Welcome to this week's Umbrella Talk with playwright Alex Dallas. Alex talks to us about the play about her life that would be a surreal comedy full of stories that are sadly all true; about being inspired by the sense of humour that exists in the UK and tells us where she writes (at a computer or keyboard)---hint, she is addicted to word count.
A little more on Alex Dallas
Career highlights include sharing stages with Billy Bragg, The Proclaimers, Robbie Coltrane, having Sir Ian Mackellan and Alan Cumming come to see Drama Queen in Vancouver and take her out for dinner afterwards, performing at the Adelaide Fringe and being invited to the Canadian Embassy for drinks as a visiting artist. What? Fringe performers are taken seriously in Australia?
Umbrella Talk with Alex Dallas
What do you drink on opening night?
Usually I drink anything and anyone under the table....closing nights are usually better for me...Long Island Iced Teas have got me into a lot of trouble!
My dream directors would be Mary Francis Moore and Ron Jenkins...separately of course. MF because she is so detailed and has a brilliant focus on the script. Ron because he is hilarious and always has an original and amazing vision. Both because they don't have a pretentious bone in their bodies.....and they make me a better actor.
Stand -up comedy terrifies me. Eating and drinking on stage is pretty scary. Nearly bit the dust on stage as Madam Arcati when a huge cocktail olive got stuck in my throat.
I want to write about things poiltical I think. Stuff that angers me, injustice...it's just so hard to make it funny and accessible without looking worthy and didactic. On the other hand I want to write a Canadian Bridget Jones chick Lit type thing just for fun. You know so it can become a screenplay and I can make the millions I know I should be making.
If someone was to write a play about your life, what genre would it be? (eg. comedy, tragedy, melodrama, horror)
How do you deal with praise? With criticism?
Well obviously I believe all the great reviews. I was brought down to earth horribly in Ottawa. I was lying in bed listening to CBC radio giving me a rave review, a glowing review, a review I would have written , when I suddenly heard the reviewer say, " as she propels her squat little body around the stage!" That ruined the next ten years of my life!
Where would you like your work to be produced?
I'd like my work to be produced in any theatre in Canada, the USA, the UK and Australia. I love theatres. I don't care where they are, but I want a proper run...months of going to work at the same time in the same place. 25 years of touring makes me want a comittment.
Where do you write? Pen or keyboard?
I write at a computer but I scribble the ideas on any old bit of paper if it comes to me. The computer makes me think it's real writing and I am addicted to word count.
What would you like academics to write about your work in 50 years?
I'd like to think that my work with Sensible Footwear will be seen as unique and innovative. For a good ten years we were the only trio of feminist comedians in the world which I am very proud of. Also we were the same three woman for 15 years for which we all deserve a medal. For my solo work I would like people to note that I was brave enough to be myself on stage and that I told my stories and bared my soul in away that many people don't. The subject of women's sexuality is always in my work and that has still been an issue. I hope that in years to come we will be well past that being an issue but my contribution will be acknowledged.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by overheard conversation on the bus, by my childhood, by the true stories of family and friends, by terrible boyfriends and passionate love affairs, by my daughter, by the utter stupidity of mankind, by the bizarre and the trifling, by minutae and by great ideas. And by the many wonderful talents that have come before me. Luckily I was raised in the UK and I am inspired every day by the amazing sense of humour that exists there. Everyone you meet is funny, sarcastic, bitter, fantastic and truly inspiring!
Thanks again for reading Umbrella Talk with Alex Dallas. Next week we chat with playwright Mark Brownell. If you are a playwright who has been produced a few times here in Canada, or elsewhere, and would like to talk to us here too, please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please join our facebook group blognetwork at http://apps.facebook.com/b