My Theatre

01 April 2017

Nominee Interview Series: Daniel Pagett

By // Theatre (Toronto)

Before we announce the winners of the 2016 MyTheatre Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series.

I have a theory that Danny Pagett is the Kevin Bacon of Toronto indie theatre (in the six-degrees sense). He works constantly- in multiple capacities, on different types of projects, in various venues, with a sprawling array of collaborators. That multi-hyphenate prolificity is reflected in the startling number of MyTheatre Award nominations he racked up this year in a full range of categories. As a playwright and actor, he was one of the principal architects behind Outstanding New Work & Outstanding Production contender Slip (currently being remounted at the Tarragon Workspace by Circlesnake Productions); as an improviser, he joins the rest of the cast of Bad Dog Theatre’s True Blue in their Outstanding Sketch/Improv Performance nomination; he’s also up for Outstanding Direction for his work on Hangman at the Storefront. He has recently gone on the record saying “I don’t sleep”, which makes sense.

Catch us up on how you’ve been since the 2015 Nominee Interview Series
I’ve been good! It’s been a weird year for me, actually. I had this huge run of just non-stop show show show show show. Then, recently, I had a month to take a break and just work and plan, and it’s been nice, but I’ve been sort of just reevaluating what I am doing. I feel like last year was buckshot- I just sort of did everything, and I’m glad I did, but I think I kinda want to focus a bit more this year. But yeah, it was a really good year. I guess I worked a shitload, and I went poor, because I did something like 6 indie shows in a row [laughs]. But since last year, where I did a lot of other people’s projects, I kinda want to focus more on doing my own and doing stuff that I have a bit more creative control over.

I think the biggest change was I started doing improv, and I started doing comedy. I went back to the Storefront, I hadn’t been for a little while, and I went and saw one of the shows of The Numbers Game. I went down to the basement and was hanging out with the cast, a lot of whom I didn’t know, but the people that I did know were like “oh, so you’re a comedy guy now!” And I was like “no? I just did some comedy”. It’s not even like I did a ton of comedy. I did a dramatic improv show at Bad Dog and then I’ve joined Sex T-Rex. So it’s been a weird year where I’ve just been sort of like “oh, I’m being pigeonholed?” Or it’s almost like I’m having an artistic identity crisis. So, since then, I’ve been like “okay what do you want to do?”

Alex Paxton-Beesley & Pagett in Slip

How did you get involved with Slip?
Alec [Toller, Slip‘s director] and I live together, and I’ve worked on more projects with Alec than anyone else. Mostly films. We met when I was a year out of school, and we did a terrible webseries that I will not name in this interview because I don’t want people searching it. It’s not good. But he was in school at the time, and he was like “oh, I like this actor, I’m going to use him in things”, so I did a bunch of shorts for York with him. Then I worked on one of the Playwright Project plays with him, and we just kept finding ourselves working with each other. So then eventually we ended up living together, which we’ve been doing for I guess 3 years now, which is crazy.

We were just in our kitchen and he was like “we should probably work on something together… I know I want to do something with Mikaela [Dyke], and I want to do something with you”, and we sort of just started jamming about ideas. The idea came out of the space, The Box, and we were like “what do we do that we can write around that space?” That was my first time working with Alec on this collaborative creation thing that he does. I was originally gonna be part of Special Constables when they first did it, but I had to back out because I had to get a restaurant job. Story of my life. But he was like “alright, this is my process” and I found it to be one of the best collaborative creation processes I’ve ever worked on or heard of. Usually when I hear the words “collaborative creation” I cringe, because I think of people doing authentic movement and writing a show about nothing, and just like “this is a monologue for my childhood” and emoting a lot. But [Alec’s approach] was very story-based and very objective-based; if we were doing something, it always had a purpose. And then we just wrote.

APB, Alex Paxton-Beesley, was another person I’ve known for a long time and we’ve wanted to work together for a while now. I’ve tried to get her on a couple Sandler plays but she’s too busy and famous. She’s doing Pure [on the CBC] now; she’s gonna be famous. But we’re very old friends, me and APB, and we get along very well. So, as soon as she got brought on as the other detective, I was like “this is gonna be very easy”. And so much of what those characters are is just me and APB being buds.

Colin Munch mentioned in his interview that you actually played your Slip character when you did True Blue. What did you learn about him through that process that might come into play in the remount?
This is all essentially fan fiction- it’s all weird like Pixar multiverse Easter egg stuff- but, essentially, the way it happened was I was working on two shows during Fringe so I was sort of just catching up to everything as things were being told to me. Then the one show, maybe the day before or something like that, I was either reminded or told for the first time that I’m gonna be the detective tomorrow because Colin can’t do it. And I was like “okay”, and sort of nervous about it. Because each position in True Blue, it’s a very different game, it’s a very different thing and different mental gymnastics that you have to do. The detective is maybe the hardest part of the show, and I’d never done it before. All I knew was that I was the detective and Tony Nappo was gonna be in the show, and those two things made me scared- I’m not scared of you Tony Nappo! Any more!- But I didn’t really know what was gonna happen, so I wasn’t really thinking about it a whole lot, I wasn’t thinking about who my character was. Then it was the first intro to talking to a witness, it was me and Amy [Matysio] and Amy was like “I’m detective…” whatever her name was, and I was like “and I’m detective Fielder”. It was just the name that I threw out. I used that to sort of anchor myself character-wise. The thing is that True Blue, in terms of Mark [Fielder]’s trajectory, it essentially takes place after the events of Slip. I don’t want to give away too much but, because I went into it playing this detective that’s sort of this drunk fuck-up fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cop, which is a very different Fielder than the one that you see in Slip, I sort of filled in the gaps afterwards. I was like “okay, well this is what happened to him after the events of Slip- he’s an ex-alcoholic, but he’s still sort of a fuck-up, a lot of that has to do with what happened to him with his partner in Slip and how that changed him”. The next couple of [True Blue performances], I just let a couple of little details slip in for anybody that might in any way be able to put the pieces together. So it sort of gave me a point to land on. I don’t know how much I’ll be able to bring into the remount because it’s after the events of Slip, but it definitely enriches the character knowing where he goes. 

Do you have a favourite moment in Slip?
I like the drunk scene, just cause it’s fun. It’s sort of the loosest; it’s the one where we don’t have to stick to the script as much and I get to just be a drunken idiot with my bud.

And I really like the last scene. I’ve never had an easier time being in the moment than that scene. All I have to do is look at APB and it’s very easy; it’s just all there. When we came up with how that scene went, it was just me and Alec and Mikaela crying in our apartment, just being like “aw, and then this happens, oh God! Eeenh! Aah it’s too sad!”

You’re also nominated this year for directing Hangman at the Storefront. How did you get involved in that process?
How did Jason [Maghanoy, the playwright] approach me? I think he just cold called me. I think he just sent me an email being like, “yo bro, do you want to do this play?” The deadline for Storefront projects was coming up, so I read it and I was like “yeah, I could do this”, and I forwarded it to [Storefront Artistic Director] Ben Blais and I was like “me directing this, would you want that?” It was one of those things, which tends to be the case with a lot of my stuff, I just throw something into a commitment so that I have to do it, and then that makes me work harder. So I sort of put myself in the position where I had to do it and then just jumped in head first.

Walk us through your casting process, and how each actor fit into your overall vision of the piece.
Alright. Well, I guess we’ll start with Prince [Amponsah] – it was one of those weird things where I was agonizing over who I wanted to play this character, and I had a lot of people in mind. The character gets his hands cut off like three scenes in, and somebody- it might have been Ben [Blais]- was just like “what about Prince [who is a double amputee]”? It wasn’t like “oh maybe I should consider that”, I was just like “ohhh, of course! Of course!” Just knowing Prince’s performance style- that stoicism and that centeredness that he has- it was one of those rushes where I immediately saw the role and was like “oh my God it’s perfect!” He’s got this calm centre to him that those lines when delivered can be very chilling. And on top of that, he doesn’t have arms, so we saved a lot of money on makeup- he would laugh at that joke. He’s such a fucking trooper. He came on and one of the first things that he said, he was like “I don’t know if I can dive deep enough on this to play this sociopath”, and I was like “dude, just trust me, you can. If you’re worried about the project not going well, then that’s one thing, but if you’re worried about whether you can or not, leave that at the door, you’re gonna be just fine”. And of course he jumped into the role and just knocked it out of the park. 

How did the idea come about of Kaitlin Morrow acting as his hands?
I remember casting him and being like “okay, we need arms for the first three scenes”. Luckily I had Kaitlin aboard and she was like “why don’t I play his arms?” At first I was like “that’s silly!” then we just tried it once. I had like two hours scheduled for that rehearsal to figure out different ways that we could have him have arms, but it was the first thing we tried, and we were like “oh- it’s amazing”. 

We had so many different ideas in mind. He brought his prosthetics in, we were thinking about making some sort of weird prop that could also serve as the hands later on when we cut them off- we had like all sorts of weird abstract things planned for his hands! And then just this simple theatre trick that people are used to seeing at, like, Christmas assemblies in high school- “isn’t it funny, somebody’s playing somebody else’s arms!”- that’s what worked the best, which I thought was so cool.

I feel like a lot of people feel the need to treat Prince like he’s made out of glass, but that guy is made out of fucking diamond. He’s got very thick skin and I feel like he must get sick of hearing how brave he is. The thing is, I was very fortunate because I got to see a different type of bravery. That little story I told about him being worried that he wouldn’t be able to act the part- then he trusted in himself and he trusted in me and just dove wholeheartedly into it. It was awesome to see that side of it, of him just focusing on the work. I think a big thing for him taking on that role was, a lot of the stuff that he had gotten before was all about his disability- when he played the angel [in Lot and his God], it was him as a disfigured person; Contempt, he was just laying in a chair- whereas this, [losing his arms] was just something that happened to him in the play, and he was able to play a full character. It had been a long time since he took on a big acting role like that. He’s playing a psychopath and I just remember that eventually he was like “no, I’m in, let’s do this”, and I was like “that’s fucking awesome”. I’m not like “oh, that’s more brave than what he actually went through”, not at all, but it was good to see him just be able to be treated like a goddamn grownup, you know? I feel like people really put kid gloves on with him sometimes and, as well-intentioned as it is, that must just get so fucking irritating. Especially as an artist, you want to be challenged. And out of everybody in the room, I’d be like “Prince, you’re doing this thing again”, and he wouldn’t be frustrated, he’d just be like “yeah okay, let’s fix it”- very disciplined, that was Prince.

In addition to Prince’s hands, Kaitlin also played a boy, a horse, and a rat. Why did you decide that those things should all be puppets?
Like with most things, it was a cost thing. And I don’t want to deal with kid actors, basically. Also, thematically, the boy is already this sort of otherworldly element. The boy draws premonitions of the future, and the kid is removed from all of this, so I liked the idea of making it something that you could physically see was different.

Then, along with that, in the script it says “this play requires a horse, preferably a real one”, because Jason Maghanoy’s an asshole. So I already knew that I was gonna need something to be a horse, and I needed something to be a rat. I was working with Kaitlin at the time, and I was like “hey, do you want to do some puppets for me?” And she was like overjoyed. That’s the other thing, I feel like so many people in this industry are just trying not to be pigeonholed, and that was a big thing for her, even though it was still doing puppets and now she’s doing puppets in everything. Last year in particular she was like “I love doing Sex T-Rex, but I want to broaden my horizons, I want to not just be the Sex T-Rex girl, you know?” She also has a keen eye in the rehearsal room, and was able to subtly put up her hand and be like “hey, what if we did this?” Classic Danny directing style- just steal ideas from all of my actors.

You’re playing with magical realism in that play- you have this guy that can lift a cow over his head and you have this weird fire and magic- so the puppetry added to this sense that there’s something else aside from these humans in this play. I thought that Kaitlin really put a shine on the play that it just would not have had otherwise.

Tell us about the rest of the cast.
Alexander Thomas- it was his first gig in Toronto. He came from New York. His wife works for the German Consulate so he just goes with her and he can do theatre wherever he goes. Tom [McGee] and I were running auditions and we broke for lunch. At lunch during auditions, you just want to chat about what you saw, and this stranger walks up and is like “hey, are you guys going for lunch?” And we were like “yeah, we’re just running auditions”. I recognized his face from a head shot and was like “just chill out here”, and he was like “I’ll come for lunch with you!” You know, sometimes if you bring in somebody that you don’t know for auditions, you just get a weirdo or a crazy person, so I was like “okay, let’s just have lunch with this guy before we audition him, this is weird”. Then we were waiting for our sandwiches and we just started chatting with him, and I was like “oh, this guy is super cool; he’s just a very outgoing friendly guy” and we hit it off right away.

There were two ways that people went with that character [Braydon]. People either went really southern- which is something that I asked them not to do in the auditions, I was like “no accent, just say it as you would”- or they just sort of very deadly said it. It’s hard; the language lends to a southern accent, but it also lends to a sort of more relaxed- I hate to use the word “street” because that’s the stupidest thing for a white dude to say, but a lot of the language in it, the drawl reminded me of the language that they used in The Wire. And obviously not just the black people on The Wire, all the cops, they all have this sort of street way of talking, right? Alexander comes in and I was like “oh, there it is, there’s that wonderful balance”. It’s not this weird southern accent, it’s just like this language fits in his mouth. Afterwards, he was like “this just sounds like a black person talking”. I was like “thank you, I can’t say that, but you can”. He just had this mastery of the language, and he brought this grounded-ness to it, and this rough edged-ness, like this guy that could go either way, he could be completely in control or just [whistles] completely out to lunch. It was an energy that I wasn’t expecting from anyone that day, and I saw a lot of really good actors for Brayden. I wish I could have cast them all, it was just how different his was and how much he nailed the language that I was like “I gotta use this guy”.

And he was a boon in the room. I’d give a note, and he would- sort of like how like Claire Armstrong or Tim Walker works- I’d give a note, and some people would kinda nod it off, and [Alexander] would be like “clarify”, and I would clarify and clarify and clarify until we reached that point where we both understood what it was, and then we had a common language, and we could work with that and we gained this shorthand. Which is sort of what the magic that you’re looking for is as a director. He just got it, he just really understood what I was going for and what that play was about. Every day he would come in with different research on who was inspiring him. I can’t remember the guy’s name, but there’s this sheriff in the U.S. that Fox News, whenever there’s like a police shooting or anything, they bring this fucking asshole out, cause he’s their one black guy, and he’s like “Black Lives Matter is terrible”, and Alex based his character on that guy. He took a lot from that and really did a lot of in-depth research. He’s a fantastic actor, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. He was also powering through some crazy health stuff. A team of real fucking troopers on that show.

Vince [Carlin] came in and can just be effortless. A few times, because he had very proper pronunciations of a lot of stuff, he would be like “I don’t know, it says hangin’ but I would want to say hanging” and I was like “Don’t. Just don’t do it!” But, other than that stuff, Vince came in and delivered and I didn’t have to give him a ton of guidance; he was really good. But when I did [give him notes], he was very receptive to it. It’s always weird; this is my third time directing, I’m doing an indie show, and I’m working with actors that have more experience than me, that are older than me. Age is such a weird thing because, no matter what, you have this sort of stigma with it. These people, even if they hadn’t had as much experience as me, I’d still be like “oh you’re older than me, you know more than me”. So, directing somebody like Vince- he was a reporter overseas or something like that; I’m probably getting this wrong, but he’s led this crazy life that he would regale us with and I was like “ah man, I’m just this kid who grew up in Kitchener and then went to theatre school and I’m trying to give you advice about what life is like so you can portray it on my stage” [laughs]. But he’s super respectful, and took everything very seriously. That’s always the worry, that they’re going to be like “whatever, kid” and sort of laugh you off. He was great.

Jon Blair was the first person I saw for [Tommy]. That role of course was the role that I saw everyone for because it was the role for the straight white guy. Jon was the first person I saw and then I saw all of my friends, essentially. I didn’t know him but I saw him perform a thing at Tales from the Black at Bad Dog and I was like “he’s got a presence”. I had seen him once, and I just sort of knew his name, so I brought him in. He had this honesty and this weird sort of like dumb energy to the way that he portrayed Tommy. Then I had a bunch of actors- I’m not saying that Jon Blair’s not an actor, but I had a bunch of people really act the part, and the difference is crazy. When you see somebody transform like that, and then you see people play, like, Theatre Cowboy, you know? Insulting all of my friends right now [laughs]. But Jon came in and just transformed, I saw this character that I instantly fell in love with, and I was like “that’s exactly what Tommy has to be”. I remember looking over and being like “well that was our first guy. Shit, okay”. It was one of those things where I found myself comparing everything to Jon so, at the end, I was like “it has to be Jon”. That was one of the easiest decisions to make. 

I knew that I didn’t want to have a cast of all men, and I was like “okay, I think Winston is the character that can bring a bit of a female voice to the show, because the character doesn’t need to be a man”. Vanessa [Trenton] came in. Winston was all over the place because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted. My reference was Bubs from The Wire ’cause Winston represents this sort of desperation and squirrelliness. A lot of people could really nail that, but Vanessa managed to do it with danger. She had an edge to it that was like “oh, this person’s squirrelly and desperate, but will cut you in an instant”. I needed that danger that Vanessa could bring.

How did you come up with the vegetable idea that was the centrepiece to the play’s violence?
I did a play in September called Big Plans, and I stole from it. That’s sort of what inspired it, but also I’m of the opinion that, unless you’re doing it very very very well, stylize your violence. Stylize anything that you’re trying to trick the audience with. The audience is smart; they see what’s going on. I watched a play a couple years ago where everything was very realistic, and then somebody had to have a scar; I was looking at this goofy fucking Halloween scar and it took me right out of it, because I was seeing the strings, but they weren’t showing me the strings beforehand. I would rather have your mind do the work, that way it’s more powerful. It’s like the Louis CK bit where he talks about people saying “the n word” rather than saying the word, and he’s like “don’t do that, you’re just making me think it now, so that I’m guilty”. That’s what I try to do with theatrical conventions- your mind fills in the blanks so it’s more visceral for you. When you can actually see a hatchet going through a beet while you’re hearing a man scream- to me, that evokes something. And beans falling out [of a can], you get this filthy gooey grossness. You see what it is, you get what it is, but also your mind is doing the work.

Then I was like “it’s a farming community”, the play is very much about taking what’s yours and surviving and blah blah blah, that’s all about food and canned goods and stuff like that. So I was like “okay let’s do it all with food!” I think it really worked.

You also appeared multiple times this year with Sex T-Rex. What’s been your favourite project to work on with them?
They’re all very good! Sex T-Rex was awesome. It was my first time doing scripted shows with them since 2011 when I worked on the original production of Callaghan. We had a riot. They’ve got the show, it’s all rehearsed, and I come in, I’m the only one who doesn’t know the show, and they’re catching me up. They’re so used to it running like clockwork and I’m like “uh, when do I hold this here and when do I like- am I a tree here? What am I?” and they’re like “no, you’re an actual person in this scene”. Then we finally get it all together and we do a show, and every night we would go down into the basement of the Storefront and we would just have drinks and we’d chat and we’d goof for a while, we’d just shoot the shit, tell jokes to each other. Then eventually somebody would be like “that thing tonight, that was weird!” Then conversationally we’d be like “oh, okay what’s better?” And then we would fix a joke. We’d come up with a bit and we’d slay, or be terrible. And then we’d change it again. But I just love that nothing’s ever perfect. We’re always willing to change and adapt and change jokes according to whatever’s happening at the time. One of the great things about everybody sort of owning the script is that nobody’s precious about it. Sometimes people will get like “oh I love this gag, please let us keep this”, or we’ll have to cut for time, but, for the most part, it’s just about “how can we make this show the funniest it can possibly be?” Particularly in Swordplay, there’s not a moment where a joke is not happening in that play- we crammed it as packed full of jokes as we could. So that was sort of where I re-learned their method, and also found what their perfected method is since I worked with them in 2011. And that was amazing.

But going on tour with them was pretty awesome. That had to do with a lot of things- being able to tour the east coast with some of my best friends, but it also had to do with the weather, it had to do with being in Halifax and the environment at the Halifax Fringe, which is way more lax than Toronto. Going on tour with those guys was very fun. It might sound like a nightmare being trapped with five comedian improvisers in a car for eight hours, but it was great! We played a lot of car games; at one point we recorded a bit of a podcast that’s just us talking in the car. I don’t know if it will ever get edited or see the light of day, but we listened to it later when we were drunk and we were like “we’re hilarious!”

You also were in the Harvester at the Toronto Fringe this year. Tell us a little bit about that production.
The Harvester was one of those wonderful cases where I got a private message on Facebook from someone- it was Alison Louder- saying “we specifically would like to audition you for this”. And I was like “great!” because I’m lazy and I don’t want to put my effort out there to go and get auditions, so I love it when they come to me! I think it was one of my tech days on Hangman that I auditioned for it, so I was exhausted. I’d been up all night building gallows or something and the next day I have to leave in the middle of the build to go do this audition. I’m like nine Red Bulls in, and the first description of that character is “he looks like a young man but moves like he’s 100 years old”, and I was like “I got this in the bag!”[laughs]. I did the audition and they brought me on and it was wonderful.

It was a full team of brand new people, which is not something that I end up doing a lot, because I know everyone and I work with my friends a lot, so it was great to have that experience again of just jumping into a fresh brand new thing. And that play is so weird, it requires a lot of trust in the rehearsal hall, and they were all very good about that. Chloe [Sullivan] commits so hard, so we were able from day one to just jump into these weird places with this play, and go to these very dark places. It was excellent. And the design team backed us up and supported us and created that world. I had no clue what that play was gonna be or how it was gonna go, because it’s so out there and so high-concept, and I was glad it got the reception it did because I think that piece is worth it.

You also recorded a radio play podcast with Theatre Brouhaha this year. What was the most interesting part of the How to Start a Fire experience?
I think the writing of it was the most interesting. That was sort of the last time that Tom [McGee] and Kat [Sandler] and I had a pure jam together, which is always very fun. We’ll get together and we’ll just sort of start with basic concepts. We’ll be like “we want this and this”, and then it slowly takes form while we talk about it and talk about it and talk about it. Coming up with that world and that whole overarching storyline and how it all fit together and tying it into what’s actually happening in fracking towns where their water lights on fire- I always cherish that process with Kat and Tom; it’s usually pretty magical when we get to do that. So that was great.

And it was cool to play a character without having to worry about what I looked like. I don’t do a lot of voice work, so it was really interesting to sort of stretch that muscle and work with some people that I’d never worked with before. It was something that was fresh and different. Also, because we didn’t have the restrictions of “how are we gonna do this scene?”, it was the closest that me and Tom and Kat have gotten so far to writing an actual HBO series instead of just “theatre for the HBO generation”. It felt good to be able to write with a lot less boundaries, or different boundaries.  

What are you doing now/what’s your next project?
I’m doing Slip again, at the Tarragon [closing April 2nd], which is great. I’m looking at maybe going on a Western Canada tour with Sex T-Rex, that’ll be a Fringe tour; we’re looking at logistics on that right now.

I guess the most exciting thing for me is I wrote a play. I started writing it about five years ago. I’ve been calling it Pipeline for five years and now, because of the way things are, I can’t call it Pipeline, because it’s not about the Dakota Access Pipeline or the Keystone Pipeline, so I’m calling it Cloud. It’s a play that I wrote about collective consciousness. It was part of the Indie 6ix Storefront Playwrights Unit that we did last year. We did a public reading of it, and it went over really well. My artistic partner Sonia Vaillant and I, we’ve taken Scapegoat- which is the company that we did Big Plans and Hangman under- and we’re sort of trying to flesh out that company, and this is gonna be our flagship production. We’re doing it at Artscape Sandbox in late October/early November, and I’m really stoked about it.

I wrote a play that I can direct, essentially. It’s a strange play that is about “what if we actually created a collective consciousness based on the internet?” Essentially taking the internet, adding a few aspects to it like being able to share thought files and emotional files, and then directly connecting it to our brains. It’s very scary. It’s sort of about what would happen-  it’s about the creator of it, the team that birthed it, the marketer, the creator and the conceptualist. They test it on their own, and it’s about what it does to them. But then there’s sort of a macro story of what it does to the world. When you get into collective consciousness, it’s all elements of humanity, war, and sex is a big part of it, and love. What does that mean when you’re in touch with everybody’s mind on the earth? What is individuality? What is ownership and ownership of thoughts and ownership of memories? It’s essentially about humanity becoming cellular. About, if we go into this cloud consciousness, do we lose our humanity by becoming one giant human unit, and could the world end be caused by world peace rather than by war?

Is there anything you’d like to add?
I think it’s gonna be a good year! I think it’s gonna be a good year for a lot of people and I think, once we stop blaming bad things on the arbitrary year that we’re living in, we can get over ourselves and just keep making art and making it better, and making the world a better place for artists. I think that’s a thing that we forget a lot in this refrain of “Make art! Make art harder than you’ve ever made it!” I think it’s more “make the world a place where artists can make art”. Because, more and more, it’s looking like Canada is a place that hates artists and we need to stop that. It’s scary. We had four or five major independent theatres shut down this year. And they’re still going, there’s still this “you can’t keep us down” mentality, but that doesn’t mean try to keep us down! That doesn’t mean “you can’t keep us down so don’t worry about us”. Worry about us! It’s really hard, and the people that are- not even me, I’m doing my own thing- the people that are trying to make these things run, they can’t keep bashing their head against the wall forever; they need help. Help is coming and things are getting better but, at the same time, if you like art, see it- go see it. Stop just talking about it, I guess is what I would end this with.

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