Friday, October 23, 2009

More From The Gascon-Thomas Awards

More details from the awards ceremony from the Montreal Gazette:

Grey's Anatomy star Sandra Oh visited her alma mater this afternoon to receive the National Theatre School's Gascon-Thomas award for lifetime achievement.

Dressed in a white musketeer blouse with puffy sleeves and black knicker-pants with heels, she looked casual, elegant and theatrical. But the fashionista didn't look worried about her makeup as she hugged old friends like actor Kirsten Thomson, who had flown in from Toronto for the occasion (she's due back tomorrow night for the final performance her starring role in Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman at Soulpepper Theatre) , Elizabeth Robertson, associate producer of Radio-Canada's C'est la vie, and Monique Mercure, former general director and mother-to-all at NTS.

Oh broke away from her Global TV interview to embrace Mercure and tell her how great she looked as a blonde. Mercure, who continues to work steadily in French television, said it was so much easier to be a blonde now that her hair is white.

In the interview, Oh said that the Gascon-Thomas Award was in a class of its own. "This one is special because its where I came from. It's who I am," she said.

Meanwhile, Oh's devoted parents (John Oh and Young-Nam Oh), who had arrived from Ottawa for the occasion, were waiting in the theatre's green room, where we had a chat. They said they don't take in all of Oh's award ceremonies. The family takes turns as to who attends. It was her sister and husband who attended the Golden Globes and the parents who went to the Emmies. But Sandra won the Golden Globe and not the Emmy Award, so the family joke is that mom and dad are a jinx. In this case, however, the Gascon-Thomas award was a sure thing. So it was safe for them to come. And only two hours drive away.

The award, which has been given out annually since 1990 to two accomplished and influential artists, one francophone, the other anglophone, is named after the schools founders Jean Gascon (later to become the first Canadian artistic director of the Stratford Festival) and Powys Thomas.

In his accceptance speech, Paul Buissonneau, who was this year's francophone recipient, drew attention to the fact that while Oh was making her belated debut on the Ludger-Duvernay stage due to the fact that it had been undergoing renovations when she had graduated, in 1993, to him, it was a return to the place where he had made his Montreal debut in the 1940s performing with Edith Piaf. His speech was very down-to-earth full of advice to the next generation of NTS students. Buissonneau, in addition to being a co-founder and artistic director of Théâtre de Quat'Sous, was a seminal figure in the development of Quebec francophone theatre. He was introduced by graduating student, Rachel Graton.

Oh, too, gave a highly inspirational speech, aimed directly at the students. She remembered the first day she walked into the school for her audition, thinking, "This is the most exciting place ever." Until then her sights had been set on Concordia University (where the drama department delivers a bonafide university degree.), she said. Ultimately, she admitted, Concordia had turned her down anyway. (Note to self: research this. Is there a Concordia prof somewhere willing to admit that he or she turned down Sandra Oh? Not likely. If it were me, I'd carry the secret to my grave.)

Oh introduced Thomson and Robertson in the audience and stressed how important her NTS class was to her. (See list below.)

Ron Klappholz, the NTS graduating student who introduced Oh at the ceremony, gave a dynamite speech, too, replete with well-timed quips. He's employable, no doubt about that.

Oh said it was one of the best introductions she'd ever had.

After the ceremony, there was a beer-and-sandwiches bash on the café on the ground floor of the Monument National. Oh didn't slip away after five minutes as one might expect of a Hollywood star. Half an hour later, there she was holding court in a corner, surrounded by a dozen NTS students who were hanging on her every word.

If she wasn't so busy portraying Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy, Oh would be one terrific teacher.

Here's the complete list of the NTS graduating class of 1993:
Woody Dalrymple, Jude Foster, Patrick Gallagher, Neil Girvan, Matthew Godfrey, Ruth Madoc-Jones, Kari Matchett, Shawn Mathieson, David McGoran, Sandra Oh, Elizabeth Robertson, Waneta Storms, Andrew Tarbet, Kristen Thomson


1 comment :

Anonymous said...

i love you sandra

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