Introducing our Celebrity Guest Judges: Aria Umezawa

Judge_AriaJudge: Aria Umezawa

Hey, Judge! What are you all about?

I work primarily in opera. I am the Artistic Director of Opera 5 – a boutique opera company in Toronto that focuses on producing unpretentious operas that engage with other art forms. We recently took home the Critic’s Choice Award for best overall production at the 2013 Ottawa Fringe, and produced an evening of spooky operas based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. We also have a webseries called Opera Cheats which deconstructs operatic plots and conventions for the uninitiated. Outside of Opera 5 I’m a freelance director and stage manager working across the continent from Montreal, to Boston, to Calgary, or wherever the wind takes me.

What will you be looking for in an ideal competitor?

I model my life after RuPaul, so I am looking for the actor who shows me the most Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent.

What sort of Celebrity Guest Judge(™) will you be?

The goal for any Celebrity Judge(™) should be a balance between Paula Abdul and Blake Shelton. So I guess I will be a charming, potentially drunk, southern belle judge. Make of that what you will.

What is your advice to competitors?

Feel your gig and work it out, and if all else fails, break out into song!

Will any of our Cyrano de BEERgerac competitors take Aria’s advice? Will we have any impromptu songs? Find on Friday: tickets here.

Introducing our Celebrity Guest Judges: Aynsley Moorhouse

Judge_aynsleyJudge: Aynsley Moorhouse (Toronto writer, sound/theatre artist, specializing in topics surrounding aging and memory loss)

Hey, Celebrity Guest Judge! Give us your bio:

Aynsley Moorhouse used to live in New York and therefore is better than you.

What will you be judging competitors on for the Cyrano de BEERgerac Theatre Challenge?


What is your advice to competitors?

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”- Sir Winston Churchill

What kind of Judge do you think you will be?

The Nice One.

See if Aynsley’s scores reflect her niceness on Nov 29th, at the Cyrano de BEERgerac Theatre Challenge! Tickets here.


Introducing our Celebrity Guest Judges: Josef Beeby


Judge_josef copyJudge: Josef Beeby (Toronto filmmaker)

Hey, Celebrity Guest Judge! Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born soaking in the metropolitan cultural milieu of Toronto but raised with the whispers of briny east-coast muses in his ear, Josef has returned to his homeland armed with the unique creative perspective of simple fisherfolk combined with abundant Torontonian pretension. Adopting a British accent to match his perceived talent, his upward rise in the Toronto art world has been meteoric provided the meteor in question is traveling on an almost imperceptible upward angle.
After his debut feature ‘El MonsterCabras’ lost Halifax’s coveted ‘best local film’ award to the Trailer Park Boys movie, Josef declared that the local arts scene had nothing to offer him and that it smelled bad. Back in Ontario, he allowed Ryerson University to accept him as a film student, though he humbly refrained from allowing it to graduate him. During his time there he received the Universal Studios scholarship in filmmaking and won the annual Ryerson Pitch-off, along with three games of foosball in the student common area over the course of four years. After pretending to graduate, Josef accepted a position working on the prestigious television show ‘Museum Secrets’. By total coincidence, two years after his involvement the show failed to be renewed for a new season. Josef now divides his time between heading the post-production department at Associated Producers and continuing a steady stream of personal film projects, none of which he will show anyone because he is concerned about ‘unleveling the playing field’. He has also been known to write short stories, plays, and e-mails to friends and family. His op-ed pieces have graced international bathroom walls. If asked to summarize himself in one word, he would use a word of his own creation which would be meaningless to outsiders.

What is your ideal competitor for the Cyrano de BEERgerac Theatre Challenge?
The ideal competitor will make me forget that I am watching a play. Ideally they will make me believe that I am watching a beautiful sunset from the white sands of an empty tropical beach. Just before the sun dips below the horizon they will make me believe it has gone supernova, and that seconds after the light of it blinds me the last sensation I will ever feel will be a wave of unfathomable energy stripping the flesh from my bones.
Barring this, the ideal competitor will never show a sense of weakness or defeat in the face of their task. Inventive and adaptable to the last, they will stand out by adopting any emergent circumstances smoothly into their performance and will not take the easy way out when having to act or react to surprises and mistakes, keeping the text and the context at the fore without leaning heavily on cheap, fourth wall breaking laughs or charming befuddlement. Also if they can work in the word ‘befuddlement’ that’s gonna be worth some points.

What kind of Judge do you think you will be?
I plan to be a harsh judge, but I plan to use my criticisms as a bridge to my vast stores of inspirational quotes, stories and aphorisms.

Do you have any words of wisdom for our competitors?
Anyone can turn a flubbed line or forgotten cue into an easy joke by playing up the mistake. The standout performer will acknowledge but integrate the mistake and in the best circumstance will use it to enhance their performance or the themes of the play. And pee before you have to go on stage. You can’t ask to go to the bathroom when you’re on stage. I learned the hard way.

Will our competitors heed Mr. Beeby’s advice? Or will we need the Emergency Mop? Find out on Nov 29th – get your tickets now!

Cyrano de BEERgerac: Place bets on your favourite competitor to win!

Join us for the Cyrano de BEERgerac Theatre Challenge on November 29th at 8pm, Winchester Stage & Bar (51A Winchester St). Tickets here.

One of the coolest parts about the Cyrano de BEERgerac Theatre Challenge will be that audience members can pledge money on their favourite actor competitor! This will help to raise their score, giving them a greater chance of winning the whole thing.

“But guys!” You say, “My friend is a competitor and I really want to help them win, but I’m busy on  November 29th and can’t come to the Challenge! Can I still bet on them?”


Solution 2: You can bet online, ahead of time!

Click here or on the paypal button below to pick the competitor you want to bet on – you can pledge money to more than one!

x-click-but04Take me to the donations page!

Introducing our competitors: Callie Presniak

Competitor: Callie Presniak


Bet on Callie – click the Paypal button!

If Callie wins the Challenge, she will take home 33% of the funds pledged towards her! All other funds raised by Callie and the other competitors will go to Theatre Double Take’s next production.


Hey, competitor! Give us your life story.

I’ve been acting like a BOSS since I propelled myself from the womb in ages past, but I guess technically you could say I started acting in high school, which is part of what led me to

pursue professional training from the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. Before that I trained my whole life in dance and, halfway through, voice. Since graduating, I performed in Numbers with KOKUS Productions, a director/playwright with Two Chips Theatre Group, and a dance/acting/arts teacher with both Oaks n’ Acorns and The Travelling Stage. In addition to draping myself in the lavish cloth that is performance art, I create drawings and paintings of freaky, beautiful, sometimes zoomorphic or violent figures, mainly women.

Which role in Cyrano de Bergerac are you hoping to get?

I would like to play Montfleury, because who can’t relate to feeling like a gross loser sometimes?

How will you ‘wow’ the judges?

Assuming the universe declares that I get the role I want, I shall ‘wow’ the judges by giving the absolute worst performance they’ve seen. They’ll cringe. They’ll gape. They’ll hurl their tables forward in a deep rage. And then, in the end of the Great Butchering, with a single tear of reverence sliding gently down their cheeks, they’ll declare me the best worst person ever and victory will be mine.
If I don’t get the role I want, then I guess I could use my training and talent or whatever. But that has a lot less ‘wow’ factor.

Why should audience members bet on you?

If I win, we all feel wonderful validation that I am capable of winning something, which means you’re probably capable of winning something. Can somebody say, “VALUE! (alt. ‘val-le-lue-jah amen’)”

Why should the other competitors be afraid of you?

I have telekinesis.

Come see Callie lift things (and/or other competitors) with her mind on November 29th: tickets here!


Introducing our competitors: Reg Matson


Competitor: Reg Matson
Bet on Reg – click the Paypal button!
If Reg wins the Challenge, he will take home 33% of the funds pledged towards him! All other funds raised by Reg and the other competitors will go to Theatre Double Take’s next production. 


Hey, competitor! What’s your-
Whizpop!– a crack!
A terrifying attack
Too fast for eye to discern,
He threw his punch —
No holding back!–
And the punch would not return!
Oh. Um. Okay. So, what role in Cyrano de Bergerac are you-
Through window, through night!
The fiery fight
That bred the runaway smash
Stood seconds aghast,
Cried “After that smite!”
And broke into a dash.
Cool. Cool. How will you ‘wow’ the judges?
The chase was quick!–
The wallop flicked
Down streets without a trace,
The combatants cursed–
Breath heavy, brows wet–
Defeat!– no keeping pace.
…indeed. Sooooo, why should audience members bet on-
“Come back!” they called,
“You’re but a punch!–
You’ve no right to fly away!
A punch once thrown
At once returns!–
Who heard of one going astray?”
My next question was going to be ‘Why are should your competitors be afraid of you?” but I don’t feel that’s going to be a problem for you…
But the punch flew on,
Alone it shone,
A shimmering soaring smash!–
And all would cry
“A hit that lands is fine,
But a punch that flies?– now that’s panache!”
Witness Reg’s mad verse skills in person on November 29th! Tickets here.