By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Mark Kneeshaw
Name: Alison Lynne Ward
Show: 1/4 Life Crisis
Website: My Facebook group
How did you first get involved in theatre?
I started Highland Dancing when I was 3 years old! (my mom was a teacher) and I got onstage for competitions and show dancing through that. The Highland lead to Ballet, the ballet made me want to act - and I moved to Toronto at 18 years old to go to school and pursue the dream:)
Who are your biggest influences?
My mother is a big influence in how I set and work towards my goals. She's always owned her own business, and been a creative and proactive woman. Creative influences include Ellen Degeneres, Margret Cho, Steve Martin, Ronnie Burkett (Canadian Puppetteer and playwright), Jim Henson, movies and shows like "Sex and the City" and "When Harry Met Sally" (yes, I admit it, even if it is uncool). I don't really have one or two major influences... it's more of a mesh.
Tell me a little bit about your show.
1/4 Life Crisis is a semi-autobiographical, comedic, conversational/standup-esque type one-woman show. It's about the struggles and dilema's we face about 1/4 or 1/3 into our lives as we realize that reality doesn't quite meet up to our expectations. It's honest, endearing and quite funny - or so I'm told.
What inspired you to write it?
I wanted to write a one-person show - and there were many times that I would be in conversation with friends and they would say "you have to write that down!!" (in regards to some random rant I had just gone on). I had already written a couple of plays, but the themes of the 'quarter life crisis' were becoming more and more prevalent in my personal life, and was what was naturally coming out of me every time I sat down to write. The show started to materialize over three years ago, and has grown in fits and spurts since then!
Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?
My director, Robert Sterling, is actually the third director I've worked with for this show, which is amazing to have so many different perspectives to help guide me along the way. The first was Stephen Low and the second Geoff Kolomayz, both Toronto based actor/directors. Robert is from the States (some years in NYC) but is now living in Kelowna, B.C., where I recently moved back to. He and I met while I was on a search for experienced theatre types in my small city who would inspire me to keep creating - and he is just that! We've been working on the show together since the new year, and will continue to develop the show for the Toronto International Fringe Festival this summer.
Laura Ward is my cousin and stage manager/super fringe sidekick. She's joined me here in NY so that I don't have to go it alone! This is the second festival in which she's performed her amazing sidekick duties and hopefully not the last.
Of course, I've also had support from people back home helping with poster design, fundraisers and promotion.
What's next for you after FRIGID?
We're taking the show (but a longer version of it) to The Toronto International Fringe Festival in June/July of this year. After FRIGID I'll be back to writing, fundraising and promoting. I'd like to see this show go beyond fringe festivals and eventually produce it independantly, possibly tour. It's a great show (if any producers out there are interested).
And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience,
what would it be?
Come see the play. Bring your friends. You'll laugh. You'll see yourself, and your friends and your significant others in the character. You'll say "oh my god! that one part where (blah blah blah) is just like me!. Plus I take off some of my clothes... AND put them back on ... for only $12!! Now THAT'S value.
1/4 Life Crisis
By Alison Lynne Ward
UNDER St. Marks
94 St. Marks Place
Thu 2/25 - 6:00 PM
Fri 2/26 - 9:00 PM
Sun 2/28 - 2:30 PM
Mon 3/01 - 10:30 PM
Wed 3/03 - 9:00 PM
Sat 3/06 - 4:00 PM