Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 246 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.

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My guest this week is Landon Walliser. Landon is a director, producer and publicist from Regina Saskatchewan

well how are things in in Regina at the moment? Are you guys are you guys releasing lockdown? Are you are you are you still on lockdown What’s happening?

Landon Walliser
We are still kind of unlocked down there slowly easing the restrictions on like food delivery services and things This is like that, but like the arts are shut down. There is not a lot happening in the art scene right now.

Phil Rickaby
Hmm, there’s a lot of that going around for sure.

Landon Walliser
I was supposed to be I was in meetings for this contract position with our regional theatre here. Right before all of this happened in March, like I was kind of waiting on their season announcement. And then I was having another meeting to follow up on two previous meetings about like, which shows I was going to be working on. And then the season announcement never came the pandemic hit. And now when I’ve talked about they’re like, so we don’t know anything that’s happening until January of next year, and I look Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
okay. Yeah, I I hear a lot of theatres are talking about January as a possibility, but as we get closer and closer to the fall, yeah, I think there’s a little there’s a lot less confidence about January being the date that we all reopen.

Landon Walliser
Yeah, for sure.

Phil Rickaby
Were you going to be directing in that in that regional theatre?

Landon Walliser
Assistant directing.

Phil Rickaby
Oh, yeah. You tell me about what made you want to be a director?

Landon Walliser
Oh, okay. I don’t it’s a hard thing to articulate. It was one of those things, especially like growing up in a small town. And you’ve seen my headshot for the people who haven’t seen my headshot. I’m like, average height, heavyset, very like not the leading man looking. And that was something that always stuck in my head. And I was never that person that wanted to be the lead. I enjoyed doing the background parts far more than deleting parts. Because I think it’s fun to steal attention and pull, focus and do stuff like that. And the more time that went by where I wasn’t doing leading stuff, I would be sitting there watching rehearsal watching directors work, and I was like, that’s what I want to do. I want to be the person that can make all these things. Other decisions about like, what’s on stage? What’s happening? Because, you know, I would be critical of like, oh, there’s something should be happening and you know, the upstage left corner. Why is nothing happening during this scene, or all these people who are playing servants have no story going on and they should be focusing on what their individual stories are. I don’t understand why the director isn’t giving them notes. And like, I know I’m being harsh because these were Middle School directors, directing middle school children. But I’m a crazy Virgo who’s like hyper attentive to detail and stuff like that always bothered me and the more time went on the more I was like, that seems like that would be a part that would work well for me I would do well as a director.

Phil Rickaby
Do you recall when – what your first directing… what you first directed?

Landon Walliser
Yes, um, my first directing outing on my own was in my grade 12 year of high school, there’s a thing in Saskatchewan called The sask Drama Association, and they put on a festival called the SDA festival every year. And it’s a festival of one act plays from schools all across Saskatchewan. So there’s a series of smaller festivals. So we were region three, if I remember correctly. So we competed with the small towns around swift current and swift current usually was kind of like the hub. I think we only hosted one or two years that I was in high school. So I mean, out of four years, we probably hosted 50% of the time, because we were the largest school with the largest auditorium. But in my grade 12 year, me and one other grateful student were given the opportunity to direct our own shows. And so that was my first solo outing as a director.

Phil Rickaby
Now when you say your own show as a director, you didn’t write the show as well.

Landon Walliser
I didn’t I had. I had done I think two shows before that that I assistant directed in middle school. And then I had done shows all throughout high school that I wasn’t a director on that I was out there performing or helping with crew or doing other things like that. But I had to assistant directing things before.

Phil Rickaby
And where did Where did you go from high school? Did you go to theatre school? Did you did you pursue directing as a as a form of stuff?

Landon Walliser
Yes. Um, I went to after high school when I graduated, I went to the University of Regina. And originally I was enrolled in film, and I did my whole first year in film. Um, I love film, film is something that I’ve always loved. It’s something I’ve always wanted to work in. But as I went through the film programme in that first year, so much of the focus was on the technical aspects of filmmaking, and not unlike the creative aspect of filmmaking. And I was finding that really discouraging because like, I knew how to work a camera. I know Halla focuses work and like, how to stage scenes and stuff, but I was missing a lot of a lot of the filmmaking process that I knew I needed to learn because it was areas where I struggled.

Phil Rickaby
Do you know if that’s something that they get to later or are they just like, we’re gonna teach you the technical stuff and you’ll figure out the rest later?

Landon Walliser
it’s something that they kind of weave in and out. But from what I’ve heard from most of the people here, it’s something that is a bit of a sauce, what’s not the word I’m looking for? It’s a bit of a blind spot in the department here from what I can. It’s a lot of very technically skilled people who’ve done a lot of work with IFC and lots of like, biz arts type film installations, but not a lot of people that have written a film or people that act in films. And like the University of Regina, there’s still kind of a disconnect between the theatre department and they’re actors that they have at their disposal and their directors and the film people who have all of these All the equipment and stuff at their disposal. They don’t work hand in hand. My sister is currently the head of the theatre department students and keeps trying to connect these student groups together. Because right now she’s one of the only people and so she’s appearing in 10 student films a semester.

Phil Rickaby
Right? Is that is there is there something like culturally that keeps the students apart? Or is it structural that somehow keeps the theatre students from the film’s I think

Landon Walliser
it’s more structural, their programme and the way it’s structured does not really allow for the time to be working with theatre students and have that kind of plantings not the word I’m looking for either having they, the way it was in my first year at least was you would go and you would sign up your film equipment and you would have it for 24 hours, and then you had to return it. So there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for like great planning and Yeah, so like if a student a theatre student can’t do something that day because they’re in rehearsal, you were screwed as a film student.

Phil Rickaby
Was it a lot of run and gun? Or was it? I mean, 24 hours isn’t a lot of time to have equipment and

Landon Walliser
No, it’s not. Um, and like I knew I had a very hard time in my first year because of that. But you are only allowed to use especially analogue equipment in the first year they really focus on older analogue equipment. Hmm. So I struggled with that a lot. And then I was asked by one of the theatre professors to stage manage a small show that they were doing for the theatre students that year or that Christmas, called the eight reindeer monologues. And so I went and did that. And then I was like, I like this programme a lot better because this programme has people who have worked in film and television, and all of these different disciplines as well, but they are working from the parts of it that I know. I know. to study more, they’re talking about script writing, and they’re talking about story breakdowns and acting, and pulling performances out of actors. I’m like, that’s the part that I know I need to work on.

Phil Rickaby
Um, I mean, that’s, I think that’s how I that’s often the bit that, that actors who are working in film wish that the directors knew more or less.

You know, especially when you’re starting out, there’s a lot of and there’s a lot of everything is very technical, and you’re kind of like, I have questions and they’re like, just move over there. I always found as a theatre grad, when I did films, everything became about the technicality. Yes. In fact, it always drove me crazy about the lack of rehearsal.

Landon Walliser
Yes. And like I had, I had my editing computer and I’ve still done I’ve done lots of video and video editing since because I understand editing quite well. And so I did. Video advertisements for all of the theatre departments shows because I was eventually hired as their publicist like half a year after I was in the programme, and they knew I had this kind of film crossover. Um, and that was one of the things I’ve always enjoyed is because you’re working on the play that they’ve already rehearsed. You can if you’re filming bits of the show, they’ve rehearsed it, they have, they know what they’re doing. And so the film part of it is so much easier to deal with because if you plan it out with the people you’re filming with, it went by with no trouble and you were able to take that direction the actors have been given and work with it. Because they had something to work with, compared to working on student films or it is they use they’re brought in they’re given the script, they’re given a few directions, which is usually say it quiet or I want it more dramatic.

Phil Rickaby
Which is not not exactly helpful for a director

Landon Walliser
No not a helpful direction at all.

Phil Rickaby
I remember the the only film that I’ve ever really done that I think I was any good at. We actually had rehearsals. Yeah. It was like this independent film and the directors got they were like, you know what we’ve we’ve, we’ve brought in a like for theatre actors. So let’s work with them. And what they did the exact right thing because they they brought us in, we were very theatre. And then over time, through the the month of rehearsals that we had on and off, they brought us down to film level, and then we were ready to go and we could film a thing in a weekend.

Landon Walliser
Wow.

Phil Rickaby
You know, but that’s the only one that I’ve ever done that I can look at and be like, I did really well there because we rehearsed it.

Landon Walliser
Well and like, of course, we spent a lot of your first year of film studies being like Okay, so this is like how you do a shot list. This is how you do this, laying out all of the like pre production work that goes into making a film. And then I was like, Okay, so then on the day you are working with the actors, if you’re not rehearsing with them beforehand, you get to work with the actors on the day and it’s kind of just managing the technical aspect of the film. And that was never what it was with student films because there was kind of such a rush draw everything for 24 hours trying to get stuff in Well, the lights readies trying to get stuff in while this is happening.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, I always felt like when I did student films, that it was like, Alright, you’re good enough, whatever. And which is consequently why I’ve never gone back and watched any of those.

Landon Walliser
Yes, I’ve had actor friends. Look at my demo reel from all of these student films that idea and you watch half of them and you’re like, you don’t want these in your demo reel.

Phil Rickaby
No, no, you don’t you don’t

Landon Walliser
Not at all.

Phil Rickaby
No. Um, you mentioned being a publicist. So how did you get from directing to publicist

Landon Walliser
um, I guess the big thing was okay, so I switched from film into theatre in my at the start of my second year, And you you don’t just get to do like an assistant directorship right away in the like programme. And there’s no specific kind of directing track for it. Um, at the end of my first year of university right before I switched into theatre, there’s also been a restructuring at the university and they had eliminated the BFA in acting, it was all kind of switched to a BA programme. Um, and so it was a lot less specific in like, which classes everyone was having to take and stuff. So when I went in, I met with my academic advisor and the, at the time, the head of the theatre department, who was one of the people who would kind of like, encouraged me to join it. And I said, like, this is what I want. I want to be a director. I want to like, this is the path that I want to have over the next like three years in university. And they’re like, okay, we can probably make that happen this semester. Like, because everything has been planned out. We don’t really have an opportunity for that, but We’ve had this publicist who quit, would you be interested in doing that? And I said, Sure, and I ended up being me and one other students sharing the publicity job on the first semester. And it was a big show. It was Bertolt Brecht sphere of misery and the Third Reich. So it was a hard show to sell to people. Um,

Phil Rickaby
yeah, I can’t imagine why.

Landon Walliser
Um, so it ended up being a lot of my job was just kind of, you know, working on connecting us with the community. The posters had been done. Everything was done in house at that time, not by a student. So posters, advertising programmes, all of that was already done and, and or being finished by like the department Secretary and the director. So my job was like I connected us with the synagogue in town. I connected like various businesses with the programme like I think we got some sponsors. haircuts and stuff for that show. And then I asked if I could make a video app. So the show, they hadn’t thought of not the thing that they were doing at the time, I specifically asked if I wanted if I could do it, um, because it had this idea one night of doing a video for the show with the SMA in, which is like a Hebrew prayer that said over dying people. Um, and I had this whole thing in my head right away. And so they said, Sure, and I did it and they were all very impressed by it. So then when the next semester rolled around, they just right away, we’re like, do you want to do publicity and you can do it on, trust you. Um, and then a lot of it became kind of like, every semester the show would roll around and I would ask for a little bit more control over the publicity. So like, the second time he did it, I did some poster design for it. And I’ve got to be like the front of house display for it. Then the show after that I was assistant directing, which was called backstory by Joan Ackerman and several other people. It’s a very interesting script, but it’s mostly stories by Joan Ackerman. Um, and so I had kind of an insight into that show and I was able to do video advertising for it. Um, I What didn’t end up getting to poster design for that one either. But it kind of just kept evolving from there because I kept asking for these opportunities.

Phil Rickaby
So when you started you didn’t particularly have any experience in doing publicity?

Landon Walliser
Not at all, I had zero experience of doing publicity. Ah, like I said, I had done like high school shows up until that point. I had literally no experience to any publicity.

Phil Rickaby
So were they just at the time where they just think we need somebody to do this and you seem keen was that the gist of it

Landon Walliser
a little bit, Second of all, the woman who was the head of the department at the time, or the wish the head, yeah, she was the head of the department at the time. Um, I knew I had been in film. And so when the like position had become open, she just asked if I want to do it thinking that I would have some experience in Photoshop and like wrangling people, I think, I don’t know why would have thought of it otherwise, because I didn’t have any experience with it. And I had just said sure, because like it was a paid student position. So that was also that perk. And that first semester wasn’t great because I split it with someone else. So it only ended up being like $300 for three months of work. But every semester after that it was a guaranteed paid job for working on

Phil Rickaby
it but you obviously took to it because it’s something you’ve kept doing.

Landon Walliser
Yes, I found I was very good at it. Um, and like, I don’t want that to seem like I’m bragging because that’s not based on kind of my own perception of it. We have this like, like we toured a show across the country for two years, and made our money back on the show that cost quite a lot to be basically produced by eight out of work students. Hmm. So we were clearly doing something, right. Well,

Phil Rickaby
you know, publicity does a lot of things. Marketing a show, can bring people in. And you know, that’s always one of the things that when people are doing fringe shows and things like that, it’s always like, often the last thing they think about is how they’re going to market the show and how they’re going to get the word out. When that’s sort of reversed. They should be thinking about that first and then the other stuff because they’re not going to have time when they do think about it, you know?

Landon Walliser
Well, like that was his love loss was the big friendship I’ve done Now done publicity for three different friends shows love loss, which was my own show that I was producing. And then two other shows that were done by the Blue Room company, which is the theatre students company at the University of Regina. And for those I was just publicity. Um, so I have now quite a bit of experience doing publicity for fringe festivals, which is very interesting. Because it’s a very different ballgame than when you’re doing publicity locally. Especially when we did love loss. The second year when we toured and we did the Regina friends, we did Hamilton, French, and Edmonton, because of all of their publicity rules are very different.

Phil Rickaby
That is the that is one of the tricks. I mean, first of all, like you said, you can’t you can’t market a fringe show in the same way as your marketing non fringe. So it’s a very specific microcosm, and also there are different guidelines for each fringe. You can’t transfer. You can’t just transfer it over. Yeah.

Landon Walliser
Yeah. When the last French show that I did publicity for was called the obligatory scene, and it was done last year here. And it’s a small kind of like chamber piece about these two lesbians who are arguing, and they come to like the verge of this breakup in their relationship. So it was a very fringy show. And it was a very hard show to market because it’s very dramatic. It covered a lot of like very sensitive material about sexual assault, and misogyny, but it was also kind of a comedy. And like it was being produced by the Blue Room company. And it started with two women. It was directed by these two women and like being produced by the head of the Blue Room company who was also a woman. And it was written by this woman in the mid 90s. And I kept asking them, because they brought me on and I hadn’t read the script. I didn’t know anything. They just knew that I had done all of these shows with fringes. Like what Who is your target audience? So the show is it women generally is it specifically like gay women? Kind of Who are you looking at targeting here? Um, and they buy about halfway through the process had a very clear idea of who was going to enjoy the show. And they were able to find like key art that they wanted that I was able to use and make into their poster. Um, and then like, in contrast to that, once I just have to cough. Yeah. And contrast around the first French show that I did publicity for that wasn’t involved in otherwise. with Daniel MacIvor’s, This is a Play. And so much of this as a plays humour relies on not really knowing going in what it’s about. Yeah. It’s like for those who don’t know, it’s a play that’s consistent tirely of the inner monologues of actors in the midst of a performance of a very tentative Williams type show. It’s better if you don’t know anything going in because it’s much, much funnier. And so me and the director of that show had devised the whole marketing campaign about being deliberately vague. And the show was, this is a play, it is directed by a person, it takes place in a place and it is performed by actors. And then the picture like the key art was just as head of lettuce. And that was it. No one knew anything else about the show. Like strange Parks and Rec, kind of offbeat humour to it. So people knew it was funny, at least. But it ended up being very well received. And I think a lot of it was these kind of like, set expectations, but these very vaguely set expectations.

Phil Rickaby
absolutely necessary, though, because as you’re describing that, I’m like, Yes, that is the only way that you can really advertise that show. Yeah. When I was speaking about the show, you know, you’re the the show that you were talking about before that one, where you were asking them about who the target audience is, did they know to start who the target audience was, or did you have to get them there?

Landon Walliser
They had an idea, they knew that they were reaching out to predominantly gay women. And I said, that’s like, that’s great, but that’s not a very like, large target audience. You have to kind of reach further especially for like fringe in Regina, which was the only place they were performing. Right now. Like, as we work we kind of settle on like, that vibe of like collegiate college aged women. Um, you know, the type of like women who attend friendly shows, um, and so like their key art that they found was of this girl in a sack dress with a paper bag on our head. And it was very funny and exactly that type of thing you expect from like our Going and theatre going women have like, I would say 20 to 35. And it was just a really great piece of art that kind of spoke to that age group. And I knew it would speak to that age group didn’t wasn’t very specific. It didn’t say anything about what the show was about. It didn’t give away anything that would alienate people or like, turn people off from coming or anything like that. Because it was it was a hard show, and I knew that not everyone was going to enjoy seeing it. Because it dealt with some very serious things. In a way there was potentially like, upsetting for people cuz oscillated wildly between like jokes, and very serious discussion. Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
There’s something about a really like good looking publicity materials that makes people more likely to see your show infringe, I think generally, but at fringe it can really help

Landon Walliser
Yeah, And like I remember, love loss. That was one of the big things. Love loss is a very like, interesting show, because a lot of it was us like looking at what they had done in the New York production and saying, like, how can we improve this. And so we’ve changed a lot of it. And one of the things in the marketing for the love loss, and what I wore is that there is iconic like pink dress, pencil drawing, hmm, it’s just a singular pink dress, simple drawing of a dress on a hanger. Very, very simple. And that is always what’s used to advertise the show. And one of the things that we had done when we were doing the production was okay, so the script calls for five actresses wearing black sitting on stage and reading from the script reading these stories from the script. And there’s supposed to be like, a Flipboard with paper on it that they’ve drawn the dresses and titles on for these and I hate it that My brother and I were the ones who had come up with like the production for this show. Mm hmm. And we both disliked it. And so the thing we were really working strongly against and one of our first choices was, we were going to bring in six women and dress them in the colours of the rainbow.

So they were each wearing one singular colour.

And so when we started doing the poster design for the show, I took that dress the single pink dress, and we coloured it in one for each colour of the rainbow and like splayed them out in a in a circle. And so it looks a bit like a clock. It looked a bit like a flower and kind of read as a lot of different things, but it was still clearly a dress on a hanger. And it was very, very simple. Like it was just that and then the title. Um, were kind of our key images, but we were able to use it so many times and reuse these dresses in their single colours. So many times Over that just it paid dividends in the advertising side of things, we were able to do like photoshoots with them in their one colour. And it was such that one choice made up kind of the entire marketing strategy.

Phil Rickaby
I always find like when I’m marketing a show for myself, like to have as many images as possible, so that you’re not always just like stuck with the one image. And I often use those in social media and things like that just to, you know, to have choices. So you’re not constantly just pumping out the same image over and over. And so, like I will try to create material that that has options and also, I do a lot of blanks so that in the middle of a run, I have something to work with, that I’m not creating an image in the middle of the show.

Landon Walliser
Yeah, I’d like that was our logo art like that kind of image. With the dress and the title of the dresses, I should say on the title, but it gave us a lot of other options with other things. So like one of the things we did for publicity is we did like Proust questionnaire, the vanity fair does with their celebrity guests. We did it for each of the women and we got a theme in their colour and it’s like that colour choice gave us a really wide range of stuff that we could work within, while still keeping it in theme and that rainbow was the theme. Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby
Um, tell me a little bit more about the women’s company.

Landon Walliser
Okay, um, so the women’s company started with love loss. Like I was saying it kind of started it starts very, like antithetical to what you thinking it’s being called the women’s company with my brother and I. I gave him the script for love loss for his birthday, I think in 2015, but I don’t remember. It was a thing that I had read And heard about and loved. And so I’ve given it to him. He loves clothes, he does costume design and acting. And I knew it was going to be a show that he would really enjoy. We also both love nor f Ron. So that was a huge part of it, too. And as things politically in 2016, we’re spiralling for lack of a better term. It’s a very unpleasant ways we start talking about like, we should do something artistically about this, because this just like, it seems so stupid to be sitting here doing nothing. But also like, we can’t really do anything that affects grand change, you know, in the states in their political atmosphere, or how it’s trickling over into here, but we could do something. And we started talking about doing a production and then we kind of landed on the Doing love loss, because it’s a very simple show, and it would be very simple to stage. And then we were like, Well, why don’t we have a reading. And so we invited six women that we knew who were all kind of in the same situation as us, like recent graduates of theatre in university, who weren’t really getting work professionally in Saskatchewan. Um, and we had this reading, and everyone loved it, it was it went so well. And afterwards, we kind of were all immediately like, we need to do this, we need to do this show. And so the first year, the women, the women’s company kind of formed as just like, you need a company name for fringe. And so we picked the women’s company of Regina, and that was the theatre name. That was our company name that we could submit for fringes. And the only friends who got into in that first year was Regina. Mm hmm. Which is fine. We did. Performance imager I know we had a couple of performances in Swift current in I think it was February of that year as well that we use this preview performances. There was the first time we were really like onstage and everyone got to perform in front of an actual audience who hadn’t been seeing the show for a long time. But we were missing with a lot of our tech stuff, we didn’t have our costume pieces in place. Like we weren’t staging the whole show because it’s monologues. But we really want to physicalize the costumes more than a drawing of it on a whiteboard, basically. So we had gotten white pieces of clothing that represented all of the pieces that they talked about in the, in their monologues so that they were all like memory pieces of clothing. Because obviously, not all the ones I talked about were white. And then we were really, really well received and so current and out fringe. And we talked about afterwards. And we’re like, do we want to continue doing this because our original plan had been to try to get into Edmonton, or into one of the larger fringes to perform it. And everyone was kind of like, yeah, we’re not done with this show, we want to continue on with it. And so over these, like, I would say, like, five months after fringes kind of ended around to around the new year, we started trying to put together an infrastructure in which it was feasible for us to keep producing the show. Because we knew that being producing a tour was going to be very expensive. And we didn’t have any sort of larger body connected with us. It was just my brother and I and these six women, Mm hmm. funding it out of our own pockets. Um, and so one of the first things we did is we started an Etsy store, and we decided that it was going to just be the women’s company and that would be What we did, and so we were adding all sorts of items to it. I was designing scarves for it. Um, and then we designed a bunch of souvenir scarves that might, along with the show that people could sell. People could buy, I mean, I was selling them. And then we were able to partner with a shoe company that was making custom shoes. Yeah, we were able to sell and design like eight pairs of custom heels that people were able to buy.

And like we just kept reaching out to all of these people in the community. And all these people in the like, larger. Like self producing infrastructure community, I want to say like our printer that we use for our Etsy store is based out of Montreal, and like it’s a larger business, but it’s by no means a chain business. It’s not a huge company. Um, I can call them up and I can talk to the person who runs the entire thing. Because they probably have like 150 employees,

Phil Rickaby
right?

Landon Walliser
Um, and so as it grew and grew, we were like, Hey, we need to make this like a, this is a thing. So we kind of fell into being the women’s company. And like we all set out this, like guide that we were going to focus on producing theatre that was written by women and about women. And that would be our focus. And that was where we wanted to go from here. And that’s what we wanted to do with this company. We were also partnering like every production of love loss had been partnered with some sort of charity angle as well. We were partnered with a group in So currently, I think it was the women’s shelter as well as

I believe it was something with

new incoming immigrant families I don’t remember we didn’t get to choose for the swift current performance who we were partnered with. Hmm. But in Regina, we partnered with the Regina transition house, which is like the women’s shelter here in town. And then when we started off on the tour, we called up the women’s shelter and Hamilton and the women’s shelter in Edmonton. And we’re like, you guys want to be partnered with us? You don’t like they didn’t have to give us anything. We were giving them free tickets. Right. And then we gave a portion of our profits back to them. The first year we were partnered with like hilberg and Burke, which you may or may not know, it’s a jewellery company that started out of Regina. But it’s, I would say quite nationally known now. And they did a custom necklace for us that we were able to auction off.

Phil Rickaby
Wow.

Landon Walliser
Yeah. And the profits for that went back to the women’s shelter here. Um, we also got six pairs of earrings from them for the women that were in Master colours, they were able to wear them on stage every night. Yeah, it just kind of became a company and became something that was going to continue on outside of this one production.

Phil Rickaby
And you took the show you did. You’ve done you’ve done it in Regina, and then you did it in Hamilton, Ontario, and then in Edmonton, Alberta, at the fringe festivals there. Yeah. You know, I’ve done the Hamilton fringe, it’s it’s a very warm fringe. It is not a large fringe and then to go from there to Edmonton, what was what was that like? It was ended up being quite nice because

Landon Walliser
the way that the tour happened is we were in Regina. We did the Regina fringe the first year, we knew how Regina fringe operated. I had been on the Regina fringe board Previous to that year. So I knew quite well health that fringe operated and it’s quite a small fringe. And then Hamilton was like that next step up, it was a larger friend and a larger city that we didn’t know but it was Wasn’t huge. And then we had a lot of help. I will also say from like Carlin, especially, Carlin was someone we talked to in the first year that we did the show and we probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable touring. Without her because she didn’t support she posted for us and Hamilton. She gave us a lot of advice about like Edmonton and how Edmonton was going to work. Um, but I was because I was the one producing the show for the tour, I ended up handling a lot of the stuff going from place to place. So, for me, it was a bit of a shock. Hmm, I’m not sure how the cast fell because they were kind of just like, given their roofing assignments, they were given all of this information and they just kind of had to run with it.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, but Edmonton can be a bit of a shock for a performer as well as as well as it’s bigger than anything in Canada. So showing up to do Edmonton is even if you think you’re ready for Your first time you’re probably not.

Landon Walliser
Probably not. And like I was, perspective is definitely changed by the fact that I wasn’t a performer in the show, right worry about the show in the same way that they did. But like, by the time I got to Edmonton, I know I was, I was ready, or I felt like I was ready for it. A lot of other things happened in Edmonton kind of all at once. That wasn’t about us. There was ended up being like several scandals with a bunch of reviewers. Right. and stuff that year. We were there and then the paper that you filled reviews were shut down. And it was like there were a lot of other things that were happening that were quite distracting. Wow, our experience of like, wow, this is the biggest fringe in North America. Mm hmm.

Phil Rickaby
As we sort of get to the towards the top of the hour here for a recording time. I was wondering You know, we sort of we sort of mentioned a little earlier in part of the conversation that Scott, that, you know, you’ve, you’ve been, you know, you had some stuff that was about to happen, and then COVID came, and then those things are not happening as is a pretty common story for many people in the theatre community.

What are you doing to keep things? You know, going, what are you doing for yourself to to keep the creative, everything going right now?

Landon Walliser
Um, I mean, it’s a good question. Right now, I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve been rereading some of the shows that I’d worked on previously, but not in like a directing capacity. It’s hard as a director and a producer to find like an artistic outlet the same way it is for a performer. That’s a thing that I’m finding very difficult right now. I’m sorry. Yeah, yeah, my brother and my sister who are both performers have been involved in several readings and stuff that have been done. And I haven’t had really anything like that to kind of fall back on. So it’s been a lot of reading script, working on stuff as much as I can. Like I said, in the fit that we kind of lost after that power hour. I didn’t know the season that I was in talks to go on future work hadn’t been announced prior to COVID. So I don’t know what the season was. I have nothing like no goal kind of thing to work towards right now. It’s like I was reading Terrence McNally and then Terrence McNally died. So I started rereading shows that I worked on Ah, this little things like that. I found has been kind of what I’ve been focusing on. I also still like I still run the women’s companies store for them. Stop like kind of a mechanism for next time we have direction that we are interested in mounting. We’re ready. We’re ready and able to do that.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. And what is it what has been giving you joy? It’s, it’s been getting you through these days.

Landon Walliser
Um, I spend a lot of time with my family. Well, bit, which has been a godsend. We’re all still like fairly geographically close. And when the pandemic started, one of the things we decided right away because I’d already been home, pretty much in isolation for a couple of weeks before that, just because I was waiting on these contracts to happen. I hadn’t been doing much. So I went home and was with my parents for a bit helping out just generally around the house. I’m working on just like design stuff working on designs for like I said, the women’s companies Etsy store. Stuff like that became, this is a side note not very theatre related. We became very well known in Britain as a store because we sell replicas of world war two propaganda scarves that were very popular and no one else does that. So we’ve had a huge influx in orders as people have been buying online. So I’ve been handling this store a lot of time. Yeah, that’s pretty cool to have that happening. And it’s good to have some kind of source of source of income for when the company has a project to work on again. Yeah, I talked, I was invited to do a talk back at fringe the first year, and one of the questions had been like why fringe? Why did you decide that fringe was the right place for your show? Um, and most of the people that were on the panel, of course, were like self producing work that they had written that was very personal for them. And I was the only person on the panel that was there with a show that was pre written that was being licenced that had all of Other than happening, and I was just like, because friend provides like an infrastructure for people who don’t have the means to produce shows independently otherwise, yeah, the big thing for us, like, if I had to pay for a theatre for us to put on the show, I would not have been able to afford it, we would have made no money, huh, cause we were able to do that fringe provided the means for us to have that. Yeah, that opportunity. And like I said, we were all kind of out of work, recently graduated, college, trained actors, university trained actors. Like, what else were we going to do if we’re not getting jobs? There’s not a lot that you can do besides making some sort of work.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s it’s super important to, to make some work to make something happen, especially when you’re right out of theatre school.

Landon Walliser
Yeah.

Phil Rickaby
Well, Landon, thank you so much for making the time to talk to me today.

Landon Walliser
You’re very welcome.