Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 245 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 like Stageworthy and you listen on Apple podcasts, I hope that you’ll leave a five star rating and a comment. Your ratings and comments help new people find the show, or even better: If you know someone that you think will like the show, tell them about it. Some of my favourite podcasts became my favourites because someone I knew told me about them. And remember, you can find and subscribe on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts and Spotify just by clicking the handy subscribe button. So if you do tell someone about Stageworthy, let me know about it, you can find stage where they on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @stageworthypod you can find the website with the archive of all 245 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 Joylyn Secunda. Joylyn is a Vancouver based Actor, Dancer singer and puppeteer. Her comedic web series about social distancing and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic is available now on her YouTube channel. You’ll find a link to that in the show notes. Here’s our conversation.

Joylyn, thank you for for coming on and and being a guest on the show.

Joylyn Secunda
Thanks very much for having me.

Phil Rickaby
You’re in Vancouver.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, that’s right. I right now I’m living Coquitlam which is a suburb suburb of Vancouver, but yeah, I’ve done a lot of work in Vancouver as well

Phil Rickaby
is that is Coquitlam like is that your main base of operations? Or do you is that just where you are pandemic wise?

Joylyn Secunda
Um, well right now I’m living with my parents. I’ve been back here for about a year but I most of my jobs are in Vancouver so I think of myself as being from Vancouver even though I I do currently reside in Coquitlam.

Phil Rickaby
So you are described on say for example, your your Twitter account as an Actor, Dancer, singer, clown, puppeteer, and Yogi.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Can you unpack some of that like because that is all that’s a lot some people I mean, I love that we are all so many of us hyphenates. You might be one of the one of the most impressive hyphenates I’ve seen. So I’m watching in terms of interms – cuz I -in terms of of of your path. Where did you start? As all those hyphenates? Did you start as an actor, a dancer, a clown? Like how? How did you? Where was your starting point?

Joylyn Secunda
Well, I started performing when I was five. So I come from a performing arts background with my family. My dad was a physical theatre performer. He had a mask company before I was born, and that’s how he met my mom, and she was a ballerina and contemporary dancer. So I grew up in this household with a lot of arts surrounding me. At the time of me growing up, my dad was a high school drama teacher. So even though I was not in high school at the time, when I was five, he let me be in one of his one of his productions, and I really enjoyed it. So throughout my childhood, I got to be in several high school plays before I even made it to high school. And then I also did a lot of acting as a kid. And by the time I was 12, I knew I wanted to be an actor. And then in university, I studied acting, I have a BFA in acting from ABC. And then after graduating from university, I got really interested in other styles of theatre not so much traditional acting, so I started exploring clown puppetry mask and getting more into dance. I started dancing, I guess when I was 16. So a little bit later than typical dance school kids. But I guess when I was growing up, I kind of didn’t want I didn’t like the idea of getting in a leotard and tights and I just really hated that. The feeling of it. I think I was really like, very sensitive to clothing and things like that. So I was like, I don’t want to wear a leotard. So my mom didn’t want to push it since she was a professional ballerina. She felt like I shouldn’t be obliged to follow in her steps. So I was More into acting as a kid. But then once I got to be later in my teens, I started getting into dance. And since my mom is a ballet teacher, I took her. I’ve been taking her ballet classes for, I guess, 10 years now actually. So she teaches adult ballet classes. So yeah, that’s how I kind of got into like very various Performing Arts. I still consider myself mainly an actor, but I think of myself more as a physical actor. So I like to take many different movement disciplines and put them into the work that I do.

Phil Rickaby
So your entry into into performing was was basically as the the kid in all of the high school theatre productions whenever they needed a new child for whatever show they were doing.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, I mean, I wasn’t always like a kid character. So the first show that I did it was called Earth air, fire and water and it was a devised movement, theatrical piece. So I was five when I did that. And then the next show I did was jesus christ superstar. So I was one of the tour mentors. So it’s a movement role. It’s not definitely not a child. It’s just a kind of spirit type role. So it could really be any any person to play that. So I was one of those. And then I guess I did play one kid role, which was in bye, bye, birdie. I was Randolph, the little boy. With a cowboy hat to cover I have really long hair. So I have to stop all my hair under the hat. Yeah, so that was one actual kid role that I played.

Phil Rickaby
At what point in all of that. Did you figure out that performing was something that you could do? Like, for your career?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, I guess I always knew that it was something that was possible to do as a career because my parents were both artists and both of them made their career and the PErforM arts and had their entire income coming from their performance. So I always knew is a possibility and I don’t think I ever doubted that I could do it. So I was really lucky to have the support of my parents and also the just be able to look up look up to them and what they had done. So I don’t think I ever it was ever a realisation it was just kind of something I took for granted as as a possibility. But obviously living as a as a performer and it’s not as easy as as you think. Of course, there’s so many challenges, as I’m sure you know, but But yeah, I think I always had had had the knowing that it was a possibility for me.

Phil Rickaby
So did you you because your, your your parents came from from performing in different disciplines. Did you ever you’ve never had to have that, that that sit down with your parents and sort of say, Mom, Dad, I want to be a performer. Break their hearts that you weren’t gonna be a doctor sort of thing.

Joylyn Secunda
I think It was very obvious that I wanted to be a performer from a very young age. And even as a kid like at home, I would always put on performances after dinner, like improvised shows, like pretty much every day, so I think it was always pretty obvious. And our family we really, we really like work together a lot. Because even when my dad was putting on the productions, my mom, because she was a dancer often choreographed the dance numbers for the musicals. And then I was always there rehearsal, whether or not I was in the show or not, I’d always be watching if I wasn’t in it, and so yeah, we’ve always been a team as as performing artists.

Phil Rickaby
Is there something that you learned was leaving like becoming a professional actor performer? That was a surprise to you after seeing, like, being in rehearsals, as a child is there something that sort of like instruct you is like, Oh, that’s different.

Joylyn Secunda
Um, I don’t know if it was really like a surprise. But I think in every training that I’ve done, whether it’s the like BFA acting programme, or any clown workshops or puppetry workshops or anything, I always learn something new. And it’s like I’m always discovering, and I think it’s less less about the actual training itself, but more the process of going through different exercises, and led by different people. It just makes me see see things in a different way or discover something different just by going through and continuing to do the work. So I wouldn’t say that there was like a aha moment or anything that I learned from a specific teacher that that I would say is changed everything, but I think every teacher that I’ve had, I’ve I’ve learn so much from and I’ve really benefited from, from their, their instruction or their unique voice or Yeah, so I think yeah, it’s kind of both. It’s like, I don’t think there was anything that that changed or I was like, Oh, this is totally different. It was just, every every everybody’s approaches is different to the work and it was different. Yeah, different techniques and stuff. So

Phil Rickaby
yeah, I guess there were, there needs to be a certain amount of an open mind. Because, you know, when I was in theatre school, our acting teacher lamented all of our bad habits that we’d picked up over the years, as as, quote unquote, amateur actors as untrained actors. And there were a couple of people in my class who had really had never acted before. And just sort of like came they were sort of like the moldable with the multiple actors with no bad habits, and the rest of us had to be divested of all of them. tricks that we used in high school or whatever. Did you Did you find anything like that? Moving from? And did you go to Theatre School even?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, yeah, I have a BFA in acting from UBC. So, yeah, not a conservatory programme, but it’s like a degree programme. And yeah, I Yeah, I definitely know about that. I think certain programmes have a bit more of an approach where they really want to start you off at the bare bones with and, you know, say, forget everything you learned before this, we’re gonna teach you from scratch. The programme that I did, I think that they, they acknowledge that that’s definitely something that happens. But I think a lot of the teachers, they really had the approach where we’re going to teach you a bunch of different things and take what you want. Well, during the programme, obviously, take our advice, do what we say. But they said, you know, it’s kind of like we’re giving you a bunch of tools that you can put in your toolbox. Take what works for you. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can, you know, forget about it after this programme, but obviously during the the time being of the programme that you should, you know, do what they say is better. And I really like that approach because I think, for me, I don’t necessarily fit into one mould of the ideal actor for a certain style or certain approach. I want to be my own person, like I want to be the performer that’s unique to me. And I think, you know, if I’m working in a production with a director who has a specific vision for style, I’ll adapt my myself as a performer into whatever that style is. But what I’ve noticed actually is after I graduated from school, and I started thinking about like, what do I want to do with my career? One of the things that I did first was making a solo show. And in the process of making that show, it’s called the Moaning Yoni. It’s a physical comedy, which features a talking vagina character as many as well as many other characters. But what I discovered as I was creating that show is that I’m, you know, I, I can be, I think the I am the best performer when I’m uniquely myself. So just taking the skills that I have and who I am as a person and who I am as a performer and putting that on stage, rather than trying to mold myself into a specific aesthetic of what a actor should be. I think that works a lot better.

Phil Rickaby
I want to come back to the Moaning Yoni, but first I wanted to ask about, well, when I it’s interesting to me, the more people I speak to the more people are hyphen. It’s in terms of how they describe themselves. But when I was in theatre school way back when they told us Don’t let it like just be an actor don’t and if you have other skills don’t like if you have other things that you want to do, don’t tell people about those. Don’t if you’re, if you’re a fight choreographer, if you could do if you’re interested in that don’t either do that or don’t tell them because all you’ll ever all they’ll ever want you for is that now I see so many more people embracing the thing, all of the things that they love. So it’s like you don’t have to just be an actor. You can be passionate about different disciplines and do them do them all and be all of those things. Did you ever feel like Did somebody was telling you to constrain yourself or were you was, were you encouraged to to be all the things that you are?

Joylyn Secunda
Well, when I graduated from the BFA, and then I started getting interested in clown and puppetry and other forms of physical theatre. I started thinking, oh, maybe I should just not try to be a normal actor anymore and just be a physical theatre performer. And, and just, like not even audition for any more acting things, but then I thought, you know why why restrict myself? So right now I’m pretty much open to any form of performance that I’m able to do if I have the skills, why wouldn’t I, you know, audition? Or why would I do do that? I think it’s just limiting to, to put yourself into a box of I only do this one thing. If somebody has one specific, very niche thing that they only want to do that I totally support that but for myself, I love the fact that I’m, like, have a lot of diversity in the techniques and, and genres and styles performance that I do. So I really want to embrace that and just continue to grow I love In fact, I love even learning more and more different skills because I think, especially with the kind of thing that I’m doing, because it’s very physical I love to put as many different physical skills into the performances that I do. And I just think it’s more interesting and exciting to watch if there’s if there’s so many surprises like whoa, now she’s doing that thing. I didn’t know she could do that. So yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Okay, let’s let’s talk about the Moaning Yoni. now you’ve performed that – I know about Montreal and Vancouver fringes are though, is that right?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah. So I’ve actually done it in six fringes across Canada and a couple music festivals as well. So over 50 times, I’ve performed the show in total.

Phil Rickaby
Were you – Have you done it to Toronto, or were you going to be coming to Toronto this year?

Joylyn Secunda
So I actually did perform it in Toronto is the first Time I performed it. So I debuted the show in Toronto. But I also was planning to come back to Toronto fringe this summer with a new solo show. And yeah, that’s well right now it’s called Hamlet unhinged. And yeah, we were in the middle of creating it when the pandemic hits so we kind of took a break from that. We thought, oh, maybe we’ll just keep working on it and but since we’re, it doesn’t look like live theatre is going to be happening anytime soon. We took a pause from that and then started working on isolation nation.

Phil Rickaby
Right, so we’ll get to that too. The moaning Yoni can what’s what’s your elevator pitch for the moaning Yoni?

Joylyn Secunda
Okay, so the Moaning Yoni. It’s a physical comedy. It’s set in a psychedelic healing circle where this young woman puts a magical elixir on her vagina, and then her vagina comes to life. And so I play all the different characters, including the vagina, and this very hippie dippie healing lady and all these different guys that this young woman meets in her dating life. And yeah, it’s mostly comedic, a lot of physical humour, some dances where I play different characters in the dances and some more serious moments as well but mostly comedic.

Phil Rickaby
In all the places that you performed it, was there a particular city or theatre where people embraced it the most is it was it was it sort of like, because I when I first read about the show, and I saw you performed in Montreal, my response was like, yeah, of course that like Montreal would eat that up.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, I mean, every every city I think, has a bit of a different kind of feeling. But I had really good reading response overall. And I actually performed it over the course of three years. So the first year, it was very early in its development. And then by the time I got to last summer, the show was a lot more evolved and polished. And well, I think I it was well rehearsed from the beginning. But the actual content of the show I reworked some parts and add songs and just changed some some of the structural elements of the show. So I think, personally, I think it was way better show by the third year. And I think that was also reflected in like the audience site, like the audience attendance, and also my publicity materials. And a lot of improvements happened over the course of the time, but I think overall, I got a really good response from audiences. A lot of people said they laughed so hard, they’re their abs hurt by the end of it. So like, people really like the show. I think it mostly appeals to kind of New Age hippie types. also people who are really in into like intersectional feminism. And just people who care about like, sexual discovery or sex like sexual well being, and relationships. And also the show addresses some issues of toxic masculinity and like rape culture or like sexual assault issues. So people who have either like an experience of that or an interest in that subject matter, definitely can connect to the show. So, yeah, so all those kinds of people who enjoy it in different ways, and also young people, like myself, like millennial generation, probably can relate to a lot of the cultural sort of references in the show, but there’s also some cultural references because I actually my dad is the director David so kinda. So we collaborated on the show, so there’s some references that even like, older people would get more than younger people. So it’s kind of like we tried to make it for a broad range of people.

Phil Rickaby
Um, it’s interesting. You mentioned the the way, the show evolves, I think, only by doing a show, especially something, there’s something about a solo show that you sort of like need to get it in front of an audience a few times, get to, like live inside this show with an audience before you can really start to really know what the show is even. And to say, Oh, this is a moment that needs more time. And this is something that that I can cut back on. Like, these are lessons that an audience teaches you, I think,

Joylyn Secunda
totally, that’s very true. And I think it’s especially true with clown because it’s very interactive. And so I know some people they may not see the show and think, Oh, that’s a clown show. But I think a lot of clowns are people who know you Know what it is to do clown would probably describe it as a clown show. And that’s how I see it. Because it’s not like a red nose kind of thing. I don’t dress in a weird outfit. Well, that’s questionable but but it’s there’s a lot of like character humour and audience sort of timing where it’s, it’s kind of dependent on the audience. So yeah, I’m creating the show I definitely like the more I worked with an audience, the more the show got better. And now I feel like it’s it’s almost like a conversation with the audience, the entire show. It’s like, every moment I’m kind of, listen, I’m, I’m listening to the audience. I’m watching the audience and I’m responding to what they’re doing. So even though it’s entirely scripted, and and choreographed, and there’s not any really content that changes from show to show, every show is very Different because it’s just the feeling I’m getting as I’m doing it from the audience.

Phil Rickaby
I the the idea of clown not needing a red nose is something that I’m, I’m very glad to hear you say, I mean, I love red nose clown, but I’m always I do sometimes feel like we limit clown if we only consider it to be a red nose thing. And then it can be so many other things. And it’s really just a way of, of perceiving and interacting with an audience, as well as reacting to what’s happening in the world rather than or your world in that moment, rather than a piece of a piece of a costume piece or a or a prop.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, totally. I yeah, I completely agree with that. I think that especially in sort of popular culture, people who maybe aren’t familiar with the art of clown, there is a lot of misconceptions about clowns. And that’s really unfortunate. And yeah, so yeah, I hope that people you know, hoped to raise awareness about clown and what what it can be and yeah, I mean, I guess that just kind of feeds into the same idea of like, why limit your, your view of what something can be I think that the the approach to clown and it’s kind of it’s more of an approach to performance is how I see it rather than an anaesthetic. So it’s it’s about like playfulness and interaction with the audience and not taking yourself too seriously things like that.

Phil Rickaby
So why don’t we talk about isolation nation?

Joylyn Secunda
Okay, sounds great. So, yeah, isolation nation. It’s my latest project. It’s a comedic web series about social distancing and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. And I’m creating it with my family once again. And so I play all the different characters in the show, and is written by my dad, David’s Kenda Myself and my mom, Linda are Kellyanne, who’s the ballet teacher, she’s doing the videography and then I do the editing. So the family project for quarantine.

Phil Rickaby
Now in terms of doing the editing, is that a skill that you already had? Or is that something you learned in order to be able to do this? The the the web series

Joylyn Secunda
um well I’ve done some editing but not too much really. And so I’m definitely learning some new skills that I didn’t know I if I don’t know how to do something that I want to do I just Google it and watching YouTube tutorial or something and then yeah, but yeah, it’s definitely not I wouldn’t say it’s on the highest of my list of skills but it’s something I can do if need be.

Phil Rickaby
In terms of like when writing this this thing, how quickly did you turn around the the the the show because, you know, we only started like really quick quarantining, at least here in Toronto around March 15. ish. And so what point did you start working on it? When did you decide that you needed to work on it? And what was the process of writing it like?

Joylyn Secunda
Well, the idea came about because I saw there was like an opportunity for it was like a grant type thing. Not exactly grant. But so I applied for that. But then I guess it wasn’t really a good fit for that. So but then I was like, Well, I didn’t get it, but why not just do it anyway, so I decided just to do it and you know, I have nothing else that I have to do so all you know, all my work is cancelled. So and I’m because I’m getting served to I think, kind of, I’m imagining it as like, well, I’m getting the Serb payments. So I could just think about that as like my paycheck for making this web series. So yeah, so that’s pretty much I’ve, I’ve, how I started, it was just kind of like, Oh, we should do something. Let’s do this. And then it started out just as a simple idea, we thought maybe we would do four episodes. So we’ve put out three so far, the fourth one’s ready to put out. So I think I’m going to be posting it on Sunday. And then we’ve now that people seem to be enjoying it. We’ve got a positive response from from the people who’ve seen it. So we just thought why not make some more so we’re working on episodes, five, five and six right now. We’ve written them and we’re starting to shoot them. So we’re not rushing too much just because it is a project that’s just for the fun of it. But yeah, we’re, we’re working hard. It’s a it’s really a lot of work. The episodes are between, I guess, like five to eight minutes or something like that so far, but I was just Thinking about how many hours I spent on one episode I think episode one I probably spent like 40 hours at least. Wow. Which is a lot but if you think about it, it’s really different than if somebody is doing like a vlog or like talking to the cameras one person. Like in episode one I play six characters. And yeah, Episode Two, I think it’s two characters, but Episode Three, there’s eight characters in the show. And each one it takes like a full day to do so the way we did it, we shot the first four episodes all at once. So each character I we do a day for each character. Although one of the characters it took three days and one character took two days so yeah, so I basically I get dressed, put on the makeup put on the hair. And then we film all the all the lines that that character does in the setting in their different settings. So Yeah, so it definitely is a very time consuming task, but it’s been really fun and I’ve always kind of wanted well not always but for a while I wanted to make some like comedic videos for YouTube where I play different characters. Especially when I was making the moaning Yoni for theatre. There’s a limitation because nobody wants to wait a long time while I’m changing my costume. So I you know, I wear one costume for the whole show even though I play 17 roles. But I was thinking Oh, it would be just so fun to dress up like different characters and then really not just, you know, people can use their imagination in theatre, which is the beauty of theatre but i thought you know, it would just be really fun to explore dressing up as the different characters in addition to doing the physicality and the voice and all other elements of performance. So yeah, so this is kind of me just getting to try that out and and having fun with with this new medium.

Phil Rickaby
Now have you written for video before is this is this a new kind of process and writing with, with a partner with your father in order to create it? Are there pitfalls that you’re navigating that you’re learning to navigate? What is what does writing a web series look like?

Joylyn Secunda
Um, well, I guess when we started out, we thought mostly about, you know, it was very, it was quite episodic, like, oh, what could be one thing that would happen, and then we made an episode about it. But now that we’re kind of wanting to continue with it. We’re thinking a little bit more ahead. So instead of just thinking about like, okay, here’s the group of characters. What’s one thing that could happen? And then how can we involve all of them? Now we’re thinking about Okay, the next. So Episode Five, there will be some things that happen in it. That will lead to what happens in episode six and so on. So now we’re kind of making it so it’s not so much just The same group of characters doing a different thing each time but having a storyline that continues through. So there’s a little bit more planning ahead that’s involved in in that. So yeah, it’s definitely I hadn’t written for, for film or for like a show or anything like this in the past, so it’s definitely new new experience, but it’s been quite exciting.

Phil Rickaby
Can you compare the writing of, say, isolation nation with the Moaning Yoni and the differences or similarities in the writing process?

Joylyn Secunda
Well, I think with with the Moaning Yoni or even with the the second solo show that I was starting to create Hamlet on hinge, there’s a lot more time to it’s kind of infinite the amount of time that you have, but when you’re doing film medium, it’s it’s not infinite, because when you know, you have to say, okay, that’s what it is, and then we’ll fill it and then we put it out and it’s complete. So even if you think, Oh, I could have made that better, you can anymore, it’s too late. So So I guess it’s a little bit different in that way that there is like a finality to it. Whereas with theatre, it’s kind of like, it can continue on as many years or whatever, until you just decide you don’t want to work on the show anymore. So it’s a bit different in that way.

Phil Rickaby
And Hamlet unhinged, as something that it’s new, hopefully far in the creation process. Were you and what what, what is that show? About if you can, if you can say yet?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, so we were fairly far into the creation process. We had written many different drafts and I think we were on the draft that we have now is, well, I don’t know how far to the end of it. But I mean, it is. It is Like a full, full, written show, and we’d started rehearsing, and then started creating some of the props as well. There’s a lot of dances in it and songs. So I practised all the songs, and we were gonna get, I think we had nine, I think, yeah, I think we have nine songs in the show so far. And we’re going to get some musicians to create soundtracks to go along with the song so that I could sing along to musical accompaniment, because obviously I can’t do or with the whole band or anything like that. So yeah, so we’re, we’re working on that as well. And then we there’s some puppets in the show. So we were creating the puppets. So yeah, so mostly just the rehearsing and creating all the other visual and Sonic elements. I guess that’s what we had left to do.

Phil Rickaby
And…

Joylyn Secunda
and I do still plan to do the show. Yes. We don’t know when

Phil Rickaby
That is the that is the, the the the problem in this world that we live in, is that, you know, trying to trying to come to terms with the fact that, that the theatres are going to be the last things to open. Mm hmm. That they may they’ll open restaurants and possibly museums before we get to gather together in a theatre again. Yeah. What I mean, what were you already you were already at home when the pandemic hit when isolation had to happen?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Were you because a lot of a lot of people that I know everything was interrupted all of their contracts, they worked in restaurants and so that was interrupted and things like that. What What was your situation like, at the time that that all of this began?

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, so um, I for the past few years, I’ve been doing kind of a similar thing. So I I’ve been teaching yoga, usually once or twice a week depending on things I think I was doing it once a week, I was teaching a couple classes. And then I also have been teaching theatre workshops for kids. So do puppetry and some sort of improv type workshops, and character physicality workshops. And then also, what else? I have taught some senior workshops. I guess I didn’t do that this year, but teaching movement to seniors and puppetry to seniors. And I also work in the film industry. So do you like background and stand in just for extra income? So those are some of the jobs that I’ve been doing. I feel like I forgot something just because I have so many different ones. But basically, I’m a freelance teacher and performer. So that’s, yeah, that’s pretty much what, what I do for my income when I’m not touring for fringe or other festivals. So all of that was cancelled.

Phil Rickaby
Any of those things possible to do a resume? Were you able to continue any of them after the fact? Or does it all have to have to go full stop?

Joylyn Secunda
Well, I have been teaching yoga on Facebook Live for a couple months now. So that’s the one thing that I’ve continued with. But now I’m doing it by I’m doing it. Well just volunteer, because the I work well, the group that I’ve been doing out with is with the UBC yoga clubs. So they have they ran out of their budget. So now I’m just doing it on a volunteer basis, but I really love teaching yoga. So I agreed to to continue just for fun and because it’s something that I like to share, but yeah, for the teaching, drama workshops, I teach through a cultural centre. And often a lot of school groups come in so teachers will bring their students or I’ll travel to the school and then teach the students in their in their own classroom. So that obviously was cancelled and they’re talking about bringing in Back in a different capacity, but I’m not sure how that will look like and that wouldn’t happen till the fall or maybe even the new year. So, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to know there’s a lot of unknowns for sure.

Phil Rickaby
Were you ever Tempted to Try to do to adapt one of your theatre projects, whether it was hammered, unhinged, or the Moaning Yoni for video streaming?

Joylyn Secunda
Ah, well, I did think about it. I’m still open to the possibility of doing of doing either one on on the Yeah, for like a live stream type thing? I think the I think it’s a little it’s challenging. It’s definitely a different it would be a different experience watching it in that format rather than live. So yeah, the reason that I decided to make isolation nation is I thought, Okay, this is something that we’re creating specifically for this form. So I knew it would work because it’s meant for that forum. I think with the moaning Yoni, it was really meant For a live theatre experience and it’s almost kind of it starts the show starts out kind of like a ceremony. So it’s inviting the audience to be kind of part of the ceremony and you know, my character is talking to them as if they are part of this Yoni healing circle. So it’s really kind of inviting the audience to feel like they’re part of the experience in a, in an interactive way. So through a screen that’s not quite as possible. I think it would still be a fun experience to watch it through a screen but it wouldn’t be the same for sure.

Phil Rickaby
That is the thing that that everybody who is thinking about streaming their their shows or trying to do Theatre on video is is trying to figure out because theatre requires an audience and audience that you that you can sense and live streaming and live video, however you do it whether it’s resume or something else. You really don’t have that. So it’s like how To perform something that needs an audience for a stream where you can’t sense them in the same way as if there were in the room. And that has to be doubly difficult for something that’s so heavily based in clown.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, definitely. And I totally feel for all the other performers too. It’s, it’s really, yeah, it’s really hard to be a live performer and to realise, you know, this isn’t going to be possible for quite quite some time. So, yeah, it’s a weird, a weird time to be in. But I think that, you know, it’s good to good quality to have adaptability. So I’m trying to, you know, adapt to the circumstances. And I guess my goal always as a performer is to, you know, to make people think and to make people laugh. Those are two things that I really want like to do as a performer. And so I’m just trying to adapt that into the form that I have access to. So yeah, so we’re trying to make this Show funny, but then also it Well, the first few episodes are more sort of light hearted, but then we’re going to start bringing in some more political themes as well. So make people think a little bit more and yeah, so, um, I don’t know where I was going with that, but yeah, I guess I guess it’s important just to, like adapt to the circumstances and think about like, Well, for me, at least, I’m thinking about why why did I want to be a performer in the first place? And, and just take that and put it into whatever I have access to.

Phil Rickaby
There is definitely sort of a sense of like, everybody is learning new things as far as, as if you’re working in live video or anything like that. Like, how like, just like even how it works can be a challenge and you look You sound like you’re, you’ve learned how to edit video and, and right for video and all of that stuff and there’s always something Thing exciting about learning new new things that that is this, this does give us the opportunity to do that. I don’t know about you, but when this started, I start I thought I was gonna write a lot and then I found that it was not easy to create. And so I’ve been trying to turn my attention to other things to try to pick up because writing when you’re stressed is hard.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, definitely. And I think for myself, it would be very hard like to do it on my own. I’m so fortunate to have my family with me to be creating together because we can really like help pull each other up when we’re in, in feeling despair. Because it is it is really a challenging time and I definitely put out like a positive vibe out to the to the like social media and stuff. So I think a lot People think like, Oh, I’m just a joyful person that don’t have problems. But in fact, I sent a message to somebody the other day and they’re like, Oh, I’m so jealous of you because you’re always so motivated. And I was like, well, it really it takes a lot of discipline to be motivated. It’s not like an innate thing. I feel like some people maybe think if I’m always creating things and putting it out there that it’s easy for me, but it’s definitely not it’s not like, Oh, this is so fun. No problem. It’s it’s challenging and there’s definitely days where I feel really down and and like isolated because you know, I don’t have access. I can’t go to the theatre. I can’t see my friends just like everyone else. But I’m just I’m really trying and I’m, I really practising discipline, even though it’s not always easy, and there’s some days where I fall off the waggon and don’t don’t feel like I’m disciplined and lose, lose the momentum, but That’s, that’s one thing that I keep coming back to is his discipline. And even if I have a bad day or have a day where I don’t get anything done, just the next day, I’ll try my best once again. So that’s been my approach. And yeah, it’s really yeah, I think, for anybody who’s listening and as an artist, like it’s normal to have days where you’re like, not creating not having anything productive happening. And it’s, yeah, it’s it’s just like a normal part of being a human. I think so.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Yeah. I also think that this time has has put so so much anxiety into the air. Like when this started, I felt like just this very palpable anxiety just sort of floating everywhere that I couldn’t, couldn’t quite shake. And I feel like that also affected my ability to to to be able to concentrate enough and sit down Right. It’s either it’s subsiding, or I’m just learning how to live with it. Because I’m starting to feel the creative urge again, but for a while there, it was like I would sit down with a notebook and pick up a pen and just be like, No, I can’t.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. And I think like one of the things that helps for me a lot is his movement. So I’ve been practising yoga and going for walks outside or runs and working on handstands which is something that I’m not great at yet but I’m improving on and things like that have really helped me just get into my body. And I feel like when I’m more present with my body, I’m able to be creative and be more in sort of a flow state where Yeah, sometimes if you get really get stressed, like you get more into your head and disconnected from your body and and that can be really hard. So yeah, what I what I learned JOHN, especially in the first month or so, of, of the, the pandemic was just moving basically every day I spent hours, just moving. I mean, I’m really into movement. So for some people, maybe just one hour is good for you to do an exercise or something. But yeah, I spent a lot of hours doing different movement disciplines and stuff. And that really helped me just like, start getting back into my body and like de stressing. And yeah, so then once after that, I got a bit of a bit of routine going, I’m still not the most in a routine, but then I was able to incorporate more of an artistic practice as well.

Phil Rickaby
So just as we start to start to bring things to a close, one of the things that I’ve been asking people throughout the pandemic, is about the things that are giving them joy, the things that are taking are bringing them and be making it easier for them to get out of bed. So what are the things for you that have Giving you joy that have given you the motivation to get up in the morning and start doing things.

Joylyn Secunda
Well, I mean, I think the movement thing is a big one. Also, one thing I didn’t mention earlier, but my mom, she’s a ballet teacher, and she teaches multiple classes, I think four classes a week, actually. But there’s two that are open to adults. One one’s like a more open level class, and then one’s in advanced level ballet class. And since I’ve been taking your class for about 10 years now, I’m good enough that I’m able to do it do it as like a sort of demonstrator. So I’ve been helping her out with that. So we do the classes on zoom, and I’m kind of like, the, the one live students. So sometimes, if she’ll, she wants to, like, show something she can like, show it on my body or like, give me a correction and explain that. But also it’s nice because that way, she’ll teach the class and then I’ll be the one who Doing doing the movements and then she can go and watch the other students on on on zoom on the screen. But then if they forget what the move is or something then they can watch me. So it’s kind of helpful for that. But even just having a role like that is very helpful for me. And it’s really fun because my mom is some people think ballet is very rigid and sort of boring or unfun sort of art form or dance, but she makes it super fun. I gotta say I, I maybe I don’t, I never probably would have decided to do ballet If my mom wasn’t a great ballet teacher, but I feel very fortunate to to have the opportunity to get to help her out with the classes. So that’s one thing that really is like, um, theatre related, but just brings me a lot of joy. And then I really like teaching yoga. I love taking yoga classes. I take some online with one of my teachers and and just like going outside in nature, I’m also really lucky here, where I’m living is like, about 20 minutes of this hill is very fortunate to go out some Hill. But yeah, anyway, yeah, I walk 20 minutes up this hill and then there’s this beautiful forest. And so I go for walks there with my mom a lot of the time, and that’s really fun. So, yeah, there’s things that that are just very joyous and and that’s really nice and then also just connecting with friends even though I can’t see them, like a lot of my friends we’ve been talking on, on like video chats and stuff just to stay connected and, and, you know, support each other and stuff. So that’s been really nice to just having that social interaction, even if it’s not face to face.

Phil Rickaby
Well, Joylyn, thank you so much. It’s been there’s been a great conversation. Thanks for making the time.

Joylyn Secunda
Yeah, thank you so much. It was a lot of fun.