#321 – Fanny Dvorkin

Fanny is a recent graduate of Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program. A writer and actor, they are most interested in how the classics can intersect with contemporary performance. As a queer artist, they focuses on how their identities can inform art, both personally and politically. These themes can be seen in their NTS ArtApart short film, SMASHCUT: INT. CHANGING ROOM. Prior to beginning their theatre training, they were an editor and academic, pursuing a Masters in Medieval Studies at York, where they portrayed Mary Magdalene in the Cornish Resurrection Cycle with the Lords of Misrule. They love a good mystery play, as long as it’s a little gay.

Twitter: @fannystage
Instagram: @fannydeedee

SMASHCUT: Int. Changing Room: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzb0Ops7qmA

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TRANSCRIPT

Phil Rickaby 

Welcome to Stageworthy. I’m Phil Rickaby, the host of this podcast. This is episode 321. Did you know that Stageworthy is a one person operation? So not only do I arrange the guests, I edit the show promote the show, I even created the music that you’re hearing right now. I also shoulder all of the financial responsibilities for keeping the show going. So if you enjoy the podcast, please consider supporting it. There are a few ways that you can do that. If you’re listening on Apple podcasts or Spotify, you can leave a five star rating. If you’re listening on Apple podcasts, you can also leave a review. Your reviews help new people to find this show. If you want to keep up with what’s going on with stage worthy and my other projects, you can subscribe to my newsletter by going to philrickaby.com/subscribe. And you can also leave a tip for the show by dropping some change in the virtual tip jar. You’ll find a link to that in the show notes which you can find on the website or in your podcast app. But one of the most important things that you can do even more important than ratings, reviews or even financial support is to share on social media. Even a retweet helps.  You can find Stageworthy on Twitter and Instagram @stageworthypod and you can find the website with the archive of all 321 episodes at stageworthypodcast.com And if you want to find me you’ll find me on Twitter and Instagram @PhilRickaby and as I mentioned, my website is philrickaby.com.  My guest this week is Fanny Dvorkin. Fanny is a writer and actor and a recent graduate of Dawson colleges professional theatre program. As an artist they focus on the way that identities inform art. You can see this in their fantastic YouTube short SMASHCUT: INT. CHANGING ROOM, which I will link to in the show notes. Here’s our conversation how long ago did you graduate from Dawson?

Fanny Dvorkin 

I graduated in May of 2021. So not that long ago. So half of my degree was in the pandemic which was fun

Phil Rickaby 

hmm. and a half of your half of your like, like, all of your career so far has been in the pandemic

Fanny Dvorkin 

so far. Yes, God. So I’ve never had, I’ve had one in person audition. It’s all been self tapes. Other than that, me in my living room, my apartment has been my partner has been very, very understanding about the fact that I’ve had to push all of our living room furniture into one corner, making it unusable to have an empty corner to film it

Phil Rickaby 

do you, how do you? Do you enjoy those self tapes?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Sometimes, yeah. Now that I can have like a reader in the room, like now that it’s safe to even invite a single person over. It’s fun. When it was somebody on Zoom, all alone? It was that was? I don’t know, you just kind of get really in your head. Yeah, I know. There’s people can give you feedback and notes and stuff for line deliveries. But for you know, your body. It’s so disconnected, I guess.

Phil Rickaby 

So part of the difference is with with self tapes, I feel like there’s something about being in the room with some of the especially for a theatre audition is you can get a sense of somebody’s presence that they might have onstage in the room, which is more difficult to figure out over over zoom or something like that.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, and I, they tried to, because we did, we only had our camera class, over zoom, because it was the semester where everything was shut down. So they were trying to teach us framing and stuff, seeing us only on Zoom. So that’s very different. I mean, I think they did as good of a job as they could do and having all that Zoom experience has actually been sadly convenient. But you know, just the setup and light and you know, all those things we did get everybody got a graduation present from the college have a ring light, actually, which was really kind.

Phil Rickaby 

that’s actually really good. It’s actually quite kind. ring lights are like a good ring light is hard to come by there. Yeah, it’s pricey. So that’s pretty good.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, we were all very excited.

Phil Rickaby 

Which I mean, the thing about like doing an audition on Zoom, and this is the thing is and I’m so digital, like meetings and things like that is the fact that often My face is there and I can see my face is so distracting to me.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yes, I feel like a narcissist because I keep looking at my tiny little square in the corner. Ah, the big like, you can have the full screen of the other person I’ll just be staring at my tiny little self portrait

Phil Rickaby 

I’ve been in a meeting a meeting I was looking at the at the meeting and then all of a sudden my eye drifts over to me and I’m like, is that what I’m doing with my face?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, and it’s so disorienting because there’s like a tiny delay. Yes.

Phil Rickaby 

So, I would like to ask you about your theatre origin story. What is it that drew you to theatre? What made you want to go into theatre? I love these stories. I love people’s like people’s origin stories. So I’m curious, tell me yours.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Well, I fought it for a very long time. My mom is a theatre person. She was never an actress, but she was a director and a producer for theatre and TV and movies. And I grew up on set and all that. And now I’m going to do my own thing. But I always loved it. Because she was the drama teacher at my school. Also, I wasn’t allowed to take theatre, because she was the only drama teacher so they thought it would be biassed and marking but I was allowed to be in the school place. Because those were for marks. And I just loved it. I was like no, I’m gonna do my own thing. So I went to university for English literature. And then I went to get a master’s in mediaeval literature, mediaeval studies in England, and then that I realised I didn’t actually want to I thought I was going to be an academic. I thought it was gonna go all the way get a PhD. And I just realised doing that that I love academia still I know a lot of people leave grad school because of problems with academia and there are a lot of them. But I had a very positive experience. I just realised that it wasn’t for me. My favourite part of going to grad school was doing theatre. We put on 100%, traditional, historically accurate, mediaeval plays down to like costuming, techniques and sub building tools, everything 100% accurate? Well, to the best of our knowledge, you can’t be 100% accurate ever. Um, and that was my favourite part. sauce like me, maybe this is a sign finally.

Phil Rickaby 

Was there a moment? Or was there a moment that made you that made you think, Oh, I’m not, I’m not meant to do? Academia, this theatre thing is what I really want to do.

Fanny Dvorkin 

I mean, I guess it was just all the moments that I was putting off actually working on my thesis at all to run lines. I guess.

Phil Rickaby 

That is Oh, that is a good sign. That is a good sign.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah. You know, everybody else was, oh, yeah, I’m here to do my PhD. And this is a fun hobby. And I’ll say, oh, no, I’m living for rehearsal. Dreading class. So

Phil Rickaby 

that is, that is always a good sign that maybe the thing you’re you’re studying isn’t for you.

Fanny Dvorkin 

I mean, I still love it. I’m currently taking the class just for fun. Online. And I still read a lot of mediaeval literature in mediaeval history. Still practice my Latin grammar.

Phil Rickaby 

Wow,

Fanny Dvorkin 

it’s probably the nerdiest thing that anyone’s ever said. I do

Phil Rickaby 

that it’s the first time anybody has said this on this podcast, that’s for sure.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I find I love it more now that I’m not like, now that it’s my hobby. Like, I’ve switched it around, you know? Because now it’s actually just for me, instead of the pressure of, you know, trying to get a PhD.

Phil Rickaby 

I have I have an aunt, who she’s, she’s still I mean, she’s old school, she’s still immense that the church that she goes to doesn’t do the service in Latin. And she would she owned a few copies of children’s books in Latin. And I mean, she’s old. So

Fanny Dvorkin 

no, yeah, um, yeah, I don’t want to get into you know, religious politics. I’m not Catholic. I am Jewish. But I also still lament the fact that I can never experience a latin mass because that is very, you know, I think you have to just go for the full on romantic Gothic aesthetic. I mean, they have the robes and the gold and the candles and the incense and the lat you know, yeah, I, I think they should offer it as an option. I think there might,

Phil Rickaby 

there might be a very brief period of people who are like very curiously going,

Fanny Dvorkin 

yeah, for tourists. It could be a good draw,

Phil Rickaby 

because if churches love one thing, it’s tourists. I don’t I don’t actually think there’s a whole lot of controversy about the whole Latin thing. I think it might just be my aunt being the only

Fanny Dvorkin 

Oh, no, it’s a big it’s a big controversy. I know. This is supposed to be a theatre podcast, but it is, if you want to look it up. It is the decision. Oh, my God. No, no, please hit me hit me. If you want to look up the decision regarding whether or not to continue with Latin only mass, it’s called the Vatican two or the Second Vatican Council. And that’s where they made that decision. And it was to try and like, stay hip with the kids.

Phil Rickaby 

I mean, considering the people don’t really speak Latin, it kind of makes a lot of sense. Yeah. I mean, my My thing is, and the reason why I kind of dig this stuff is I was a I was a preacher’s kid, my father became an Anglican priest late in life, that sort of stuff. So like, I all the theology all of that sort of stuff. I sort of like it’s all buried somewhere in my brain all that stuff, you know, it’s all in there.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah

Phil Rickaby 

Now as as somebody who is Jewish what what and I know that you you are really into 12th century Saint cults. Where does the fascination come from

Fanny Dvorkin 

That’s just the last that so that’s just I just put that because that’s the class I’m currently taking. Um, this is the end of the mediaeval portion of the show, I promise everybody. Um, yeah, I just my area of specialty and what when I was still pursuing this was the 12th century I was really into romance like Arthurian romance. I think that’s very theatrical action very dramatic. So I Um, and basically just the class I’m taking. Hi, Dr. McIntyre. Guess my friend Ross McIntyre. His specialty is saints cults, which is like when people get with, you know, worship or pray to, or ask for help of various saints. And they’re all very interesting and very cool and very, very weird. Like some of the miracles, there’s a saint where the where she was murdered in the town, several years later, a woman got head butted to death on the steps of the church. And this was considered a miracle. So weird stuff like that. is very interesting to me. I think you could read play about that. And probably someone has, yeah. And seen on turning this into a lecture.

Phil Rickaby 

No, no, I love it. Um, speaking of writing, I know that you you do a little bit of writing I do. When have you always been writing? Or is that something that you discovered, okay.

Fanny Dvorkin 

100%, you know, little stories I would write, I would give my parents for their, anytime I had to give anyone a present. I would like write them as little book and illustrate it and staple it together. And I obviously did all the academic writing. But I I’m in my undergrad I double majored in English Literature and Creative Writing, and I’ve published poetry, previously short stories. And I am now currently in the process of writing my first play, because I figured I had never before going to theatre school, considered writing drama. In my creative writing, course, you had to pick you to do two of the three fiction, poetry and theatre. And I was like, only dialogue sounds really hard. So I’m just not going to do that. And it is actually really hard. But I, you know, I figured I should try by now. So I’m running a play with a friend of mine. And is nowhere near done. But hopefully, soon, I’m trying to get it done on time to submit for next year’s fringe, which is, I think, a reasonable time frame.

Phil Rickaby 

Sure. I mean, give yourself some slack. My solo play I wrote for eight years before I finally decided that if I was ever going to finish it, I had to have a deadline. And that deadline needed to be a performance. So

Fanny Dvorkin 

Oh, yeah, that’s good.

Phil Rickaby 

One, what I mean, as far as the writing process goes, Are you you’re you’re working with somebody, what’s what’s, what’s that process like for you.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Um, what it looks like, for me is that, um, I definitely think of him as like, my co writer, but I guess in terms of jobs, I just spew out everything. And then he edits it. He’s a very good editor. Some big ugly, that’s how that works is that we meet up and I just say, I just talk and talk and talk and talk. And then he’s like, that last thing only. That’s how we work.

Phil Rickaby 

Okay. Okay. That’s, I mean, everybody, especially if you write with a partner, you have to find a way to do it. Like, I tried to write something with a friend a number of years ago, and we would just like we assigned scenes, and each of us would write a scene. And then we would like, read the scenes, and like, give each other notes and things like that, and maybe switch off and say, I’m gonna just let me do a brush up on that, but it’s very, it was very foreign to me, because everything that I’ve written previously has always been just just me writing.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I mean to before this, but I was just, I felt like for dialogue, being able to just talk it out really helps me instead of, you know, when if you’re writing you can, like any other genre, you can just, you know, write the descriptions and the, you know, internal monologues, whereas now has to only be external monologues. But, yeah, so it was different. I just also it was because, you know, the pandemic and he’s my best friend and so for awhile, we weren’t able to see each other at all. And it was like a way for us to hang out. Essentially,

Phil Rickaby 

it’s a great way to hang out. It’s a great way to hang out. Ken, I don’t want to ask too much about it. Because it’s, it’s still, you know, you’re writing it. Is there a particular theme or topic that you’re tackling with it?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah. So when we first became friends, he was obsessed with crime and punishment. And he made me as a condition of becoming his friend. No, that’s not actually true. But it was a kind of felt like that a little bit. Still tiny little bit read Crime and Punishment also. So I did read Crime and Punishment for him, which is a big commitment, I guess. I’ve never done that for anybody. And we wanted to, he had this idea of adapting it to a YouTube series. This was like, back in the time when, like, they were doing all those classics, turned into logs, I don’t know, if you remember that trend. He wanted to do that for crime and punishment. And we tried for a while to think of a way to do it. Yeah, but you know, there’s a murder, it’s quite a big deal in it. Um, so we just couldn’t figure it out. And then we both got jobs and went back to school and blah, blah, blah. It never happened. So then this sort of started as that. So it’s very inspired by Crime and Punishment is not an adaptation. It’s not just Crime and Punishment, the play was very inspired by that. So it’s sort of about just the actual plot is that there’s two friends and they have had sort of like an on again, off again, relationship. And they both have a lot of deep seated trauma that they’ve helped each other with, but are also kind of, you know, kind of poking it in each other. And they just sort of, over the course of the play, kind of, it becomes less and less funny, teasing. And more and more really mean until there’s like an escalation moment, I guess, which sounds like, you know, I, that’s the plot, I guess, I should really, I really need thank you for this pointing out to me that I’m going to have to get better at that. When I do. The thing

Phil Rickaby 

is that it’s a little bit unfair of me to say, can you tell me about this play when you’re writing it?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Okay, so it’s about two friends, and how they sort of deal with their trauma, through violence, both like, against each other emotionally and then against something else. Physically. I told him that I envisioned the tagline on the poster to be murder is cheaper than therapy. So I guess that’s that is good. That is good. You don’t steal it, please. No, I’m

Phil Rickaby 

not. No, that’s good.

Fanny Dvorkin 

That’s on record here. Now that I

Phil Rickaby 

also, also, I mean, I like exactly everybody would have heard that I stole your thing. But, you know, those those things aren’t copyrightable. But no. Good. It’s good. So I just want you to know that it’s good.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Thank you.

Phil Rickaby 

But I mean, like I the problem with like talking about a thing when you are writing it, which kind of made it an unfair question is that you’re still learning what it is.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, we have 23 pages. It’s good. 23 great pages.

Phil Rickaby 

It’s a great start. Thank you. But speaking of fringe, you’re doing a fringe show this summer?

Fanny Dvorkin 

I am. And yes, so it’s called. What about Albert? Um, and? Yes, so I have, if you just give me a second, I got like the official what I was supposed to say about it. Because I asked, you know, how would you like me to talk about it? Um, so yeah, it’s written by Alexander Barth. And it’s being put on by the malicious basement productions, which is an independent company in Montreal. And it’s about again, to people who are to like line chefs at a diner. And one is a full timer and one is a part timer. And basically, it’s sort of about it’s very much inspired by Waiting for Godot and other absurdist playwrights and that genre of sort of living in an liminal space. It’s about I was inspired by the writer’s experience working in these kinds of hourly sort of underpaid, overworked type jobs. And it’s about sort of the space when you’re almost clocking out. So those last few minutes where you’re just staring at the clock, and it feels like, those three minutes are an eternity. And just the feeling of the fact that you can’t wait for time to pass, but also feeling like distressed and oppressed by the fact that you are hoping for your life to move by faster, because you, you know, it’s horrible working those jobs some some of the time. I also my first job was being a dishwasher at a diner.

Phil Rickaby 

It was my time as a as a dish pigs. So

Fanny Dvorkin 

yeah, it was at a breakfast place. That worked 6am to 3pm both rushes. No. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s really funny. There’s also a, a cow. So there’s Yeah.

Phil Rickaby 

Is this is this happening at the Toronto fringe? Or the Montreal fringe?

Fanny Dvorkin 

It’s gonna be in Montreal. Awesome. Here in Montreal. So the fringe is the first to the 19th of June. I don’t have at all what dates or what venue know, this flight is going to be at yet. Yes, but that’s, you know, I’m very excited. It was my first impersonal audition. That’s my first professional show. Nice. I’m very excited. I feel very lucky. You know? Is this like, you know, it’s soon out of theatre school.

Phil Rickaby 

That’s pretty great. That’s really great. And Montreal fringes every touring artists favourite Fringe Festival is it looks good. Everybody. Everybody who’s on the tour loves to kick off their tour in Montreal.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Really? I didn’t know that. Oh, yeah. It was fun. I go every year. And that’s that’s why I answer by sound was

Phil Rickaby 

it’s because it’s a it’s a real party fringe. It’s a it and people love to a lot of it’s it’s a big kickoff to your fringe tour.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, you know, this guy, you can have shows this start at 3am. I think they didn’t do that last year. They didn’t do the 3am slot. 3am slot. Yes. There’s a there can be sometimes some years. Oh my god, but I don’t think that’s the thing. During COVID.

Phil Rickaby 

I had I mean, the year that I think it was 2012. I was there and it was 3am No, thank you. It was late enough. If I went to the the fringe. What was the cabaret anyway?

Fanny Dvorkin 

I could be mistaken. I think maybe only 2am. But

Phil Rickaby 

because there’s there’s the the fringe after hours cabaret thing. Yes. That ends in the dance party. And that’s massively fun.

Fanny Dvorkin 

You know, sadly, the dance party did not happen last year, but we’ll see this year. I don’t know. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby 

Here’s hoping here’s Yeah. Yeah. Did you grew up in Montreal?

Fanny Dvorkin 

I lived in Montreal for quite a long time. But earlier on, I lived in New York. But I was born in Hungary. But I only lived there for six weeks. Like, yeah, I was born in Hungary sort of so quasi by accident. My mom was working as a location scout. And the production ran long. And then she was too pregnant to fly back. So they just had to wait for me there.

Phil Rickaby 

Wow. I mean, that will happen. As a as somebody who was who who spent time growing up in Montreal, did did did did that. Did Montreal the like being a Montreal factor into your choice of theatre school?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I mean, I went to the Dawson my first time around, see Jeff as well. And I had a really good time. And yeah, I mean, I’m pretty settled. I’m married. So I couldn’t, I didn’t want to be like, oh, let’s, Honey, we’re moving so I can go to UCLA. And, you know, so and I had a lot I knew a lot of people who had gone through the programme, and yeah, basically, that’s why

Phil Rickaby 

it’s, I mean, it’s good. I mean, you you had already gone like for your masters. So yeah, that was interesting. Yeah. What was it like because you were probably you were obviously not going to theatre school right out of high school, like so many people. Were you one of the older people in your class.

Fanny Dvorkin 

I was. I believe I am now the record holder of oldest graduate of that programme. Yes,

Phil Rickaby 

I was in theatre school, there was one person in my class who was in their 30s. And we thought they were ancient, because we were all like, 1819.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, it was interesting. Um, I was very nervous about, like, Oh, my God, or the team is gonna make fun of me. Actually, everyone was great. People thought I was cool. Which was interesting, because teens never thought I was cool when I was a teen. Yeah, they were really are really cool, great people. They were very inspiring. They are much more politically active and aware than I was at their age, like, I have become quite politically active and socially active and stuff. But that was definitely like, early to mid 20s phenomenon, but they were like 17, you know, talking about ending the prison industrial complex, and that’s amazing. There’s hope for the future.

Phil Rickaby 

I have I mean, I went through this whole period of I think a lot of people do when they leave Theatre School, of coming to terms with the theatre school experience. I think everybody has their own. Even if you’re a theatre experience, your theatre school experience was largely good, you come out with a certain amount of theatre school trauma. And I often years, a few years after I graduated, and once I was in my 30s, I looked back and thought, no, no, I have should have gone at this age, because there is shit I would not have put up with now. Yeah, I did put up with when I was like, 19

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yes. So um, yes, I had that experience, there were certain things that I saw that the younger students were just not even accepting, not even knowing. wasn’t allowed, like, I had to explain to them that, like, you know, you can, you know, get accommodations, just in general like that. If your doctor says, You can’t do something, that’s, you know, you can’t argue with that. Or just like, just, you know, just basic things that you learned through time of like, how to navigate, like, giant institutions of just, you know, where’s the students with disabilities centre? What can they do for you how to fill out a form, even just like that bass line, which I had, like forgotten, that is the thing you have to learn, and it’s very difficult to navigate. It’s hard. It’s very, you know, I’m glad that I could help people learn to navigate these things. But also, also, like, at the beginning, I thought that I would, like you said, you know, not put up with anything. But at a certain point, there were certain things that I did end up putting up with, even though I knew that I shouldn’t, just because you’re so exhausted at a certain point. And sometimes these things are so endless or repetitive that in some, one day, you’re just like, Well, today, I’m gonna let it slide. And then obviously, it’s everyone knows a little bit the next time, it’s harder to not let it slide and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So

Phil Rickaby 

I feel like there’s there’s a lot of times in theatre school. They’re one of the most, one of the lessons that people take away from theatre school, even though they don’t realise it is that they’re being taught not to rock the boat. I know that when I left Theatre School, if I look back, that is one lesson that I absolutely knew not knew, was Don’t rock the boat. And that is such a dangerous attitude to go into the theatre world with, or even the film world, whatever it is that that, that the, the worst thing you can do is rock the boat. So it’s better to keep quiet, shut your mouth and stare at the floor than to speak up when you see something sketchy.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, because I Yes, I definitely experienced this quite a few times where just in my first week in my first week, it was very much made clear to me that a you know, bad things, inappropriate things or any you know, Bad things were happening. And that if you said something it was frowned upon would be putting it, you know, gently like I, my first, my first day know what my first week I saw I witnessed one teacher say something racist to a student of colour. And I, you know, it’s like you you know I said, though don’t say that. And then it was very much made clear that you know, I was considered the instigator in this entire situation. And it’s like, okay, I guess that’s how it’s gonna be time to buckle in. Yeah, it’s kind of disappointing.

Phil Rickaby 

Yeah. I do think that there’s a lot of school. I mean, there are schools that are learning the lesson. Very slow to learn the lesson. But there are schools that are learning the lesson about, you know, how, I mean, essentially, you are having adults who are often not trained as teachers teach teenagers. Yeah. And that is, you know, you have to there, there, you have to be careful, you have to be careful of inappropriate things, because there are people who went, like, the attitude is, oh, I had a miserable experience. So, now it’s my turn to inflict that on people, and that’s just the bare minimum, there’s, there’s shit that happens. And there are teachers who get away with it, and they’re protected. And that sort of, unfortunately, the whole not rocking the boat thing teaches you that that’s the same way it is in the industry. And the only way that’s going to change is if the schools can help the students learn not to just turn their faces away and to say something, and that teachers have to take it other than rather than turn it around and make the student the problem.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, well, yeah, I agree. Yeah. 100%

Phil Rickaby 

All right. So I know that you really enjoy Shakespeare to do. So. Tell me? Did you have a moment when Shakespeare clicked for you?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, my mom would read it to me. It’s bedtime story.

Phil Rickaby 

No,

Fanny Dvorkin 

yes.

Phil Rickaby 

That’s amazing.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah. So literally my whole life, I guess, with you’re not telling me the plot, like just the original text. So I didn’t really have to learn to see it as a different type of English, which is a very big advantage. But I, yeah, my whole life. I remember in grade nine, we went on a field trip to Stratford to really cool. And we went to see a bunch of plays and we got one afternoon off to go, you know, explore the town or whatever. And I don’t know if you’ve ever been strapped for there’s a really great candy store. Oh, yeah. That makes a gigantic, candied apples. This their specialty. Everybody went there. I didn’t go there. I went to buy a complete works of William Shakespeare. It was a really great deal. It was $12 and I still have it. It’s terrible. It’s essentially it looks like it was someone photocopied it. But it was my first complete work. So I still have it. And I also still have the first copy of just Hamlet by itself that I ever had, and it’s literally falling apart. I can’t open it anymore. But it’s the first copy I ever read. It has all my original High School notes in it, and it’s the copy I studied for my audition for theatre school from so it’s very special to me. I know it’s cliched, but I stand by it. It’s my favourite play of whole time. I find that like twice a year.

Phil Rickaby 

For me. I remember my first the first time that I saw Shakespeare was it was on the CBC. It was a Stratford production of as you like it because they would go each year and they would film a production they would broadcast it on the CBC. And I remember watching it and I thought I understand everything that’s going on here. I understand all of it. And then I got to high school and I thought, well, if you see it, then you can understand it. But of course, that’s not how we studied it in high school. We studied it by having the teacher start at one end of the room, and starting everybody reading. People untrained, who haven’t haven’t really delved into the text and don’t know what it means. Just read it. So nobody would read it in monotone until we got through the play.

Fanny Dvorkin 

It was miserable. Yeah, that’s not great.

Phil Rickaby 

I could understand why people leave that thinking that they don’t like Shakespeare.

Fanny Dvorkin 

No, that’s definitely first of all two things, I have grown as a person, I’ve experienced real life character growth. And I no longer think that it’s morally wrong. To not like Shakespeare,

Phil Rickaby 

I’m proud of you. That’s good to hear.

Fanny Dvorkin 

That is actually a big deal, because I was a little jerky snob, as a teenager looking back on some of my, you know, not like other opinions are is very mortifying. But yes, Shakespeare can be taught horribly, it doesn’t need to be taught like that. But you can also completely understand every single word perfectly and either just not like it because it’s, you know, not your style, or you can have problems with it politically, which I don’t think should be discounted, both from the content of the place themselves. This, like I like I said earlier, I am Jewish have very complicated relationship with, of course, The Merchant of Venice, which is like, for no reason, in many descriptions, he’ll just randomly add that juicer bad for no reason. Yeah. completely irrelevant. And, you know, so for that reason, or just for how it’s been taught, you know, as like a tool of the British Empire, or to the exclusion of other authors, you know, women or, you know, people of colour, black authors, like, why do we teach Shakespeare so much and not, you know, Langston Hughes, or literally, a woman? So 100%, if you tell me, No, thank you. I, probably deep down at this point, I agree with you. I just can’t read any of his plays without weeping. So that, you know, it’s in my heart, I feel like once any work is in your heart, you can’t really get it out.

Phil Rickaby 

I often feel like when people tell me that they don’t like Shakespeare, I’m often curious. Why? And I’ll you know, I’ll find out that they were bored by it in high school, and that they’ve never looked at it since. And I can understand, I kind of understand like, you had a terrible experience. But on the other hand, you know, I’ve seen television shows that I don’t like, but I still watch television shows.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I think that also, you know, you you read like what, like three plays through Shakespeare, you read, you know, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, maybe Midsummer Night’s Dream. And, like, you can not realise how wide the range of plays are, you know? So there’s that. Yeah. If you think they’re all the same, because you only read, you know, two or three. That could be a reason or just Yeah, I mean, that’s often taught pretty badly. I was lucky that at least my English teacher made us like get up and sort of acted out. Again, you know, nobody was trained. But at least we were up and moving around. Yes. Yeah. helped a lot. Yeah, I’ll never remember in that. We were doing the Tempest. I’ll never forget we were doing the Tempest. With the, there was like, a scene where they’re in the boat, and she made one of the girls who was playing a character on the boat stand in the recycling bin. symbolises the boat and then she got stuck. No. But like I remember that seems so you will never forget that so you know. Yeah. So you know, he’s Just get kids involved.

Phil Rickaby 

I’m curious about identity for you. Yeah. I know you’ve got a, you were involved with a short film. Yeah. That sort of focuses on that. But for you, what is what is important about identity in art?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Um, yeah, so. Okay, that’s a big question. Sure. Um, I guess for me, you know, it’s important to speak from experience, obviously, you should also, you know, you can make our right things perform things that don’t have to do with anything that you’ve experienced personally, you know, otherwise, most art wouldn’t exist. Um, but I do think that you should bring part of yourself to everything. I don’t think that’s sort of groundbreaking commentary. But yeah, this short film was about just sort of my relationship with you know, gender and sexuality, which was very much at the forefront of my mind during the first sort of locked down quarantine period because I was stuck at home all the time with nothing to do but think about why am I in pyjamas literally all the time? And then also, why am I not in pyjamas thoroughly all the time? Outside? Like, what? I mean, I know that that’s also not very, I just want like how we present ourselves differs, privately versus publicly. And I just wanted to make a little little film about that shot on my phone, edited, and directed and edited. And shot by my wife. She’s credited, or credited her because she did that all on her spare time with so we had to, or this was before my free ring light. So we had to film when there was natural light. But our apartment is has only north facing windows, because of course it does. And she works nine to five. So we shot from 505 to six. Every day, that was a

Phil Rickaby 

very brief window of time.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yes, it took like three weeks of shooting, like 45 minutes a day. Except on the weekends, the weekends, we could shoot more. But yeah, basically Monday to Friday, we shot from 505 to 6pm. That was fun. It’s a bonding experience.

Phil Rickaby 

I mean, that that’s one of those. I mean, one of the things that I think some people found during the whole lockdown situation was since they were spending a lot of time with their spouse or significant other that they didn’t like that person so much. It sounds like you guys came together through this project. And that’s great. Yeah,

Fanny Dvorkin 

we’re annoying and gushy. And was she? Um, no, but none of our friends. Just tired of us. Um, ya know, the other than the stress of you know, thinking that every time I went to buy dish soap, I might contract a plague and die. That first summer of COVID was honestly great, weirdly, because I was on summer vacation because I was back in see Jeff. And there was no pressure to find a summer job because there were no summer jobs available. And so I just and she was working from home. And so I just got to hang out with like, during the day, I would go on really long walks in the park, and then I would hang out with her. And it was fun. That’s great. That’s great. Yeah, but there was also the existential terror, so that wasn’t as great.

Phil Rickaby 

I mean, those are I think we all had some form of existential crisis at some point. Yeah. Did from your description. You talked a lot about pyjamas now, were you pro pyjama

Fanny Dvorkin 

Oh no, for sure. I think. Yeah, I would you know, wake up in the morning in change out of my night pyjamas into my day pyjamas.

Phil Rickaby 

I mean, of course. Why wouldn’t you

Fanny Dvorkin 

feel like that was everybody though. Yeah. Still everybody at least don’t like the lower half

Phil Rickaby 

everybody who’s still working from home they’re still they have their their work pyjamas? Yeah, yeah,

Fanny Dvorkin 

this I saw ads for those. This was a thing that they were selling. I started off ads like on Instagram and Facebook early on until only 20 of like, pyjamas that actually look like we’re close so that you can just, yeah,

Phil Rickaby 

you gotta love capitalism.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Definitely. I do for sure. I got me on the record, I am pro capitalism.

Phil Rickaby 

I’m on the fence. Yeah,

Fanny Dvorkin 

that’s that sound bites gonna be taken

Phil Rickaby 

out of somebody’s gonna gonna isolate just that sound and they’re just gonna play it back to you. It’ll be a tick tock sound bite before you know it.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Oh, I don’t have tick tock. It’s just wise. Should I get tick tock? No, it’s a wise choice to ignore tick tock. I think that that one tick tock happened. And I had absolutely no desire to even try it out. Although, okay, I’m old. Because like, I have Twitter and Instagram. But I don’t really use them. But I have them. And I know how they work. Like, I could use the if I wanted to tick tacos, I’m not gonna even try. I will No, that’s fine.

Phil Rickaby 

Um, I will say this about tick tock. You are more likely to fall into a tick tock hole and scroll for hours than to actually do something creative.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I mean, that’s how that’s how they all are the algorithm. They’re designed to be addictive.

Phil Rickaby 

Now, you say that you you know you have you have Instagram, you have Twitter, but you don’t use them? Is there a? Is there some reason why you don’t use them? Or is it just like, you don’t want to put that kind of effort into it? Which is a valid?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I mean, I tweet occasionally when something pithy pops into my mind when I when it yeah, when something vaguely witty pops into my mind. And also I want attention. Instagram. I don’t know, like I if you know, if I’m in a show, and someone takes pictures of it, or, you know, I’ll post pictures. I don’t ever bother posting to my story. It’s just so much work. Now. I really sound like a grandma. No,

Phil Rickaby 

that’s okay. You don’t sound like a grandma. I think you like you can put work into it. I don’t put a lot into those. Sometimes I will go on a tear on Twitter. And with the election coming up for in Ontario, this this summer, I’m sure that I will be tweeting a lot more.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yeah, I, I just I want there’s a lot of stuff I want to say. Like I don’t

Phil Rickaby 

I’m scared. I just listen. It is it is natural to be scared at first. And you just got to do it. If you’re gonna do it, you just do. And if you have to type out your tweet, in like the Notes app, and then edit it three times. Posted you that’s valid.

Fanny Dvorkin 

My friend recently, key tweets more than literally any single person I know. I don’t know how just I don’t know how he does it so much. He recently got retweeted by Trevor Noah, and then like the subsequent 48 hours of his life or hell on earth. So I don’t really want to, you know, test that out. I shouldn’t be saying this. No, I’m absolutely pro self promotion. I will plug anything you want. I you know, I am 100% going to self promote my career adequately in a corporate sponsorship friendly way. It is previously stated, I’m reiterating it because it’s true.

Phil Rickaby 

It is hard to know how to like that’s one of the great things is like knowing like, it’s hard to know how to do that. Right. It’s hard to know what to do, how to do it. What should I say? What shouldn’t I say? Well, once I got into my late 40s, I decided that I didn’t really care what people thought.

Fanny Dvorkin 

I mean, I don’t care what people think of me, I care if people, you know, harass me, I guess, or that’s, I mean, I’ve seen it happen pretty badly to some people’s.

Phil Rickaby 

I could definitely I can definitely understand the reluctance. I also on Instagram, give myself the freedom to post just to take pictures and post them. So when I’m out and about to take pictures and they post them. It’s not going to be me. It’s not my lunch. It’s not this and every so often if I have something to promote, I’ll post it there. But mostly it’s just photographs I take around just to

Fanny Dvorkin 

like of scenery and stuff. Yeah, yeah. Just went about well, yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. But you know, I know photography is cool. I’m very Got it. I know that you know rule of thirds and then I just blurry.

Phil Rickaby 

I I don’t even keep that in mind. I just take pictures and then I post them one question. You I know you love a good mystery play. And I missed the replay we’re talking about like the mediaeval.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Yes, yes.

Phil Rickaby 

I mean, and and in your bio you say you love of good mystery play as long as it’s a little gay. So my question to you is, what is the most game mystery play that you’ve encountered?

Fanny Dvorkin 

Oh, God, I don’t know you can make the wall gay. I think the one that I was in in grad school was the cornice resurrection cycle. Which is about when Jesus comes back from the dead and I played Mary Magdalene and Jesus and Peter and Jesus and Thomas both have scenes together which are very so wonderfully okay, though I will now quote Jesus Christ. Touch me Thomas. All the way through the side all the way to line from a play about God. Yeah. Yeah, I guess just stuff like that. I just gonna spice it up a bit.

Phil Rickaby 

Awesome. Well, Fanny, thank you so much for talking with me. This has been a great conversation. A lot of fun.

Fanny Dvorkin 

Thank you. Me too.


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