#15 – Suzette McCanny

Suzette McCanny is a theatre actor and a film director specializing in ensemble work. She is currently playing Blaire in We Three by Cue 6 Theatre at The Tarragon Theatre. She has played Josie in The Skriker at the Storefront Theatre by Red One Theatre. The Skriker was included in the Top Ten Indie Productions of 2014 by Toronto’s Now Magazine. Other credits include Mistress Ford in Merry Wives of Windsor and Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost for Shakespeare Bash’d and Isabelle in Norman Yeung’s Theory directed by Joanne Williams.She played ‘Stage Manager’ in Play: The Film by Kelly McCormack which won the People’s Choice Award at the Canadian Film Festival.

Suzette directed her first short film, 99 . 7% (Official Selection of aGliff) in Nov 2013. She directed, edited and starred in a trio of short films that called Triptych Triptych Triptych including The Garfield Appreciation Club, Can’t Close a Painted Eye and We Think it Belongs in the Sea; due to hit the 2016 festival circuit. Suzette works to change the way that women see themselves and their contribution to society by telling fresh stories.

@suzettemccanny
www.suzettemccanny.com

WE THREE: http://cue6.ca/

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Transcript

Transcript auto generated. 

Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 15 of the Stageworthy podcast. I’m your host, Phil Rickaby. On Stageworthy I interview people who make theatre actors, directors, playwrights and more and talk to them about everything from why they chose the theatre to their work process and anything in between. My guest is Suzette McCanny, a Toronto theatre actor and film director. Suzanne is appearing in week three by Q six theatre at Toronto’s Terragen theatre until April 17 2016. Suzanne joined me to talk about the process behind creating v3, her discovery of film directing and more. She and I also managed to forget the names of things we should know. For example, She forgot the name of the new colony. Well, I forgot the title of Shakespeare’s as you’re like it. You can find stage worthy on Facebook and Twitter at stage where the pod and you can find the website at 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.

Start where I usually start with people? Yeah, just like, Where Where did you first start in theatre? What was your first theatre experience? You remember?

Suzette McCanny
Oh, yeah. I so I, my first experience with when I knew that I well, I was five or something five or seven or something. And my father took me to see like a community theatre version of Justin the technical colour Dreamcoat. And, and I remember saying to him afterwards, Daddy, I want to do that. And I don’t know how he responded. But anyways. See? Yeah, and then I think, and then from there. From there, I always wanted to, and always, it was always a part of my identity.

Phil Rickaby
Did you did you know, like, I mean, that was Yeah, sitting in that, in that, that show where you’re aware of those people are making pretend you they were performing? Did you know that?

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I knew. Yeah. I knew that. They were like,

Phil Rickaby
not really, most people. Yes. I

Suzette McCanny
knew that. They were not really those people. I think I had an N word. I don’t wareness that they were that they were doing something that they knew that they were they knew they were doing something.

Phil Rickaby
So you you that was like your first experience. And the moment that you knew that you wanted to do that. Did you do plays throughout school, or did you kept in the back of your head?

Suzette McCanny
No, I have been so did like musical theatre for my younger years. Like I was I there was like, Oh, do Winnipeg. And so we had there was this like beautiful community theatre that was attached to a school and we and I did like, I was at Green Gables. And then I was then the next year I was Captain Hook. Because I had grown up I guess, the year before that, I was like all over. I don’t know, I was I was I was I we were in honour, but it was one of the

Phil Rickaby
big buckets. Yeah. So I

Suzette McCanny
did that for a number of years. And then we were going to move we were going to move to Ottawa. And I didn’t want to and I only agreed to move there because my my parents showed me this brochure for Canterbury High School and the class to Canterbury. And so they I was like, Okay, fine. I’m only moving if I get into this school, which we moved way before we got. But, yeah, and then. And then I did so that auditioned for it later and then gotten to Canterbury. And that so that’s a four year arts programme in Ottawa high school to high school. Yeah. And like it’s

Phil Rickaby
just like a theatre school, or is it like an arts?

Suzette McCanny
It’s an art school. So it’s like, it’s a literary dance, visual art, music literary arts, literary arts. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
At what point did you realise that it was a thing that you could do? Like, like as a as a career?

Suzette McCanny
I mean, sometime in high school. I know like most of my community is still these people from high school. And there’s that and then like, if you talk to him, I don’t know. If you talk to people outside of that community that kind of our community people will be like, like, God, you’re from Ghana to God, God, what is this category? Bullshit? And so anyways, they so I think we kind of all decided together that we were like, we’re gonna do this we’re gonna make theatre we’re gonna we’re gonna be artists. And yeah, so we sort of started we started there with me we’re all like a little, little baby 15 year olds and did a lot of zoo story. And I’m like, Crap Walker just Thompson and sort of fell in love with allocating marks,

Phil Rickaby
were you self producing there? Was it like the school would would would put on these shows as well,

Suzette McCanny
we did a bit of both. They had like some big ones at the end, but I was like, whatever is definitely self producing. Like, we would just put on shelves in the cafeteria.

Phil Rickaby
You really want to do it like an art? Sure. And of course, many other people are probably like, Alright, I’ll see you on a regular. I would put on a show in a cafeteria. They’re like no, I like what are you doing, flowing? Out of Canterbury? Did you go into any other school? Did you head straight into the, to the industry?

Suzette McCanny
No, I went. I went did a year at Ryerson for theatre tech. And so I learned how to sew Jacobean underwear really well. And I did a little stage managing a little bit of production management stuff there. And that I then I was like, oh, I need to go to acting. I was I. So I then I just for the following year for University of Windsor. And that’s where I did.

Phil Rickaby
Did you had you intended to go into like the tech aspect of theatre or just something you were trying to keep more well rounded.

Suzette McCanny
I mean, I was very aware that actors don’t make any money. From a very young age. I was trying to be really reasonable about it. Like part of my plan was like, I made sure to get a serving job. Like when I was in grade 11 or 10, so that I would have enough experience so that I could be a server while I was being an actor. Like I knew, thinking.

Phil Rickaby
When I was when I was in high school, I want to be an actor who would be like, well make sure that you know how to wait tables, and I was like, I’m not gonna have to wait tables. I’m too good. It’s good. Also keeps one humble. Yes. It’s also interesting, because I know I know people who are actors, but they can’t stage manage. Yeah, they won’t tell anybody they can stage mandate, because they’ll never have because everybody be like, I need that actress. I can find a stage manager I need. Yeah, you know,

Suzette McCanny
yeah. And I, I was I’ve been I’ve had actually having to deal with this for my whole life. Because, because I like even in high school. I liked both sides. I liked the like, technical side, I did a bit of stage managing. And I did. I liked the like, I liked the whole thing. I liked everything. So so I thought maybe I could do technical theatre and, and then I was just like a little bit too jealous of my friends who were in the acting programme. I was like, Oh, I can’t maybe I have to actually go to acting. But then once I got out of them, once I got out of the programme, I’ve been doing it to myself over and over again. So like, I taught myself how to make films. But I’m definitely on the technical side of the filmmaking. Right. Maury, I would say, I do do a lot of acting and film as well. But more than that, I make my own films. The thing

Phil Rickaby
is that in film and independent like if you’re really like, there’s independent film, there’s like, like, like super independent Canadian film where you are making it yourself. You better know how to do all that. Right? Like act in it and just film it and like, the whole

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, totally.

Phil Rickaby
Did you come by? Like, did you just did you decide that you just wanted to learn how to do filmmaking? Or was there like a thing that you wanted to get out of it? Or?

Suzette McCanny
I don’t remember what happened. I mean, I think it’s kind of started with them. Do you know Kelly McCormack and the crew that did play the film, Colin mentioned? Very Christian Brune. And Daddy Padgett. We did that like a couple years ago. I mean, I don’t know how many years and I was in it. And they I was I guess I watched them like just produce the heck out of this. Beautiful but no, I I am still here before myself. Before that, I don’t know, I just grabbed the camera. Because I was I guess the thing, it seemed easier. I was like, then putting on a play. Yeah, I was like, I could just take this camera and borrow this camera and make a film with my friends in my living room. And then I haven’t felt

Phil Rickaby
very true because you don’t technically you can do that. And now, when the technology is something that you can, like, we all have it on our phone. Yeah, yeah. And you can even edit it on your phone. Yeah, the quality of something you can make on your phone right now is like, so far beyond anything that I could have made a Super Eight camera when I was 16 years old. Yeah. Did and what kind of what kind of films are like were you have you been making so I I’ve been

Suzette McCanny
making some short films. But I started with this one called 99.7%. And it’s about two girls who it’s about a woman who’s an online dating site manager, she manages the site, but it’s also very lonely. She takes the she can’t find any matches. So she takes the, the restrictions off in terms of gender, or like all restrictions off, and she gets this match, which is like 99.7% compatibility. And so with this woman, and but she’d never sort of considered herself as gay or never considered being with a woman. And so then she sort of becomes friends with her. And then the woman finds out that they’re not that that the friendship is based on something other than then just a random friendship.

Phil Rickaby
Okay, so she approached it, like, like, like a friendship. Yeah.

Suzette McCanny
She was trying to Ni, I guess she was trying to try to keep the woman from getting matches with like, guys. Um, and then at the end, they tried to repair the friendship. Yeah, but anyway, so but that was just like, filmed here. Yeah. With to my friends. And we were just we were trying to play with like, how to make stories. So we did it with like improv. And we, we improvised. They, the two actors built their characters separately, and then we that we’ve made a story where both characters would be in it. And then we improvise the scenes. So that we wrote the we wrote the plot and then we improvise the scenes in the plot. Is

Phil Rickaby
that Is that how you intended to approach this? Or was this like something that you just sort of like, you all came up with? Like on the fly? We were trying

Suzette McCanny
to copy? What’s the what’s the guy’s name? Who does? Like I remember any of his movies at this moment?

Happy town. I don’t know. Happy town girl. Anyways, yeah, there’s a British director who directs who does a little bit like this. And then tends to and he makes sort of a little bit a amorphous films where they’re the endings aren’t quite clear. And it’s when he provides us all the scenes to sort of get a more honest, true to life storytelling.

Phil Rickaby
And this isn’t even there for the last couple of years. Yeah, in addition to the theatre in terms of in terms of of theatre, you’re working on something? Yeah. What are you? What can you tell me about that? Yeah,

Suzette McCanny
it’s actually really funny because it’s very similarly in the process. Okay, it’s almost exactly the same as what I just described with this film. Which is, I guess is what I’m into. Now that I think about it. So it’s called week three and at that Paragon we just opened last night and so we’ve been working on it for about a year and we started so thoroughly that if it’s Goldman is the writer and she works in Chicago a lot and there’s a company that does remember them the company’s well worth names anyways. I should have said write down write down some names, things like you know anyways, so do you know Kate and Sam are not breaking up the Q six litre did the Okay a little while ago. So that that play was made in the same way where you where you take, the writer thinks of a plot gives the character give the characters the address, the actors develop the character and then make an make different then and then you go into a room and you have the first imprint? improvisation and you, you make the character by like the director and the writer asks this the actor questions in their character? Yeah, exactly. Okay, yeah. And then you sort of talk, the character talks about their lives, and then you sort of get nice little tidbits of information out of them. And then you do an image. So you do that with all the characters, even the smallest characters, it doesn’t matter how big the character is. So each character gets like, you know, to be fully explored. And then you take the, then you do an improvisation of scenes that are not in the play, but that are with other people other than the people in the play. So you would do like with the boss, or with the boyfriend, or whoever it is, that that is talked about, but it’s not in the play. And then you also face scenes. So once that’s done, you improvise scenes with each other of scenes that are not in the play, but disgust, perhaps, and then, so that you have this sort of this shared base to start from. And then you and then you improvise scenes from the actual play. So like whatever the writer wants to see. And so then then the writer records all that takes all that away, and right to play. And that’s where this play came from. So that that format was used to write Kate and Sam are now breaking up. And that’s used by this company, whose name I can’t remember, but I will maybe email it to you later. And you can put it into production.

And so you Yeah, so then this is where the play game, we copied the style of making play. But this is an original play. And we freeze about so it’s about three women who are in who are best friends, they live together in university, and one of them has gone away to Calgary. And has is married. And there. He’s she’s coming back for the first time in two years. And they are trying to like, re reconnect, reconnect. And yeah, rebuild their friendship are trying to come back together. Yeah. It’s actually about that our tagline the movie using is about friendship, feminism and fracking. Right, the three apps, that’s all you need.

Phil Rickaby
And you were and how long you think you’ve said, but how long you were working on it?

Suzette McCanny
The process has been about a year. But we’ve come together for like, intensive workshop exams.

Phil Rickaby
So it’s certainly in terms of like a whole process for a year or like, like there was a period before the year of working on it.

Suzette McCanny
No, this whole process was the year. Yeah, that’s good. It was supposed to we started last April, and we were gonna go up in October. But then we got pushed back to April. So it’s been an awful year.

Phil Rickaby
I feel like every year for the last little while, I’ve seen your name almost constantly on shows like independent shows or in fringe. Yeah, for the last few years. And it seems like you keep popping up. It seems like you’re really busy with stuff. And that’s really great. Thank you. Are you? Obviously you enjoy the production side of it? Do you find it difficult when you’re acting to completely Divest yourself of the producer brain?

Suzette McCanny
It’s interesting. Yes, yeah. Well, yeah. Like, I have a deep respect for my stage manager. And I have a deep respect for my producers, and especially on this show, like the the, my producers and my stage manager, for example, are doing an amazing job. And so I just feel huge amount of respect to them and but know that that’s not I do know that that’s not my job. And my role in this like my role, like we’re all working together. My end of the bargain is to know my lines and be emotionally prepared for production. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
I know for myself, I mean, I obviously I respect the stage manager. Of course, in the back of my brain, I’m always like, like, the producer brain doesn’t always turn off turn off. Yeah. And that’s that’s like a huge challenge, probably because I didn’t I didn’t produce early, like, early on

Suzette McCanny
in my career. A lot of bracing since since Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
But early on. It was like when I was in theatre school. Nobody ever talks about self producing that that point, right. So it was all like, you know, when you get the job, right. And so when it became once I started self producing, I didn’t have like a background of oh, now I am in this role in this role. I think it’s something we could have to have to learn. Yeah. And if you don’t, it’s like it’s a muscle that is sort of undeveloped, especially that muscle of being able to like, turn off the producer brain or the like the writer brain. Yeah, it’s really difficult. In terms of the fringe shows, you have done a few we did some Shakespeare Yeah, I

Suzette McCanny
do a lot of Shakespeare bashed Shakespeare.

Phil Rickaby
Of course. Yeah. Is that like, and that’s it. That’s the the victory cafe. Yeah, that’s like almost like every year.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, it’s coming again this year. We’re gonna start rehearsals in May for I don’t know if Shakespeare plays Shakespeare play. I think they I don’t know if they’ve been asked to

Phil Rickaby
discuss it. But obviously, pretty much every actor loves doing Shakespeare. Yeah. Officials even Thomas Shakespeare. Shakespeare passed. Yeah, do you? Is there one that you have enjoyed the most and a role that you’ve enjoyed the most?

Suzette McCanny
I don’t think I can pick a favourite. Shakespeare bashed plays my first one with them. We was the really bad at names with the princess from France. No, comedy, comedy.

Phil Rickaby
Not apparently I’m gonna be really

Suzette McCanny
Shakespeare not to gentleman of Verona. But there’s much ado about nothing. Thank goodness

Yeah, so then there was the that was really fun. Because there’s like three girls, or four girls and four boys. And we were like, like the young lover teams. And we’re like fighting against the team was just so fantastic and hilarious. So yeah, that was a great time. And then last year we were doing last year I got to be this. Well, last year, me and Julia were the to the Merry Wives of Windsor. So we got to be the Merry Wives together, which was so fun, like. And I like I love just love, love the way that they cut it. Like they always cut the shows really well that aren’t like because it’s hard to get down to an hour and a half. Right. So my favourite part about working with

Phil Rickaby
others. That’s true. Yeah. With Hamlet, yeah, but, um,

Suzette McCanny
but I love I love being able to drive the plot with my wife’s Windsor

Phil Rickaby
mirror was a bit of a difficult one.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, yeah, it was tricky. I think we it was a challenge to make it. Like, kind of palpable Liam,

Phil Rickaby
I always feel in their lives is this is this one that’s like it’s just like, it’s like it was it was written under duress. It was like, Look, I know you killed this guy. But everybody really loves him. So right, another play. So he was like, behind the pipeline. But it’s like, it’s it’s almost like his heart wasn’t in it. And it just like it’s a it’s generally unsatisfying.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, I mean, it there’s a lot of fun to it. Because you because of the like, like, you know, putting people in baskets and stuff. But yeah, and then coming in then I find modernising it is a little like, there’s like, there’s a lot of like, even the fact that even the fact that the girls are making fun of this fat guy is a little hard to deal with. Man.

Phil Rickaby
You know, I hadn’t even thought about that. But yeah, that’s it’s hard enough to mod quote, unquote modernise Shakespeare, but especially when we’re so like, we’re so conscious now. Like body shaming, I’m thinking like, yeah, like this guy’s defining feature is he’s corpulent. Yeah, exactly. She’s the fat Knight. And so

Suzette McCanny
that’s the joke. I mean, he’s also rude and unlike an awful person, but mostly they protested. Because he’s fat. Yeah, yeah. So like, I’m like, that seems like a weird thing to base a play on

Phil Rickaby
is a strange thing to base play on. i Oh, there’s always that like, I remember when I was younger, I was like, when somebody would say go, yeah, Shakespeare’s you know, we’re just gonna throw modern clothes on and you’re like, modern clothes on Shakespeare and, like, 16 of the time or whatever. But then I realised that like, you can do almost anything with Shakespeare as long as your concept doesn’t get in the way of a play. Yeah, I’ve done Shakespeare. Like I’ve been involved with a couple of Shakespeare shows were great concept. Yeah, that play? Yeah, like, yeah, to tell the story. It kept like bumping into the end of the end of the concept. Yeah, never, never quite good. It in turn, like when when when you’re rehearsing that play, like they’re cutting it down. Are you guys discussing what they’re cutting? Like, can you like, is there a reason? Or like discussing like, Why did you cut that? Or is it just like is it really just like, you just gotta cut it for time so fuck it just like

Suzette McCanny
I mean that’s the one of the nice things about fringe is that they will turn the lights on like they will get so mad at you if you are over an hour and a half an hour and a half is a great length for a play. Yeah, so it but it keeps you really like honest in terms of like cutting it. So yeah, we like you know, the start. We started with like, I think, a two hour draft. Like 145 draft that play and then had to make some cuts.

Unknown Speaker
Didn’t turn the lights on you even if it’s BYOB

Suzette McCanny
well, it doesn’t turn the lights on but if you if you make your audience members late for the next show, they get so mad people are always so tight. Yeah, back to back. Yeah. So yeah, you’re not allowed to you’re not

Phil Rickaby
is there something that you’re like that you wanted to do with Shakespeare or anything else that you’re like, This is the thing that I like I want to do. Like in terms of starting a radio show? Well either or, like, is there a dream Shakespeare that you would produce?

Suzette McCanny
Oh, it’s a dream stakes, but I would produce

Phil Rickaby
because I know I know my I don’t mind if somebody comes to me and says you want to do a Shakespeare to do it. I know what is it

Suzette McCanny
now what happens in it plays the thing No, no, no, no. No, it’s got the thing with this stuff and the Rosland Yeah, it takes place in the forest. Yeah. Forest of Arden. Alright, it’s about it’s called

Phil Rickaby
called Orlando The Wrestler just forgetting names thing is contagious. Oh my god. Come on. Bro. Verona. It’s much it. No, no. No, no. It’s it is. We’re really good at Chase. Billy. We do a lot of shakes. Yeah, like, surely. It’s that played? That’s the one that I would do. I know exactly how I would do it. Yeah. So that’s a tricky one. I know. There’s only one little piece and I’m slowly working on in my brain.

Suzette McCanny
But then the lie on the line. How would I How would you do Hyman

Phil Rickaby
priest, like cut out that whole part where the Goddess comes out? So one thing about that planet? It’s like, I almost got a flash on what the fucking name of the thing was. And now I am really earning the explicit tag on his podcast. Like, you know, this just opened the curtain. Whoa, whoa, it was about as scared she is she’s gonna make everything fine. Okay, great. It’s like ridiculous.

Suzette McCanny
But the lion what part is a lion? Like,

Phil Rickaby
the the brother is sleeping under the tree. Oh, I am the snake. And there’s a whole thing of wind up there and all this stuff. And it’s like, in my setting. That’s the one part that I have to work on the homework but right. Anyway, for you is the one that you would you would

Suzette McCanny
I like the I like the tragedies actually. Okay. I like I think I would do matters. That’s which is why we’ve met

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Macros, like I, I’ve done macros

Suzette McCanny
a few times. Yeah, me too. Actually, I’ve done and I’ve seen it a few times. That I guess. I feel like I’m not over it. I see I’m,

Phil Rickaby
I get this. I get this phase when I’m like so over. Yeah, I’m like, I have done this place. So many times. And I’ve seen it so many times, but kind of over it. And then occasionally I’m like

except maybe now maybe? Yeah. Is there something about it that you really that really draws you to it,

Suzette McCanny
though, which as but not and I’m changing my mind. And you know what I would like to do? I really like the Richard the second. The one where Margaret is still young. And she’s got that beautiful speech. But I think if if I’m going to produce Shakespeare, it will most likely be like, cross cross cast. Because I’m quite a bit of a feminist. And I really, really just never stops. Well. Like I love it.

Phil Rickaby
Let’s face it. A lot of Shakespeare’s roles for women are not awesome. Yeah, because with the exception of Cleopatra, most of them are like shady and really shitty. Yeah, like, we know it’s just a boy in a suit in like a dress. So We’re not going to go back because there’s so much more interesting that you could do.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. So I’ve been, I’ve gotten a chance to play a lot of male roles as woman in Shakespeare. And like, either you just like, like that was in the one in random where I was playing Benvolio as a girl, I know as like, as the best friend of Romeo. Okay. But as a girl, which it’s different, it still changes things. It always changes things. Of course it does, of course it so you can’t like pretend it doesn’t change things. But

Phil Rickaby
no, you have to you kind of have to go for it. If you’re going to think that if you’re going to cross cast like that, you can’t just play it. You can’t decide that this is a boy, this is a girl playing a boy. Yeah, you’ve got to accept the fact that there’s this is a girl in this character. And you just have to go with it. Yeah.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And maybe

Phil Rickaby
cross cast the whole thing? Or would they just be specific roles that you would cross cast?

Suzette McCanny
I think I would cross cast the whole thing. And maybe it’s the point where maybe the point where the women are played by men. Or maybe the point where maybe the point where they’re all where it’s a bit more fluid? Yeah, it’s so tricky, though. Because then

Phil Rickaby
you have to look at how that changes the relationships. Yeah, but what that does to the stories, like, there really can be really, it can be really tricky, you know, it’s certainly a thing. Yeah. Like, I you. Like, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like why you wouldn’t cross cast like, I like to, I think that in an ideal world, and especially when we’re doing when we’re doing Shakespeare, we would probably just unless it breaks the play ignore gender. For the characters like, yeah, just like in you know, yeah. Just blindness to to gender, colour, race, whatever. Yeah. Just cast the right actor.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah, I think that is valuable. I can’t out somebody was telling me a story about like, European theatre versus Canadian theatre. And actually, now I’ve heard two different things. So I may be wrong. But they were saying that, it’s that they were saying that in England, it’s more people are more resistant to like cross casting, maybe even especially in race. They want it to be more, they wanted to be more realistic. But I might be, but I had somebody else who said that was totally wrong. I’ve actually never, I don’t have first hand knowledge

Phil Rickaby
of where you are. Yeah, I just saw an article earlier today. That was like 85% of England, peer of the English will not accept a female Hamlet. And I was like, I don’t even know how you pull for that. But like, like, because, you know, until you see it, you can’t really, you can’t really like say No, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t accept that.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. Female would be great. I haven’t seen female would be

Phil Rickaby
great. In terms of feminist theatre, yeah. Um, have you? Have you always considered yourself a feminist actor? Or is that something that you’ve grown into?

Suzette McCanny
Oh, no, probably always. Oh, my God, there was this great story. When I was in Windsor. Okay, so we, we were, it was like, so that was like 10 years ago. And so even it was just like, a little bit less talked about, you know, like, we’ve, I feel like it’s really come into its own in the past, like four years, maybe five of in terms of like, feminism, getting this really big wave again. But so we had this, we were doing this play, there was four female characters in the play. And there was 10 men in the play. There are, there were 15 women in the class and four men in the class. So the men, the men played, the men played double characters every day. And the women were divided into each woman got a quarter of a character, played only every second day. And I was so mad at the injustice of this. And so that I did, but I was under the supervision of my wife from the time was that David Gingrich? And he so he was like, I was like, so mad. I was like tearing my hair. I was like, Okay, well, like get the facts, like, what are the facts? What are the facts? And I was like, okay, yeah, so I counted the amount of sentences that each woman had and the amount of sensors and each man had. So each man had 10% of the play, and each woman had 0.1% of the play. And I was like, This is not acceptable. We’re all paying this amount of money. You just this is not acceptable. But they ignored they ignored me in the end, my dear friend Alex Crowder, who’s now my roommate who lives here says packet he, he ended up switching one of his roles with me. So I played his, one of his man roles. They were fine with it. They were they were definitely fine with it. They were not going to mandate that. I guess they were not going to mandate that everybody had to do it. Yeah. But they were totally fine with me being doing the manual, so So if that’s To their credit, for sure.

Phil Rickaby
Kind of within To their credit, the credit will get cut makes more sense to put the women in the men drawers and the men’s and women’s roles.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, I know. But, I mean, I understand it’s really hard to find plays with enough people for theatre schools. And like, I understand that it’s like,

Phil Rickaby
it is because you’re almost you’re almost never going to have that many people. Like in a play period. Yeah.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. It’s, I think if a writer wanted to make a lot of money, they could write a couple of like, like, you know, 30 person cast plays with about 15 women and for men that weren’t bad.

Phil Rickaby
Well, I mean, if you were going to look at the actual demographic of the theatre school, it’s mostly women. Yeah. And a few guys, and you should, you know, there needs to be some stuff that can do that. And I think a lot of the theatre schools should probably be a little more adventurous in there.

Especially when we’re, you’re they’re often doing the classics anyway. Yeah. Which makes them difficult, because, you

know, if you’re doing just pity she’s a whore. And it’s all men and except for a couple of women. Yeah. Like, honestly, yeah, reverse it. Yeah. Why not? Make it just pay us or like, let’s turn that on.

Suzette McCanny
Like, the thing I found, playing that men, and I have found that this, I found this true. A lot of times, is it actually uses different, like, they’re just there are tactics and like power dynamics that are written into men’s roles that I would just never use in my daily life. Like I the the character that I was playing anyways, was a was a, like a head of a company. And I didn’t, I have never used the like, I’ve never, like I don’t most of my characters don’t walk into a room and already have power. Yes, yeah. And so it was odd to try to, it was just very, I was very aware that I wasn’t, but I was using tactics that I didn’t know how to use in real life that didn’t use that isn’t used as regularly as, as the more female.

Phil Rickaby
What did you What are some anything you took away from from that experience?

Suzette McCanny
Yeah, and then also, then also that, like that rhetoric, like women are not giving women characters are not getting as much rhetoric, as male characters are. So I didn’t have very much experience, like arguing a point, right, and driving it home. Yeah. And arguing point, and like holding all of those, like, possible arguments in your head, and then like, and then like, giving, giving the other person that that. So that, that I learned that as well. And actually, this this play that I’m doing now, is because there’s three women and what it’s about, it’s like a bit of an issue play. Like it’s, there’s definitely conversations about, like, politics and about how to do this, how to do the world. And I think it’s, I think it’s still rare, and I’m still bad at it. Like, I’m still bad at, like, what our director gave us a note, she was like, I almost want to give you the note, like play these characters like men. Because then you have a little then you just like, ground yourself a little bit.

Phil Rickaby
I’m just trying to think of what the so with that particular piece of direction what’s the what are you doing that needs the fight like men? Like what action like what is the Do you know what it is that the director was trying to combat from from you?

Suzette McCanny
I mean, I think we were playing. Like, we were almost not playing full, like rounded individuals the way we are in our lives. We were playing girls. And it I mean, the whole point was not to the whole point is to, to be honestly, like and I think over the range of this play, like there’s like, there is the time when we definitely like you know, you definitely get like, like school excited, but then there to be aware that like when I sit and talk, I sit and talk out of a place of like, out of a place of power but a full authority I don’t I don’t think I’ve put that I don’t think I put that into my characters. Always.

Phil Rickaby
Why do you think why do you think that is? Like?

Suzette McCanny
Um I mean, I guess I would say because I haven’t seen it very much. That’s not how I think. Woman character is, but I don’t know if that’s true. Exactly. I think it’s just habit. And I think it’s just like, I think more than anything, it’s like, I mean, when you’re, when anyone’s acting, it’s hard to like, it’s hard to be like, No, but really speak for my real voice. Oh, I think yeah, I think that more than anything is, but when a bunch of women do it, it looks like it looks like they’re pretending to be I don’t know. I’m not sure

Phil Rickaby
what sort of fight like in terms of of this. Your production team? Yeah. So you have a bunch of women actors? Yes. Well,

Suzette McCanny
I’m say, right. When the playwright Yeah. Director, woman.

Phil Rickaby
Okay, so you’ve got all these women in the room? I don’t know what I’m like, How is it that? How would the women in a room are like, allowing each other to like, not play mounted characters just just like,

Suzette McCanny
Well, no, we aren’t, we aren’t allowing you to ourselves to not play characters, because we didn’t get the direction that we took direction then. But like, and that literally the whole point of the creation process. And everything was to make? Well,

Phil Rickaby
of course. Yeah.

Suzette McCanny
But yeah, I mean, I think I think it’s No, I just sound like my play. I think it’s kind of a cultural stereotypical brainwashing having us believe that. Or like, no, like, it’s practice. It’s what I’ve practised. Yeah. It’s what I,

Phil Rickaby
of course, and it’s what you’ve done in most of the roles. It’s what I’ve done with

Suzette McCanny
most of our roles. And it’s like, it’s very, it’s very odd to play a character that’s not a young girl who’s like, being raped. Yeah. Like, it’s just not something I’ve done very much. It’s like,

Phil Rickaby
I haven’t noticed, like, obviously, I don’t know what it’s like. No, I mean, what is I mean, our society is and the culture that we live in, is kind of man centric. Yeah. Well, we are getting better at calling guys all out there. Man. centricity is Yeah. Like, people are getting better at calling each other out calling do Jenner on their mansplaining and a man tolerating and it’s just that, you know, we still have the Internet where people were dudes are like, yes, like assholes is a terrible place. But the internet is a terrible, terrible and wonderful. And I think that that we, you know, there’s all these great initiatives for, like, equity in theatre. Yes. Like that. And I see all these conversations on playwrights, blogs and Facebook groups about the lack of women represent representation. Yeah. in theatres, and I think there’s an awareness of it. Yeah. I just don’t think that that awareness is filtering through to all the places that it needs to

Suzette McCanny
go. Yeah, well, yeah. I don’t think it’s quite trickled down yet. Or trickling up.

Phil Rickaby
I think it’s gonna trickle up because down near the bottom, it’s all there. Yeah, the people who are programming and the people who are, who are putting seasons together and things like that are not quite, not quite doing,

Suzette McCanny
I got it, but I have a friend of a friend who’s working at a regional theatre, and they are trying to programme their next leader their next season. And they, they the, the programmers are aware that they need to be programming some female playwrights, but they can’t they say they can’t find any. And I know and I know, I know, I know. I know, but no, and then she but she then she’s going and looking to see if she can find any, but there are so many other like, you know, block, like, rules that the plays also need to fall into that it’s hard, because there are not as many ones from before 1950 You know,

Phil Rickaby
is Canadian plays that absolutely. Makes it kind of difficult. Yes. Right. Because theatre didn’t really exist so much in Canada

Suzette McCanny
before. Yeah. 60s just like time like we’re behind a little bit. So like I see that for sure.

Phil Rickaby
I know cuz I was figured like if you if you know that it’s an issue you can always Like, approach female

Suzette McCanny
playwrights and say hello, please.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, here’s our mandate, please write within it, you know. But I think I sometimes feel like we we can’t find any female playwrights, there’s a little bit of a little bit. I know a couple of people who have been like, they made it their goal this year that if somebody, if there’s a play, and it’s all dudes, they’re not going to see it. Well, if there’s if there’s, if you’re doing a show, and you didn’t cast women in the play, we’re doing Shakespeare or something like, yeah, she’s not going to see it. If it’s like all dudes. Yeah. And I think that that’s in a way, that’s one of the only ways that that we might make an impact on changing the way the theatres do things is like, do it or we’re not paying tickets, you know?

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I have such a beautiful network of like, these really amazing female artists that are making plays, and a lot of writers, a lot of producers and yeah, and I think I don’t, I don’t think people who I’m interested in, and therefore the people who I work with, are very much like, interested in. Yeah, yeah.

Phil Rickaby
It’s interesting, because if I look back at all the people that I’ve spoken to for this podcast, unsurprisingly to me, the vast majority have been women. Yeah, more women than men that have spoken. Oh, interesting. And whenever I am, like looking like seeking people, if I were there on Facebook or on Twitter, I say, Hey, I’m looking for people to talk to Yeah, the actress you come out of the woodwork, or almost all the actors, playwrights, directors are almost all women. And yet, and yet, when we look at our stages, we see shows that are mostly dudes. Yeah. Just kind of a weird thing. Yeah.

Suzette McCanny
I mean, I, yeah, I don’t have anything against dudes.

Phil Rickaby
No, no, no, you know, I don’t either. I just like I just like a little diversity.

Suzette McCanny
Yeah. And then and then you start talking about like, so then you’re talking about diversity, and then you got to talk about everything, then you’re gonna do then you’re gonna talk about racism, then you’re talking about not racism, but racially, we’re gonna say an hour, but like, ableism? Like, I mean, once you go down the path, there’s a lot, I think we, I think we gotta go back, go down the path. I think just go down the path. We

Phil Rickaby
got to do it. Because I think that our theatres and our arts will be stronger for doing that. Yeah, I think we got a fight through the change process. Yes. Which is, I think, going to be a little bit rocky for a few more years,

Suzette McCanny
unfortunately. But I do think are. Like we did, we did this show this show for our preview audiences were like, on the older side, like they were an older generation. And our opening night crowd was much, much younger, and it was like our generation, so. But it wasn’t like they didn’t. Like it wasn’t like they, the that generation above me didn’t like it. I think it was, I think they sometimes I think that like art once once our generation moves up, and then it’ll all be fine. But, um, I don’t think that’s true. I think that there’s lots of people who I think, I think though, I think they are just as aware of the problem as we are,

Phil Rickaby
I love to think that, you know, once the old guys retire, I don’t know. Gonna be this utopia of like, diversity and inequality, and stuff like that. And, but I kind of look at, you know, people that I used to know, just generally, people who were like, you know, when they were younger, like, like, the most socialist people that I know, right, you know, they’re lovely. And now they’re like, you know, they voted conservative and they’re worried about their tax cuts, and why should I pay for the arts and things like that? Sort of worry that you know, we’re gonna get there and it’s gonna be too late. Because we’re gonna,

Suzette McCanny
we’re gonna we’re gonna be now we’re gonna be Yeah, not aware of the problems. No, I think it’s a good point. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
I know what I’m not going to end on this particular note, because I think it’s a little bit a little bit depressing. Yeah, so like end on that. Well, we’re fucked. Okay, in terms of like this show, how long does it run for?

Suzette McCanny
It runs until next Sunday,

Phil Rickaby
which is April

Suzette McCanny
April 18. We’re not saying April 17.

Phil Rickaby
And after that

Suzette McCanny
oh, yeah, very excited about that.

Phil Rickaby
Do you know what you’re doing after that?

Suzette McCanny
I don’t know what to do. After that. I I’ve got I’ve got some Movie The cat seven, three films that I’m trying to get it into the festival circuit right now. So I will be doing a little bit of work on that. And hopefully sometime in the summer there’ll be they’ll get their premiere. Cool, right? Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Are there particular festivals you’re pursuing? Or is it?

Suzette McCanny
I’m hoping I’m hoping that breakthroughs might have it. And then there would be the that would be the Toronto premiere? Yeah. But I’m looking at us a lot. There’s like, there’s film festivals are crazy, because there’s so many. Like, there’s just so many. And I like the states and like, literally,

Phil Rickaby
they all want they have their own criteria. Yeah, they definitely do is do you find that applying for the festivals, it’s kind of like applying for grants or anything like you have to like, use the buzzwords that they think they want to hear and like, worded in a specific way so that they’ll get their attention or anything like

Suzette McCanny
that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you do have to do a little bit of that. It also costs a lot of money. Everyone costs like,

Phil Rickaby
do you have to be back? This is like, yeah. Are you do you have to like, pay an entry fee to get in? Like you have to application? You have to

Suzette McCanny
pay a fee to apply? Oh, so and they’re about like, 60 to like they’re 40 to 100. But then if you apply really good.

That’s like a blind a Fringe Festival. Yeah. Yeah. Which has that, hey, I got into the fringe. Are you? Are you on social media? I’m on Twitter. I’m on Twitter, the Twitter you can find me at Suzette McKenney. And I do have a website

I do at suzettemccanny.com. But you can find it all through Twitter. Twitter’s probably a good place to find me. Great. Thanks so much. Thank you so much for talking to me.