Have you ever seen Janelle Hanna act? You should. She's fantastic. Your next opportunity starts today. She's in the one-woman Fringe show, Virginia Aldridge, BSc. (written & directed by Elsie Newman) that's already getting great buzz. She answered some questions for me and you gotta read 'em. I think they're (and she's) just great.
Q: How did you get involved with the project?
A: It started two years ago when I did a play reading of a much-shorter version of the play with theatrekairos. After the reading, Elise, the Writer/Director of the show expanded it and asked me if I’d like to be in it.
Q: Tell me about the show. Who is Mary Kingsley?
A: Mary Kinsley was a female explorer in the 1895 who, at a time when women didn’t explore OR travel (especially without their husbands), went to Africa alone. Once there, she discovered many new species of animals, she communicated with the people, she climbed Mt. Cameroon in full Victorian dress…and the show is about my character, Virginia, who follows in Mary’s footsteps to prove to herself and to others that she can.
Q: How are you similar to your character?
A: Virginia and I are probably similar in our neurosis. We over-analyze and over think. We both have great imaginations and often are engrossed with that, rather than being in the moment or focusing on the present.
Q: Would you go to Cameroon alone?
A: No probably not. I think my parents would kill me. I’d go, but with someone else.
Q: Why do you continue to do live theatre?
A: I knew you were going to ask me that! What I love about theatre is the connection with people. When you’re on stage and you make people (in the audience) feel something and you can feel what they’re feeling on stage, it’s so cool. People ultimately want to feel connected and theatre helps in that.
You know those moments when you’re excited and passionate about something and you’re doing it and in the middle it you feel like time stops and it’s as if the moment is suspended in the air, you can’t think properly…and you think, “Yes, this is probably what I should be doing with my life.” I’ve had moments like that in acting and that’s why I keep doing it. I hope everyone has something that makes them feel like that.
Q: Why do you think people don’t go to the theatre?
A: I think most people have a narrow view of what theatre is. When I ask people if they see theatre, they say, Yes! I saw BILLY ELLIOT! or JERSEY BOYS! And, although both shows are phenomenal, they don’t know or think that there’s more than that.
Q: What is special/unique about having a show in the Toronto Fringe?
A: I’m in love with the Fringe. I just love it. So many people are working – Actors, Directors, Writers and it’s a great camaraderie and atmosphere. And I love the Fringe Tent. You have to go it’s so fun; there is so much going on.
Q: What advice would you give a non-Fringer who wants to investigate the Festival?
A: I’d tell them 3 things:
1. If you have friends in shows go see them first. You can support them and because you know them, it’s less intimidating.
2. Get a 5 play pass so you save money and it’s easy to get tickets. Then you’ve committed and you’ll use it and enjoy it.
3. Check out the Fringe program and if something looks interesting, go! Even if it’s not good, that’s half the fun of the Fringe – that you never know what will happen. Then go to the Fringe Tent and have a beer with people!
Virginia Aldridge, BSc opens tonight at the Factory Studio Space (125 Bathurst St). Other showtimes:
Sat, July 9 @7:45pm, Mon, July 11 @11pm, Wed, July 13 @12:30pm, Thurs, July 14 @9:30pm, Fri, July 15 @2pm, Sun, July 17 @2:45pm.
More Info: www.wix.com/quoiquoi/quoi, follow on twitter (quoiquoiquoi), find on facebook.