Newfoundland’s grand dame of funny swaps her anchor gear for a much more complex wardrobe in the play Love, Loss, and What I Wore.
You’re best known for your film and TV work, but you’re a theatre person at heart. How does it feel to be back in your natural habitat?
It feels good. I just directed a new play by Gordon Pinsent in Grand Banks, N.L., so this last month I’ve been steeping in the theatre. I hadn’t done anything in the theatre for so long, so it’s quite wonderful to be back.
As someone who has also been a successful writer and director, what’s it like to step into an actor’s shoes again? Can you separate and become just a performer?
It’s always hard to become just an actor, especially coming right off a directing job. We have this wonderful director, Karen Carpenter, and yesterday I found myself interrupting her a lot to add my ideas to the mix. I found it a bit difficult to just be soaking up direction … but toward the end I kind of got into it again. It’s great.
Tell me about your new show.
It’s very interesting and very touching, and at the same time a very funny piece. It’s reminiscent of the Vagina Monologues, where they come into town and get some actors and personalities to go on stage and do a stage reading.
Can you relate to any of the characters?
In a way we’re dismissive of how devoted many of us are to our closets. I was in the blood sweats before I came, not because I was late, or because there were so many things I had to take care of, but I thought, I’m not going to bring the right clothes and then my entire time in Toronto will be rotten. So I’m totally of that mind, even though I know that it’s very shallow.
But even in my acting work, if I don’t have the right costume, I don’t get the character right. Many of us are very much emotionally connected to what we put on, to our daily costumes and what clothes mean to us. It’s not as embarrassing as you might think to be dedicated to your raspberry sweater.
• Love, Loss, and What I Wore opens tonight at the Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St.
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