Monday, January 30, 2023

An interview with ‘Maggie’

By Dan White – Special to the Sydenham Current

This week I interviewed the voice of Wallaceburg news.

Robyn Brady is not just the morning news anchor on Wallaceburg’s CKXS, she is also a talented actress who plays the role of Maggy in Remember, Maggy? The Theatre Kent production sponsored by Wallaceburg’s Glasstown Brewing Company.

Robyn has been involved in 6 community theatre productions since moving to CK and she feels that Maggy is the most challenging show she has been in, “but, so, so worth it.”

Robyn has found a number of parallels to her life in this production. Like Maggy, Robyn moved away from home to pursue her career, the character and the person are both actors, she has a parent struggling with dementia and a sister that carries a lot of the load for care giving.

While this experience does give the actress a base to draw from, it creates challenges for the person.

Robyn noted that Maggy is a very heavy character and it takes effort for her to shed Maggy at the end of rehearsal and not carry her troubles with her.

Maggy struggles with a number of demons around the loss of her father many years past and her coping mechanisms include a narcissistic streak, shutting herself off from all relationships (except for the one with her sister Kate) alcoholism and drug addiction.

While Robyn does not share theses characteristics and coping skills, the process of donning Maggy several times a week is a challenging burden.

She relies heavily on her cast mates as they wind down together in the parking lot and take the time to ensure everyone is in a good place prior to leaving the rehearsal space.

I asked her if it has been worth it to take on this role and she stated that the role has been 100% cathartic for her and she hopes it will be for the audience as well. While it isn’t all jokes and fun, although some comic relief does lighten the mood, this show at times can be harsh and heartbreaking but most importantly it is loving and tender.

She notes that when dealing with the challenges of a disease like dementia in a loved one it is easy to feel isolated and alone and she believes this story will help others to know, even through a fictional story, that there are other people going through the same thing.

Robyn equates playing Maggy and the parallels in her life as a deep breath out.

Robyn spoke of how close the cast has become and the feeling of family that has emerged from rehearsals as all four women are challenged in this show. Therein lies both the challenge and gift of acting.

To tell a story that is genuine and truthful, an actor must become vulnerable and do so in front of an audience.

In this regard, comedy is much easier to play as comedy itself is a shield against vulnerability.

That is why so many comedians have come from a troubled past. Comedy often ferments in pain, exposing itself as that shield, while drama demands the willingness to open yourself to a darkness or pain and let it feed your character without consuming who you are as a person.

When you have done that, the audience is left awestruck and gifted with a story that reaches beyond the surface of a good story and resonates with their being.

That moment when a curtain falls at the end of the show and the audience sits in silent wonder is just as rewarding as thunderous laughter following a beautifully timed joke.

I believe that this show will deliver that silent wonder. This cast and crew have worked incredibly hard to create an authentic, beautiful story where disease and addiction are a thread, but family and love are the fabric.

For tickets go to cktickets.com or call the Kiwanis Theatre at (519) 354-8338

To watch interviews for Robyn, JC Wright and Gina Paradis, check out YouTube where you will find all three starting with Gina.

https://studio.youtube.com/video/Npcu5-iWxAg/edit and next week… Lisa Franks, who plays Maggy’s sister, Kate.

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