the nature of the fringe. And I’m not particularly worried, because after all…Sex sells, right? Heh.
I also booked five shows of A Story of O’s in Portland as a warm-up for Edmonton. Details and ticket purchase link available here. Plus, I’m going to be teaching my Talking Dirty & Roleplay 101 workshop when I’m up in Edmonton. More info here.
I’m going to be a busy lady the next couple months!
I did a podcast with my friend, Liam. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to talk to me for an hour and not pay $3/minute, it’s kind of like this…