Things I learned Dog-Sitting


I recently dog-sat and, as always, I feel it’s important to impart my wisdom. I love dogs and whales. They’re my two favourite animals. I’m sure one day I’ll get the opportunity to whale sit but for the time being I will just pass along some tips to you future dog-sitters!

– Don’t actually sit on the dog. Yes, it’s a good way to keep an eye on them but I don’t think they like it. They squirm a lot and it’s uncomfortable. I should have learned from my mistake when I used to babysit.

– Its important to maintain the dogs schedule. They should eat and go for walks at similar times to when their masters are home. In case you’re unfamiliar with the masters habits, you should monitor their behaviour for weeks by overseeing them from the outside. Preferably use binoculars and an unmarked vehicle in order to not arouse their suspicions thereby altering the behaviour you intend on studying.

– Use the poop bag to pick up the dog poop. It is not necessary to pick up the dog pee in the same way and attempting to do so will just waste your time.

– Play with the dog! Dogs love it when you play games with them. In my experience they’re not great at them though. I played several games of chess with my dogs and they only won 1 out 3.

You’re welcome!

Chapters & Stages


I was wondering what it would be that would make me cry. It usually doesn’t take much, but as we packed up the items from our condo, nothing seemed to make me overly sad. I was beginning to think that maybe I wasn’t going to. Maybe I’d matured, become emotionally stronger over the years.

Then this.

I decided to throw away an old piece of luggage and as I walked away from it, I looked back and completely lost it. That piece of luggage sitting in the garbage triggered the rest of my emotions and quickly I became an emotional mess.

The adventures we’d had together! The things we’d seen!

Buying your first home is a big step. Who knew that selling your first home feels just as big?

It can be scary and sad. If you let it be. For me, it’s important to frame moments properly. Take stock of the good and bad. Consider the context. How have the past six years shaped up? 

Six years ago we moved back to Montreal from Calgary and embarked on a new adventure. Living downtown, being around family, and restarting the little theatre group I’d left behind when I left the province. That last one ended up becoming a much bigger part of my life than either of us expected and its something I’ll have to strike a better balance with in the future.

Life in our downtown condo has been nothing like our quiet life in Calgary. It’s been busy, energetic and …busy. Did I say busy? I also want to say chaotic. The two words sometimes feel interchangeable. Theatre has kept me busy, not just in terms of my time but in terms of my finances and in terms of my social life. I’ve made some amazing friends these past few years but I’ve also missed the quiet life the two of us had in Calgary. Our schedules and commitments were more balanced between us whereas here, it’s been a challenge.

So now, as the papers get signed and the movers take away our furniture, I can be sad for a lot of things, sure. I can be sad that this chapter is over. And It’s been a great chapter. A lot of good. A lot of bad also. A lot of growth. 

In the end, we aren’t moving because we are bored of how life is.

We are moving because we are ready.

We are ready to take the best of what we’ve learned to love so far in life and in our relationship and adventure forward into what we believe will make us happy as we start the next chapter together. 

We want to take the best of chapter one (closeness, comfort, quiet), mix it with the best of chapter two (family, friends, adventure) and add some new elements while continuing to improve ourselves personally. I keep learning a lot about myself and my shortcomings and I’m determined to not settle into them as I get older. 

So, yeah, I could be sad and I will be sad but I will look forward to what I believe is the path I’m on ; take the lessons, take the best, know more about what you love and what you don’t – and then build on that foundation to make what’s next even better than anything that’s come before.


I am lucky. Incredibly lucky. To have someone beside me who feels the same way. Who grows with me and makes my story rich with laughter, love and memories that make me smile when I’m alone. Who challenges me to not settle with myself or my shortcomings and who believes in my ability to become better with each passing day.

Goodbye to the view – hello to the new! Here we goūüėČ

PS. I went back to grab the red stuicase. I figured it had been my companion on so many trips it deserved one final transatlantic cruise type travel adventure!

Bright Half Life & The Importance Of Supporting The New


Every show I’ve produced has been a step and a lesson. I’m a strong believer that if we find lessons in our experiences, good or bad, they help us to become stronger and wiser. Over the years those lessons have allowed Brave New Productions to become the creative, resourceful and passionate company that it is today.

Lessons come from opportunities and we’ve discussed the idea of supporting emerging artists and companies for awhile now. We would never have been able to grow without kindness and generosity from our peers and we feel it’s important to pass that on.

When I sat down with Amanda Goldberg from We Are One, I clearly saw a passionate theatre enthusiast, fresh out of school and eager to get to work. The script for “Bright Half Life” felt like a good chance to extend an opportunity. I had always envisioned the piece as a work of movement, performance driven and stripped bare of any technical requirements. 

Creating opportunity is a nice idea but too often results in micro-management. Striking a balance is a challenge, but not impossible. Our team collaborated on casting and ultimately selected fresh, young actors who, similar to We Are One, are just now emerging onto the Montreal theatre scene. Shanti Gonzales and Kelly O’toole are dedicated, talented performers who have tackled the challenge of a story told out of time and out of order and have impressed me with their commitment and professionalism. 

It’s inspiring.

After that, we stepped back and allowed this small team to create the show they wanted to make. We didn’t dabble or stick our hand in the pot. We made ourselves available, offering guidance and recommendation but never insisting.

What I never expected was that the experience would become a massive lesson for myself and Brave New Productions. Watching a new, young company create has allowed us to see our own process with fresh eyes. We’ve seen new, dazzling approaches that have surprised and inspired us and we’ve also realized there’s a lot that we take for granted that we’ve grown into over the years. Over time, we’ve refined our values, our skills and shorthand with each other. We’ve learned how to speak to each other and to understand our expectations and the boundaries of our roles. These are things we’ve learned and that we will continue to learn more about. We don’t have all the answers. Not yet. Not by a long shot.

That has been the magic of “Bright Half Life” and it’s turned into a wonderful show, that has evolved beyond the pitch, into something that is no longer just the idea in my head, but the ideas and execution of a whole new set of talented artists who are ready to share their passion and talent with Montreal.

Donald’s Summer Playlist


If I am known for anything, it is my incredible taste in music. As summer is now fully upon us and in full-swing (in fact, perhaps, half-over) I have come to the rescue to give you my bonafide musical recommendations. I figure if President Obama has a summer playlist to share, so should I.



Yes, I find Justin Timberlake extremely annoying. He’s extremely talented but can’t seem to pick just one skill which is very irritating. He’s a great singer, dancer and actor – but dude, pick one. This is the first Justin Timberlake song with some pep to it – possibly as it’s produced by Max Martin (who has made every famous pop song from the past 100 years). It’s the Blurred Lines ¬†Uptown Funk ¬†song of the summer!



Is it a metaphor? Does Cake mean something? Or is this song a literal celebration of enjoying pastry in a seaside setting? ¬†Either way, I can appreciate the sentiment. Lyrics include “I’m tired of all this candy on the dry land” which I think we can all agree is a real problem these days.



Oh the catchiness but such deceptively vague lyrics. What was the pill? Was it a Tylenol? What does Avicii think of the song? How do you ride the bus Mike Posner – apparently you do it in a very uncomfortable way that people shouldn’t envy.



Britney came to save the summer with this mid-tempo song that leaves things quite open ended. Is she looking for someone to make her Orange Juice? Oatmeal? We may never know but the mystery plays second fiddle to the catchy tune.



Just to help you feel empowered as you get dressed in the morning. You haven’t lived until you’ve put on your socks to this epic score. It will lead you into your day ready to conquer new lands and people.

Well – there’s my list internet! Extremely comprehensive. Every summer song you need to know about! You’re welcome!






Shut Up And Drive – The Story of a Montreal Non-Driver


I don’t know how to drive.

I mean, I still do it, I just have no idea what I’m doing. I fly through red lights. Flood the engine. Strip the gears. No, that’s not true. I don’t even know what that means. Strip the gears? I have a visual, but it’s probably not right, of¬† a gear dancing up on a stage¬† bent over a pole while other car parts try to stick dollar bills in it’s g-string. Sure, the gear tells you it’s just trying to work it’s way through college, but somewhere deep down you know the life of easy money and cheap crack will suck it in.

Where was I?

I actually don’t know how to drive. I don’t have a license, have never had a license and though I’m fairly sure I could start a car and move it, I’m pretty sure I would only end up moving it as close as the nearest (a) wall (b) other car (c) Hobo.

My lack of license and know-how isn’t intentional. When I was sixteen I fully planned on getting my license, but somehow I never got around to it. There were always buses, and lifts from friends, and camels. For the longest time I would do that thing that Michael J. Fox did in “Back To The Future” and just hold on to the back of cars while riding a skateboard and hope they were going in my direction. I ended up in Boston once doing that. It was winter. Not pleasant.

Suddenly, time’s gone by and I still have no idea how to drive and to be truthful the idea of learning now is actually a bit expensive scary. I can’t picture myself behind the wheel, commanding this huge piece of metal that, at my will, can reach velocities that are simply unnatural for human beings. I’ve tried and I just start screaming when the car is moving. “Fuck. Shit. We’re going to crash,” I scream, while moving at a snails pace through an empty Costco parking lot.

I’m great at being a passenger. I can play CD’s and adjust the radio…oh and I’m a master at temperature control. I can ride the bus better than most people (I don’t know what that means but it’s most certainly true).

I imagine it must be liberating to just get in the car and drive wherever you want and sooner rather than later I’m sure I’ll buckle down and get my license (get it? buckle down?). In the meantime, enjoy those Donald-free roads cuz you know, it’s only a matter of timeūüôā



The Pokemon Go phenomenon is very interesting. I’ve played the game and find it no more or less addictive than popular games that have come before it (Doodle Jump, Flight Control, Flappy Bird). I’ve also tried out plenty of geocaching apps that turn your neighborhoods into scavenger hunts. Neither type of app is new or revolutionary, though the combination of the two, with the Pokemon branding, make for a unique phenomenon. I consider myself well versed enough to form more than the general public’s blanket opinion of good or bad.

There are so many news articles right now. Bashing the game or declaring conspiracy theories is par for the course if something becomes popular. A lot of these articles sound sensationalist and are reaching to sell a story. In the end, Hollywood directors trying to sell tickets can try to create controversy by screaming invasion of privacy, but all I hear is fearmongering and an inability to understand and celebrate the potential for creativity using new technology. 
Let me be clear about one thing (and I’m wagging my finger at those of you who are trying to go hipster and cast judgement on anything popular) – I would never bash a product that encourages people to get out of their house and have fun. Even if they’re outside, moving about, while looking at their phone screens – I still find that better than hiding away at home, scared of the world – which seems to be the direction things have been heading in lately. In that respect, Pokemon Go is a sort of social magic.
I will, however, bash people who don’t know how to be responsible and differentiate a game from life. It seems like quite a few people are using the popularity of the game to act like a fool, and there’s really no reason for it. Only fools act like fools. Like that video of the girl texting and falling into the mall fountain, if you can’t manage your ability to multitask, you need to take a step back and take a good look at your limitations. If you’ve fallen off a cliff, traversed onto private property or blocked traffic while playing a game, you are not responsible enough to hold or have a phone, a car, or a credit card. 
I say this because there is absolutely nothing in the game that is encouraging the type of behavior we’ve read about in the news. Yes, you roam about trying to find checkpoints (which is very easy to do while honoring traffic laws and respecting private property) and when the elusive Pokemon do appear they are always in your immediate vicinity (and if they’re not you can still tap to collect them from where you are) – which means there’s absolutely no reason to cause pandemonium and potential distress for yourself or others. People who use the app to this excess are the same as people inciting violence at a peaceful protest – they are troublemakers looking for an excuse to act the fool and don’t speak for the majority, who are grown up and responsible enough to enjoy a fun game, no matter how addictive or intense it may be.
Just having casually played Pokemon Go, I have seen some truly wonderful social interactions that could only have happened by introduction of some sort of overhyped social experiment invading the public consciousness. It’s neat and fun to see so many people on the same page for something (though it would be nice to see as much enthusiasm for climate change or politics), though it’s telling that the poor behavior of the few tell as deep of a story about their limitations as the pleasure and happiness derived from the many.

Stories To Tell


Wow. It’s hard to imagine but I have produced over 25 theatre projects, most having taken place in the last five years. That’s an insane number. While none of it has been single-handed, I take a tremendous amount of pride in the work in the work I’ve managed to create with my fellow artists.

It’s one thing to look at the numbers and it’s another thing to realize that,  as producer, I have dozens of stories from each production that I could be sharing, both as written entertainment and for my own egoistical stroll down memory lane. Nobody has interacted with each of these shows as much as me. Knows the hard work, the drama, the laughter and tears.

It’s time to share some of my stories.