#260 – HAUI aka Howard J. Davis

HAUI is a multi-disciplinary entrepreneur of many artistic trades including performance, directing, design & visual arts. He was born in the United Kingdom to mixed Caribbean, Taino/Arawak and European heritage. Howard is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School. To date has worked at the Stratford Festival as an assistant director as part of the inaugural bud’s program (part of the Michael Langham Director’s Workshop Presentation) He has worked at Canada’s Shaw Festival as an actor and designer, National Arts Centre as an assistant director, directing/design intern at the Grand Theatre; Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop, Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company and Neptune Theatre as a designer, and performed with Native Earth Performing Arts, Cahoots Theatre, Paper Canoe Projects, and Factory Theatre. His work as a filmmaker emphasizes history and how it can inform our current sociopolitical climate. He hopes to continue building a practice in telling stories of his heritage, marginalized cultures not at the forefront of history and modern original works with an emphasis on bridging classical, theatrical and historical context to contemporary cinema and stage.

www.howardjdavis.com
Twitter: @hauidavis
Instagram: @hauidavis

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TRANSCRIPT

SPEAKERS

Phil Rickaby, HAUI

Phil Rickaby  00:01

Welcome to Episode 260 of Stageworthy, I’m your host Phil Rickaby. Stageworthy is a podcast about people in Canadian theatre featuring conversations with actors, directors, playwrights and more. Thanks for listening. If you want to support Stageworthy, consider dropping some change in the virtual tip jar, you can find a link to that in the show notes. Your support helps me continue to bring you great conversations and Canadian theatre. You can find Stageworthy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @stageworthypod, and you can find the website with the archive of all 260 episodes at stageworthypodcast.com. And if you want to drop me a line, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram @philrickaby. And My website is philrickaby.com. My guest this week is actor, designer, filmmaker and photographer Haui also known as Howard J. Davis. Here’s our conversation. How are we thank you so much for doing this. Are you are you in Toronto right now?

HAUI  01:21

No, I actually live in Niagara on the lake.

Phil Rickaby  01:23

So how long have you been living in Niagara on the lake.

HAUI  01:27

So I came out here in 2015, which was actually my first season at the Shaw festival. I went there as an actor, and did not think I was a small town person. town girl. And it turns out that, especially in the pandemic, it’s it’s, I’ve come to really like it. Hmm. And I think part of that is just the pressure of not being in a city where there was more of a chance to, you know, come into contact with this lovely COVID that we’re all dealing with. Sure,

Phil Rickaby  02:08

sure. And have you been Have you been living in Niagara on the lake since your first shot festival?

HAUI  02:14

Yeah, yeah. So I went there for a first season and it was under Jackie Maxwell’s 10. year, which was actually her last season. And then Tim Carroll came in. And, um, you know, naturally with a new artistic director, they, they bring people that they want, I did not audition for him, but was invited back as a designer. So I’ve been there as a designer under his artistic direction. And so I went back that season in 2018. I went back, huh.

Phil Rickaby  02:50

Okay, so that brings up the question, which came first acting or designing?

HAUI  02:55

Well, I’ve always been very artistically inclined to design work, particularly, you know, in high school, like drew I was in art AP, I thought for a while I might go to Emily Carr University in Vancouver. But obviously, the performing formatively I, you know, I was in musical theatre, I sang I danced, I acted and wasn’t sure I wanted to go into training, actually. But, um, when I remember auditioning at Sheridan, it was at the University of Toronto Sheridan programme. And they had said, Oh, you don’t need to go to school. And I went, I think because people said, you don’t need to go, I want it to go just to sort of contrary, in a way and being 17, as well, it was, you know, something I thought I should do that actors went to study classical theatre, of course.

Phil Rickaby  03:55

So, um, what was what? What was it that made you first catch the theatre bug?

HAUI  04:01

Oh, my goodness. It’s funny. This year, I’m turning 30. And it will have been nearly 25 years that I’ve been performing. Hmm. And it’s hard to say what that was, I think part of it was that old adage of doing it to escape my own. I’m myself in many ways. And I’ve found in that escape, it’s circular in escaping yourself, you find yourself it’s, you know, Ipsen says in pure arrogant with, with the button maker. You have to go through rather than around and by going through. There’s so many analogies that I can pull from but that one especially resonates with me because you truly find yourself you. You know, you’re constantly almost in a circle. Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby  05:02

Do you remember what it was that where you first got into theatre? Or did you? Like what caused you to it? Did you? Was it accidental? Or did you? Was it a desire that you had?

HAUI  05:13

I think it was an innate desire in me. Um, I was, I was loud. I liked being the centre of attention. And you know, and we moved around a lot because I was, you know, born in the UK, but was back and forth between Canada and the UK. And it was in Kelowna bc where I was raised that that’s where I really started performing. And then when we moved back to England, that just kept happening. And then one of my first I would say, it was sort of semi professional. I did the show Oliver at the bath Theatre Royal in England, and they usually, you know, they would bring kids from shows would tour from London and come to bath and the kids would usually be locals. So I was one of them. Right? Right. And I’m gonna do with

Phil Rickaby  06:15

shows like that, like the Oliver was not a local, but all of the ergens and pickpockets were,

HAUI  06:21

I don’t remember. Because Yeah, I came quite, I didn’t actually have to audition for it. I was, like I, because we just moved back to England. And then someone knew my mom and knew that I was a performer, so they just sort of fit me in there. And, and we alternated with other kids. So that was really that theatre, oh my god, I’d love to, I’d love to go back and work there in any capacity. Because, you know, those, those theatres are haunted, and they carry such history with the moon. Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby  07:08

Um, at what point did you guys you were talking about, you know, you didn’t know if you were going to go to school for theatre that until you were told that you that you didn’t have to, but at what point did theatre like you? When did you make that choice theatre over design?

HAUI  07:25

Well, it was, it was always going to be performing for me. And design didn’t really, I, that design didn’t really come up for me until when Shaw didn’t happen in 2016 season. And I, at the time was devastated. I can’t imagine. And then I sort of realised that was a bit of a blessing in disguise, because it really made me have to lean on my other skills and and i think that sort of self preservation has been keeping me going. Because it’s branched me off into doing a lot of different things. But it’s all in a way been…. Usually, as actors, you are the art, and in designing and filmmaking and photography, it’s, it’s liberating in a different way, because I am not the art and it can speak for itself. So yeah, it’s not like I had, I’ve been choosing one over the other, it’s just now being open to what opportunities present themselves and this has in really exciting ways.

Phil Rickaby  08:50

I find it you know, it’s really interesting, because when, you know, when I was in theatre school way back in times long gone. Um, we, they, they often told us that, you know, if don’t let anybody know, you can do something other than act. Don’t, you know, just just just be an actor, if you have a passion for something else, do that instead, but like, just be an actor, if you could do something else. Don’t tell anybody. And I think a lot of us at that time were like, okay, that’s great advice. Because otherwise, I don’t know what we were thinking because otherwise, maybe we could have like, more varied careers. I don’t know. But I in recent in the last few, maybe five years or so. I know, there’s lots more people who are like, they describe themselves as as like having a hyphen. I’m an actor design. I’m an actor, director, all of these other things. And I think that that’s sort of more healthy, like, we, we are all multifaceted and to say that we’re just, I’m just an actor. I just go to auditions, I just do this that’s so limiting to both the career and the creative soul

HAUI  10:01

I would agree with you in some ways, but I think it’s generational to you know, my, my husband, who is Peter Hinton, I love him very, very much. He started performing. You know, he also went to Ryerson. And when upon leaving, he’s been, you know, directing since the mid 80s. And, and I think back then, there was this, more people did singular professions that as you’re saying, this sort of hyphenated career now it’s a, it’s a hybrid, and I’m a hybrid, you know, I’m, I’m, I’m black, I’m white. I’m a designer, I’m a filmmaker, I’m an actor. And I’m, it’s nice to hear you say that that’s a healthy thing, because I do. I don’t think there’s one way, no one’s path is the same at all. And no, I definitely got over that thing. Obviously, you know, it’s hard to not compare yourself to other people. But I think, because I’m 30 this year, I feel a weight of that. Responsibility is not a responsibility. It’s just, I feel a weight of, I actually don’t need to compare myself at all to anyone, because I mean, nobody else. That’s why it’s tattooed on my foot.

Phil Rickaby  11:33

And that is that is super healthy. Yeah. And it’s, it can take a long time to get that way in, in the in the acting profession, even though they tell us you know, you can’t compare yourself to other people we always do.

HAUI  11:45

Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby  11:46

I just want to geek out for a second because I was a big fan of your husband’s. I wish I listened to the interviews when he was the artistic director at the NSC. So I always enjoyed the interviews and found them really insightful. So just to throw that in, just a little did

HAUI  12:06

I know that

Phil Rickaby  12:11

the The, the, when you chose, like, you chose the one theatre school? Did you look at other ones? Or did was it just the Sheraton programme that you were looking at?

HAUI  12:21

I looked at a few Actually, there was. Oh, my goodness, oh, my god, you’re making me think sorry. I, you know, I wanted to go big and audition for Rada in the UK. Lambda UCLA and then share it was shared in Ryerson. Yeah. I there was a lot. And I remember, I was, you know, very, very lucky that my parents were so supportive, they’ve always been supportive. Um, they let my sister and I, we went to New York, and were able to audition for a lot of schools there. And oh, my God, like, even getting into we got into lambda, and od, or whatever, the I forget all of the acronyms. Sure. Yeah. But it was the fees. And we were like, whoa, oh, like to, to, to essentially me and my sister, because I went to Theatre School with her. And my, we just couldn’t afford it. You know, my parents are from their middle to working class, you know, and, and it was, I just didn’t want to put that on them. And Ryerson actually felt really perfect. Because even in my interview, I remember them saying, you know, we don’t do musicals here. And I was like, No, that’s good. Because I want to, you know, I want to try different methods and, and it on reflection, it was the best experience because it was like a buffet of different styles and techniques. Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby  14:13

But you I mean, you didn’t choose Ryerson.

HAUI  14:17

Oh, I did. No, I did.

Phil Rickaby  14:19

And so what was it that ultimately when you chose the the U of T Sheridan programme, what was it that that that made you choose that one over over the other ones?

HAUI  14:29

So I was at Sheridan and they they took me on the spot and said, Oh, we we want to keep you away from Ryerson. I don’t know why they said that. It was once you say that, and and then I went to Ryerson and was like, oh, are they afraid that I choose them over them. And I just loved the vibe of the theatre school at Ryerson so that I when I went there instead, and so it was You know, it was I never know why they said that to me, but

Phil Rickaby  15:04

such a strange thing to say.

HAUI  15:06

Yeah, it was there. People say there were strange a lot of strange things said it Theatre School.

Phil Rickaby  15:12

You know, that is that is 100% true. Doesn’t matter. The theatre school, there are a lot of strange things that get said, Yeah, theatre schools. What? I mean, how was your time at theatre school? I know. I’ve talked to people who had great times and a lot more people who’ve had some trying times at Theatre School, what was it? What was it like for you?

HAUI  15:34

Um, it was a long process, because I went, um, I went when I was 17. And after that first year, they said, We love you, but go away. You’re way too young. And so I took their advice. And I travelled for a year I went to Australia and worked. Went back joined a different class. I was with my sister. You know, a lot of we both did the programme together. So that was a beautiful thing. But it was it had its ups and downs. You know, like, in my third year, I lost my best friend. He passed away in class. And then it really, it really devastated our group. And, and through fourth year, it wasn’t quite. Um, I remember that was when we had guest artists that would come in. And they all of them in those final interviews, noted, what’s the what’s up with your class? And, you know, because it did, it did affect us. And, but luckily, you know, those experiences of working with the professionals and fourth year, I had, I was very lucky, I had extremely fun parts to play. And it was with Dean Gilmore of, you know, Smith Gilmore, and Stuart Arnott and they were they were so wonderful to work with. So, you know, if to wrap it up in it was it was what it was, it was up, it was down, it was left, it was right. Yeah. Yeah. This complex.

Phil Rickaby  17:24

I think that the theatre school is always complex, especially because most most of us tend to go relatively young. Yeah, you know, I started theatre school when I was 19, as 1818 I started when I was 18. As Did you know, most of my classmates and the, the head of acting at the time would look at us and go, I wish you were all older and none of us were like, okay, I’ll quit and I’ll come back. We’re like, Fuck you, Oh, man. But, um, you know, it was it was relative, you know, we were all like, so young and trying to get in touch with, with, with stuff that we were, in some ways not ready to deal with. And so, I’ve sometimes thought, you know, if I could go back to theatre school now, with with what I know now, but then I don’t think I would have the patience for some of the bullshit that you sometimes find the theatre schools.

HAUI  18:16

Yeah, it’s, um, in some ways, because of what I’ve been doing more so lately. And I remember in fourth year, actually doing film class with David Langer, amazing, amazing man at Ryerson. And, and he said, Why are you in the film programme? And I sort of went, well, I’m in fourth year, the acting theatre programme. And so, in many I feel like, you know, I wouldn’t I don’t regret anything really been, it would have been interesting to do the film programme, or even just study business because, you know, law in and grant writing like that is, it’s I’ve been, I’ve been doing a lot more of that to cultivate and create my own work as a producer and filmmaker and a creator now.

Phil Rickaby  19:13

Yeah, I think that that’s, that’s an area of the of the arts that that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Like when we were Theatre School, who would? Who told us Yes, you’re also going to have to be a producer. Right? And you’re, you know, you probably will have to market yourself, you probably have to do a show and do your own marketing or, you know, all of these things that maybe you’re going to need to do Oh, we probably have to write some grants, we should probably talk about that. All these things that become important that aren’t really dealt with at the time

HAUI  19:41

right?

Phil Rickaby  19:43

Um, what what was your path to the Shaw festival? Did you like how quickly when you got out of theatre school? Did you find yourself at Shaw?

HAUI  19:53

Well, I like I as I said, My theatre school training was longer because I got invited back to do a semester of the dance programme, which was, after certain people after doing the acting programme can be invited to do the dance programme too, and I was one of them. So in doing that I realised, you know, to do to really be a triple threat, I wanted to really hone that skill, because I was not tooting my own horn, very good. And, and so to do that semester with those teachers, there was amazing. But then halfway through, I got Shaw, and so it was, you know, stay in finish or do that. So I decided to take the show, because I’d fitted I finished all my electives. I had my right degree. So I am Yeah, I got to shop. And that dense call was very hard. And then God I, you know, did have semester and a half of it was basically like six days a week of dancing. Hmm. And, and that the rigour of that is, is so different from acting, right, because it’s in an acting scene, it’s subjective as to what is how people are playing intentions with one another how you’re effecting change in a partner, it is really subjective as to who is successful at that. There’s no question about whether you can do a triple parallel or not. No, that’s very true. You You can do it or you can and so that learning that skill was really just the rigour that was really helpful.

Phil Rickaby  21:58

Now, when everything shut down, what were you working on?

HAUI  22:06

Oh, yeah. It’s funny, actually, I got back to Canada. I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s miraculous how it all happened. We we went on a on our honeymoon, Peter and I, we were in the UK and via Iceland, and we got back March the 13th. And so it was crazy, you know, coming back and we Peter hadn’t really planned on working at this time he was taking, you know, a year off. I was going to Stratford, it would have been my first season.

22:43

Oh, hmm.

HAUI  22:46

But it as it so happens, I had planned with the various projects I’ve been doing to be in production on my first feature film while I was designing at Stratford, rad and the fact that that show did not happen, which, you know, I’m really upset about I really did want to work with Alisa Palmer, I really respect her and Joanna, you is a dear dear friend of mine. But just thinking, well, how would I have gotten my feature film done while doing Stratford and so, you know, when the lockdown happened, I basically had come back from England with footage that I had shot there. And I went into production on my feature film. And so luckily, I had something to work on, which I know, is rare. And so I do I’m really, really grateful for that. But it’s also unfortunate that, you know, hopefully, Hamlet 911 happens in down in the future. But had that happen? I don’t know how mixed up would have come? It would have come but it would have it would have been a very different process. I think.

Phil Rickaby  24:11

I can imagine it would be hard to do design at a festival and put together and create a feature film, right.

HAUI  24:23

Yeah, why don’t uncommon II know in because of the nature of design. And the my mentors that I’ve observed that how Bonnie Beecher as a lighting designer does so many shows in juggles that I have learned from observing her and being in processes with other designers, not just Bonnie many of them how to balance the number of projects. And at most like right now I have four on my Go. And that for me is like an oven. tongue. I can do for a manage that, that any more than that, you know, one’s on a similar ones on a boil. It’s like, it’s just balancing like a kitchen.

Phil Rickaby  25:19

Well, it’s good that you that you know that so many people don’t know what how many projects they can juggle. How did you learn what your max number of juggling projects was?

HAUI  25:32

trial and error? really, truly and honestly. Yeah, it’s a, it’s it’s so so exciting that some of the stuff that’s coming, like I said, through had had I been asked back to Shaw, I don’t know if I be on this path. And so everything you just it’s a really healthy reminder that everything literally happens for a reason. That’s why cliches are no, they’re true. Because they, there’s obviously a people have a negative connotation with cliches, but I think they’re true, like love conquers all. It’s true. Hmm.

Phil Rickaby  26:21

Why don’t we talk about mixed up? What can you What can you tell me about about mixed up?

HAUI  26:25

Oh, my goodness, mixed up is a very, very personal story. It’s sort of part testimonial part, confessional. And really, for me, it’s one of the lines between the facts of who I am and the fiction of what I can become. And in many ways, it’s sort of a reclaimed Book of Genesis. It’s a manifesto. A mixed up Manifesto, I call it that collides the wildly diverse elements of being queer, mixed and different in a world that socialised around the construction of race and gender and orientation. And in many ways, it’s a love letter to my dad, who is also mixed, and chronicles the experience of his in relationship to mine. And, you know, sorry, I’m getting a bit emotional, I have to assert, it’s, it’s really a demand that we celebrate the existence of being other and different. And on this journey of finding inner cohesion, you know, and so it’s very, very personal. And I wanted to invite people that I really trust into that process. And so it follows my journey through a lot of very visual images and spoken word singing. cues, docu style, I wouldn’t say it’s a very conventional documentary. It’s it’s an art film. And, and then there are people like 10 to Cardinal, and Tom Allison and Johnny Luzon. And Jeremiah sparks, you know, sings on the soundtrack, so is a lot of my very close friends that generously shared their experiences as well. And so it’s, I’m really excited for people to see that.

Phil Rickaby  28:34

And well, when when Can people see that?

HAUI  28:37

Oh, well, it’s funny, because we’re recording this, you know, now, and obviously, it’s gonna come out later. We have a premiere date in November, I can say quite yet. Okay. Okay. It’s going to be on broadcast TV in Canada. And that’s amazing. The UK so yeah, that that’s, hopefully when this comes out. If you go to mixed up.ca there should be all the information on the website and social media. So check it out. I will,

Phil Rickaby  29:10

I will. 100% include that, that that URL in the show notes. Um, what was in terms of like, wanting to make a documentary feature about the themes of of being a mixed person being queer being like all of the all of the things that make up you and the people, you know, the love letter to you, father and all of that. What was the genesis of wanting to create this documentary?

HAUI  29:37

Well, a lot, you know, I couldn’t really pinpoint it to one thing, but I do remember coming back from an audition and I was so guarded, because in that audition, I you know, being English Yeah, my accents a bit funny and all over the place, but I remember audition, the casting director saying can you be more English? And I just went, Oh my god, I’m not English enough. I’m not North American enough, not black enough, not wide enough, not straight enough, not gay enough. And then in the back of my head, I remember saying, but I am enough, huh? If I make sense in the real world, why the fuck part of my language? I’m sorry, if you have to beat that out, but why

Phil Rickaby  30:32

it’s podcast, we get to swear all we want nice,

HAUI  30:34

oh, why can’t I make sense on camera to an audience. And, and so that was, I guess one of the Genesis behind it of going, I am enough. But in order to find that clarity, one must go through the ugly trenches of realising that and so a lot of it was Brett is it’s like a monologue of sort of all of those experiences of, you know, and it’s sad that it’s happened, but I have been told all of those things, being, you know, a paler black man, that I’m not black enough. And, and especially in this culture. It’s everything that’s happened with Brianna Taylor and George Floyd. It’s being the metaphoric and physical battleground of, of this white on black experience. It’s interesting, I never had, there was never an internal hierarchy, in my experience, ever, my blackness and my whiteness were, and have always been the same, but when you see the treatment of people, because of the colour of their skin, it makes that it makes it’s so complicated, I could talk about it for longer than probably we have to talk tonight. But in witnessing that, my affinity to my whiteness, I’ll be honest, has lessened. I, and because my skin can’t speak for me, I have to in other ways. And, and so I, I would say in the last five to 10 years, like I’m black, even know, people look at me and question that. That’s another part of, you know, mixed up is explaining my heritage is like coming out of the closet every time because I come out and out and out over and over and over again. And, and that’s difficult, but it’s also fucking amazing.

Phil Rickaby  33:05

It’s, it’s an interesting, because the everybody wants to put everybody else in a box. And and my my sister was was also mixed. And she, the one of the questions that people always ask was, what are you? Huh? You know, they needed to put her in some kind of box. Are you? Are you black? Are you white? Are you like they needed something. And it was always very strange to me that she couldn’t just be my sister. She couldn’t just be Anna, she there was some racial definition or colour definition or something else that people needed to put on her. And I think that that’s, um, I, you know, how does how does? Personally, I’ve never like I think it’s the one of the most irrelevant things her the What are you was always the least interesting thing about her?

HAUI  34:06

Well, it’s just part of our culture and our conditioning that we will. I was talking to my auntie Carrie, who is in the film too, because it’s, you know, my friends and my biological family. And she had said that she lives in the UK. And so that that whole dynamic is a very different one as well. And she has reminded many people that she works with of why we must classify a person by their race, in sort of sharing of stories. And I think she’d had a conversation with someone that was telling her about an experience they had and they said, Oh, that black guy, and she went, why? Why are you telling me? Why are you sort of footnoting An experience with someone’s race or with someone’s colour. It’s and so it’s I, I think it sort of speaks to what you’re saying of that is not always the first thing that we should be categorising people by. But it’s also, you know, it’s important that we acknowledge difference to everyone, because that’s what makes us stand out and feel like we’re important. Because we all are.

Phil Rickaby  35:36

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think that that, you know, it’s it’s interesting because it’s, you know, I think it’s, is the second time this week that I’ve heard somebody call attention to the, the the colour district descriptor, I was talking to that black woman, I was talking to that right, black man.

HAUI  35:56

That’s why we should we should just do a reversal of it and go, Yeah, I was talking to this white woman?

Phil Rickaby  36:01

Oh, absolutely, we should totally do that. Because, like, we need to call attention to the fact that there that there’s a societal white default, which is so toxic to everything. Like, we have to say I was, you know, I was at the I was talking to a Chinese guy, I was talking to that black man. And, and if we don’t put those on there, the assumption is that I was talking to a white person, but it’s, it’s one of the most ridiculous things that we do. I get very frustrated about all that. But you know, not as frustrated as I know, I lose my words.

HAUI  36:37

That’s okay. It’s hard to it’s hard to talk about this kind of stuff. Because it’s nuanced, right? Like, it’s not, hmm, we, we want it to be binary. And it’s not, there’s a huge, I used to say that all the greys in between, but all the colours in between is, you know, we are going to, in order to address these subjects, the subject of racialization, we are going to misstep. Mm hmm. And we have to be willing to, to allow for that to happen in the better meant for the betterment of everyone that, you know, sometimes people are going to say things and and they have to, obviously take action for what they say but also be allowed to, to make mistakes,

Phil Rickaby  37:33

we’re talking about race is something that has been dissuaded, like, especially for white people, white people don’t talk about race, unless they’re forced into a situation where they have to, and then it becomes that it becomes awkward, because they haven’t been, they don’t know how to talk about race in a way that, that that is intelligent, it’s nuanced. And so it’s a thing that the that that we we mess up on, because we get awkward and we get, you know, but we also have to learn, like you say, to be to realise it’s okay, that we get awkward, and only by having the awkward conversation, can we actually become good at it? Hmm.

HAUI  38:17

Well, it’s the the other part of that the flip side of that coin is white people don’t really ever acknowledge white privilege. No, they know what whiteness, like. And, and I guess, you know, being both i i’m not saying I’m better than anyone by any means, but it’s something I’ve had to contend with for a very, very long time. And, but it’s also been a very interesting process for me being born in the UK. And this sort of decolonization of myself because because I passed there and in some ways, I didn’t really think about it when I was younger, because as children you you don’t unless there are sort of garish blatant experiences. But I I really, you know, I did experience that in observing how my dad was treated very lunch and and that’s part of the reason you know why we left is he he was racially discriminated against and sued a council actually as City Council. And he won the case and we were able to sort of be free of that and and that’s partly why we came back to Canada’s my dad could finally drop his shoulders in relief that you know, that someone had listened finally.

Phil Rickaby  39:56

Yeah, yeah. I the idea like The whole privilege thing is one of those like, you know, I, you know, my sister who was who was mixed my brother who’s black. And and me, just seeing as we were growing up the different ways that we move through the world made it so apparent to me that, that my experience is different from theirs. And this is why, hmm, and it’s, it’s the colour of my skin. That means that I walk into a store and nobody gives a shit. And my brother walks into the store, and somebody on him following him just as like a single example. And there are many others. I didn’t

HAUI  40:36

know that about you. That’s amazing. You’re not sorry. It’s not amazing, but it’s a no but unfortunate, but it’s it’s so personal to everyone, everyone has such a connection to being mixed. I really do think it’s, you know, obviously, we we hear statistics that by 2050, everyone will be, but it’s, it’s also interesting that it’s so it’s, it’s not discussed that much, which was another reason why I I wanted to talk about it and doing it in a short film. Didn’t could, I couldn’t get all my ideas out. No, it that’s why, you know, I went this has to be feature length, and then perhaps the network got involved. And, and so I was able to sort of justify, oh, in the creation of it, that it had to be a certain length and there was so many commercial breaks, and yada yada yada all those things of navigating with a with a network that being in it, directing it, editing it, producing it, like it’s a big job, it’s a big job.

Phil Rickaby  41:50

But did the network getting did they get they got involved early enough that you were able to do that allow you to construct it in such a way that it fits with the the network’s requirements.

HAUI  42:01

It did. And, you know, I was very fortunate that my co producer had a really jack Fox, my co producer, he’s a trans filmmaker from Vancouver. brilliant, brilliant artist. And he had a relationship with them. And so, you know, that sort of bridged? as you were saying these early, I was able to to create with them in mind. Hmm.

Phil Rickaby  42:32

That’s certainly helpful, rather than like trying to squeeze in commercials later,

HAUI  42:36

right? Which is so funny that, oh, we need, we need to break up like, if you the fact that we can sit through theatre for an hour and a half a 90 minute show, and I go, huh, why can’t he do that?

Phil Rickaby  42:52

I know, it’s like, it’s to me, there’s this this this thing, because, you know, I haven’t watched a show on broadcast television in several years. And I used to do a bit of travelling for work, and I find myself in a hotel and in the evening turn on the TV, and something would start and then the commercial would come on and be like, Why are these things taking so long? Right. You know, I had no more patience for the commercials after a while. But again, there’s that there’s that balance? Because the commercials are what allow us to not pay for the show, in that strange way. Right? The broadcast television is, you know, mm. In what was I mean, when you were assembling this, and this is a great project to have to, to get through in in these the COVID times. How long did it take to give it shape? Or did you did you have to have a shape of it before you started editing? Or did you discover that in the process?

HAUI  44:00

it from from production to delivery? It took four months working full time. So from March, I got back March 13. And I started on it. The the week after was the production schedule, I think. And so yeah, it took four months I had it written that I started writing sorry, the year before to a year and a half before then. But um yeah, I would say that the bulk of production was that four month period, and nothing really changed because my co producer was in Vancouver, and I was in Ontario. So the restriction is on COVID. It was nothing was really that different. And and the only difference was I wasn’t able to film my subjects that are in The film they they actually sent to me footage of themselves that was cut into the final film. Hmm. So um, yeah. All in all, it’s, it’s gonna be a really, I I’m very excited for that to be shared with the world, because it’s I don’t want to say it’s timely, but it is in in some ways as well, because of what we’re going through together as. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby  45:35

sorry, I think I think no, to me, it’s it’s, you know, I think timely is an excellent word for it. It’s an excellent way to describe it, and what the way that you’re talking about it, and I think also, you know, talking about, you know, talking about all the different facets and race being one of them, I think it’s an important conversation to be having, and to get into those facets and those uncomfortable places. So I think, like, I’m looking forward to seeing it. So I’ll be following for when for when that comes up. As we start to wind down. One of the questions that I’ve been asking everybody as as in these, since the lockdown has started, since the quarantine started, whatever we want to call it, is what has been giving you joy?

HAUI  46:21

Oh, that’s a really good question. That’s a really good question.

46:28

Who?

HAUI  46:32

Oh, my husband, for one. Even though I think I get on his nerves, sometimes. We haven’t left each other, um, food. And just knowing that we will, we will do what we love again, huh? You know, yeah, that I’m not of that school that will say, Oh, 2020, we’ll just, you know, we’ll pretend like it didn’t happen and go back to the way we used to do things, no way. I don’t want to do things the way they used to be done. I want, you know, what we’ve gone through to inform the work, so we can move forward conscientiously?

Phil Rickaby  47:21

Absolutely, I think that, you know, not only that, like, there have been some really important conversations that have been having about that have been happening about in theatre, about about race, about, you know, what’s happening in theatre schools have been so many important conversations about the way that work happens, all of that stuff. That’s one thing that we can’t just ignore when it’s all over. Because I think that, you know, the conversations have happened, and then it’s up to everybody else to watch the theatres, who’ve said, this is what we’re going to do to make sure that they do it. And also, I think that, as we’ve been playing with video in theatre, and some theatres have been installing cameras and things like that, I think that’s something that could also remain, like absolute why, yeah, you know, yes, we want to be in the room. But what about people that can’t be? Right, you know, what of why don’t we start broadcasting and sell a digital ticket where people can, can watch from home? I think people will, having been in the room, I think people will want to be in the room. But for some people who can’t come that far or, or for whatever reason can’t can’t make the journey. I think it’s a great way to share what we do.

HAUI  48:42

Yeah, there’s something really interesting about that idea of forms within forms that to see and it’s something that I’m very interested in doing, especially moving into being a creator of my own work with projections that to have something if it’s video theatre that has projections in it, like this idea of that someone told me about it the other day, there’s a definition for it, of having, you know, the universal pattern in something that it can repeat over and over and over again, I think that’s really, I think it’s really cool to see that fusion of, of artistic forms, because we’re going to need it to get through this together. And, and those immersive sort of augmented ways of working are also going to be obviously we don’t want them to replace people and the live experience, but why couldn’t they complement one another?

Phil Rickaby  49:48

Absolutely. Absolutely. How are we thank you so much for doing this has been wonderful.

HAUI  49:54

Oh, thank you. I really appreciate it.

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- 13 days ago

On this episode, Keshia Palm & Julia Dickson of The Paprika Theatre Festival. https://t.co/9AacAYL6DF
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Still looking for feedback on Stageworthy. If you have two minutes, and have even listened to one episode of the podcast, I want your feedback on this survey: https://t.co/R2Jbr335cx
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On episode 304 of Stageworthy, theatre creator Sunny Drake. https://t.co/md8kHzEWfE https://t.co/aFVsc1EgzN
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