Halifax

Archipelago

Every once in a while I like to to write some new poetry. This is one I've been working on for a while and I'm finally comfortable enough with it to release it. I present Archipelago:

Archipelago

A lonely string
of words,
dagger sharp and
ruthless in your head

Brave adventurers
you are,
Braving this untamed wild

with it’s jagged shores
still unexplored

But fail to chart,
the best
path forward

and struggle
To pull
the common thread

When I was young
things were better,
surely you see that
-- Don’t you?

Review: Villain Theatre's The Spanish Tragedy brings out the best of 16th century play

Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets to attend the play.

How much is vengeance worth?

It's the question that lies at the heart of The Villain's Theatre production of The Spanish Tragedy, now playing at Gottingen Street's Bus Stop Theatre.

An adaptation of a play originally written in the 1500's, The Spanish Tragedy shows tremendous fidelity. It's due in part to Dan Bray, the play's director, who chose to set his adaptation in 1930's Spain.

Even more of a departure from the traditional play is the choice to use six non-male actors to portray all characters.

As the two nations of Spain and Portugal come together after a long and bloody war, Hieronimo, played by Katherine Tufts, seeks vengeance upon the men who murdered his son Horatio, played by Madeline Tench.

The play is a bloody experience that is perfectly paced through its 90 minute run time. While The Spanish Tragedy stays loyal to it's roots by sticking to the iambic pentameter of the original, it is still easy to follow.

But the most surprising thing is the play's humour. As a tragedy you'd expect it to be doom and gloom throughout its run but the play keeps a light tone in quite a few scenes. The audience was the beneficiary of every fourth wall breaking look thatLeah Pritchard, who plays Balthazar, shot their way.

As characters flit around the stage, moving in between levels and around the tree that serves as the play's centrepiece, it's not hard to notice the exceptional movement between the cast. Whether it's the interaction between characters or the motion in the background, everything is excellently choreographed.

The standout performer of the play is Tufts. Every time she's on stage is a delight and her ability to switch from angry to crazed at a moment's notice is a sight to behold. As the driving character in the play, Hieronimo is the best example of the theme of vengeance, and you can truly feel it in each of Tufts' mournful screams.   

The play isn't for the faint of heart. There are the aforementioned screams, fights and an excellently rendered but delightfully goulish scene that I won't spoil for you.

I'd recommend you check the play out while you can. The Spanish Tragedy will run until Nov. 20 at the Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen Street.

Hey look at me! I have another degree!

My parents and I after the University of King's College Encaenia or graduation. 

My parents and I after the University of King's College Encaenia or graduation. 

A year ago today I announced that I would be moving to Halifax and attending a journalism program at the University of King’s College. A year later and I am now the holder of a brand new Bachelor of Journalism degree. It’s a journey I couldn’t have done without the help of my parents which you can see in the photo above. They  have supported and helped me through school. They’ve even helped me move into my new apartment in Halifax.

I also have to thank everyone in the journalism program. In the eight months we’ve spent together it has been a fantastic journey. I’ve made so many friends and I can’t wait to see where you all end up. I’m so proud of everyone who has already locked down a job and good luck to everybody who is still searching.

Instructors like Mark Pineo, Elaine McCluskey, Doug Kirkaldy, Shaina Luck and Stephen Puddicombe have been great instructors and even better mentors. Without them I couldn't have learned as much as I have. 

As I’m writing this I’m back home in Saskatchewan for the week. It’s been nice to see the friends I haven’t been around in a few months. Believe it or not it is nice to see the prairies again.

I’ll be back in Halifax next where I will begin the second half of my program. I’ll finally be a graduate student enrolled in the investigative stream of the Master’s of Journalism. It’ll be something that is focused on the type of work I want to do in the future so I'm very excited to get started. I start classes on June 6 and I’ll try to keep you updated on how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ve been attempting to freelance articles so please wish me luck. Until next time! 

Pivoting through the last few weeks

Thank you very much to the staff of Pivot Magazine. (L to R) Alexander Quon, Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner, Jeff Toth, Haley Maclean, Nicole Gnazdowsky. 

Thank you very much to the staff of Pivot Magazine. (L to R) Alexander Quon, Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner, Jeff Toth, Haley Maclean, Nicole Gnazdowsky. 

Note to self: Don’t decide to start a blog right when you go through some health issues. Apparently it makes keeping a regular writing schedule pretty damn hard.

Anyways I wrapped up the radio workshop about seven weeks ago. It was the final one taught by Doug Kirkaldy, who is an excellent instructor and great journalist. I learned how to write in broadcast style, record sound, and cut audio. Radio changed how I think of telling stories.  I consider myself a print journalist first but, when you try to create stories for radio you have to think about sound. Not just for the interviews that I recorded but also ambient noise and sound effects. If you want to check out some of the work I did click here.

I also spearheaded a magazine project, serving as the Editor and Chief of Pivot magazine for its first issue. I had an amazing team of fellow journalism students and friends who made it the magazine that I’m proud to share with you guys right here.

We’re a magazine that focuses on new media creative content. Things like boardgames, podcasts indie videogames, and illustrators. 

Haley Maclean served as the Art Director for the project and she put together the amazing cover of the magazine. You can find more of her work over at pawpaints.ca. Jeff Toth served as the copy editor of the magazine but he also designed a boardgame for the magazine. You can find more about him on his blog.  Nicole Gnazdowsky served as the managing editor and she kept us all grounded during the magazines creation. Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner served as the photo editor but he also put together the magazine's pitch video. Everyone wrote and designed the magazine. I’m so proud of all of them. 

Now I’m in Toronto. I moved here a couple days ago and I’ll be starting with The National Post as an intern on Monday. More to come!

 

 

 

Pushing through when it matters most

View of the arm in Halifax, NS. Taken with Nikon D3200

View of the arm in Halifax, NS. Taken with Nikon D3200

I’m back.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll be posting regularly or even sporadically. But for now I’m back and for now this is what I’ll write.

It is important, I think more than ever, to recognize the contribution my grandmother played in my life. It is more than just genetic. I have my black hair and my skin tone to thank her for but more than that we have a shared history I am only beginning to discover. I know I will never understand every piece of my family history but I’m thankful for what I was taught while she was here.   

The old phrase goes that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Simplistic as that may sound I know that if my grandmother hadn’t decided to come to Canada I wouldn’t be here. 

However, it is much more than that. She left family and friends behind to face adversity, hardship and suffering. All of this was done in order to give the best the life that she could to my father and her other children. While I will likely never understand that pain or the commitment necessary for it, I will appreciate it. 

I’ll take her lessons and everything she taught me and live with it. I’ll learn from it and become better for it. But more importantly I’ll push forward and make something for my own future. It’s what she would have wanted. 

I'll leave you with an excerpt of  Mary Elizabeth Frye's poem "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep". 
 

When you awaken in the morning's hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there; I did not die

 

 

Back to the land of cold and water

Hey guys I'm a little busy getting settled in but I thought I'd post a quick update on what has been happening in the last couple days.

It only took seven hours of sitting but I am finally back in Halifax. Post Christmas Nova Scotia is a lot snowier then it was when I left and while the cold is nothing quite like the -20's of Regina, it definitely has a different feel to it. Saskatchewan has always had the dry cold that even at -40 isn't that bad to walk around in for a short amount of time. Here, if it's even minus -15 I can feel the cold in my bones the second I step outside. The wet cold of Nova Scotia is definitely something I'll have to get used to. 

I'm just beginning the radio workshop and so far it's interesting but I'll try to detail that in a future blog post. I'm hoping to do some updates at least a couple times  week and while they may not always be updates on my daily life they should be entertaining. I'm thinking there will be a couple book reviews and maybe some updates on what news stories I've been interested in. 

Until next time! 

- Alex

New year, new website

Happy New Year! First off, let me welcome you to my new website. My website will function as a digital portfolio and it is in this blog that I will update anyone who is interested on what is going on in my life. 

I'm currently back home for the holidays in Regina, Saskatchewan. That's not where most of this blog will be written but for the next few days it is where I will be. For (at least) the next four months I'll be living in Halifax, Nova Scotia finishing off my post-grad Bachelor of Journalism. 

I'd like to thank Katherine Fedoroff for allowing me to use some of her photos, Vi Giap for taking some of the photos throughout the website, Maia Kowalski for taking the photo used in the blog portion of the website, and finally I'd like to thank Mel Hattie for helping me in creating this site. 

That's all I have to say for now but feel free to check out my portfolio and anything else you see on the site. More content will be posted soon but until then have a Happy New Year! 
 

- Alex