Monday, February 18, 2013

Spotlight On...Gillian English

Name: Gillian English

Hometown: Sutherland's River, Nova Scotia

Education: BA Dalhousie University, Theatre; Post-Grad Diploma in Classical Acting, LAMDA

Select Credits: A Woman of No Importance (Lady Caroline, Alumnae Theatre); Antony and Cleopatra (Cleopatra, The Theatre Elusive); Matt and Ben (Ben Affleck, The Theatre Elusive)

Why theatre?: It's the only thing I ever really wanted to do; when I was younger I convinced myself I wanted to go into law, but that only lasted until I had to choose between Intro to Law and Intro to Acting. I love the capacity the theatre has to tell a story, provoke thought, plant seeds of ideas and generally entertain. I love being able to entertain people, to give them an hour or three where they exist in a suspended world, where anything could happen; they could laugh or cry, or both. I'd say it's modern magic if it weren't such an ancient art form. I also really like the attention.

Tell us about Love in the Time of Time Machines: Love in the Time of Time Machines is the brain child of Dave Tichauer and Ned Petrie, two incredible writers and friends of mine from Toronto. It's a time travelling romantic comedy. It's witty, funny and heartbreaking with a healthy dose of karaoke. We did our best to make the characters as realistic as possible. (One night Ned quizzed me about all my past relationships and, god love him, he took notes.) We want the situations to be relatable, except for the time travelling. The time-space continuum is not a toy you guys.

What is it like being a part of Love in the Time of Time Machines?: This production is a blast, we have Chris Gibbs directing, so every rehearsal is funnier than the last; Dave and Ned are always bringing new ideas to make the show even more nuanced and exciting. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with such funny people that I also get to call my friends. Y'all should be seriously jealous.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:  Theatre that consumes me is what speaks to me most. I want to forget whether it's day or night outside. I want to see characters with fully formed personalities; people with talents and flaws. I want to see theatre that examines issues that exist in our society without glossing over the harder to stomach parts. That being said, give me a good pun and I'm gone. Basically, tell me a good story and tell it well. I am inspired by hard working, intelligent and independent women. People like my mother, Eileen English and Rosanna Saracino, an incredible director I recently had the pleasure of working with. I draw inspiration from their confidence. I make sure to put a little bit of badass into every character I play, because strong women should not be the exception to the rule. I know an awful lot of strong women, and I'm pretty sure that can't be some sort of statistical anomaly.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I would love to play Strindberg's Miss Julie and Shakespeare's Queen Margaret through all 3 parts of King Henry VI and Richard III

What’s your favorite show tune?:
“Rock Me Sexy Jesus” from "Hamlet 2", but pure stage favourite is “Super Boy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Anyone? Anyone at all? Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling and Rebel Wilson are my idols, so I'd like to work with them please.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would be played by Alison Brie and it would be called "Modern English: The Gillian English Story"

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Normal Heart, Next to Normal, Hypnogogic Logic by Uncalled For

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Goldfish Crackers and Netflix

What’s up next?: We're taking Love in the Time of Time Machines to the Montreal and Chicago Fringe Festivals this summer. It'll be a raucous romp of elephantine proportions, or you know, a good time or whatever.

For more on Gillian, visit