What is your role on this production? Assistant Director. It entails sitting at the table while people play out their lives in front of you. And you judge them. I’m pretty much God. Well, technically, Alex is God. I’m at the right hand, so I’m Jesus. Who is God…So, yes. I’m God.
What is your background in theatre? I am finishing my degree at the U of A, majoring in English, minoring in Drama. I took some time off school after my first year (I was too cool for school), but came back because I wanted to learn how to write good. I run a book and theatre vlog on Youtube called The Pretentious English Major: www.youtube.com/pretentiousem. When I grow-up, I want to be a playwright/novelist. As for Walterdale, I once saw a Fringe show on its stage that I still have nightmares about. Delicious, wonderful, cold nightmares.
Tell us about the Walterdale experience? Walterdale has been an amazing learning space for me. I joined Jennie’s Story because a) I wanted a free directing course from Alex (former U of A prof, who I actually had that first year of university before I decided I was too cool) and b) I wanted hands-on experience. I have been privy to production meetings, went to Walterdale workshops, and (perhaps most horrifying of all) have seen the inner-workings of Alex’s director brain. I love the peer-to-peer spirit behind Walterdale, where people who love theatre come together, pool their talent, their drive, and their passion, and MAKE THEATRE.
Why should people come see Jennie’s Story? How is it relevant today? The stock answer is because this show addresses the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta. And it’s an important and horrific part of our history as Albertans and Canadians. But I’ll give you a real answer: I feel it’s important, I know it’s important, and I feel and I know this all so strongly that there really aren’t words to suffice. It’s one of those truths that gives you a lump in your throat, a slight feeling of panic, that makes you want to cry because your body is too small to hold in everything this show has to offer and you need to let some of it out. That is why you need to see this show.
This play is called Jennie’s Story... If there was a Savanna Harvey’s Story, what would it be about? It would be a farce. I would hire Oscar Wilde to write it. We would blow our budget on costumes and post-rehearsal drinks. The evening before opening, Oscar and I would still be making massive last-minute edits to the script. There would be a few break-downs, probably some tears, I’m not sure from which one of us. Okay, from me. Then opening night would be a triumph of life and art, but I’m not sure we’d have an audience.