Welcome to Episode #1 of Stageworthy, with host Phil Rickaby. This episode’s guest is Rebecca Perry, an actor, singer and writer from Toronto. She’s worked with a variety of companies across North America in theatre and film. This year she starred in the Brain Power Studios television movie Forest Fairies and provided voices for two principal characters in the feature film The Fast And The Furriest and her latest show From Judy To Bette is featured at the 2016 Next Stage Theatre Festival. Her solo show, Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl premiered in Toronto in 2013 at The Storefront Theatre. It subsequently toured the Canadian and US Fringe circuit, garnering critical acclaim, and a live taping for Bell TV’s Onstage On Demand. After opening the 2015 Rose Theatre season, her run of Confessions… at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015 has resulted in a tour of the UK in Spring 2016, including a run at the Brighton Fringe, regional theatre engagements and a repeat appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016! Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, the follow-up to Confessions…, premièred at the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival and continued Rebecca’s run of sold out festivals.
Find Rebecca online at www.redheadedcsg.com
Find Stageworthy at www.stageworthypodcast.com
Transcript auto generated.
Phil Rickaby 0:07
Welcome to the first episode of stage worthy, I’m your host, Phil Rickaby. Stage worthy is my opportunity to talk to people who like me make theatre and ask them the kinds of questions that we don’t often asked each other starting with why theatre. I hope you’ll join me each week as I talk to people from all over Canada who make theatre. You can find the stage worthy on Facebook and Twitter at stage where the pod and you can find the website and stage where the podcast.com If you like what you hear, I hope you’ll subscribe on iTunes or whatever podcast app you use, and consider leaving a comment or rating. This episode’s guest is Rebecca Perry, an actor, singer and writer from Toronto. Her solo plays Confessions of a redheaded coffee shop girl and adventures of a redheaded coffee shop girl have played at Fringe Festivals from Toronto to Edinburgh. Her newest show from Judy Tibet, just stars of old Hollywood opens January 6 At the next stage Theatre Festival in Toronto.
Rebecca Perry you have you’ve had quite a quite a quite a year. So you had to did did your sequel to the red carpet shop girl at Toronto Fringe Festival got it? That was impossible to get tickets to it.
Rebecca Perry 1:47
Indeed it was. I was very pleased.
Phil Rickaby 1:49
Sure I’m sure I wasn’t. But it’s like you couldn’t ask for more as a performer like to be selling out like that. And have
Rebecca Perry 2:00
some some very generous media support as well. Like I was in like 1010 sort of lists where it was like
you weren’t check out or see Yeah, balls and stuff like that, alongside a lot of people I
respect so yeah, that was cool.
Phil Rickaby 2:15
That was I mean, now you have you. You were not an unknown. I mean, the play was new but the first play ran at a coffee shop girl was equally difficult to get tickets to the year before year before that is correct. So that sort of that sort of helped. And then he took the redheaded coffee shop girl to the Edinburgh Fringe,
Rebecca Perry 2:33
the big one, the mothership mother, the mother of all friends 3300 shows to compete again. Oh
Phil Rickaby 2:38
my goodness. My goodness, including
Rebecca Perry 2:41
circus acts that like I have been a part of Cirque du Soleil.
Phil Rickaby 2:44
Oh my god. Oh my goodness. Like how do you even like, there is that’s the end of the sentence. How do you even got that? Going into that? How do you? What’s the game plan for something like that?
Rebecca Perry 3:00
I can tell you that it starts 11 months before the festival. Okay, excuse me. I got back from 2014 Summer touring with Confessions of a redheaded coffee shop girl which as you said is the first of two shows about Joanie little be the quintessential coffee shop girl. And I had toured I’d done Toronto Fringe Festival, Saskatoon and Victoria and then I had done a little stint in Toronto at the one more night festival, as well as filmed it with bell TV. Which you can still check out on Bell five, just saying Just saying. It was beautifully shot. So I’m proud of it. And and no sooner did I get back and Derek Chewa. And I had coffee, of course. And I sort of sideways mentioned like, I’m considering Edinburgh, you seem to co produce a lot of really strong work that goes to Edinburgh, you know, will you take me under your wing? And he didn’t even quite say yes at that point. But he did say come to my information session, like hear how intense this festival festival will be. And then make your mind. So I went there. And it was the second time I’d attended that information festival because the first time I heard all this information, it was like too much to process.
Yeah, it was like I’ll try again this
year. Let’s see if my brain can like wrap itself around the insanity of this idea and why so many people just sort of like throw themselves into a fire willingly. And this this time around. When I went to the meeting, I noticed that a lot of people that I would want to travel to Scotland with were also going and that was actually motivation to go. And thus began the planning literally in October 2014. For a show that wasn’t going to happen until August 2015. Whoa, yeah, because the meeting was in September and then by October 1, I sat down with the lovely Alaina moss off she She works for Byron, Livia lead and Mauro and Jasmine like a variety of people. And essentially she’s sort of like a creative consultant. And we literally formulated a month by month plan on how to, to fundraise on on how to make sure all my materials for like PR and promotion were in place, who were the publicists, I was going to like, send love letters who being like, will you represent me? Even though you know nothing about me. The one thing that did work in my favour in October was I started doing a lot of cold calls, to publicists, even just to places to stay Yeah, and to theatres. And I was ahead of the game in the sense that most of these emails and calls weren’t coming until December. And by the time December rolled around, I went to the fringe roadshow, which only happens in New York, London and Edinburgh. So me and Crystal Bart healthy, drove down to New York during a snowstorm and got information from the actual the people that essentially run the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Robin Jankovic, brown Berry, church woods, some of the, the directors of the top four venues, were there to sort of talk about what they can offer because the big, big difference with Edinburgh Fringe is you have to apply to get in, it’s a juried festival, even though there’s 3000 or so spots. I know, for example, the theatre that I got into which is in the top four, after countless love letters, and like fun little like reminder or fun fact about my show, it’s done this. I got in and they said just so you know, like, take this seriously. We had 900 submissions, and we accepted 111. So So you
Phil Rickaby 6:45
apply to the venue now. Yeah, but you’re not to the festival.
Rebecca Perry 6:49
Yeah, you apply to the venue. And once you have a venue, you’re allowed to apply to the festival. Oh, my God. And there’s two deadlines. So it’s crazy, because like, for example, one of my friends, there’s the earlybird deadline, which you really want to make if you can help it because then you’re in the initial programme, and you’re online, two months before the second deadline. So in theory, that’s two months more ticket sales. And you save money because it’s early bird and they’ve got that sorted. But I know someone who got a venue offer two minutes before the early bird deadline. Oh my god. Yeah. And that’s like a common story. Oh, wow. And I think people are mostly vying for the top four, which is pleasant gilded, balloon, underbelly and assembly. But there’s this cool other movement, which I know crystal Bartell Z can talk more about because it was rumoured roommates with her I’m, I’m fairly schooled in the ways of the free fringe, which is like the total opposite where like, they have like bars and pubs where you just get like a small square to stand in and you perform your show to like a restaurant. But you don’t have to pay fees for being in a venue. All you really need to cover I suppose is your Edinburgh Fringe fee. Problem is with the free fringe. There’s no advance tickets. That’s how Oh, my rights, which is frightening. That’s like whatever that to me. That’s, that’s suicide, but to Krystal. She was like, let’s see what happens. Yeah, so like, I commend her on her bravery. But I must admit, I’m someone who, like,
Phil Rickaby 8:18
you want to know I obsessively check tickets,
Rebecca Perry 8:21
not because it not because I care about the numbers, but because if I knew in the morning that I have like 1/3 of my house sold, then that gives me an idea of how many hours actually be out flyering and talking to people, and how many flyers and posters to bring in my backpack for the day.
Phil Rickaby 8:37
So Edmar is a month long festival. And you’re competing with 3000 other performers or performances,
Rebecca Perry 8:47
which includes like big name British comedians who just go there for fun to sort of take advantage of the fact that like, there’s so many people there that go, Oh, I get to see this person for this ticket price. So how do
Phil Rickaby 8:57
you? Is there a different tactic than say, for a Canadian Fringe Festival when you’re firing? Do you have to go in with a different mindset? Or is it all basically the same?
Rebecca Perry 9:08
You have to go with a totally different mindset because they don’t know the first thing about you? I will say there are a few steps before flowering which i Hello, we’ve got our cat my cat joining us broadcast. Yeah. So basically, before you even start flowering, I think the four most important things I can think of are you need to pay some money to have your posters put up because you actually aren’t allowed to poster yourself. Oh, really? You have to pay because they’ve essentially not will not monopolise but they’ve well yeah, one company has monopolised all the posters based in Edinburgh, and now they sell by space, which is a large cost. Yeah, but the most effective way of flying because if you think about it for 30 days, someone sees the same image. So even if they’re not sold on you on day one, by the time you get some good reviews that you sticker You’re on. Yeah, maybe they’re coming by day 30.
Phil Rickaby 10:03
So you can put up your own poster, but you can go and you can embellish your poster
Rebecca Perry 10:07
you can embellish. So for example, like once I got my first five star review and put that up, I wanted to put up my first four star review. But my publicist was like, no, no, no, no, no, just wait, just be patient. And then she was right, it was smart, because then all of a sudden, you’re sticking out amongst all the forces for service. Yeah. Because after a while, I’ve noticed that people won’t actually look at what’s on the poster, they’ll just look at the sticker on top. Okay, so that’s step one, and two. Step three is you can buy ad space, and all the hundreds of reviewers, magazines, catalogues and blogs. I did a sprinkling of that, because I thought my money was better spent with the poster scheme, right? Yeah. And then last but not least, your venue? Will you do a certain amount of advertisement? So that could be you have your own flyering team? For the days when you know, you’re busy maybe doing an interview somewhere else?
Phil Rickaby 11:02
Does the venue provide a team? The I know the top four
Rebecca Perry 11:05
do but I don’t know if they all do it. My experience of Edinburgh Fringe is different than like the free fringe because of course, there’s rules to everything that I wanted to participate in. Whereas I almost see free fringes similar to Canadian fringes, where it’s like, all bets are off, do whatever you want, right? So you could put posters within the castle, or my venue was a castle, like an actual awesome castle. It’s crazy. You could do cool things like I had Coffee Sleeves go on the drinks that were served at all the cafes within the 12 venues that that the gilded balloon my venue slash Castle had. And then there’s also things like, they’d have these TVs that would go with like sort of these ticker tape images. And you could pay to have like one of your images flashing across. So like redheaded coffee shop girls five star fringe guru or whatever, yeah. And then once all that was in place, it made flowering a whole lot easier. Because there was a good chance, if you were flying around your venue, someone had at least seen the image of your poster, or they knew like, a sprinkle of information about you already. So I must admit, my job was made easy by investing in those things, all of which were recommended by my venue and by Derek Chu, who did wind up CO producing for me. And then it’s all about being creative. When you fire someone it I find in Canadian fringes, you can kind of just go hey, can I tell you what my show like? People there hear that? 45 times a day, right? So like, I would start with like a quirky fact about caffeination? Or like, did you know that this kind of coffee is most popular in the world? Did you know that like Starbucks has 85% of the world’s coffee within their hands? Or like things like that, that would literally just make people turn their heads made me look at me like who is this crazed redhead? Who does not have a British accent? And then I would actually strike up a conversation and tell them about my show.
Phil Rickaby 13:06
Did you find out the hard way that that night? Can I tell you about my show is not the right way to start? Or
Rebecca Perry 13:12
Absolutely. The the second day, I still had about nine or 10 more tickets to sell. And the preview the day before had sold out. So I was like, let’s see if I can like sell it another show. Like I was really jacked on getting that done. And the first girl I approached, told me to piss off. And I was like, It’s day two, like how am I gonna survive 30 days of this. And so I literally just sat in a cafe that had like a bunch of patio tables. And it just watched like other people that seemed to know what they were doing. I would kind of like eavesdrop on what they were saying. And there was this one clown who actually would say nothing, she would hand them a flyer. And then he would like look at something they were wearing and sing a song about it. Like I watched him sing about this girl’s purple shirt or like this one girl’s curly hair or That guy’s cool sneakers. So like, I was just like, okay, so I just need to do something different. The other big difference is it can’t be a quick pitch, you either Lock and load and like stay with him for a minute and a half, or just don’t even bother really because if someone only spends 15 seconds, telling you talking to them about their show or why they think the show is good for them. That’s that’s still gonna happen at least 20 times to that person in that day, maybe even within half of the
Phil Rickaby 14:26
day. So you got to like have an actual conversation with somebody.
Rebecca Perry 14:29
What’s nice is there was patios within my venue. So like, obviously, that person would already be a gilded balloon to see shows that were happening there. So that was cool. That was also an advantage. Honestly, though, when I started feeling like I wasn’t doing a good job of firing, I would just target redheads that’s just such an obvious one or anyone who had a coffee cup in their hand. Which when people are trying to see like 10 pieces of theatre a day it gets pretty intense and so Pretty much everyone has a cup of coffee in their hands. Yes, I also started serving little shots of espresso to some of the longer lineups that were at my venue. But I actually had to get like written permission from not only like the artistic director of all the venues and guild to balloon I had to get like, a licence like it’s everything. You have to go about it in like illegal. Yeah, there’s, there’s rules to everything. You can’t you can’t spit without asking permission. Wow. Yeah,
Phil Rickaby 15:27
that’s, that’s pretty intense.
Rebecca Perry 15:28
It’s strange. I kind of felt like, like a festival shouldn’t have that many rules. But then I realised that’s the only way to keep this chaos organised
Phil Rickaby 15:39
with 3000 performers. I guess, over time, they’ve had to really come up with these rules. Otherwise,
Rebecca Perry 15:47
probably from trial and error. Yeah,
Phil Rickaby 15:48
um, when you were preparing to go. Did you? Did you like work out your game plan before you went? Did you as far
Rebecca Perry 16:04
as like, strategy?
Phil Rickaby 16:06
Or your show? Oh,
Rebecca Perry 16:08
I’d say the posters were purchased by like, March. Yeah, like everything. I think the biggest thing that sort of shocked me was how ready I had to have all my PR materials. Basically, the minute I took a trip to England in February, to visit my boyfriend who’s British and, and I met with a bunch of PR girls there. And I found a publicist. And the minute I signed a contract with her from that point on, I was answering like five or six emails a day where I had to provide like, you know, a poster that’s this size, or like a little quote about my show that is that talks about singing or talks about acting or like production stills or rehearsal shots, like I think, I’ve never had so many emails go back and forth, where like, I had to have like an on call graphic designer.
Phil Rickaby 17:00
What was your mindset, like heading over there?
Rebecca Perry 17:03
I was so overwhelmed. Yeah, I was beyond overwhelmed. And I know all the other teams were to what I did, which I wouldn’t do next year, but I thought it would help. I went there early. And I went to Glasgow to try and just like, chill out before I went to Edinburgh and like, stepped into this crazy festival. But frankly, all I’m doing in Glasgow was not enjoying the city, but mostly contacting my publicist and sending out letters to various producers. Because the goal over there is, I’m here in this international market. Will you come and see my show? Does this show hold any interest for you? Yeah, that’s the entire reason I was there. I probably contacted about 300 producers, and or artistic directors and sent at least six or seven emails back and forth throughout July and August, I’d say, because the list isn’t released until about the beginning of July. So yeah, I was very overwhelmed. Until the day I got there. When I sort of found out that our our preview was sold out. So I could kind of calm down a little. But I’d say from there on and it was still it was a roller coaster ride, but it just everyday it was like a different issue. That being said, it was single handedly the most amazing experience of my life. I am almost afraid to go back because I had such a good experience.
Phil Rickaby 18:27
So like overall amazing. Well, yeah, like it’s
Rebecca Perry 18:30
tonnes of work. And I’m sure if you asked me how the festival was going in the middle, I’d be like, I can’t think but but. But when I look back on it now like every day, I was seeing amazing theatre from all over the world. And people bring their A game there. They don’t just like throw something together last minute, because you’ve invested so much money to be there that unless you sell your show out, or have some sort of independently wealthy donor like, you’re not going to make your money back. Yeah. So it has to be about bringing the best show possible because the only way of recouping but then going beyond that is if it gets picked up the door.
Phil Rickaby 19:08
So no, creating your show once you get in
Rebecca Perry 19:12
God no, yeah, no, which I know a lot of Canadian artists do on the Canadian
Phil Rickaby 19:17
you can you can do that. You could
Rebecca Perry 19:19
like I know people who shall remain nameless, that start kind of putting the show together in Montreal. And then by the time it’s in Vancouver, they’re getting five star reviews. And like that’s great because there’s less money at stake. So I suppose there’s less risk, and it can be a creative exercise on improving from city to city. You can’t do that in Edinburgh, because the first review you get is the first thing that will pop up when people look up your show, right? Because there’s 3000 other shows they could choose from. They owe you nothing
Phil Rickaby 19:47
with those kinds of numbers. You can’t not bring your A game. It’s like just Doggy Dog. What was because I know when I did Montreal one of the first things that somebody said was you That competition, while a little bit is healthy, there’s audience enough for everyone. And I’ve always found that in most Fringe Festivals in Canada, there’s audience audience and for everyone in, in Edinburgh is it is a cutthroat.
Rebecca Perry 20:17
There is not audience, not for everybody. Well actually, that the person my boyfriend, the person that I’m currently dating David Kingsmill, has done the festival three times. And the first year, he sold out his entire run, the second year, he had to cancel for four shows, because no one showed up. And the third year, he said, it was like, it was like this, like, there were three people one day 25, the next 60, the next of you, you truly don’t know how your show is going to be received. You can try and stack the odds in your favour. But there always seems to be some sort of Hot Topic. Every time you go to the festival, you don’t know what it is, you get there. And then all of a sudden, there’s enough shows that are sort of similar that all sudden the media media is featuring them, right. So one thing I did sort of lucked out on feminism and just and females, you know, just taking charge and kicking butt seemed to be a theme this year, because there was so many cool sort of solo shows, there’s one about girl who was a superhero by night, and a businesswoman. By day, there was this amazing clown piece. There was some cool cabaret stuff that was just about women, kicking butt. And so luckily, I kind of got lumped into that group that would get featured. And there was also this theme of people in the service industry telling stories. So that was also two niches that I fit into. And then of course, my biggest audience of all the gingers. I met amazing amounts of people that have hair far better than mine. There was like families of like all redheaded or or ginger. Kids, Mum and Dad included, just coming to see it to see what I had to say about being pale freckles, which is great, because like, the show is sort of sprinkled with jokes throughout. Because growing up, that was something I was conscious about. And now I can make light of it.
Phil Rickaby 22:11
Interesting because you were talking about you know, fitting into that the, the about the hot topic, the topic of women and feminism, which is generally I’m finding a topic in theatre circles these days about the lack of women, playwrights being produced director and equity in theatre and all that sort of stuff. So timely, and absolutely an important conversation.
Rebecca Perry 22:39
Just as hot over there. One of the really cool things that I like about the Toronto fringe is that it’s it’s run by mostly women who are wonderful business women and and the same thing with the the Fringe Festival over there. It’s it’s a very good mix of, of everybody. Whereas I know it was sort of pointed out to me by somebody who like does the Edinburgh Fringe fringe every year have named Steve Larkin. He sort of said like a little while ago, like there was absolutely no women working there. And he thinks that now that they’ve got like, women, men, young, old, various creeds, religions and races, the festival now has a broader lens into what kind of shows are getting in, because everyone feels like they are spoken for or have certain people they can connect with. Within the giant metropolis that is the Edinburgh Fringe office. Yeah, there’s actually three, there’s like, here’s one for like participants where they can go to like, chill out and get advice. There’s one for like, people that are looking to talk about producers because they have like, a list of like 6000 people coming in, as they try and like matchmake should be talking to. And then there’s also sort of like the admin office as well, I guess if I’m remembering correctly. It’s insane. It’s like a machine.
It’s a business.
It’s not, I think I think of Canadian fringes is like these amazing, fun organisations that sort of only happened in the summer but it became evident to me that Edinburgh Fringe is a year round business that actually sustains some people in Edinburgh, like I met people who can charge 80 pounds a night to rent out their like living room. And if you do that for one month, yeah, all of a sudden, you’re covered till Christmas. Like it’s crazy. Or like, a tomato is too bad. It’s scary, though. Coming in, like I had to especially someone who does not eat gluten. I had to pay a lot of money for food.
Phil Rickaby 24:36
I bet you did. I bet you did. Um, can we talk about from Judy to bed? Yeah, at the
Rebecca Perry 24:44
next stage Theatre Festival. Absolutely. In
Phil Rickaby 24:47
terms of so this is no longer.
Rebecca Perry 24:52
A redheaded Venters redheaded coffee shop girl says this is some breaking out.
Phil Rickaby 24:57
Can you tell me a little bit about about what To what that is absolutely.
Rebecca Perry 25:00
I sort of just took a leap of faith and applied to the next stage Theatre Festival with this, this brand new idea. And although it’s not a redheaded coffee shop role venture, I must admit it features at least two redheads from the 1940s and 50s. It’s I got in for the 30 minute slot at the Factory Theatre in the anti chamber which is a very much a cabaret bar type setting. So I proposed the idea of a show that essentially pays tribute to Judy Garland, who is very famous for being in Wizard of Oz, among many other things. Lucille Ball of the I Love Lucy show, Betty Hutton made famous by the movie Annie, get your gun, and bet Davis who’s famous for a number of dramatic roles in movies. The reason I chose these four women is because on the topic of feminism, back when Hollywood was essentially being run by mostly men. And there it was sort of these like faceless businesses where these women or men were put into two year contracts by Warner Brothers or MGM. And they didn’t actually have that much say as to what movies they were featured in. And so it’s funny because they’ve worked so hard to get their sign these contracts thinking they had made it. And then they were just shoved into like the chorus of 40 seconds dream or, or this or that. So I chose these four women because they actually all either broke their contracts, thought for the roles they wanted, or just said screw this, I’m making my own work. So, for example, Judy Garland, the movie A Star Is Born, she had to speak up and stormed into an office and audition in front of somebody who was doing paperwork to say, you need to try me out for this role. And this is after she was extremely famous. Yeah. Lucille Ball, just started writing revolve. She didn’t write all of the I Love Lucy show, but she did contribute to many of the skits. But she started producing I Love Lucy, and alongside her husband, so she could have creative control in a time where nobody would let her put her ideas on the table. So she got her own team of writers and made her own show which is wildly successful, those who
Phil Rickaby 27:13
became a huge power. Exactly. Star Trek.
Rebecca Perry 27:17
Exactly right. Like it’s just crazy. And so
I sort of talked about her and how she also put forth the idea that women could be funny even if they were housewives or this or that. Like there was a voice for funny women, not just attractive women in television. And Betty Hutton did the same sort of thing for any Get Your Gun she showed that like comedic chops and like brassy campiness is also extremely enjoyable. You don’t always have to be, you know, poised and singing something cute, you can get loud and sassy. And then of course, that Davis is just seven kinds of amazing in my eyes. I think my favourite thing about her is that she broke one of her contracts with Warner Brothers, so that she could be in a human bondage, which was the movie version of Somerset mom’s book, and she won an Oscar for it. And if she hadn’t, basically said, screw you to this scary corporation that was threatening to threatening legal action. If she broke this contract, she maybe wouldn’t be as famous as she is today. And so it’s not necessarily me paying tribute to the fact that they’re famous. It’s that I think they all took a step in the right direction, and fought the good fight in a time where feminism wasn’t even a concept. It was, it was just, you kind of had to do what you had to do. And these women all took charge of their careers, which is something I identify with, because I find that the Toronto theatre landscape is a very tricky one to have sustained work. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Because it’s not New York, it’s not LA. So I sort of I like to think of these four women as guidelines.
Phil Rickaby 28:54
What was your process like in creating this show?
Rebecca Perry 28:57
Um, it was pretty collective. It’s actually still thinking things are still being changed even though it opens in three weeks, because a cabaret is about having that loose improv feeling where you are sharing stories and songs, but they’re all tied into one theme. So of course, mine is women who refuse to be just another ingenue they took charge of their their lives, their careers and their roles. So essentially, it’s mostly been Quinton notton. And I figuring out which songs we wanted to feature that either Judy Garland or Betty Hutton have sung and then sort of what comedic skits I like that Lucille Ball has done. She also has some pretty cool songs because she she had a few engagements on Broadway, as well as some of these amazing dramatic monologues that that Davis had. And so, we essentially gathered all this information and we did it away bit by bit because I think what helped prove the theme I’m going for or contribute to it became evident. Yeah, So but there’s still little bits here and there. I’m like, I’m not sure if I still want to send because I’ve only got a half an hour. So Right. So we were really careful about what right now, right now we’re sort of still combing through a few things going. That’s not like a power punch of entertainment. And that was our agreement going in my director, myself, and Quinton, my musical directors that this has to be like 30 minutes of like, in your face. Wow.
Phil Rickaby 30:24
So how did you chose specific things? But what was your criteria for in your face? Wow,
Rebecca Perry 30:30
can you? That’s true, that is a broad
change, isn’t it? Essentially,
if I thought it told an important story of their life, because I juxtapose the fact that a lot of their career sex successes were happening while they were having family or life lows. So for example, taking over the rainbow and singing it the way Judy was actually feeling at the time, not the way she was told to act in or taking one of bet Davis’s most quirky roles. And then talking about all the legal fees, she was being impounded with that same afternoon, or things like that, like, where there’s, there’s a power punch of two things going on. It can’t just be oil, like the song writing it. Yeah. Or I think for Lucy, I don’t want to do just like the skits. Everybody knows, like, like the famous one where she’s trying to the chocolates. Yeah, exactly. Of course,
Phil Rickaby 31:26
you know, the, like, first one that I thought of that’s exactly possibly do.
Rebecca Perry 31:30
Exactly, yeah. So I was thinking of some of the ones where like, it’s evident that this is funny. This is great material. But also something else is going on, or there’s a reason she wrote it. I wouldn’t say much more, because I’ve chosen a very specific one, of course, yeah. But yeah, that’s sort of that’s been the weeding out process, if you will. Because when I initially submitted this, it was very much a concept, where I did have like a draft script and things like that. But I did sort of say like, I love these women for different reasons. So this might change by the time it gets to the stage, because I want to represent them and pay tribute to them as best as possible. And these are just my initial, my initial thoughts. Yeah, it’s only a half an hour. And so that’s why I sort of did put that as a caveat, because I don’t want people to think I’m in any way mean, making fun of them or only spotlighting a certain part of their lives. And so I think I think the biggest challenge so far has been, you’ve got 30 minutes, what is absolutely necessary to say?
Phil Rickaby 32:30
That’s, I mean, that’s important anyway, I can’t We can’t waste any time with her. Yeah. So
Rebecca Perry 32:34
and I think another thing was, I hired Michael Rubinstein as my director, because he’s very passionate about these women and what they stand for as well. And so we made sure that it doesn’t feel like a history lesson. It feels like a sharing of ideas and things people are passionate about. All wrapped under songs and stories.
Phil Rickaby 32:53
Yeah, and that’s right out, right. In the new year.
Rebecca Perry 32:56
I know it’s happening in three and a half weeks, three and a half, three and a half weeks, January 6 217.
Phil Rickaby 33:01
Three and a half weeks, as we’re recording this as we are recording for the Christmas holidays. So have you done next week for
Rebecca Perry 33:10
the very first I’m really excited. And nervous.
Phil Rickaby 33:14
It’s it’s a different. It’s a different beast. It’s a lot colder than fringe
Rebecca Perry 33:19
in January is a new July, January. That’s their slogan this year.
Phil Rickaby 33:24
Okay, well, I’ve done it. I’ve done it. I don’t know if it’ll be as cold this year as it has been in premium you with the polar vortex here? I don’t know. I don’t know. Who knows what it’s going to be once we get into the into that time. So this is this is like a 30 minute show. Yeah. Which is a lot shorter than than what you’ve done previously.
Rebecca Perry 33:46
It’s to both of my other shows have been 60 minutes. And now that both of them are sort of taking the jump out of the festival circuit of actually, I’m working on expanding them both to 75 minutes, you have
Phil Rickaby 33:57
to feel like six years not quite enough to something. Yep, ticket price.
Rebecca Perry 34:03
A lot of producers would one of their first questions would be how long is your show? Right? Do you have an expanded version? Okay, now let’s talk. Yeah, so I kind of had to be like I don’t but I could know what
Phil Rickaby 34:14
it is. First, I guess first question. Are you planning to go back to Edinburgh?
Rebecca Perry 34:18
Yes, I have been invited back. And so right now I’m trying to see if the same venue will co produce which is something they will do if an artist has had success and they’re bringing back the same show for like a second Hurrah. So I’m just trying to see what
Phil Rickaby 34:36
would you want to do the same show would you want to do
Rebecca Perry 34:39
I thought about bringing adventures but I noticed that a lot of shows have success going back a second time and then you really have set the stage right for people to remember you for you bring a sequel right okay, so I will go back with confessions again. Also because I think I could because it was it’s overwhelming the first time you do anything I think I could make better use of of my time as far as connecting with producers, because there’s also all these amazing workshops you can be taking, like, at any given point, you can be 17 different places. And so I think this time around, I will treat it much more like a business venture. Whereas last time, I think it was also to creatively expand my knowledge of how theatre is made.
Phil Rickaby 35:19
And you also know if you were to go back you have the you have the the cachet of like you’ve sold out the shows? Yes,
Rebecca Perry 35:26
I would have good advertising power and and I think I’d be able to find a good publicist again, and, and hopefully make a second splash.
Phil Rickaby 35:35
Yeah. Yeah. Is do you plan to take Joanie? Across Canada again, do you like what’s,
Rebecca Perry 35:45
there’s some stuff happening in the UK, which I’m still confirming, so I can’t be like, I’m going here, here, here and here. But um, but some things are in the works for like, I guess a UK tour, if you will. happening further down the line, in 2016. And also, there’s some things in the works in Ontario at various theatres, like the Burlington Centre for the Arts theatre, said burry, there’s there’s like there’s some possibilities, nothing is confirmed. But what’s so funny is you take your show your Canadian show to Edinburgh, and people that it’s hard to get to come in Toronto to see your show will go to Scotland and see your show. That’s crazy. It’s insane, crazy. Um, so all these opportunities are presenting themselves. But I also, when you’re jumping out of the festival, sort of mindset and into actual theatre business you need, you need to completely switch gears. So right now, I felt like there was this sort of learning curve that I’m, I’m very much coming face to face with and adapting as quickly as I can so that it can be a smart businesswoman.
Phil Rickaby 36:58
So an interesting question, because the one of the last times we talked, you were talking about all of the shows that you were looking forward to auditioning for thing at one point, you talked about auditioning for once and things. But now it seems like you’re more heading towards
Rebecca Perry 37:15
that. Producer slash artists.
Phil Rickaby 37:18
Is that Is that really where you want to go now is
Rebecca Perry 37:21
that it’s funny, I’m actually still doing a little bit of both.
It’s been a good year on all fronts. I had a lead in a movie that is going to be on Netflix soon. Okay, and I had to two really good voiceover gigs for animation movies that are our one’s going to be on TV and one is going to be online. So I’m still very much in the scene. everywhere except being on stage. Like film voiceover TV. Yes. But yeah, I think I’ve taken as a small step back from theatre and musical theatre. But it’s so funny because nursery did I decide that? And then I got this one. I sort of called my agent and said, like, hey, let’s take a break for 2016. Is that cool? We’ll talk in 2017. I’ve got some other plans, aka world domination, but also planning coffee shop real tour. And, and he was like, Yeah, that’s great. But you do have one more audition, which was for Roseneath theatre, and, and I am now going to be going on tour with them for all of January, February and March, in my very first equity contract.
So I’m still hearing there.
Phil Rickaby 38:38
I don’t know what what the universe is gonna send. Money is doing.
Rebecca Perry 38:42
I literally sent the email to my agent. And the next day, he was like, just by the way, go to this.
Phil Rickaby 38:50
Do you do you see yourself like, do you enjoy yourself producing?
Rebecca Perry 38:54
I really do. It’s not my favourite thing in the world. But I’m kind of getting a kick. I’m seeing how far I can take this because I never even thought it could jump out of the festival circuit. But if all goes according to plan, it will. Yeah. Fingers crossed.
Phil Rickaby 39:11
It’s a different kind of skill set. The self producer, like the thing they don’t quite prepare you for
Rebecca Perry 39:16
no, no, the business of acting at George Brown is a wonderful unit. But I feel like the self producing should be its own one
Phil Rickaby 39:22
year programme. Totally. There should be there’s Yeah, I know that could maybe even be like a fourth year. Because I know that something to my mind that some of that’s been sort of missed previously in in like conservatory programmes, things like that. They very much prepare you for the business of auditioning working or getting the next gig but not so much for the self producing, which can be a rush on its own.
Rebecca Perry 39:47
It is it’s a total rush if it goes well, but it’s also the most soul crushing thing if it goes wrong.
Phil Rickaby 39:52
That’s I think one of the things they should be teaching you. Yeah, like, like, your show may not won’t always succeed what What do you do? If it’s not going? Well,
Rebecca Perry 40:02
I think the sheer horror of something not going well that you are producing is enough to make you give it your absolute all. Absolutely. So that has served me well, because I’ve now been able to apply that mentality to other parts of my life. Like, like auditioning or, or once you have a gig being the best representation of yourself or things like that, because producers never stop doing business. No, they don’t. I think one of the big things I’ve needed to learn was when to take a weekend or like to turn my cell phone off. Because now that I’m literally my own agent of me and my shows. It’s like, like, for example, today, I’ve had a conference call with, with someone in Scotland, with someone in England and with someone in Poland. But I’ve also had all these other things to do for from God, Tibet force. Yeah, it’s time management.
Phil Rickaby 40:58
That any tips for people who might like find themselves in that similar situation in the future? What’s
Rebecca Perry 41:04
the Let’s have coffee. But if you’re two provinces away, I think the biggest thing is, treat yourself like a business, regardless of whether you’re making money, I think, because producers essentially managed money so that something is financially feasible. And especially with any theory, you’re not really like making money, you’re just managing it. But you still need to treat yourself as though you were a law firm, or you were running your own restaurant or whatever. Or else you’ll just get sick of it all and frustrated. And you will miss all these deadlines. And then people will get the wrong impression. You
Phil Rickaby 41:38
also need to take some take a day off. And yeah, to me, the hardest thing is intrapreneur for people to give themselves permission to take a day off.
Rebecca Perry 41:48
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And because I, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, like like my graphic designer, or you can just there was one publicist, I was looking at one point who is very much a go getter. One of the things I ask is like, what are your off hours so that I can contact you, within the times you’re actually doing business? And if they say, like, whenever I get a little scared, then that means that they will also contact me whenever I need to give a lickety split answer. Yeah.
Phil Rickaby 42:17
I mean, that’s sort of a frightening thing. To hear somebody say contact me whenever because then they’re not taking time off. Which
Rebecca Perry 42:24
means you can’t either. It’s interesting how that’s a two way street. Yeah. And through trial and error. There have been points this year where I’ve had too many things to do once and I’ve disappointed people because I haven’t gotten back to them on time, or what have you. And so now, I think my goal for 2016 is to properly budget my time, but also add in spare time.
Phil Rickaby 42:44
Yeah. Yeah. Go crazy. What do you do in your spare time? In your spare time? When you take the day off? How do you how do you? Well,
Rebecca Perry 42:53
it’s funny, that’s, that’s why I need to actually budget spare time, because I usually want to taking like a promotional shift or a catering shift. Just because like, when you’re producing your own work, you have to budget so well, that it’s never gonna be perfect. So you’ve always got to do something to even though of course, the bills. And like I said, producing doesn’t make you much money. It’s more figuring out if there’s enough to get from point A to point B, because touring is so expensive. Yeah, like, it’s I think a lot of actors are mystified when I actually talk solid numbers. I’ve even had discussions with some of my own team members that were they’re like, Whoa, I didn’t realise that cost that much. Yeah. And so, yeah, unfortunately, probably working another job. But if I’m lucky enough to actually have a day off. I love rock climbing. Or my boyfriend and I are film buffs. So we’ll check out something at TIFF. Or, because I do consider this relaxing is typing out new ideas of things that maybe I want to do in the future.
Phil Rickaby 43:50
What’s important that if writing is a thing that you do that it becomes a thing that you still like to do? Yeah,
Rebecca Perry 43:56
that’s true. Because I’ve been angry at my laptop before where I’m like, I don’t want to type.
I’m afraid of my box. Yeah. Like, even if I have to answer Yeah,
Phil Rickaby 44:07
you know, you know what I do. When that happens? If there’s like a whole lot of that I don’t use the laptop, I use pen and paper. Just a
Rebecca Perry 44:13
smart way. All I want to take your advice, then I figured
Phil Rickaby 44:17
out that if you write something in paper, when you have to go to put it into the computer, that’s another draft because as you’re as you’re transcribing it, you will edit and go okay, no, this doesn’t work, but this will and sort of like do that. Ah, scribing.
Rebecca Perry 44:34
I am absolutely going to do that. Because there are times where I give the most sort of short answer that doesn’t actually fix the problem. It just is like, well, here’s this answer, and then the other ones coming.
Phil Rickaby 44:45
Yeah. So that’s my pen and paper gets you away from the Electronics
Rebecca Perry 44:49
says something that more people should do
Phil Rickaby 44:53
as somebody who is like, tied to their devices, both in my day job and right. Oh, I bet it’s You know, those things were like the realisation Oh, yeah, paper still, I think. Yeah, you know, is one of those things that you know, Revelation. I’ve got
Rebecca Perry 45:09
a friend who has a typewriter and that’s how they write all their script. Oh, wow. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Like that’s that’s like a lot of work
Phil Rickaby 45:19
a little more like just like if I’m writing if I start if ideas start to dry up I’m a get up move to a different spot and keep writing because the movement will we’ll get the new ideas that’s a little harder to do with typewriter and paper
Rebecca Perry 45:32
pretty clunky things even really bring that to a coffee shop like you have to love you’re literally
Phil Rickaby 45:36
have to. Yeah, kind of pissed people off. You’re like,
Rebecca Perry 45:39
yeah, you might like hearing things. Yeah. I think people really want He lives alone that the person who is specifically thinking
Phil Rickaby 45:47
that does help a lot. Yeah, that yeah, that’s funny. Well, I think we’re about at the end of our time. So thanks so much for talking with
Rebecca Perry 45:54
me. Of course. Of course. Can I give my little plug for that let’s talk about give the whole 22nd pitch All right wanna pitches you need to
amazing so the show is called from Judy Tibet, the stars of old Hollywood. And it’s happening at the next stage Theatre Festival at the Factory Theatre 125 Bathurst Street, January 6 to 17th tickets are only $10. And I can promise you a 30 minute power punch of entertainment. And I’ll give you the little little pitch for my show. Judy Garland that Davis Lucille Ball and Betty Hutton, trailblazers who refuse to be just another ingenue during the Golden Age of cinema, an evening of scandalous headlines and marvellous melodies. Thank you so much, Phil, and hope to see you around next day.
Phil Rickaby 46:38
Thank you. Absolutely.