Posts Tagged ‘spoken word plot’

After my poetry performance on Sunday evening at the Spoken Word Plot, people I didn’t know came up to me and thanked me.

Back in high school, we were assigned personal journals for drama class. I loved writing them because back then, like now, I was very analytical and enjoyed contemplation in isolation. One of my favourite comments from my teacher was: “Very honest. Thank you.” I took that as a compliment.

Those who have attended my poetry performances know that while my writing is undeniably personal and that I occasionally (understatement of the year) talk about my sex life, there is nothing that is written for shock value, nothing that would be considered “over share” or “too much information”, and nothing that is not completely accessible to the majority of adult audiences. Heck, I would be comfortable having my mother in the audience.

I’m just sharing my stories. And some people want to hear them. So that’s why I do it.

It’s impossible to describe exactly what happened Sunday night (though you could see Andrew Snowdon’s review on Ottawa Tonite for a pretty decent description AND video); even I’m not quite sure what happened. All I know is that I was onstage with my dear friend Nadine — who, by the way, was wearing an incredibly sexy purple dress — and it was magnificent. I have never seen her so vibrant, so full of feeling. Her poetry is heartfelt and it is very funny. I think we made a good team. Lauryn, Michelle, and Shu were fantastic on the open mic. And I loved watching people in the audience. I could see Danielle completely engaged in the performance, nodding her head whenever she felt she could relate to what was being said. I watched my new friend Stephanie in the front row, her eyes widening occasionally, and breaking into fits of laughter at the appropriate moments. Paul and Jesse were taking wonderful photos. Nadine’s devoted husband Phil was holding the video camera. Then there was Alix, my drama teacher from when I was only ten years old, smiling encouragingly. And near her were Jan and Jennifer, a couple of professional storytellers that I have adored from a young age.

I guess all I want to say is that I am very grateful. People that I admire actually took the time to come to my show. And then they actually took the time to tell me how it affected them. That means so so much to me, and I hope they know that.

On a related note…

On Thursday I am leaving on a two-week trip for the United Kingdom to figure things out for next year. I expect these next fourteen days to be life-changing, and I have never been so excited. There is the potential for romance, adventure, and new beginnings. I am 23 years old and I have so much more to experience. Let it begin.

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The role of a lifetime

Jessica Ruano to play Nadine’s Thornhill’s clitoris in the Spoken Word Plot

Ottawa, April 6, 2010: Most female performers dream of playing Desdemona or Hedda Gabler or Blanche Dubois. But local arts enthusiast Jessica Ruano has much higher aspirations. Since meeting local playwright/actor Nadine Thornhill over four years ago, Jessica has yearned to play the role of Nadine’s clitoris. As astonishing as it may seem, Jessica will have that opportunity on Sunday, April 11, 2010 when she and Nadine perform as headliners at the Spoken Word Plot in JR’s Downstairs Pub, 385 Ottawa Street in Almonte, Ontario.

“It’s a dream come true” says Jessica, between tears. “I performed the coochie-snorcher piece in the Vagina Monologues back in second year university, but this… this is the role of a life time. I feel like my years of clitoral experience are finally paying off.”

The poem, Clitoral Protestation, was originally written and performed as a solo piece by Nadine for a local erotica series called Talented Tongues. However, after having seen Jessica perform at other poetry events in Ottawa, Nadine realized that the role was ideal for this cunning linguist.

“The subtlety of Jessica’s performance style is just right for playing the clitoris,” explains Nadine. “In order to do the role justice, the performer should have certain sensitivity in regards to the female body, and know how to push all the right buttons.

Jessica Ruano and Nadine Thornhill perform a collaborative set of their own poems and storytelling pieces and haikus at the Spoken Word Plot this Sunday in Almonte. For more information, please follow this link to view the official press release.

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Over the last five years, I have worked as a publicist for numerous theatre companies and arts organizations in Ottawa and beyond. While I have tended to develop strong attachments to these groups, I have always maintained a healthy degree of objectivity in working with them; able to view their work from an outsider’s point of view, to see through the eyes of the media and potential audiences in order to create relationships between the various parties.

This objectivity is much more difficult to maintain when promoting my own work. I often find myself straddling (ahem) the line between vanity and self-deprecation. Do I tell everyone how totally awesome I am, or do I let them formulate their own opinions by simply providing them with the facts? Since I don’t have that objective distance, I might not be my own most reliable judge of talent. So, to a certain extent, I have to rely on the favourable opinions of other people, and not only on my own sense of good taste.

Two such people – local poets Graeme Loh El O’Farrell and Sean O’Gorman – were sweet enough to create a short promotional video to advertise my upcoming feature show with fellow poet Nadine Thornhill at the Spoken Word Plot on April 11 . Here’s the clip:

This is where the self-deprecation comes in: even though I really like what these guys have done with the video, I still think I look like a total dork (or perhaps “adorkable”, as Nadine would say). But is that just because everyone finds it weird seeing themselves on screen? I’ve been told that my poetry (or perhaps more aptly named “poetic monologues”) works well in performance, but does it translate on screen? Heck, I don’t know.

I’ve heard that a promotional video can “make or break” a marketing campaign. So here’s my question: does this video inspire you to bring a truckload of friends and family to my show, or does it make you want to run screaming in the other direction? I would love to hear from people who have seen me perform, as well as from people who had no idea that I have a life outside my computer.

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