#24 – Nisha Coleman

Nisha Coleman was born in a swamp near Huntsville, Ontario.

She studied music and psychology at McGill and Wilfrid Laurier University. Once school was out of the way, she went to live in Paris as a street violinist. Her memoir about these years is called Busker: Stories from the Streets of Paris and was released with Hagios Press in November 2015 to critical acclaim (Montreal Gazette. 49th Shelf, Pickle Me This).

Nisha is a regular storyteller as well as co-producer of the storytelling series Confabulation in Montreal. Her stories have been broadcast on the CBC (WireTap) and No More Radio. In 2015, she teamed up with Jeff Gandell to co-write and perform Things Drugs Taught Me, a show that combines storytelling, theatre, and comedy. Her solo show, Self-Exile, explores isolation, flatulence, selective mutism, music, human connection, and what it means to be yourself. Self-Exile will be featured at the 2016 Montreal and Toronto Fringe Festivals.

TO Fringe Link: http://fringetoronto.com/fringe-festival/shows/self-exile/
Trailer for Self-Exile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usyIg39pf_s

Website: nishacoleman.com
Faceboook: facebook.com/NishaColemanwriter
Twitter: @NishaColeman
Instagram: @NishaColeman

Stageworthy:
http://www.stageworthypodcast.com
Twitter @stageworthyPod
Facebook: http://facebook.com/stageworthyPod

Transcript

Transcript auto generated. 

Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 24 of Stageworthy, I’m your host, Phil Rickaby. This is a quick reminder that my play the commandment will premiere this July at the Hamilton Fringe Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come by and see my show or any of the other great shows at the fringe. You’re gonna buy tickets right now with him online at Hamilton fringe.ca. And you can find out more about my play at the commandment.ca on stageworthy I interview people who make theatre actors, directors, playwrights, and more about everything from why they chose the theatre to their work process and anything in between. You can find stage worthy on Facebook and Twitter at stage where the pod and you can find a website that stage or any podcast.com If you like what you hear, I hope you’ll subscribe on iTunes or Google music or whatever podcast app you use, and consider leaving a comment or writing. My guest is Nisha Coleman, storyteller and musician currently living in Montreal for a solo show self exile exploring isolation Flagyl on selective mutism music and what it means to be yourself is currently being seen at the Montreal fringe and will also be presented at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

So thank you very much for for coming on the Stageworthy podcast. I’ve been looking at your website just to sort of get a sense of you know, who I’m talking to, and that sort of thing. And one thing that sort of jumps out at me is that theatre theatre or the theatrical? theatrical performance is not real. It doesn’t look like that’s your background. It looks like more you studied music and things like that. So yeah. Is that Is that right?

Nisha Coleman
Well, I’ve been kind of all over the map. And funny enough, I started in theatre, but when I was a kid, I was always acting in plays. And then I auditioned for this community play when I was 10 years old, and I got the part and so I started acting in plays, that were for festivals, like with adults. And so that that was my original background in the arts. And then I kind of strayed away from that once I got into music. And then music led to writing and writing has led back to theatre.

Phil Rickaby
Interesting. Was there a are you conscious of a reason why you sort of left theatre for music, or,

Nisha Coleman
um, I think it’s just that music demands so much attention, like, so I kind of I delved into the classical music land, and that requires just so much practice and dedication, if if you want to be serious about it, which I thought I did want to be serious about it. So there just wasn’t time to spread myself over all those areas.

Phil Rickaby
That’s understandable. And so you, you went to you went from the sprawling metropolis of Huntsville, Ontario, to McGill, to study music.

Nisha Coleman
That’s right. I studied one year at McGill in music, and then I went to Wilfrid Laurier University and did another year of music there. And then I switched to psychology. So I finished actually with a psychology degree.

Phil Rickaby
Okay. So you really have been all over the map and turn. So, did you just get tired of music? Or was that did you feel yourself drawn to psychology?

Nisha Coleman
Did the real and honest answer to that is I started and experiencing more and more severe performance anxiety, such that I couldn’t really play anymore when I was under ANY form of pressure. And I started to get really neurotic. And I thought, do I continue being this neurotic and fighting myself day after day? Or I could, you know, study what it means to be an erotic and switch over to psychology and just like write essays about being neurotic. So that’s what I did

Phil Rickaby
you find that the the like studying psychology gave you any insight into performance anxiety and things like that, or

Nisha Coleman
I’m, in a way yeah, like I specifically took like a fourth year seminar class and anxiety disorders and we’re wrote like a long essay on on performance anxiety that takes all kinds of different forms, like, including, including public speaking, actually. So then, you know, dealing with like professors that, that, in their minds, they’re absolutely terrified to even give give a lecture. And they have this impression that that is not going well that everyone’s kind of judging them or seeing them a certain way that’s basically just sort of a made up scenario in their minds. So that, and also like sports, sports psychology, I started looking into like, how how athletes also deal with the same, the same form of anxiety, it’s just that it’s in a different area.

Phil Rickaby
What did you did you Did, did studying this help you? Did it? Did it give you any insight into your own anxiety and performing? Or were you able to learn tools that helped you to deal with it? Or did it not? Academic?

Nisha Coleman
I guess not. In a practical sense, I guess I just learned to sort of accept that I have this particular form of anxiety that surfaces when I play violin, in front of an audience. I have since noted that as a busker, because after university, I moved to Paris and was playing violin on the streets, in front of like hundreds of people a day, and yet I wasn’t afflicted by the same anxiety. So I’m studying it was just sort of reassuring in the sense that I’m not the only one who’s dealing with this, because I guess that’s how I felt in the music programmes. Like I, I started, like, sort of feeling isolated in the sense that I felt like I was the only one struggling, so it’s a pretty common affliction.

Phil Rickaby
Did so when you were in? I mean, we will certainly come back to busking on the streets of Paris. But did you? Did you find that? Do you? Do you have any insight into why when you were busking, there was no anxiety.

Nisha Coleman
Um, it’s something I’ve thought about a lot. And what I think it is, is that there’s really no pressure when you’re busking because nobody’s, nobody’s paid to come and see you. No one’s expecting a certain piece to be played a certain way. There’s no real judgement involved, and the pressure was off. And also, I noticed that if too many people started to conglomerate in front of me, then it would start to feel too much like an audience, and then I would start to get nervous. So it’s like, I can deal with scattered audience members. But if it starts to feel too much like a performance somehow, I just can’t handle it. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
So I mean, just to to get to the, to the, to the meat of why we’re talking you have a show called self exile that’s about to open the Montreal fringe. And then after that, you are going to the Toronto fringe with the show. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about about self exile.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, self exile is it’s a solo storytelling show. And it’s a personal story about growing up about navigating the world under unusual circumstances. So it’s, it’s, I go through different phases of my life and pinpoint different moments. Self exile, the title refers to a kind of refers to two things. One is a severe shyness that I battled growing up. And that got so severe in adolescence that I basically was, was mute, like, it’s called selective mutism. So it’s someone who can talk but chooses not to. And also this tendency sort of disengage, disengage from from life itself from friends and family and just sort of self isolate. Sounds pretty dark, but it’s actually like borderline comedy. Um, it’s it’s, yeah, it’s really about learning how I learned to navigate the world the way I am. If that makes sense. Sure.

Phil Rickaby
Can you so you You’re you say that it’s it’s borderline comedy because it sounds dark. And I think that’s

Nisha Coleman
yeah, yeah.

Phil Rickaby
I guess in terms of of you know, straddling the, the the dark and the comedy is there, is there a way that you’ve managed to do that generally.

Nisha Coleman
It’s kind of my nature to do that anyway, in real life. So it’s just an extrapolation of that. So for example, like, my parents were hippies. So the show kind of opens like with my conception in Edmonton, with my hands, just like these both hands straight across the country and evolvable. So like that, those are my origins, and it’s kind of a funny, maybe unusual start to life is is this sort of hippie environment. And then the other kind of unusual element is the fact I grew up and on a swamp, so I always I always use this was like, comic relief. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Okay, so you grew up on on a on a on a swab? That’s a swamp outside of outside of, or in Huntsville.

Nisha Coleman
So, yeah, Huntsville. I guess people in Toronto know Huntsville pretty well, like it sits in Muskoka. It’s cottage country, it’s where it’s where all the Torontonians go for beers and hang out at the cottages. But then there’s the locals. And it’s kind of a whole other scene. So, so yeah, we had it, we had our own private swamp. And it was a pretty it’s an interesting place to grow up. Because, you know, there’s no cable TV or hippie parents, it’s, it’s poverty with a consciousness, it’s a form of poverty, but it’s so own special kind. So we got a lot and we had all these weird games, and it’s just sort of a unique, isolated privilege to grow up.

Phil Rickaby
I’m curious about this, this journey of yours from theatre to music to Paris, back to Canada and the journey to start to be coming a storyteller. Could you I mean, I know that you that the story of how you got to Paris and and your, I guess, for want of a better word adventures as a busker there is outlined in your book, right? Yeah. Can you tell me just like just sort of the Coles Notes version of of how you ended up in Paris? And what what made you a busker in Paris?

Nisha Coleman
Yeah. Um, so it’s funny, they all sort of overlap. I was actually busking in Halifax one summer taking. So it was a summer during university, I was sick of, you know, being a cashier. I was like, I could do something different. And I went to Halifax. I didn’t know anyone there. I just started busking as of my summer job, and who should approach but a handsome Parisian man who, who just says to me, would you like to have a coffee with me. And this kind of thing happens all the time. In Paris. You know, French men are a lot, let’s say less bashful than then their Canadian counterparts. And I was not used to that at all. Like no one had ever approached me out of nowhere. And I was like, Oh, of course. So we had a coffee. And he wrote me an email telling him thinking about you, would you consider coming to Paris, and he even had this line. That was your law will be 10,000 times better. Send your best gear and Peggy? Well, I mean, I don’t know I’m finishing university. And I didn’t want to go to grad school right away. And I just wanted love and adventure and a new city. And so I just, I just like took a leap. I said, sure. I’ll come. I booked a book ticket, spent the last of my student loans on a ticket. And basically, as soon as I got there, I could just tell like this not gonna work out like this was a bad plan. Not only was it a bad plan, but I didn’t have a plan B I didn’t have a visa it actually stayed or I didn’t speak French. I didn’t know anybody. I had no money. But I did have a violin. And so there was this moment where I was like, Okay, do I do I just go home next, forget the whole thing. Or I have my violin, I can make a goal. I can make a go at this, I can just just see where it takes me. And that’s what I did. And it worked out.

Phil Rickaby
And did you learn French? Just? Did you take a class while you were there? Did you just like learn it on the street,

Nisha Coleman
I learned it on the street, which is it’s a great way to do it. I had no official French instruction there, it was just every day I would learn more and more words, and I provisions were surprisingly patient with me. And they wouldn’t get upset with mistakes, they would actually sort of adopt like a French teacher status. And they would they would just like, correct me all the time. And even like, write things in my notebook if I wasn’t catching a word, or they were really happy to explain and helped me along. So yeah, and I was motivated to learn to I mean, I learned French in school. But, you know, can only take us so far. And I realised when I got there that I was not fluent at all. And I saw that I could even get by little bit. But that wasn’t even the case.

Phil Rickaby
How long did it take you to feel like you could converse or become fluent in French?

Nisha Coleman
Um, it took about three months before I had that moment where I was like, Oh, my God, I’m I’m speaking French, like I’m having a conversation. It’s not just like, Caveman talk, or I remember, I remember the date very clearly. So it took three months of like constantly forcing it listening to the radio, reading, reading all everything I could get my hands on and talking to anyone who would spare the time. It didn’t come naturally, as I had hoped it would.

Phil Rickaby
How long were you in Paris? Overall?

Nisha Coleman
Three years in total?

Phil Rickaby
And did you when you when you left? Did you just decide that you’d had enough that you’d learned enough? What What brought you back to Canada?

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, like I was definitely missing. Canada. I had a perfect boyfriend. And things were going well. And he kind of needed a change too. And when we when we thought, let’s just let’s just go to Montreal, see, see. See what that brings. It’s a French speaking city. And we could both get by there. And it’s my country. And it just it just made sense. I felt like I’d had I was kind of saturated with my potential there. As a boss, I could do like, I think I’ve done all that I kind of needed to do there.

Phil Rickaby
And when when you when did you start getting back to, from music to words to storytelling to storytelling, like on a stage?

Nisha Coleman
Well, I while I was playing music in Paris, I was writing at the time I was so I was writing about the things that were happening to me, and I wasn’t, I didn’t think that it would be coming. It was just sort of a thing that I did I come home and just kind of read about the day. But um, so these stories started to take shape. And they started to become kind of what was looking like a memoir. And so when I came to Montreal I worked. I was rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. And finally I had some Polish chapters. And there’s this event called yarn. It’s a monthly event in Israel where you can either do storytelling or read fiction or nonfiction. I signed up to read my chapter. And so it started off actually just reading on stage reading a chapter from my memoir. And that sort of organically transform finding to the same event but now telling the story instead of reading it from a page. And I really liked that actually because it’s you can engage so much more with the arts. And so then I started telling more and more stories. confabulation which is another monthly storytelling event. In Montreal, and I feel like it’s the best of all the worlds because it’s theatre, but it also is writing. And it’s I think it’s the art that to me, I’ve kind of tried them all on.

Phil Rickaby
And what was your first like? What was your first foray back to like creating your own show with the storytelling?

Nisha Coleman
Um, well, I started telling sort of like the more personal stories at confabulation. And those are 10 minutes by Jeff kandao, who, who runs the yarn series, and we decided we would do a doubleheader storytelling shows with me on stage at the same time, but we take turns telling stories. And that was like my first full storytelling show. And that was really fun. So I applied for this grant, for the Quebec Arts Council to write a really personal solo show self exile. And I was really nervous about writing it, because it’s very personal show. And it’s kind of scary to do something completely yourself, it was the first time I’d ever done it. And I think if I hadn’t got the ground, I don’t even know if I would have been able to push through right to the end, but the grant came through. And then I had a deadline. And then I was that I really had to do it. I’m so glad that it happened that way.

Phil Rickaby
Have you performed the show in front of people before?

Nisha Coleman
Yes, I performed it in November, as part of the Montreal solos festival. So it’s only been, it’s only been done once.

Phil Rickaby
And as your first and this is I’m asking this purely for selfish reasons. As a as somebody getting up to perform really solo for the long form solo for a lot for the first time. How, how was that?

Nisha Coleman
It was at once terrifying, and exhilarating. And I, I had a lot of doubts, because there’s always that part of my mind. That’s like, who wants to listen to you talk about yourself for one hour? It just doesn’t make sense. And it just seemed like narcissistic effect, though, you know, is this even interesting to anybody? And I, my big fear was that people would have that reaction, like, what am I doing here. But in fact, it was really reassuring to do the show, because people really reacted to it in a favourable way. And were actually really touched by it, because it is so personal. And it really resonated with people in the audience, and they started to sort of open up to me about their lives, things that they wouldn’t necessarily share otherwise, so interesting, in the aftermath, to like, get little notes or have people, you know, come up and talk to me and say, you know, I’m just like that, too.

Phil Rickaby
As you were, as you were creating the show, and rehearsing the show, did you how did you come back? Because, you know, you were talking about, you know, who wants to talk, you know, who wants to hear me talk about myself for an hour? How, how did you combat those feelings leading into, like actually performing it.

Nisha Coleman
Um, I would say the biggest help was my director. That’s Jeff candle. We work we work really well together. And he offered to direct the show. And I think it was it was a good colleague. It’s a really, it was a good match. And I remember first reps really, I was maybe even more nervous the first run through with him and then even on stage because that was just the look on his face was going to tell me everything. And his reaction. Just with the first read through he said, Yeah, this this is going to be art. So don’t worry, it’s going to be okay. And just having just one person that’s all that’s all you need is one person who is who believes in the thing that you’re doing. And he really helped. I feel like when you’re doing solo material, you really need at least one other brain and I eyes on on this duck as you just to a net. So it really, really helped. just shape it in a way That was political.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, no, I, I totally get that. I mean, I’m getting ready to do my first solo show ever. Oh, myself and, and, you know, I have a director that I trust and I couldn’t imagine trying to put this on its feet without an outside I.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah. No, I think it’s not not a good idea.

Phil Rickaby
So also, I think that without somebody he’s, I don’t know approval or for whatever better word I think that I would be paralysed. Yeah with doubt. Yeah, the whole, like leading up to it.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah. Yeah, you just need that one other person that’s like, No, this, you’re gonna be okay. This is worth it. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
yeah, it’s totally help. I mean, I know people who have like, developed a whole so on their own without, like having somebody come in like that. And I just don’t know how they do it. I don’t know how they, how they managed to do it without somebody who’s like, I don’t know, holding their hand as they birth this thing.

Nisha Coleman
I mean, it is huge. It is like a birth in a way. It’s a good analogy, like, I feel like there’s such a, there’s, there’s so much emotion that comes along with telling such a personal story too. Like you’re kind of processing the material as you’re working on it. And so I felt like even in rehearsals, I was still processing the material. And having Jeff there with me sort of validated it, so that by the time it was ready for the stage. Those original doubts were no longer haunting me.

Phil Rickaby
Have you made any discoveries? While you’ve been rehearsing this about the act of performing a solo piece?

Nisha Coleman
Um, I don’t know of about. Let me think about that. That’s a good question. I guess it’s just a matter of, of finding a balance of like being grounded on stage, but also, with enough variation that you can keep your audience captivated for an entire 60 minutes, like it’s a long time to hold an audience’s attention. And it’s a lot to ask from an audience. So I feel like yeah, like, just keeping the right dosing of not too much energy all the time, but like, enough energy to carry you through, and then just variation in, in like, where I am on the stage. And delivery. Yeah, that kind of stuff.

Phil Rickaby
Is a lot to ask for an audience to listen to one voice for an hour.

Nisha Coleman
It is. Yeah. I’m aware of that. And I really like I can’t thank my audience enough after a show with sound like, you stuck with me to the skull like a temporary and as felt so grateful after, after the first show of self exile in Montreal. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
yeah. What did you discover in performance of it? Did you? Did you find out something that you didn’t know, while you were performing it for the audience for the first time?

Nisha Coleman
Um, yeah. Self exile is a little bit about, or a lot of figuring out who we are as people. So it’s me figuring out who I am. And in the process of writing and performing it, I feel like I really, really got even closer to actually play him. My sense of self is is really malleable. It’s really watery. And so that’s part of the show, too, is like, is like being sort of a shapeshifter, and not really knowing like who I am, but just sort of slipping into different worlds or bouncing in between worlds. And I feel like just in articulating that I sort of discovered who I was even more. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
I don’t think that’s I mean, I think that a lot of people are are malleable in that way. Maybe not without even noticing it. Yeah, but I think you’re right that in doing so, because we slip into I don’t want to say a persona, but we slip into an aspect of ourselves given in each given situation that that a lot of us don’t know who we are.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah. And I wonder if that’s even exaggerated in actor’s lives because they are playing so Are many different roles and they, they sort of have to become different people. I imagine that’s adds an extra element of confusion to one’s self identity.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, it’s certainly my certainly my. Yeah, I know. It’s funny because I know. I’m just I was just thinking about about, you know, how people are, you know, how we slip into different different roles? Generally, I know, so many actors who are actually introverts, as opposed to what people think an actor is, which is an extrovert. Do you on that particular scale? Do you see? Do you put yourself more on the introvert scale or

Nisha Coleman
pretty much as introvert as it can get? I mean, again, like this, this is part of the show is like how extremely introverted I can actually get. And then people are sometimes surprised, because in social situations, I can put all of that away, and I can be a clown and I can be the extrovert. And when I tell people No, I’m actually like, extremely shy, and extremely introverted people can can be quite surprised sometimes.

Phil Rickaby
Well, I don’t think that I think that when people see that when they see like, the, you know, somebody’s acting, you know, the all of they don’t see all of the energy that goes into making yourself do that, because it’s not, it’s not easy to put yourself in that situation when you just want to, you just want to sort of hide. Yeah. Want to be like when you put yourself out like that? It’s exhausting. Exactly.

Nisha Coleman
It’s so incredibly draining. And have, like, friends of mine remarked, even that, like, I’ll have like this big smile. And then as soon as the door closes to whatever event it was it just like, collapse, and to exhaustion because it’s so hard to maintain that level of energy. Yeah, absolutely.

Phil Rickaby
It’s more than it’s for me, I always sort of think of it as I don’t get energy from that room of people. Yeah, I, I, my energy is expelled in like, like, like, like. Whereas I know people who are who are extra are introverts, or sorry, extroverts. And when they’re in a room full of people, they’re just like that is fueling all of their energy. That door closes, they’re not exhausted. No, they’re

Nisha Coleman
up for hours after that.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Do you? Do you find that performing is different? If then, like being at a party as an as an as an introvert?

Nisha Coleman
Actually, yeah, that’s a good question. And I’ve never thought of it that way. But after performing after performance, I’m usually buzzing with energy. Even though I know I’m like maintaining a certain energy level, that’s not necessarily natural to me. I think that being on stage gives me energy because I feel like the audience by paying attention and by listening. They’re like sharing their energy with me. And so I always actually feel quite energised and have trouble sleeping after a performance. Do you find that what you mean?

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That’s, like, I will buzz for a couple hours after a performance before I actually managed to relax enough. But then of course, once that energy is gone, I am

Nisha Coleman
trash. Yeah, yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. So the show that you did with Jeff Candell things drugs taught me that so you sort of took turns telling stories in that way? Yeah. Was it? Was he a more when you when you sort of started doing this together? It was even more he’d told long form stories before was sort of like helping you introduce yourself as a solo performer and a longer form or was he as new to it as you were,

Nisha Coleman
I he had done two solo shows prior. So he in terms of long foreign solo, he was good at helping me with self exile. For things drugs taught me because we were switching back and forth. We still were in the 10 minute format. So it was still what I was used to. So we’re telling three stories each but separate stories, so it’s still within my comfort zone. But it was a really good process to just be able to workshop each other. And, and like have two very different people with very different experiences, but somehow Make it so that it doesn’t feel completely polarised so that there’s like, some kind of main. Something anchoring, anchoring the show itself. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Are you are you looking at? Is there something you’re looking forward to in the the like you’re going to three Fringe Festivals, one at home wanting to run on one in Muskoka? Yeah. Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for, from each or that you’re looking forward to.

Nisha Coleman
Um, I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of amazing shows. I’m just, I’m blown away. I’m blown away by all the, all the projects that people have been working on all this time, I can’t wait to see what Toronto has absorbed Montreal, already deep into it, because it’s started the other day. So I’m looking forward to being inspired by by seeing what other people are up to. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve been up to. And getting feedback from that, because that’s always interesting. And perhaps even like, comparing cities, like, I’ve told, I’ve only told one story in Toronto, and Montreal, otherwise, it’s either a Toronto story or a Montreal story. But it’s interesting to see maybe different reactions from different cities as possible. There was also like a few, a couple of scenes that have some French in it. In, in Montreal that went over fine. And I’m wondering, you know, what, what are Torontonians? Going to think of French embedded in English? Oh, I’m not sure.

Phil Rickaby
That’s gonna be very interesting, actually. Yeah, how much how much French is in it?

Nisha Coleman
There’s, there’s like a, like a dialogue. Like sometimes I play different characters. So it’s a dialogue of like, early conversations that would have happened in Paris with middle aged and, and it’s maybe like, The funniest part of the show. So in Montreal, it was like kind of the highlight in Toronto, not sure.

Phil Rickaby
Why it’s funny, because you never really know how that’s gonna go over because sometimes, just the sound of the language is enough to let the audience know what’s happening. It’s choosing don’t necessarily need the specifics, so it’s hard to know how that’s gonna go over.

Nisha Coleman
It’s interesting to see like, where people laugh, because feminist once but I’m sure that like after the 15 shows, I will notice the leg Oh, Toronto laughed really loud at that line. And Montreal didn’t even have a reaction. Or like the

Phil Rickaby
changes we’re gonna know because places so different. Yeah. Yeah. And every fringe has its own personality is as you know, you’ll you will certainly see. Did you do the fringe for all in in Montreal?

Nisha Coleman
I did. Yeah. was insane. Yeah. Oh, my gosh.

Phil Rickaby
How many local companies were part of that? Do you remember?

Nisha Coleman
Oh, well, I know that like the first half had about 40. So then there was a second half. So yeah, it was It was wild. The energy level was was insane. I’m a fringe. No second.

Phil Rickaby
Oh, this is your first friend. My

Nisha Coleman
first fringe. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
That’s cool. I do they still do the so they I guess the fringe were all that was the local fringe for all and then there’s the out of town. Fringe Raleigh planning to go to that as well.

Nisha Coleman
Oh, ah, yeah, I might have a tech rehearsal that night, but I’ll try and make it fairly some of it. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, it’s always that I mean, the French roll is something that that like it’s pretty unique to, to Montreal. I think a couple of other cities do something similar, but it’s not. It’s not as common. Isn’t that common? So Toronto doesn’t do anything like that. Yeah,

Nisha Coleman
I was wondering. Yeah, because it’s a really good opportunity to just sort of showcase a little bit what’s going on?

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, it is. It’s just I think that it’s it’s one of those like, where do you put it in, in in Toronto, because, you know, Montreal has that space for the 13th flower which they can use for for things like that. And again, that’s another thing that’s unique to Montreal is that that nighttime variety slash talk show that that happens, you know, at like midnight, and just is that that you know that end of day thing that where people can come together. And that’s something that you don’t find. Really in any other city.

Nisha Coleman
Hi. I was wondering about that. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. So it’s it’s like, like I was saying each fringe is so unique. And you’re gonna, you’ll, you’ll learn a lot about each one very quickly.

Nisha Coleman
I’m sure the learning curve is gonna be pretty steep. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
I knew one of the things that got me was when when I did Montreal fringe a couple years ago, the discovering that because I was used to a situation like in in Toronto, where you, you fly or the lineup. Yeah. And in Montreal, when we were there, there was almost never a line. So you couldn’t find a flyer, the lineup, people would just show up and go in. So you had to fly are people coming out, which was, which was an unusual thing to do for us. But one of those things that you pick up pretty quickly, because you got to figure out how to promote your show.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, it’s a real, that’s a real struggle. For me, it’s, it certainly doesn’t come naturally. And I’m trying to really appreciate all these things, these ways that Montreal has for artists to promote their stuff, they also have a fringe wha just like you send in a little video, like a little cute little thing of 30 seconds. And there’s a lottery tweeting going on. And it’s, it’s really good that way for Toronto, I’m really racking my brain for for those kinds of opportunities. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
it is. It is. I mean, they’re all different. I mean, Toronto really becomes about the legwork and the fringe club, and just doing the legwork and getting your word out. I mean, if you want to see somebody who knows how to work a fringe, and you’re, I mean, I don’t know if he’s in if he’s in Montreal, but generals is a guy who knows how to work and he will be will be nonstop, right? Going from venue to venue talking about his show. And he’s really sort of got it down. And you know, as as an introvert myself, that’s the hardest part of a Fringe Festival, you know, just let me let me get on stage to do my show to people. Having to walk up to people and say, Can I tell you about my show is like one of the worst things that I I can think of was received. This

Nisha Coleman
is my question like, are people like, Oh, yes. Tell me about your show, because fringe goers tend to be enthusiastic about shows. So I mean,

Phil Rickaby
I think for the most part, it’s rare to find somebody who’s not receptive to that. Yeah. I’ve only been in, in one city where people were not really receptive to that. I did the Calgary fringe a number of years ago, and the number of people who you’d walk up to them and say, Hey, can I tell you about my show? They’d be like, No, oh, man, are you just sort of be like, I don’t know what to do now. That’s awkward. So but I think in general, I mean, if somebody is in line for a fringe show, yeah, they are receptive. You just can’t waste their time. Right? Because, you know, you got to look at how many if you. I mean, I remember going to to one line. And I saw it was like, I think it was Peter and Chris. And they were they were they had a huge lines. Of course, everybody was descending on it. And as I watched, all of like, basically every show start to descend on this line. I thought, you know, what am I going to do that? People are coming away with enough fliers here. Right. But you definitely, it is an important part. And people are generally receptive. Yeah. Some more than others. I don’t think anybody will ever say No, I don’t want you to tell me about about yourself.

Nisha Coleman
Well, that’s good.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, of course, I mean, you’ll, I mean, having done your show in Montreal, you’ve already got a review from the solos festival and you’ve got you’re gonna get more buzz in Montreal. Yeah. That’s something you that you certainly should leverage when you get to, when you get to Toronto, make sure that you post if you have star ratings or review clips, things like that, post that on every poster and talk about it every chance that you get, right.

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I’m really glad to have this opportunity to do the Montreal fringe. It was a really actually last minute thing.

Phil Rickaby
Oh, really? Yeah,

Nisha Coleman
I was. So the did the lottery and I was fourth on the waiting list. And everyone was like, Oh, congratulations, you’ll definitely get in. But friend was getting closer and closer and closer and nobody was dropping out. And then it was like the day, the day after they printed the programme. I got the call. And they like listen, it’s been printed but there’s a spot Do you want it? And oh my goodness, I decided to proceed. But yeah, Yeah, this is it’s very kind of was kind of a last minute thing.

Phil Rickaby
A bit scary got into the Montreal friends off the off their waiting list but I didn’t or sorry that Hamilton friends off their waiting list but I didn’t know I was on the waiting list.

Nisha Coleman
Oh really?

Phil Rickaby
That’s funny because I was I was here and the Toronto fringe when they do their their lottery, they announce who’s on the waiting list. So out there, you could see Hamilton didn’t tweet that. So I had no idea that I was on the waiting list until they until that I got an email in December saying, Hey, do you want to be in and I was said Yes, that’s right. Interesting. Yeah, it was. I mean, it was a good surprise. Yeah. But yeah. So it’s so I mean, when the closer you get down to the wire, it’s it’s so it can be so hard to get everything in place to promote the show. But it sounds like I mean, you’ve got a good foundation in Montreal for for promoting this show. It sounds like

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, I mean, I have the advantage that it’s my city for sure. I think if it was any other city, it wouldn’t be worth this gamble. But because I I know enough people. And I think like through word of mouth and rallying and, and maybe some press I think maybe it’s it’s i as definitely going to be worth it no matter what happens. Yeah, and I’m happy to have a run before Toronto to

Phil Rickaby
Well, that’s always I mean, I mean, not to, I’m gonna give you a bit of a just a quick, Toronto fringe thing. Toronto has a bit of a reputation about the performers who aren’t from here, and you can do well here. But it is hard off the top to get noticed right here. Yeah. Because it’s very focused, very, like navel gaze very much interested in what’s from here. Yeah, I mean, in Montreal, I mean, most cities are like that a little bit. There are some other cities, which are very interested in the stuff that’s coming from away. Yeah. Toronto is particularly interested in the stuff that comes from here, right. So if but, definitely, although that first the first couple of days, everything is focused on itself, you can still do do really well here. Once everybody is done looking at themselves. And definitely, I would recommend talking to and again, this is one of those things. Oh my God talking to people. Yeah, I hate it. And like talking to people at the fringe club, and getting people to come and see the show and talk that out. So yeah,

Nisha Coleman
I’m gearing up. It’s gonna be like, 10 just complete social days. Like, I can’t even slip into my pyjamas at all.

Phil Rickaby
You just gotta get home and every night and just just collapse. Yeah,

Nisha Coleman
totally. I’m prepared. I’m prepared.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Yeah. So anything, any last things that you want you want to say before, before we finish off about about self exile? Or, or, or or anything else?

Nisha Coleman
I guess I just want to say like, I know, the way I described it early on is like, it sounds really dark. But it really isn’t. I hope people believe me on that one.

Phil Rickaby
So I’m actually looking forward to seeing it. So definitely, definitely something. I don’t think that you you haven’t heard me.

Nisha Coleman
Okay. But it so that I at least have one audience. Oh, that’s good. There you

Phil Rickaby
go. I will be there. Where can we find you online? I know you’ve got your website. That’s Nisha. coleman.com. Are you on the social media? Yeah,

Nisha Coleman
I’ve got a Facebook page. So it’s Nisha Coleman, author or writer.

Phil Rickaby
Do you think I need to call him a writer? I think a writer

Nisha Coleman
Yeah, writer. I’m on Twitter. I’m on. What else? Instagram. I try and do all the things you’re supposed to do. I try to keep up with that stuff. Of course. Yeah. Um, yeah. But my website, I mean, most of the important stuff is on there. You should call me coleman.com. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
All right. Well, well, thank you so much for talking with me today, and I’m looking forward to seeing your show when you come when you’re coming to Toronto.

Nisha Coleman
Thanks for having me.

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