Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.

Category: The Original Norwegian

October 17, 2011, by

by Melissa D’Agostino

It’s been a while since I had the pleasure of sitting down to tea with some Toronto theatre folks to specifically NOT talk about theatre.  I’m happy to report that I got to do just that with some folks from The Original Norwegian to talk about everything BUT their latest show, Guns & Roses.  Remarkably, we also did not address the topics guns, roses or the 80’s super rock group (and legends) Guns AND Roses.  I can’t tell if that means I’m doing a good job, or a bad job at this, but regardless, welcome back to Tea with D’Agostino!

Guests: Julian DeZotti (Artistic Director and Writer/Director of Guns & Roses), Rebecca Applebaum (Actor), Brendan McMurtry-Howlett (Actor), Peyson Rock (Actor)

On the menu: Earl Grey Tea, Croissants, Brie baked with sundried tomatoes and garlic, crackers, carrots and some chocolate-covered almonds (cause…why not?)

Thumbs and Apps

Melissa: How do you think High School is different now than when we were in school?

Julian: Well, now kids have phones, and apps and video cameras with them.  I didn’t have that.

Melissa: And how has that made school life different, do you think? Or has it?

Brendan: I did recently hear that kids are developing their thumb as the dominant finger.

Melissa: Oh.

Rebecca: What was our dominant finger before?

Brendan: The index finger. So, instead of  pressing an elevator button with the index finger, the younger generation is pressing it with their thumb.

Peyson: Because of video games and cell phones.

Rebecca: And then they’re going to start mutating and get longer?

Brendan: Right.

Melissa: I wonder how they measure that, though.  There must be some test.

Rebecca: I’ve done enough paid tests to know they have tests.


Melissa: You have?

Brendan: Have you ever done one of those sleep tests?

Rebecca: I’ve done that one.

Melissa: Really?

Rebecca: Well, I didn’t do that one for money, I did that for myself.

Julian: Where you have to sleep in a controlled environment?

Brendan: Yeah.  I could not do that.

Peyson: Well now they have that iPhone app that registers what’s happening when you sleep and if you’re waking up.

Rebecca: What? Really?

Melissa: Yeah, I just read about that in Toronto Life. It’s connected to these sleep clinics – you can determine your sleep pattern.

Peyson: Yeah.

Rebecca: How does it sense it? I mean – where do you put it on your body, or…

Peyson: No, I think you just set it on your bedside so it can register it. I think it’s the camera, or maybe it’s the gyroscope.

Rebecca: What’s that? The gyroscope?

Peyson: A gyroscope can sense where you are, like, spatially.  Like, in a driving game, video game—

Rebecca: Oh.  Then it would have to be on you.

Peyson: Yeah, and I don’t think it is.  So…I think it’s just beside you.

Melissa: We’d have to do some research.

Julian: Is there an app you wish existed that doesn’t?

Peyson: I have an idea for an app.  It might actually exist – I never looked into it.  I remember when I was a kid I’d hear a song on the radio and think ‘Oh man, what’s that song?’.  And then they came out with—

Melissa: Shazam, right?

PEYSON: Yeah, Shazam.  But what about the times that you don’t hear a song, but you have one in your head? And you know a couple of notes and you’re like (hums a tune)…

Melissa: Yeah.

Peyson: And you’re like, ‘But I don’t know’ –

Melissa: So you want a mind reader app?


Peyson: Ha.  No, no.  I mean you can put in the genre of it to narrow it down.  Do you know any lyrics to it? You can narrow it down.  Then you sing whatever notes you know and it just keeps narrowing it down.  And you keep making selections and eventually it offers you a song and you’re like, ‘Yeah! That’s the song I keep singing!’

I don’t know how that would work, but…

Melissa: That would be an AMAZING app.  I guess you can’t just sing into your Shazam, right?

Julian: Nope.  Will not compute.

Melissa: That’s right.  Cannot identify.

Tea: The Gateway Drug

Julian: So I was wondering…it seems that a tea party…I mean…would that have been a pre-drink for something? I mean, historically, instead of getting together to drink alcohol, they were like, ‘Okay we’ll get together and have tea, and then smoke opium.’?

Melissa: Were you hoping that there would be opium?


Julian: No, I just feel like this tea with ceremony feels like it’s a gateway to something else.

Melissa: Really? That’s an interesting theory.

Julian: I mean, not like a gateway GATEWAY.

Brendan: It was just an excuse for old ladies to socialize.

Rebecca: Back in the day when they didn’t have phones.

Melissa: Yeah.

Peyson: It was a gateway to gossip.

Drunk History, Tom Green & Pauly Shore

Rebecca: Have you guys seen the Drunk History web series?

ALL: Yeah.

Rebecca: I feel like I learn more factual things from those videos.


Rebecca: That one about Oney Judge? I almost peed my pants.


Julian: Has anyone actually ever peed their pants laughing?

Melissa: Oh yeah.

Rebecca: Definitely.

Julian: I don’t think I have.

Melissa: You’ve never peed your pants laughing?

Julian: I’ve almost had a heart attack, like, I literally couldn’t breathe from laughing, but—

Rebecca: And your bladder didn’t give out?

Julian: Nope.


Melissa: I’ve peed.

Rebecca: Me too.

Peyson: Like, a full-out pee?

Melissa/Rebecca: No./Not full out.

Melissa: Just a moment when everything releases and you’re like, “Oh! Shit!”

Julian: Oh, I see, so a little bit.

Melissa: Yeah.

Rebecca: I remember it happened once in my parents’ basement when I was watching Tom Green.

Julian: (guffaws) Tom Green!

Rebecca: The original Tom Green.  On Rogers.

Brendan: Oh yeah.

Julian: Cable 10 on Friday?

Rebecca: Yeah.  I lost it.  I couldn’t stop laughing.

Brendan: You should write Tom Green a letter like that.

Rebecca: Are you friends with him?

Melissa: Do you have a direct line to Tom Green?

Brendan: No.

Peyson: Well, he probably has time to read fan mail.

Julian: Well he went back to writing a cable access show, but in the States. But he’s doing the same thing that he was 10 years ago.

Melissa: Really?

Brendan: Yeah.

Melissa: That’s kinda sad.  Or maybe not.

Rebecca: Yeah, maybe it’s good.

Julian: Maybe it’s what he’s best at.  I don’t know. Our DJ Fraser was saying that he was playing at the Thompson Hotel on Saturday and Pauly Shore came in with his girls.

Rebecca: His girls?

Julian: I mean, I haven’t heard from Pauly Shore for a long time. But apparently, his mother ran the Comedy Store in LA, right? And then he went to take it over and he bankrupted it.

Melissa: (feigning shock)You mean Pauly Shore’s not an ace businessman?

Julian: No, apparently not.

Melissa: I can’t believe it!


Julian: I thought after Son in Law, I mean –

Peyson: Son in Law’s probably the best one.

Brendan: Uh – Encino Man!

Peyson: Oh yeah! You’re right.

Melissa: (suddenly remembering something I was happy to forget) Encino Man? Wow.  I have totally blocked out Pauly Shore’s entire career.

Julian: And existence.

Melissa: Pretty Much.

Julian: Yep.

High School, Russians & Kurt Browning


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The Original Norwegian, in association with Breakaway Addiction Services & Mixed Company Theatre present:

Guns & Roses

A play written & directed by Julian DeZotti, starring Rebecca Applebaum, Zarrin Darnell-Martin, Alex Fiddes, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Peyson Rock, and DJ Fase

PREVIEW: Monday, October 17th @ 7:30pm – $10

GALA NIGHT: Monday, October 24th @ 7:30pm – $30

Proceeds from evening performance go directly to sending students from under-serviced high schools to see the show for free. You can also make a charitable tax-receipted donation by visiting their partner organization, Breakaway Addiction Services on the Canada Helps site here.

Melissa D’Agostino is an award-winning actor, writer, singer and producer.  She also likes tea.  Check her out at

May 25, 2011, by

by Aislinn Rose

Praxis Theatre and The Original Norwegian begin workshopping You Should Have Stayed Home together this week. We’ll be watching related G20 videos together, and continuing the process of adapting Tommy’s Facebook note for the stage. I’ll be tweeting throughout the workshop, and you can follow along with @praxistheatre via the hashtag #G20Romp.

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I will also be waking up bright and early on Thursday morning to attend the Business for the Arts Breakfast with Shannon Litzenberger. Live tweets can be followed via the hashtag #bizarts, while Shannon talks to us about the future of arts funding in Canada.

Please feel free to join the conversations by sending questions and comments my way throughout.