Say What?

Stratford U

I was cast as Lois Lane in one of my first high school plays. I was also in a weird little play called Zeke and the Indoor Plants (Ruth Smilie) where I believe I played the male character, and of course I was cast as Tituba in The Crucible. I wanted to be the next Connie Chung when I attended H.B. Secondary School in London Ontario and acting never crossed my mind. I had a spare and a drama teacher saw me wandering the halls at 2pm and that’s how I found myself pretending to walk through lava.

I spend very little time contemplating how I ended up in theatre. I will always say it was a fluke. I never planned to have a bookshelf full of plays because I wanted to be a journalist. Investigating true stories and how they would affect my life was very compelling to me and even though I didn’t see anyone on the news that looked like me (unless they were being arrested) that’s what I wanted to do.

The same follows for acting. More than performing in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as a dancing girl I was captivated by the fact that The Crucible was about the McCarthy era. I had no idea a play about one historical event could comment on another. It was not a light and carefree piece to pacify audiences, but a challenging, political work, that poked its finger in the eyes of anyone who supported authoritarian rule; I loved it. Arthur Miller made me a theatre convert and I dropped my dream of being a journalist. Fun fact: Miller was the 2nd artist to present a World Theatre Day message in 1963, the first being Jean Cocteau.

However, I believe I’ve retained the spirit of a reporter. 30 years later on World Theatre Day I find myself deconstructing truth in order to create artistic impressions for others to play and observe. I take great pleasure in reading the historical facts that I can manipulate in a creative manner in order to tell a story from multiple valid perspective. I am sitting at a desk at the Stratford Festival, one of the best and biggest theatre companies in the country, where they do a beautiful job of staging work that unites art, craft, politics, and truth. To be here is to be a perpetual student of all things theatre and while I will have learned so much at the end of my tenure, it will have only scratched the surface.