Dinant, Belgium

Just had a short visit to the to the Belgium town of Dinant, right on the River Meuse. This very old town is known for its landmark, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame de Dinant. Right behind it, at the very top of the mountain, is the Citadel of Dinant. You can take a cable car to the top; however, “we” chose to walk it. All 408 steps of it, to walk off the calories from our beer of course. It is worth the climb though, as there is a small interactive exhibit to experience and a breathtaking view.20171111_152107Dinant is also known for Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone from the early 1840’s, its Trappist Leffe beer, delicious chocolate of course, mussel’s for dinner and the couque de dinant. This sweet treat is made of just flour and honey and is not intended to be bitten into. Instead, you break off pieces and suck on it. Or maybe dip it in some tea. Yum!IMG_4445This cute little town was very picturesque, with a few surprises along the way, such as the Rocher Bayard rock and the hidden ruins de creve-coeur. The ruins were a bit of a hike, and maybe not the safest thing to do in the rain, but well worth it. To get there you also walk through a tiny medieval town, and it’s only about a 30 minute commute from downtown. Some other tourist activities included beer tasting at Maison Leffe and exploring the caves at Grotte La Merveilleuse.IMG_4870-EditDo note that as this is a small town, and if you go in low tourist season, most outdoor water activities are closed. There is not much of a nightlife, as things shut down very early, and it is also very difficult to find places for an early breakfast, so feel free to sleep in. A free but fun activity to do is to walk along the river. Check out the colours and architecture of the locals homes, take pictures of the scenery, and breathe in the fresh air, while sampling some fresh Belgium chocolate of course!
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Where should we go next? Any suggestions?
Cheers,
Melissa

How to Act

And that’s a wrap on my first play in Amsterdam! Thank you to the amazing cast and crew for making this an unforgettable experience. The thing that was reiterated to me once again about theatre is that no matter what country you are in, theatre translates the same everywhere. It is months of rehearsals, becoming a close knit family, the usual preshow nerves and producing a magical experience for both the actors and audience alike.

Photo credit to Arjen Veldt Photography.

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The show was continuously sold out with wait lists filling up each night. Be sure to stay in the loop for what In Players will be showing next at http://inplayers.org/… And if you are looking to learn the basics of acting yourself, come join me in Amsterdam! I will be teaching an acting workshop on November 18th! Come learn ‘How to Act’!

Let's Celebrate National Sunglasses Day! (4)

Cheers,
Melissa

My First Amsterdam Play

It’s official! You will soon see me on an Amsterdam stage! I have been cast in the InPlayers production of ‘One Table, Two Chairs’, coming this November. More details to follow, but be sure to check out their website: http://inplayers.org/onetabletwochairs/. Also a note, the play is in English!

One Table, Two Chairs is about the glimpses into relationships we happen to catch: the fragile beginnings, the tumultuous middles, the bittersweet endings. Inspired by A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room and Jules Feiffer’s Hold Me, the play consists of short scenes and monologues which take place at a table with two chairs. The setting may be simple, but the problems we see there are complex: sometimes funny, sometimes scary, sometimes tragic.” By Jacquelyn Poplar and Robert Leeds.


In travel news, we just got back from PARIS! I will be posting all about our adventures shortly so stay tuned! A little teaser… J’aime Paris!!!

 

IMG_1484Cheers,
Melissa

That London Feeling

I just recently spent a few days in Maidenhead and London, UK. This was a very quick visit, but still quite pleasant. London is filled with so many beautiful sites to see, that it was very difficult to fit everything into such a short amount of time.

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We did take a bus tour, for the first time, hoping this would offer the chance to view more of the city in the limited time we had. However traffic was not cooperative, due to closures from the marathon, so this took longer than anticipated. I felt like I was back in Toronto rush hour traffic again! I also noticed that the prices of tourist attractions seemed a bit higher then what I have seen throughout my travels thus far. The important lesson from this spontaneous trip is that planning, or purchasing tickets ahead of time, is definitely key. The most ideal way to travel is to have a firm idea of what attractions you would like to see, and to do your research ahead of time.

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That aside, London is gorgeous. It is a big city with a fine balance between old and new. The major sites are impressive and majestic. The double decker’s were exciting, the food was served in large portions, and the citizens were very helpful. You can feel the love of art and appreciation of Shakespeare throughout the city, which is something that any actress would enjoy. There are also some free attractions for tourists including the Science Center, the Natural Museum of History and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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My personal favourite and most memorable moment cost nothing at all. Walking along the Thames River from the London Eye (Ferris wheel) to the Tower Bridge at sunset, on a Saturday night, is such a treat. It had all the sweets you could eat, drink options, tacos, the sounds of the nearby waves from the Thames, festive music, a live theatre rehearsal, artists sketching their lovers and the captivating orange sky.

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Any suggestions on where to go next in Europe? What to eat? What to see? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for the next adventure!

Cheers,
Melissa

Nymph Errant

I just spent last week back in the theatre, and it felt great! Though I wasn’t on stage this time, but happily helping out backstage with hair, makeup, etc. Regardless it was fun to be working with such a great cast and crew in a Dutch theatre. The show was ‘Nymph Errant’. It’s the light-hearted story of Evangeline Edwards, who graduates from a finishing school in 1933. She and her classmates are encouraged by their teacher, Miss Pratt, to “experiment”, in the broadest sense possible. What follows is a romp through Europe with plenty of opportunities for snappy Cole Porter musical numbers, interesting dialogue, lots of accents, wonderful costumes, a few dance steps, exotic locations and a good time for all.

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Now that it’s all wrapped up, I’m prepping for my next Dutch audition, so fingers crossed and stay tuned!

Cheers,
Melissa

And…Action!

Some time has passed and I can officially say that I am an Actor in Amsterdam. I have now been on set a couple of times, each experience unique in its own. I must say it’s very similar to sets on Canada. The main difference being the language barrier, which means I will definitely have to work on my Dutch skills ASAP. Luckily most people also speak English and are willing to help out! Props to the craft and catering department, as the food options have been amazing and the lunches very satisfying! The crews have also been professional and super friendly. Lastly, figuring out the train system to find my way to set has been an experience as well.

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Here is one of my first videos from a gig in Amsterdam. You may not see me… but I am in there a few times: https://www.facebook.com/dutchcasting/videos/1758395250844323/

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I will hopefully have more to show you from my other booked gig shortly. I can’t say much, but I can say in this one you will be seeing me a lot!

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Though very different compared to Toronto, Amsterdam still has a lot to offer in the acting industry. They have an abundance of events going on in the city for art, culture and entertainment. I hope to see more shows coming up and can’t wait for Amsterdam Fringe!

Annnnd for #TBT… Here’s a photo from when I was a red carpet host!

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Cheers,
Melissa

First Amsterdam Audition!

Good news, not even a month in and I’ve had my first audition in Amsterdam! Yay! It was such a lovely fun experience, this city is so friendly and welcoming.  Annnnnd I’ve already scheduled my next audition! Fingers crossed!

Apart from acting and work, I’ve had the chance to see more of this beautiful city! From flea markets (which I love, open rain or shine), to unique restaurants, music festivals, and to fascinating historic buildings.

This city has so much for offer any day, any time of day! And so much art everywhere you look!

Stay tuned for updates and hopefully some good news!

Cheers,
Melissa

Tulips & Theatre; My first week in Amsterdam

I’ve barely been here a week, and already there is so much happening in Amsterdam! This week was the celebration of King’s Day (Koningsdag), formerly known as Queen’s Day. It’s a street festival that happens in the downtown core, all day and night. The population doubles overnight as people dressed in orange come from all over to celebrate. Some photos from the festivities…

I also went to check out the famous Keukenhof! A 79 acre garden, with over 7 million bulbs in bloom. It is so gorgeous and a true work of art.

From garden art to theatre, I had the opportunity to go view Yasmina Reza’s “Art” from Orange Tea Theatre, in Amsterdam. It was thought provoking, real and hilarious all in one. A plot starting from one friends art purchase…

20170428_194302In case you weren’t aware, it was only a year ago this week that my Mom and I were part of the Mothers & Daughters feature in Chatelaine Magazine. Thanks Facebook for the memory! Check it out here:

http://www.chatelaine.com/living/daughters-talk-about-their-mothers/image/6/

Stay tuned for more updates and be sure to follow my social media accounts!

Cheers,
Melissa

A Canadian in Amsterdam!

It’s official, I am now in AMSTERDAM!

I have landed and am now in the process of getting settled in. During this crazy exciting adventure I plan on blogging more frequently so that you can share this experience with me. I will also continue my pursuit of acting while in Amsterdam, so that should provide some interesting situations for me to share with you! So far I have researched local theatre companies and agencies, have been making contacts, and will be attending my first English speaking theatre show this weekend! If you have any suggestions of places to go and check out, let me know!!!

 Until then stay tuned and enjoy the ride with me! (Speaking of ride, check out my fancy transit pass. You get to use your own photo so… of course it’s a headshot)

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Cheers, Melissa

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