#297 – Erin Jones

Erin Jones wrote Time Limits Dropped on Easter Sunday especially for the digital Toronto Fringe Festival.  As a playwright, she is taking an anti-oppressive stance and is focused on exploring and developing untold stories in Canadian history that represent BIPOC folx with dignity.  She is thrilled and humbled to have had talented and supportive people in her world.

Erin Jones is a writer, actor, playwright and emerging director. She has performed in theatre and independent films across the GTA. She supports performing arts behind the scenes with publicity, articles, newsletters, social media, grant writing, governance, photography, director hiring committees, and Respect in the Workplace committees.

Her short story script Lovingly Yours, Olive was recently featured in the Toronto Fringe Next Stage Community Booster Series.  She also recently directed Exit:  An Illusion with Shadowpath Theatre Productions.

Time Limits Dropped on Easter Sunday

Wonder Jones Productions is a collective of talented artists who are willing to take risks and explore new forums to keep theatre alive!  Our team is comprised of talent across Canada. Opportunities are not limited by how individuals self-identify.  Our collective represents our community.

“Time Limits Dropped on Easter Sunday” was inspired by family memories and the regret of not having the opportunity to get to know a loved one.  It was especially written for the Digital Toronto Fringe Festival.

Instagram: @timelimitsdroppedeastersunday

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Erin Jones, Phil Rickaby

Phil Rickaby  00:00

Welcome to Episode 297 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. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please consider supporting it. You can do that in a few ways. You can do that by making a donation to the tip jar. I’ve put a link to that in the show notes, which you can find on the website or on your podcast app. Or you can buy some merch at the new online store shop.stageworthyproductions.com. In the store, you’ll find stage where the T shirts, mugs, stickers, as well as merch from some of my other projects, including the much coveted “God chose me to deliver his new commandment and all I got was this stupid t shirt” t shirt. From my solo play The Commandment – people used to ask me where they could buy one of those all the time. All your purchases, and tip jar donations go towards stage worthy and help me continue to bring you great conversations in Canadian theatre. And if you can’t donate or buy from the store, please consider rating and reviewing the show. If you’re listening on Apple podcasts, you can leave a review right in the podcast app. And if you don’t listen on Apple podcast, you can still review the show by going to podcastschaser.com searching for Stageworthy and rating the podcast there. Thank you for listening and thank you for your support. You can find Stageworthy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @stageworthypod, and you can find a website with the archive of all 297 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 Erin Jones. Erin is the writer of Time Limits Dropped on Easter Sunday, which is presented as part of the 2021 digital edition of the Toronto fringe. Why don’t we just jump in and start talking about time limits dropped on Easter Sunday? Absolutely. I mean, what what can you tell me about time limits dropped on Easter Sunday?

Erin Jones  02:21

Um, well, it was born out of the desire to write and and it’s it marks a journey in my, in my playwriting career, I guess I’ll call it. So to back up a little bit, I got inspired. I we’ve been in COVID in isolation, and I had the opportunity to go back and look at some old photos of family and things. And I was reminiscing and I found some really old vintage family photos that inspired me. And I realised I have stories I need to tell. And the other aspect that that was the positive side. The other side was, Why did I even start writing and I’ve been in theatre for years, and I love it. And there’s been amazing experiences. But at the same time, I noticed consistently a lack of respectful and relevant and positive stories that reflect our community. And that inspired me to write I really wanted to tell unstyled untold stories. And when I came across these old family photos and letters, and all sorts of wonderful historical things that made me think, wow, there’s the stories, there they are. And they’re based in humanity and in universal themes. And I really wanted to create stories that create solid parts for women, and for bipoc artists, that’s really important to me that that we reflect what our wonderful Canadian society looks like. And, and to be respectful of that, and to humanise those roles, not based them in oppression and things like that. So that’s kind of where it started. And then, you know, as I was continuing to write, and I saw that there was an opportunity to, you know, to put in a space for the fringe. And I saw the the, you know, the New World, our new normal, it inspired me to write a play, especially for the fringe be using the digital platform. And I guess with all the themes going on in my head from the very things I was writing, time limits, dropped on Easter Sunday, kind of was born, the characters were born. And because I wanted something we could do in a digital format But then, I don’t know, I’m trying to think like what I think it was because I’ve been a part of some writers groups that were really inspirational. And sometimes you get a prompt or, you know, things that just inspire you. And at first I was, I was not too keen on one of the prompts I got, I think there was a few one was doing something that was magical, assigning magical properties to, to two objects. And the other was imagining a future, you know, a different future. And I, and both of those, I thought, Oh, this is challenging on I, I don’t write sci fi, I don’t know, I don’t write futuristic things. But then I thought, take the challenge. And I dove in. And next thing, you know, I think I love this. And so I think all of that combined, created this story. And I wanted to route it in, in things that were universal, but told from perspectives of a multitude of characters with different backgrounds. And so it’s basically for people that come together that are grieving, they are part of a bereavement group. And they’re now in isolation that and they don’t necessarily get into the details about the pandemic, but they can’t come together in person. So they come together online, and they decide to honour their loved ones, but through a series of, of things happening. They, they decide to animate some photos of loved ones. And things start to happen that they don’t anticipate. And it gives them a chance to say the things they wanted to say, or needed to say, to their loved ones. One more time. So that’s kind of where I’ll leave it. Because I recognise I’m just chatting away.

Phil Rickaby  07:05

No, no, it’s great. That’s great. Um, what I mean, as as something that was that was, you know, you you created this to be digital. Mm hmm. But what was that? Like? What did you have? What the process of writing something for digital? What were you thinking about? What was what was your learning curve for doing things in a digital manner? How was that process?

Erin Jones  07:28

Oh, my goodness, we I think we’ve been learning in real time. I’ve been, I’ve been just so incredibly blessed and surprised. I’m hearing myself say that, but that’s wonderful. that things have just kind of fallen into place. And I’ve done some play readings online. And so through that, I could see what was translating and what was not. And I’ve supported a lot of artists, and and looked at their work over the last year to see how they have adapted their scripts to to a digital format. And then I also started doing some digital storytelling on my own as well. And through all of that, that was a good lessons learned of what, what works, what doesn’t, what can you adapt? You know, and how can we optimise this platform as opposed to kind of using it as a substitute? How can we make it actually work for us? And it’s not film, I’m still wanted honour. live performance. So the beautiful thing about writing and workshopping and I’ve had some great colleagues who said, Okay, you got something, you better workshop this now. And I’m like, do I have to, because that’s, you know, we get nervous about sharing our work. But then it came together. Like I said, things kind of fell into place. some wonderful people came out to help me workshop the script. And, and I listened carefully to the feedback. And I tried to practice what I, you know, was thinking about in my head, but practice what you preach. I want this to reflect our community and I want people at the table who reflect our community. So I wrote very deliberately move for a different characters with different backgrounds, my pop characters, but characters people can relate to no matter what their background is, because to me, that’s our, that’s our world. And I also wanted to route it in some Canadian black history. So I started doing some extensive research and had some great support on that as well. So I went back through some family letters and you know, things that I could, you know, they say write what you know, but then I also did some extensive Research. And so that helped inform some of the characters. And and then through the workshopping process, the the individuals involved have been wonderful. The feedback that I got was just what a journey Oh no, what a journey. I think of it, I, I wrote, The, I wrote in a slightly different play initially. And I had a vision of how I wanted it to go, and I don’t want to give too much away, because I’m hoping people will, you know, be inspired to to see it. But what really inspired me was how people connected to the characters. And, and when I was asking for feedback, and you know, people either told me during the process when we were meeting, or they would follow up with these detailed notes, which were actually fabulous. They, they, they were just really beautifully done. And some folks made a case for certain characters, it was wonderful they were they, they just they made their case, and why they needed something to happen for that character. And it really challenged me to think about it, and, and the play became richer and more in depth, because of those, those pieces. And so I had a second workshop as a result, so the same people who gave all that rich, wonderful feedback, could have an opportunity to see where it went. And that was such a wonderful process, because it was nice to see when people are acknowledged and their feedback is honoured. It does make for a better script. And it and it also is being respectful of the people that you are engaging with. And you know, so that’s been a great lesson to me in this process is is, you know, take your ego off and listen to the feedback, right? Sometimes it’s hard to go, oh, but I wanted to go in this direction. But that, you know, they’re they’re giving me some good things to think about, and challenging me. And, and then there was feedback from the character side, but then also from a logistic side of how do we make this work on a digital platform. And that in itself was phenomenal. Because even when we were going through rehearsals, I think the director Mike Gibson and myself realised that we, we were just going to have to be very flexible. And you know, and it’s the fringe, this is a nice opportunity when you’re engaging with your cast. And you may make changes along the way. And we did, we didn’t make a lot of changes. But you know, maybe at the time, they may have felt like it because it’s like, oh, I have to adapt something, but you know, wasn’t in this in the scheme of things, they were not major changes. And everyone stepped up to the plate and the key learnings coming back to your question of, you know, the things we had to learn as, as actors, the collective group, we had to be our own technicians, and we had to be our own costume people. And we had to be our own prop master. You know, all all of those things we had to juggle, we had to be our you know, kind of self stage manage in many ways, too. Because we’re, we’re in individual spaces, we wanted to uphold the you know, the safety protocols for the pandemic. So it made sense to perform in our own spaces. And, and just to see the creativity and people stepping up, creating a space that could tell the story in the background. And one actor in particular had to completely reorganise his space. And that in itself, I wish we had that on, you know, on tape, because the journey one of those, you know, behind making up behind the scenes, was just so wonderful and inspiring to watch everybody transforming, whether it was their clothing, and we had a wonderful costume consultant, Andrew bradish gave us some great tips on you know, what we needed to do for costumes and things. So just just a fabulous team of people that I can’t sing the praises of enough but just the fact that everybody was going the extra mile to just adapt their spaces and check their sound check through equipment. We had a few technical glitches along the way as well. But you know, everyone was stepping up to support one another. Thanks. Goodness for being able to self teach now, you know, with things like YouTube, you know, so if we weren’t sure how to do something, you know, we were busy looking up how to, you know, anticipate and, and resolve any technical issues. You know. So I think when I look back on this years later, I’m probably going to go How did we pull that off? But, but yeah, and I’m you know, we’re still in the process of finishing a few things, because the fringe opens on the 21st of July. And so there’s a lot of technical things in the background to make sure that any of our recordings are accessible. Yeah, and closed captioned. So that’s a whole new learning to have learned how to do that, which is fantastic. And then post production is fantastic. I can’t believe I’m telling you that. Because it’s hours and hours of work. But you know, again, consider consulting with people. And another great partner on this has been Marcus cage, who has been supporting the editing process on this. And we talked about how much time we would need. And we reverse engineered it so that we knew when we needed to start rehearsals and finish them in order to have time for the post production piece. So that so much planning has gone into it. And I’m really glad that I was inspired. Even before I knew that I had a space in the fringe I was writing, I just I just thought at least I’ll have the script for some things. Yes. And it was a good thing that I did, because then we were able to land on our feet running pretty quickly. And, you know, and I really hope audiences will enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed the journey. And I’m so glad to say that because I’ve had to watch it millions of times now, of course, yeah, for you know, as we’ve been editing, and each time I watch it, and usually I can’t watch things, a lot of times, and especially if I’ve had a hand in it, I don’t want to watch it. And yet, the journey has just been so positive that I can remove myself from it enough to look at it as as if I was just watching, you know, an episode of The Twilight Zone or something. So, yeah, I’ve just I’ve really enjoyed the process. And it’s inspired me so I’m, like, ready for like, what’s next? Yeah, and and I need to finish those other scripts that I have.

Phil Rickaby  17:38

Yeah, there’s something I’m so impressed by the fact that you sort of like built something specific for the digital, the digital venue, because I think so often people, especially early in the pandemic, I think we’re seeing more things now that were are created for digital, but a lot of times it was I’m presenting this and dusting off this old script, which was not meant to be done in a digital format, but we’re gonna do our best. And it never quite works because it wasn’t adapted because I think we were figuring out like, What does Theatre in the digital sphere look like? But we’re, I’m always impressed by by every person who I swear, a year and six months ago, would have sweat would have said, I’m just not technical enough to do anything online. We’re now wizards at doing things online.

Erin Jones  18:31

Oh, absolutely. Well, you know, going in, we, it was funny that as I was starting to pull a team together, we we all said yeah, I don’t have the technical know how for this, but somehow we all had that, that spark to just say, you know what, we’re all in we’re going to take the risk. And we’re going to learn as we go, and it doesn’t have to be perfect because we recognise you know, live theatre is not perfect. Every night you perform is different. And, and sometimes actors will make mistakes, but as you bond as a cast and have that ensemble, you support each other. So sometimes those mistakes are actually golden moments where the actors work together. And so I guess that must have all been back in my subconscious when I wrote this because I really wanted to honour that it was still stage is still theatre, but just a different mode of doing it. Yeah. And Meg, our director, I think she and I were in sync because we we did the rehearsals as as if they were live performances, like regular rehearsals, except we’re just separated, you know, in a different way. And I’m really proud of the fact that when when you look at the end product There, there was really just one cut. In it, it was performed in real time, with all the actors performing with each other they weren’t, you know, like in films, sometimes where people film their spots separately run, you know, so they were performing with each other. And there were still challenges, you know, looking at the camera, instead of looking at the person was an adjustment for all of us are trying to figure out where to look, you know, could be challenging. So the all of those pieces, as we rehearsed, we were working those pieces out. And but I’m so proud because when I look at the, you know, when I look at the recorded pieces, now I’m like, look at how everybody was working off of one another, even when they couldn’t necessarily see one another Yeah, or when something would happen, and you just, you knew it was happening, but you couldn’t see it. So you had to just, you know, use it, take that leap of faith. And I’m so proud of everyone, because their reactions and their intentions, all of the pieces just aren’t coming together so beautifully. And, and how we just learned, you know, while we couldn’t always perform, like we were used to, we did all work with each other and learn each other’s style, and, and strengths and work with one another. And there’s just, there’s some moments where I still like, people are gonna think I’m crazy, because I’ll start giggling in the minute middle of something I’m watching. Because I’m seeing a golden moment from that an actor is delivering. And, and I’m just like, Oh, look at that little subtlety, it just did. It’s been such a great learning curve. And and, and being able to bridge the gap between film and stage. And I really am quite pleased with how we we kept it honouring live performance. And, and and now our editor did work some beautiful magic and has done some brilliant editing, and special effects and sound and things like that. It’s not unlike when, you know, when we’re actually on the stage. And there’s some wonderful sound effects or lighting and things like that. So, so very similar, but just using different technology. And

Phil Rickaby  22:26

I think that that kind of that kind of thing is is important because so many people spend their days in virtual meetings right now. And that’s, you know, day after day after day. And we need something if we’re going to present Theatre in a virtual sphere, then makes it feel like it’s not just another zoom meeting, because then the the viewers brain can’t quite make the leap to all this is entertainment. Now, it’s going to have those surprises to have some, some editing, all of that stuff adds to the adds to the production so that your audience member can feel like, Oh, I am being entertained right now, this is not another one of my work meetings.

Erin Jones  23:13

Absolutely. And, you know, and I, I feel we’ve achieved that I wanted to say I hope we’ve achieved that. But, you know, my, my, my feeling from looking at it is that, yeah, I’ve looked at this so many times, and I enjoy it. And that and that I feel weird saying that because I wrote this thing too. So I’m really glad that, you know, at least I’m I’m having a positive journey through this. And I really hope that our audiences will too. And I, I really think it comes down to having a really great ensemble of people who we It’s funny how it grew. I was trying to keep the numbers small. So lessons learned of what you can achieve. Sometimes I was running keep the cast small. But as the story began to unfold, more and more characters were starting to form and add some of that glorious feedback from the workshop also helped kind of channel where we were going with things. So we do have the cast of nine, go and but you know, when I look at it, I’m like, yeah, that works. Yeah, that that’s where it needs to be. And they just the things that they brought to the table, were just, I you know, I hope they’ll be happy with me just singing their praises, because I was just so pleased with how everyone just formed such chemistry. We have twin Ward, who, who plays one of the grieving participants, and he just brings all these different levels. Some comedy to the, to the the role. And an Olivia john who brings such authenticity and, and sweetness and vulnerability to her character. And Kate McKim, who brings a strength and fortitude to her character that keeps the others in check. And, you know, and I could keep going. And Dijon lessman brings an old school style to his character that that just gives it an authenticity and an empathy, his empathy. Oh, I just yeah, his empathy was wonderful. We have Janie Joan watts, who plays Carly, and she brings a vulnerability, but an inner strength and a sweetness and a maternal instinct from Paula Wilkie. She, she’s just phenomenal. And, and as a special shout out to Georgia grant, who we had two characters that had to kind of mirror each other’s behaviours. And just to see her to her do that. And some of the the energy and the sweetness that she brought to the character to bring the story full circle. Yes, just, you know, sometimes you can write something, but then you see how people bring it alive, the extra things they bring to it. And then of course, our director who kept bringing moments of genius to the table, we were trying to think about not doing too much stuff in post production, because we knew it would already be a lot of work. And again, trying to honour live production. How would we do this in in real time in space. So a lot of the effects that are in the play are practical effects, as opposed to added there’s there are some added effects. That’s absolutely true. But there are so many, if people knew just the ingenious things that that Meg was working on in the background to you know, that are real and not, you know, computer simulated, that I think they would be amazed sort of like, when you look at the behind the scenes of Forrest Gump. That was a special effect. They did that. Also, in this case of that that was performed in real time. Wow, you know, so. And the actors, I’ve got it, I’ve got to just give it to everyone too. Because when we realised how we could play with the form, we were using all the actors pitched in, to contribute to the effects by you know, operating their systems accordingly. And we had to time it and rehearse it over and over. So, you know, yeah, so a lot of the effects or work could like, as they call practical effects, you know, it’s like, if a phone is ringing, is it really ringing or is it a sound effect? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So anyway, I, you know, I’ll take a breath there, because I hear myself and I’m so glad to hear and how excited I am.

Phil Rickaby  28:29

Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, if you, if you at this point, if you can’t be excited about the thing you’ve been working on, there’s a serious problem and you’re that excited about it. I would like to take a little bit of a turn and, and and talk about your theatre origin story and what drew you to the theatre? And so, just tell me about Tell me about that. Tell me about about your, your, your theatre experience with theatre, love all of it.

Erin Jones  28:58

Oh, my goodness, I have loved theatre, probably from infancy. That I guess I still remember being in kindergarten after my mom took me to see a musical and I was, you know, telling the class about it and trying to imitate it. And you know, and I think that was it, I got the bug. But I you know, I started off doing community theatre and loving it, having many great experiences. And, and then, as I got involved, there were just other things that were available to do. So I began wearing many hats. So I’ve performed on the stage I’ve served on boards. I’ve been on director hiring committees. I’ve participated in play reading committees. I’ve done the PR for for theatre groups, and I’ve also supported outreach in the community. And so you know, all those things over the years, I guess, you know, kind of coming to play now, but it’s just my love of theatre and wanting to keep it alive and thriving, that just inspired me to get involved in so many different ways. And I think I mentioned earlier to just seeing the lack of good roles over the years, and for, they say, for, you know, every female part out there, you know, there’s many, many, many women that are out there to audition, at least in community theatre, and, you know, whereas there’s often a shortage of men and plentiful roles for men, and I just got tired of, you know, going, Oh, well, that’s just sort of the side character. And, yeah, that’s the side character, the girlfriend that comes in once at the end or something, or, you know, being on Play reading committees and the plays that come through often, they, they sort of cycled the same things, and, and some that some of those can be very good. So I don’t want to, I don’t want to paint a negative brush on it. But what I really wanted to see were stories that I could relate to, that I could see others relate to, we have a lot of young people that are up and coming in theatre, student volunteers, and I think it’s important for them to see characters that reflect their community and their experience and inspire them to be on the stage. And, you know, I think we’re hearing it more and more now where people say, I need to see people in film and theatre that look like me, you know, so, you know, so that that’s something that I’ve seen over the years that I just wanted to see stories told that we’re not getting told, and, and based in humanity, and excellence and love, like positive things, we don’t need to just see stories about oppression. That’s, that’s, you know, the, the trauma is not entertainment. So, you know, people have lives in so many different facets. So I think we can reflect that in our stories, too. Yeah. Anyway, but that’s no, no, you know, that’s a, that’s a bit of the catalyst of how I got from point A to point B. And if you saw some of the lovely letters that I discovered, from family, you know, their stories, their their wonderful journeys and stories that I thought, yeah, that inspires me, I want to preserve that.

Phil Rickaby  32:51

Yeah. I mean, we know how important representation is we’ve seen it so many times, and how, how important movie, let’s say, for example, a movie like the Black Panther, my Panther is like that, having a black superhero. And that hero was such such such a regal bearing and so, so caring, and like just such a such a wonderful, full, rich character, embraced by by the world, that’s diet, like that kind of representation is so important, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all of the representations that I saw in film and television, for most of my life, of people of colour. And, you know, and I think that that, it’s, again, this is this is one of the problems when, when old white men, right, a lot of a lot of media that we consume is that we end up with a television and film and plays where black people, indigenous people, people of colour, find themselves relegated to minor roles or criminal roles, or whatever it is, instead of like, the actual lives that they live every day. Mm hmm. Um, as far as, as I’m bringing this, this this play to life. Can you think of something that was the you found to be the biggest challenge of bringing this this this digital play to life?

Erin Jones  34:24

Hmm, you know, the interesting thing is, is for the biggest challenge, I think, was overcoming negative rhetoric. The the gaslighting that can happen, oh, you’re not experienced enough to write. You don’t know how to do that. Or, you know, when when I’ve tried to bring forward other stories and things like that. There is a misperception that they’re not out there and they are, you know, and there’s, there’s especially now there’s so many wonderful artists out there. There’s indigenous stories that are being told, there’s there’s all sorts of wonderful stories that focus on the Asian community and the LGBTQ community and their, and they’re wonderful, universal stories. They’re not just targeting, you know, a specific group. And, you know, the key is, is consultation and patience. And I found that for myself, too, that as I was writing, I realised how important it was to bring people to the table, who could speak from life experience, and to and to take any my own blinders off, and just listen, and see how I can better inform what I’m writing. And, and as a result, the story did expand, because I wanted the story to be inclusive of bipoc and acpi, and LGBTQ. So, you know, I think that, if anything, it felt like it was a barrier, but it wasn’t, it just meant just open up to talking to people and asking them if they’d like to be at the table. And, you know, but, and I realised I still have a learning journey on this too, because I recognise I bring my lens. And my lens is not the only lens, you know, and everybody has different lived experience. And and it was interesting to as people read the play and other scripts that I’ve written, to listen to people’s reactions. And for the most part, there were some really lovely universal things. And and an interesting point was that one of the very first things I wrote and reluctantly shared in a writing group, it brought a whole bunch of people to tears. And I still, I’m still shocked by that moment where everybody’s there, and they’re wiping their eyes. And I’m wondering, what, what did I write? What did I do that triggered that? And if anything, it made me realise, keep writing. Because, you know, I touched on something that people could relate to. And, you know, so that that was actually a turning point of like, yeah, keep going. But the barriers, I think, I think, this just the protectiveness that we each hold, letting that go, is so important, you know, because people are going to interpret things differently. But it’s important to honour lived experience. And, and to get out of this seems like some, some artists tend to get trapped in thinking of the stories always have to be based in something negative and something oppressive. And that to me, that is a barrier that is a trap is we also have to think about the our existing artists pool, as well as our emerging and up and coming artists, what’s going to inspire them to stay in theatre, and asking young bipoc artists to take on roles that are demeaning, or oppressive, is not going to attract them. You know, like, yeah, there’s some things that that are important stories to tell. But they’re not impressive stories are not the only stories and we have to be careful of what we’re trying to put out there. And the old humanity, I think, to me, that’s, that’s kind of my route in writing is I want to base it in humanity, no matter who the person is, what is their humanity, what is their achievement, what is their, you know, what inspires them, family love, build all those universal pieces, because people relate to that, no matter where they’re from, and, and humanises and I guess that to me is, you know, something that it’s important that I write, I don’t want to write characters as cartoons, or write umur at the expense of any one group. So you know, so those are all that my personal goals. When I write, those are things that I want to make sure I honour and still keep it entertaining. And, and, and that’s to me, that’s a good challenge to have is to challenge yourself of Yeah, I want some humour in this, but not at the expense of of females or Have any particular group? You know, I, because I think we’ve all seen enough plays like that. And a really good mentor once said, there are plays that are period pieces. And then there’s some plays that need to be shelved. And, you know, so I think that’s always stayed with me going, Yeah, yeah, I want to have something that can be held timeless, and be respectful. And not for shock value. So anyway, that I hope that makes some sound.

Phil Rickaby  40:36

Yeah, no, it does. As far as as putting this, this, this this production together? what’s, what surprised you the most about about this play? Hmm.

Erin Jones  40:57

I think I’ve shared a tonne of those. And the fact that I’m still enjoying it, this, you know, this far along. And, and I think I know what’s what’s really surprises me and that it’s, you know, when, as I’ve been going wearing many hats and trying to think, how are we going to promote the play? And how am I going to describe it, and realising all the themes and the levels that are in it, I wrote it to just honour loved ones, I think that was my first goal. And as I said, you know, like, preserve things that are important. And so, themes of love and grief loss, forgiveness, intersectionality, elder care, even domestic abuse, and, and healing. And that surprised me through the process of Yeah, look at the journey, that, you know, it went in so many themes and levels. And then on top of that, putting the layers of it’s a little bit sci fi, you know, it’s a little bit drama, it’s a little bit comedy, it’s a little bit thriller, that, you know, I look at it and think, Wow, how did, how did we end up pulling all of this together? You know, and I’m when I tried to think of other stage productions, usually they fall under, you know, comedy, drama farce. Occasionally, thriller, occasionally, like a detective piece. So, I’m, I’m really quite surprised and proud that and thinking, yeah, it’s kind of this, this unique space. And, and I think, you know, the other surprise for me is, I guess I’m, I’m much more of a fan of Jordan Peele than I realised, because, you know, I love some of the the work that he’s done. And, like, get out in us. And, you know, and realising how much I’m enjoying writing in that realm. So you know, and I still, I still have other pieces that are going to be based more in historical history that I want to continue writing. But, you know, this, this has been really enjoyable. And I think I have to, you know, it’s telling me, I have the continued journey to make here. I hope I’m answering your question. Of course, you are, of course. excited by this?

Phil Rickaby  43:35

No, absolutely. You are, you’re absolutely answering my question. One of the questions that I’ve been asking everyone, since the since March last year, is a question about about joy, because we all throughout this pandemic have had our highs and our lows we’ve had our days when we’re doing scrolling and think the world is ending to the days when we when we, you know, we’re elated at at possible hope for reopening or whatever that might be. So I like to ask people to share with me something that has given them joy throughout the pandemic or recently, whichever they prefer. So for you tell me about something that’s been giving you joy.

Erin Jones  44:18

You know, it has been writing, it has been interacting with other writers and just taking some risks, but being in places where it’s safe to do so. And I mean, like writing risks, not COVID and the other it’s it’s surprising that as much as I I’d rather see people in real time in space, and you know, it there’s so many things that we we miss in that there’s new opportunities that have opened themselves up in this very strange time that we’re in, and that’s being able to reach across globally. So I’ve been able to interact with people in across the pond in different time zones, and, and get their perspectives on, you know, things that we’re writing and different ideas that I would have probably never had had this all not happened. And even in our play, you know, I can now proudly say we have actors that are local, and from across Canada and right in it. So, you know, again, that may not have ever had a chance to happen, had we not had to adapt to a new reality. And all of that is in its own way, giving me a lot of joy is just being able to kind of stop and go, Okay, I’m gonna do this a little bit differently. And, but yeah, the storytelling and getting lost in the characters. Sometimes they write the story, if I just, you know, I’ve thought them through, I’ve done the development. And, and I can kind of have that conversation with them. So that that the story gets told. And in that space, I don’t know, this may sound weird, because I’m still figuring it out. It’s still I’m still, you know, a new playwright. So I find great joy in that. And, and there’s pain too, because sometimes I’m like, Oh, I’m just stuck on a point. How do I deal with this? Oh, and then, but that interaction with others has been so joyful, because sometimes, you know, through the process of dramaturgy as a respected playwright, or a colleague, can ask just that right question to challenge you. And, you know, and at first, it’s a bit painful, but that it’s good. It’s a good process, because it’s like, oh, there it is. Yeah, there’s that missing piece. You know, said, and it you know, even Yeah, even when you get constructive feedback on something, it just can be just amazing. Because it, you know, they say, what’s that saying about something could be the greater than the sum of its parts. So, so I’m finding great joy in that. And, you know, it’s, and you know, and completely outside of, of writing, remembering nature, just, you know, being grateful for nature. And the one thing I do miss at the beginning of the pandemic is when everything stopped. Yeah, and the animals came out. And the air was cleaner. Yeah, yeah. And, and worldwide, we were hearing about, you know, animals showing up in downtown cities and or, you know, lakes being the clearest they’ve ever been. So, I missed that. Because as the world starts to, you know, get back into some kind of, you know, just pace. I don’t want us to lose that. That gives me some joy of just touching back back with nature. So

Phil Rickaby  48:22

I think there’s like a lesson that in all of that, the, you know, when when we were quiet when we were too afraid to go out when we were staying in our homes, and how quiet and peaceful the cities got, how the animals came out how clean the air wasn’t clean the water was there’s a lesson there that we’re mostly not listening to, because I just want to get back to having a haircut. Yeah.

Erin Jones  48:47

So true, so true. So I think at least you know, I I’m going to try and carry that lesson for myself. And, and who knows that, especially now that we’ve talked about it, too, I’m thinking how do I embrace this in my next story? Yeah.

Phil Rickaby  49:05


Erin Jones  49:07

That’s, that’s the beauty of it, sometimes through some great dialogues and different experiences and being open to other people’s experiences, these rich and beautiful stories come out. So, so, so yeah, so I’m, I’m quite grateful that, you know, as much as I don’t, like how we’ve had to come to all of this, I am grateful for that quiet time that it allowed. And, you know, and the discovery of, of playwriting, and, and, and, and I think the other thing is for all of us, you know, when we’re itchy and we’re like, I want to get on stage, I miss I even miss auditions. You know, being able to still contribute creatively is is a joy. So those those are, you know, kind of the hopefully that’s helpful to others. Yeah. I find we all find our own way. Yeah, but it’s it’s nice when you can share.

Phil Rickaby  50:06

Absolutely. Erin, thank you so much for this. This has been a wonderful conversation. I really appreciate you making the time for me today.

Erin Jones  50:13

Oh, thank you so much.

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- 12 hours ago

@partonandpearl @Toronto_Fringe @partonandpearl would you be interested in a live stream talk about the shows you review sometime in week 2?
h J R

- 16 hours ago

@philrickaby: Tomorrow is the start of theatre Christmas, also known as @Toronto_Fringe. Sadly, I'm in rehearsal mode for my own fringe show, so I won't be able to see as much as I want, but I'm seeing as much as I can. follow my coverage on the @stageworthypod insta and tiktok.
h J R

- 20 hours ago

This week on Stageworthy, host @philrickaby talks to storyteller and serial entrepreneur, @VikkiVelenosi about her #FringeTO show: 2 Robs, 1 Cup: : What Happens When You’re Done Eating Shit? #TheaTO Listen now at https://t.co/Vx85xxavyd https://t.co/TeMg6wqn8S
h J R

- 1 day ago

@itskyliethomps1 I'm doing my best to see as many shows as possible, but between day job and my own rehearsals I'm pretty limited. You're on my radar!
h J R