Phil Rickaby
Welcome to Episode 249 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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You can find Stageworthy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @stageworthypod and you can find the website with the archive of all 249 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 multidisciplinary artist Reba Terlson.

you are you are described as an actor, producer and playwright. That is that, does that encompass the way that you’d like to be described?

Reba Terlson
Yes, I would say so. I would describe myself as that which would be for me under the umbrella of like a multidisciplinary artists.

Phil Rickaby
What so what what was your gateway? Before you were multi disciplined or was there one area that you were focusing on?

Reba Terlson
Yeah, I was definitely an actor still I’m an actor. Sometimes I come in and out of the joy of being an actor or the quote unquote joy of being an actor. But yeah, I went to I went to that’s what I went to Theatre School for. Went to Theatre School for acting. I started liking acting in high school. That’s what I thought that I was always like gonna do and then when I was in university, I was also taking English courses because this is me saying that other people have told me this that I’m an okay good writer. So

Phil Rickaby
an okay good writer.

Reba Terlson
I think I’m putting the okay in it. But people would tell me I’m a good writer, and I would brush it off a lot because I never believed it.

Phil Rickaby
I just want to say that I think I’m glad that other people are not saying Okay, great. good writer because that kind of undercuts the good writer. So,

Reba Terlson
no, that’s me interjecting my own like a, like, a little bit of self loathing there. But

but because I like creative writing, I did it in high school. I was taking English courses. Throughout University. I took creative writing courses that I did well and, and then I went and like, yeah, so basically, but for me, it was two separate worlds it was, I am taking and first of all, I’ve never taken a playwriting course ever just to like clarify that I have never taken one. So, for me, it was this is in one category and my acting and theatre is in another category. And then one year, I think I helped produce I helped produce a friend show and I had never done that before. Because my friend asked me to and she was also like, but you We’re also going to be in it and that was like the cinch for me. I was like, Well, if I can be in it then Okay. Oh, I helped her do that. And then I think either the year after the year after that, I think I submitted for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. I’m not thinking that I would get in and I got in and then I was like, Oh, no. And then my dad actually wrote the first fringe play that I like really produced by myself with his help. But it was like my concept and my idea. And now I’m trying to now I’ve done two plays that I’ve more written since then. And I’m kind of trying to trying to work on it. But for me, they were always very separate things and people tell me that I was a good writer, and like, I don’t believe that. Or they would say you have a really good ear for dialogue. And I was like, I don’t think that’s true. But interesting, then reading like reviews and stuff and people do Like this dialogue and I was like, Oh, okay.

Phil Rickaby
Where – okay. Okay. Because one of the there was an article that that I saw on the Uniter where you were talking about imposter syndrome. So this sounds a little bit like imposter syndrome. So, let’s just let’s just talk about talk about that for a second. Because I think imposter syndrome is something that almost everybody suffers from but few people talk about,

Reba Terlson
oh, I definitely have it.

Phil Rickaby
Why and I mean, I think I think many of us who write absolutely do

Reba Terlson
yeah, I think for me, because I think it’s the it’s the one thing that I struggle to, like, name myself as because I’m like, Yes, I’m an actor. Yes, I’m a producer because I help because I produce my own shows and I help other people produce their shows. Yes, I’m a theatre artist, um, when I put the category of writer I’ve always like, I really don’t want to, like, I, I like, I guess I sort of do it. And I don’t know why I think for me it comes from a feeling of I have friends and no people that have like, that’s been their jam this entire time, like being a playwright and they took playwriting classes and that was like their major and that was the thing they did and I feel really shitty being like oh hey this thing I just like picked up and now quote unquote, have a skill in

Phil Rickaby
it is it is so funny the way that the way that we we play this, this this kind of game with our brains, like what is the thing that will allow us to call ourselves a writer? Yeah. One of the things that helped me was discovering that one of my favourite authors Neil Gaiman suffers from imposter syndrome which may be realised that like, oh, wait a second. No, this is it doesn’t matter how successful you are. Yeah, that doesn’t let you off the hook as far as imposter syndrome goes, Yeah,

Reba Terlson
I agree. And my dad’s a writer, so I always feel like and he would always call me a writer. That’s not him saying you’re not a writer. But my dad’s a writer. And, to me, I’m like, but I’m not like there. It’s just a thing I dabble in. It’s like, I dip my toes into the shallow end of the pool, and then something else comes out. Like

Phil Rickaby
I think I hedge my bet. As far as calling myself a writer goes by calling myself in conversation, a theatre maker, which gets to encompass, right, whatever I’ve wanted to in that moment, and whatever somebody thinks it is, but I don’t have to say the words I’m a writer. Exactly.

Reba Terlson
That’s why I think I like the term like theatre artist or like yes, either or something because it’s like, but I do more than one thing and it can be whatever I guess to me I’m like it can be whatever I want it to be in whatever space I’m currently in.

Phil Rickaby
Now, you mentioned getting the theatre bug in high school. Had you done any kind of acting before that or was high school the thing that got you in?

Reba Terlson
Um, I think like I was just trying to remember like, I took like random classes like at Manitoba theatre for young people at Riot wouldn’t take ballet they take they do like musical theatre classes here. So I was taking those and then had like, drama class, like in high school and the high school I went to, we always had like, these like, really, like, very involved, like musicals. And that was like a huge thing that we did because our music programme was really good. So I was really into singing and acting and all of that thing, and I was one of those. I think, like, it’s like, 17-18 that I was like, I know, I wanted And definitely just like wanting to dive, dive right into that right away and I’ve always liked it. Like, it’s not like it was a revelation to me that I like and like kind of throughout high school, whatever I like I’d be in a play here. I’d be in a play there. But like I always knew, I think that was something that I really, like I grew up watching TV. I grew up watching a lot of TV I grew up watching movies with my family that was like Friday night movies was like a thing. It was a staple in my household. It was like, we went to the video store, and they would often invite friends over and it was like this, like, my dad showed us so many movies that I wouldn’t have otherwise like been exposed to maybe in a normal childhood. So it was always something that I like, I think it was going to happen whether like I was definitely the person that spearheaded that, like I was always going to be a creative person like it right. That’s kind of happened to be that I want to act more than I want to like do other things.

Phil Rickaby
But your your gateway into that was musicals you that musicals were your gateway drug into theatre were the remember. Do you remember what the first one was?

Reba Terlson
Oh gosh, um, if I think back to elementary school, which was not a musical, although I wasn’t musicals in elementary school up I think there was a grade six one that I that this was also really funny because we obviously did an adaptation. But grade six we did an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that I remember really specifically that I really liked and I think I don’t even think I was like a main character. I think I was like a narrator or whatever. About like I was so into it. And then it’s like a musical that was like, I think the year after or something. We did a musical that was like, Phantom of the music room, which is like no kid, like, it’s so adorable. But like I was so into that and like, like putting on makeup to like go and like perform and like just like I felt like, I don’t know, I think I felt more myself on stage. I don’t know if that was like a reality but my dad always talks to me because my brother is also an artist and He always talks that he’s like, I could never do what you folks do and the way that like, he would always see especially because we’re really involved in fringe together, he would always see me like, get so I guess nervous and ramped up and he’s like, and I don’t know what happens to you, but when you go on stage, none of it is there. It’s like totally disappeared and I’m like peasant, one of the places I think I feel the most comfortable. I like like when I think of being on stage versus being in my daily life. I’m like, Oh my God put me on a stage; I’m like –

Phil Rickaby
there is so much in terms of the the freedom there is so much, like the freedom – I know people who’ll be like, oh, like get on stage and people are looking at you – I can’t – Like, how can you do that? And there’s almost like, yes, but then you have permission. Yes. I love to be what you need to be right instead of like, nobody. People don’t judge you for doing the thing. It’s what you’re there to do.

Reba Terlson
Exactly. I think that’s how Yeah, I like I I think I get nervous beforehand, but only because like, I don’t even know why like, it’s not that I’ve never like don’t feel like prepared or anything. It’s just like, but it’s more like a it’s the nervousness adrenaline that gets me going. Yes, yeah. Oh, God, but I gotta go on stage.

Phil Rickaby
I almost think that, I mean, that’s sort of like a necessary thing and not necessarily nerves and maybe sometimes it is nerves. But there should be some kind of excitement, right? And if if that ever stopped if you were ever, like, sitting backstage before the show started thinking to yourself, oh, whatever. Like why would you even bother,

Reba Terlson
right then I would stop, I think, yeah, feeling that way. And to me, I think like, especially it’s funny having this conversation right now, because I think I’m really struggling right now with what it means to be like a white actor and things like that. And I’m just like, and for me also just the the audition process, and I was talking to him a friend of mine recently, and she was like, you have to see auditioning as acting, because sometimes it’s the only acting that we get to do. And I was like, that is so brilliant. And so sad because to me, I think auditioning and acting are two very different things because I do get nervous for auditions. And I get way more nervous than if somebody just pushed me on a stage. Oh, sure.

Phil Rickaby
And there’s a little bit more on the line with an audition.

Reba Terlson
And I don’t like the process of auditioning and nobody does. Well, exactly right. I always like, I love auditing, and I’m like, I don’t think you’re telling the truth. I am I’m always suspicious of somebody who says that they love auditioning. I’m like, I don’t know how that’s possible. Oh my god. Yes. And like, I think for me, I’m thinking about that. To me. I also don’t like the idea and the stigma that go on time to, like really realise this, which is, I think, why I started creating fringe shows because I was like, but I’m not getting cast in things. And it was really very upsetting to I mean, it’s still sometimes it’s obviously upsetting, but it was really frustrating. And I was like, Oh, I guess like talking, I think, talking to, especially with Winnipeg, we get so many different artists coming through and my my friend Sam Mullins, actually who’s a Toronto. I think he was born in Vancouver, but now he’s a Toronto based, comedian, storyteller, brilliant person. And I remember having conversation with him one of the first times I met him and he was like, why don’t you do Do that. And I was like, I don’t think I can. And he was like, I think you can and I was like, What? No. I’m so especially like that community I think has really kind of helped me be like, but what if I did that thing? Because at the end of the day, I think when we’re auditioning and going and doing those things, or putting our ability in somebody else’s hand, and it’s like, please pick me to kind of do the thing. And at the end of the day, we don’t have control over it.

Phil Rickaby
No, but there’s something wonderful about the about fringe and indie theatre where you’re putting your work out there. And you can you’ll be more invested in that than you ever will, for something else that somebody just sort of cast you in. It’s very, it’s yours.

Reba Terlson
Yeah. I would agree.

Phil Rickaby
Um, now, I want to go back to something you start you said just a couple of minutes ago that you’re you’re struggling with being A white actor.

Reba Terlson
Right. And I talked a little bit about that. I don’t even know that I phrased that correctly, I probably phrased it wrong,

Phil Rickaby
that’s fine. Like, can you try to try to delve a little bit more into that? what do you –

Reba Terlson
A little bit. Um, I think right now that my voice and my art are not the things that need to be seen in this world, and that we need to be raising other people’s voices, we need to be raising bipoc voices and bipoc artists and I’m trying to kind of help that kind of in our world right now. And to me, that might mean you know, taking a step back from what I’m doing, and my creative side might be being like, oh, but don’t do that. But also realising the importance of doing that and raising up other voices that aren’t mine. So I guess when I say struggling, but it’s a good struggle challenge that needs to happen and I’m glad that it’s more So trying to happen, and I mean, we still have a lot of work to do, we still aren’t doing enough. But for me, I’m really trying to take a look at what that means. For me right now

Phil Rickaby
is certainly an interesting and interesting thought. I think there’s there, there’s, to me, that sounds like there’s almost a danger there of like, Oh, I should stop doing this thing that I love that fuels me. But that doesn’t raise anybody up.

Reba Terlson
Exactly. Exactly.

Phil Rickaby
I think if I can just sort of like jump in and say a couple of things on that. I have been thinking about myself, you know, outside of the podcast, if I do a fringe show, how can I, you know, amplify voices if I’m doing and I do a solo work a lot of times infringe? How do I raise up others? How do I amplify voices? It’s me on stage, but what else can I do? And I’m trying to come up with ways to do that. Yeah. in other ways, I think There needs to be as far as the fringe movement goes. There to be more work done to make fringe a more friendly atmosphere –

Reba Terlson
Oh Definintely

Phil Rickaby

  • for bipoc people

Reba Terlson
and a more safe atmosphere, I would say. Yeah, again, I can’t really speak to and I’m not trying to speak to how that is for a person of colour because I am not. But just kind of being in conversation with someone where that might be an issue was really raised to my attention last summer where it was things that I didn’t necessarily register or know and be like, oh, okay, this is happening. Okay, so what are the next steps we can do to try to make this a safer space and for everyone to be okay and be kind of wanting to be in this creative space without feeling like they are. might like not be in a safe space to do that. And,

Phil Rickaby
yeah, there’s also I mean, if I look around at some of the fringes I’ve been at and they are largely white,

Reba Terlson
they’re incredibly white holy shit.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. You know, I remember a couple years ago there in the at the Toronto fringe, there was almost a hashtag fringe so white or at least it was one of those things that was sort of whispered about and that’s not just Toronto, it’s a lot of fringes

Reba Terlson
definitely Winnipeg too so

Phil Rickaby
yeah, I’ve, you know, I remember being on tour A number of years ago out to the to. We did Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton and I don’t recall people of colour. I don’t recall any bipoc people in the fringe that year. Yeah. And

Reba Terlson
recognising like, just because I’m thinking of a conversation I was recently in, or I got to take part in as in, I was viewing a panellist of folks from the Winnipeg theatre community, talking about kind of racism and how we change our theatre community and things like that. I think what we also have to realise when I think about fringe and stuff, I’ve had the fortune of like, if I don’t have the money, I know I my parents have helped me out with producing work and giving me money to produce work and sometimes and a lot of the time, money is a barrier. And like, especially like I think of like all the admin fees or like fringe fees or whatnot, to do all the things to handle is never mind like the, like I saved up to apply to Edmonton fringe, because I saved money from like my friend show that was like in 2019 to like, apply to Edmonton fringe, because Edmonton fringes theme is so insane to even apply like well because you

Phil Rickaby
Edmonton is the only one where you have to pay their full fee up front. Yeah. And if you don’t get in, they give it back. But

Reba Terlson
Gosh, no one’s gonna want me in Edmonton now.

Phil Rickaby
I mean, I think that people that Edmonton are well aware of how – of that particular barrier.

Reba Terlson
I think it’s a privilege that I often didn’t think about, because I was like, Oh, of course, I have that money, or even if I don’t have money, I have resources that I can ask people, and what are we doing to? But like, it’s a weird line, because I know that obviously fringes have to make money, otherwise they wouldn’t happen. But what are we doing? how can how can we make it more accessible financially to people? We do anything about that? And again, this is just me kind of talking out loud, but uh – and I don’t …

Phil Rickaby
I think these are the important questions that have to be asked at every Fringe Festival and at the CAFF level as well. These are our questions that have to be asked and what can fringes do to make sure that like, if that the performers of colour who come are safe, regardless of where that fringe happens, there are some places where people, a person of colour might not feel comfortable.

Reba Terlson
And I think that they’re totally in their right to not feel comfortable. Yes. Because they’re shitty people on the fringe circuit. And that also needs to be said there should dangerous people on the fringe circuit. And I understand that it is not always even a safe space for me as a white girl. Yeah,

Phil Rickaby
yeah. Yeah. I think they’re important, important conversations. And I think the, I think there’s learning how to make space, how to hold space and how to amplify voices that don’t necessarily mean that that and I don’t think anybody is asking anybody not to try to make their art right. Just to Make space and to amplify, yeah, if you have a platform, you should 100% be putting the voices around you of people of colour of black people of indigenous people out there. That’s just that’s just a fact.

Reba Terlson
Yeah. And also to be able to hold each other accountable. And also, I think to dismantle, like, a bit of the racism we already have, that we’re all that we’re still currently doing. Like, it’s not like it went away.

And the dismantling of like,

for me, that looks like right now really looking at the theatres in my community, what they have done, what they are doing, are they going to be accountable? Are they going to be held accountable? And kind of, yeah, just look, I…

Phil Rickaby
But I think …. I know I know exactly what you’re saying. And I think that the that’s where your your voice my voice can be used to amplify Because they’ve all made statements about how about you know, oh, we haven’t done such a great job we pledged to do to do more when this moment is over, right? And they announce a we need to be telling them that they that we remember that you said this. We expect you to follow through and if you don’t, we’re going to tell you about it.

Reba Terlson
Yeah, exactly.

Phil Rickaby
Um, as when do you remember when when you’re first – Well, what went? Wow speaking. When was your first fringe?

Reba Terlson
My first fringe is like a producer and an actor was 2015. My first fringe as an actor was 2014.

Phil Rickaby
And what what were you when was your first fringe that you went to?

Reba Terlson
Oh, gosh, I feel like a bad fringe person only because it It might have been 2013.

Phil Rickaby
Okay. I mean, I find that I find that a little bit usual, based on the fact that, you know, it’s Winnipeg and when when I was in Winnipeg for fringe, with with with the show I was doing back in the day, like, we were amazed at how many people know what fringes

Reba Terlson
Yeah, it’s a real kind of it’s like, I mean, this is not me to be like, it’s not a thing in other cities because obviously that’s true. But especially here, I’m like, I’m so sad. It’s not happening this year. There’s so many things because of COVID that aren’t happening this year. But it’s like, it’s also it’s long, like Edmonton as long it’s like two weeks or 10 days or something and people take time off. Like legitimately like folks take time off to go to Winnipeg Fringe Festival. And the reason why I say I feel bad I think I didn’t my first acting show in 2014 I might have and before that, and either 2012 or 2013 I volunteered and the only reason that like, that was the first year that I went was because I used to work at a summer camp. And I was never at home during summer. So I out of town July and August and was not even aware. And like, not even aware and I was in theatre school and I was not aware then French was like such a big thing. Well, because I wasn’t home so right.

Yeah, I always have like, I’m embarrassed that quote unquote. The game of Winnipeg fringe I came to because people are like, oh, but you must have been in like, I’ve always been kind of doing it for five years.

Phil Rickaby
It’s interesting because 2012 was the year that I was in my show is at the the Winnipeg fringe. Yes, it was. It was called The Last Man on Earth and it was a silent film style play. I was here the same year that Sam Mullins was doing tinfoil dinosaur. The

Reba Terlson
I heard about dinosaur and I do it because I don’t think I could the year I met Sam was 2014. Right? That like I know of his show, tin foil dinosaur, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. But that’s why I’m fuzzy on if I started in 2012 or 2013, because I know 2013 I think I was travelling and then I came home kind of in time for want to pay cringe, right? Um, but yeah,

Phil Rickaby
I don’t want it to sound like I had the year that I was in Winnipeg on the tip of my tongue. I mean, I don’t remember years I quickly like looked it up. But often like I do not. I right now. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I went grocery shopping. So I don’t know.

Reba Terlson
Where are you calling me from? By the way?

Phil Rickaby
I’m in Toronto right now.

Reba Terlson
You’re in Toronto. Okay.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. Um, how have things been for you under the like, what’s what was the impact of the covid 19 pandemic, on your plans for the summer and and and everything else that you were doing? And and how are you right now?

Reba Terlson
Oh, well, thanks for asking. Um, oh man. So it’s funny to me because this was actually the year because I’ve done because I’ve written produced and acted in a fringe show for the past three years. This year, I decided to take a break. And I did not submit for the one a paid fringe. And then COVID happened and I was like, Oh, I guess maybe it wasn’t meant to be. But I needed a break. I really did. I needed the non pressure for myself to be like all of the months between January to April be like, why aren’t you writing?

I needed to not have that.

But yeah, but that being said I was and still sort of Am I was being are going to be helping, like produce a friend show that wasn’t mine and kind of work with a theatre company here. And also be kind of their social media coordinator because I’m a person that really likes social media and likes doing it for theatre companies and my own included and so that was kind of my quote unquote, fringe plan was that I wasn’t going to be in a show, but I was going to help someone with their show. And I was also going to go to Toronto at the end of May, because I had signed up and gotten into the moving voice Institute which is a programme that did a workshop here in December for like four days and then I applied to their programme, which is I think it’s like two weeks or something. You could do a two week one or three week one. And I was supposed to go to Toronto at the end of May into June. And I’d taken time off of work to go do that. And obviously, that didn’t happen. And that was kind of disappointing. And I wanted to go to Edmonton to kind of vacation during their Fringe Festival and see Vampire Weekend because I know Vampire Weekend was going to play during that time. So yeah, now it’s like, oh, I guess I’m just staying at home and saving money.

Phil Rickaby
I mean, so are we all right, but I I mean, I like right now. Yeah, we should be I should be in the middle of hype for fringe. Yeah, like as a person with a theatre podcast. Yeah. Not only should I have, you know, people I should have been Like for the last four weeks having people who are promoting the fringe shows on Yeah. And I’ll have people at the last minute going like I have a fringe. So it opens next week and I come on your podcast, I have to say no. But like, I should be getting ready to see shows. stuff, but there’s nothing,

Reba Terlson
there’s nothing and normally like exactly I’m kind of in the same a little bit of just looking at my date here. I’m a little bit in the same timeline. I know Toronto’s is earlier, but like, it’s still like, it’s the end of June, I’m thinking about when Winnipeg tech would be which would be like the first weekend or maybe not the first it always falls on our Folk Festival weekend here first or the second weekend in July, and kind of ramping around that and then figuring out I’d also be figuring out whether I could go to Folk Festival or not, which is obviously not happening. Right. And yeah, and yeah, like normally I would be I’d still be like getting amped up even though I wasn’t necessarily like in a show and looking forward. Seeing all my friends that would come to Winnipeg because I only once a year. Ah.

Phil Rickaby
Oh, and you know, you’d be planning out what shows you want to see and that’s a big that’s a big thing as well.

Reba Terlson
Yeah, I would definitely be doing that.

Phil Rickaby
How are you? How are you dealing with the time right now of you know not having that coming up of theatres being closed and everything else how? How are you keeping yourself busy?

Reba Terlson
Um, well I feel fortunate in in some ways in that because I’ve been unemployed in the past I kind of know what I need to do to make myself feel like I’m doing something or like so that I don’t get into I’m just gonna watch Netflix all day, which I could very easily do that in the past, but I’m a very routine like person. That’s the very Virgo in me and that I need to kind of set out a schedule and a routine so I try to get up at the same time. I tend to work out in the mornings. I try to go to bed at the same time I’m taking like online courses. What else am I doing? I was taking voice lessons, but they ended I’m currently taking ukulele lessons and my dance studio that’s in Winnipeg just opened up like for phase three. So I’m going to dance about two or three times a week. I think,

Phil Rickaby
like you get to go like to the studio.

Reba Terlson
Yes. Because man cuz Well, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve looked at like, like Mat, like Winnipeg. We’re opening up a lot. It’s very frightening.

But like, anything that you think might be closed is probably not closed anymore.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, we’re just entering phase two in Toronto. And I’m still not sure we’re mature enough for that.

Reba Terlson
Yeah, I’m still not. There are so many people that aren’t wearing masks and it’s scary.

Phil Rickaby
There is there’s all kinds of, you know, shenanigans people. There’s like have massive party at the beach a couple weekends ago, and it’s just like

Reba Terlson
I was I was scared for you.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah.

Reba Terlson
So, um,

Phil Rickaby
yeah. But you’re dabbling. You’re learning the ukulele? Have you picked it up before?

Reba Terlson
I’m so funny in that I have always wanted to. But so last year, at the end of my friend show, a family friend of mine who apparently had a ukulele, like, gave me his ukulele and was like, here, I think you would actually use this and it’s just like sitting in my hands. And I’m like, I would actually use this. So I just like what I say I just started. I mean, like, my first class was like last week.

Phil Rickaby
Wow, okay.

Reba Terlson
Oh, it’s only like four weeks because I thought I could only commit to about like, I didn’t want to over commit myself, which is something I tend to do. It’s

Phil Rickaby
very smart though.

Reba Terlson
So it’s I love that it’s only a four week class and I just learned what I learned because I’m the kind person And I think that I could like learn it myself. But I think where’s the accountability? If I just like, go on YouTube? And I’m like, I don’t have I don’t have anywhere to be I don’t have anyone to show this to. So

Phil Rickaby
if there is that for sure. The the need the desire to, to, I don’t know, for some acknowledgement that you’re doing a thing

Reba Terlson
a little bit.

Phil Rickaby
I think we all want it because you know, there’s, there’s that moment because it just I just realised that we’ve been in this situation for 100 days. Yeah. And at that point, I’m like, Okay, first off 100 days seems like a lot. Gosh, it also seems like not much because I feel like we started doing this last year.

Reba Terlson
Wow, March seems like a very long time ago. It does.

Phil Rickaby
And, and there’s, there’s a lot of like, what am I doing? Oh, I’ve played a few video games, how many video games Let’s not talk about that.

Reba Terlson
But I think when I and I say all these things that I’ve been But that’s only because like I know the kind of person I am and I need an I know what I need to do to kind of keep my mental health, like, at like I don’t want to say at bay but like to keep it kind of in a good position. Because during this time there was this insane and insane it’s not the right word but like this very like desperate need to create in this desperate need to write a thing and produce a thing and show was saying, especially for artists being like, but what are we doing because everything is closed? And I’m like, we just like calm down and did nothing because we don’t need to do things or we don’t need to. I don’t know we’re in a pandemic, the rules don’t apply. Yeah, the normal productivity don’t apply. And I think really allowing myself to live into that has been really good. And it’s only now as we’re near the end of June that I reached out to a friend and I was like, Hey, I have this idea for a project. But I wasn’t working on like, I didn’t have it till like last week. Like an edit only, like I only want to do it because it’s something that I really want to do. It’s not because I feel the need to create something because we’re in the pandemic of COVID-19.

Phil Rickaby
Huh. That’s interesting. I mean, I was putting I’ve been putting at the beginning of the first few weeks, I sort of fell victim to a lot of that. You don’t come out of this with a new play a new project, a new skill will dissolve this time for and I was like, but I would sit down I would say, okay, write something and I couldn’t do it. Yeah. I thought I felt like there was this. When there’s anxiety. It’s not the time for creativity and there was this palpable anxiety just hanging over everything. And yet, there’s also a lot of people who were doing like suddenly, they I was like, I’m doing a video thing. And yeah, all of these things popping up. And it was fascinating. He was great. It was wonderful to see yes, we’re going to keep people entertained. So it’s not just Netflix and stuff, but there was also a certain amount of panic involved. Yes. In that.

Reba Terlson
Yeah. And I think about because I too, at the beginning was like, Oh my gosh, and I think I did a play reading of mine, like on like Facebook near the beginning of the pandemic, because I was like, wouldn’t that be cool if I did that? And then I did that. And I was like, Oh, I guess that was to me. It was like, that was just the thing I did. And really, kind of like, cuz I, because we did it and we read it on a plan. We read it. It was just actors reading a play on it was big actors reading a play on Facebook. Yeah. And I was like, wow, like just thinking back now. Um, like, did we need that? Like, I don’t know if we needed that. But I was like that whatever. I did it, it was fine. But yeah, just really, I think just I’m just really examining myself being like, do I need to do something? And then like, correcting myself being like, I only should do something if I want to do something. And I’m saying that also because even though COVID and the pandemic is happening, and all of that, like, between March and like, May, it was still like theatre audition season here. So every so I say, well, so I’ve been busy doing was I was, I had an audition every few weeks. Like, if not every week, it was every two weeks. So I was still doing thing that was Yeah, I never got a chance to quote unquote, be bored, because then I would notice and then I would be like, well, I guess I should submit for that.

Phil Rickaby
There’s an interesting thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot about, you know, all of these virtual productions, these video clips deductions that have, you know, as people start trying to, to find some kind of replacement for the fringe. There’s all these artists are on the fringes having a virtual fringe. There’s the fringe livestream initiative as well. Yeah. And there’s all these things. The one thing outside of outside of that, is we haven’t figured out how to monetize this stuff. So all of these play readings and performances that happened before this, were basically just given away. Which is no way for an artist to make a living. No. I mean, yes, we were bored. But, you know, after a certain point, once you started to figure stuff out, we do have to figure out how to monetize this. If we’re not going to be back in a theatre till January potentially.

Reba Terlson
Yeah, exactly.

Phil Rickaby
Since you’re reading Have you been tempted to do something digitally?

Reba Terlson
haha

oh man, Um good question.

I briefly had an idea because fringe livestream was happening. So I had an idea that I was like, Oh, I want to create this thing to possibly do digitally. And it was only sort of a half baked for my formed idea. But I just recently reached out to my friend who lives in Toronto, but she’s from Winnipeg. And we were going to do like a once upon a time we had we were involved in a project that never happened in Winnipeg. And I reached out to her and I was like, Hey, I found this script. Remember this project? We were going to do that? That didn’t happen. And she was like, yeah, and I’m like, but I kind of want to do either it or something like it. And she was like, Yeah, I’d be really interested in that. So we’ve been having. We had a meeting last week. We have a meeting this week, kind of about what that’s going to look like and that will be being done on a stream. main platform and I think we’re thinking of doing it on YouTube. I think that’s what we decided upon because other there’s a, there’s comedy group here called hunks. And I think we were looking at they’ve streamed stuff on YouTube before and it just looked really clean and there was no luck. discrepancies or like, like kind of buffering issues or anything like that. So that’s kind of what I’m, that’s my quote unquote now slash July project.

Phil Rickaby
I think it’s interesting. I think you’re probably making the right choice. I know for myself of seeing stuff happening, say on Facebook. Sometimes that can be Toppy, but it all depends on so many factors as far as all of that goes, but it’s good to good to hear that you’re starting to feel that creative thing happening again,

Reba Terlson
and it’s taken a long time long time for me to kind of want to Do something in that regard and want to create something. I was also an AMA part of there’s an emerging creative unit in Winnipeg. And we kind of create Well, we’re under the guise of doing theatre and kind of creating theatre for young audiences. So I was also doing that in this pandemic time and started writing. That was another that’s another project that I’m I have no idea what that’s gonna look like. But I wrote some scenes about, like, themes for a play for theatre for young audiences show very excited about so I didn’t know I had that. And so that was really cool to discover as well, because I would never think that I would be able to write a show for young for younger people that aren’t of the age of like, at least 17.

Let’s throw some adult content in there.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah. I mean, I know what you mean about about not feeling The creative urge for quite some time, I feel like it’s just starting to creep back in. For me, after the first initial trying to force something to happen and realising it just wasn’t going to happen, then now it’s starting to feel like oh, there might be something there. It’s taken a long time. It’s

Reba Terlson
taken a long time. And I always think how much I don’t know if turmoil is the right word, but how much of my brain space was just overwhelmed and feeling tired and exhausted and all these things that it just needed to slow down and so they’re very weird ways in which I’m grateful for the pandemic but obviously, I don’t want people to get COVID-19 I don’t want that upon anybody. But I am grateful in a small way that it allowed me to like slow down because my life was probably being too busy which I think

if people Like me in this regard, I associate

I’m like happy or feeling good because I’m busy and productive. And my, my status of myself is defined by how busy I am and how productive I am. And I think that can be obviously not just for not just talking about the art world, we’re talking about your job or whatever that looks like for you, which might not be art related. I think a lot of people do have that like, but I don’t know what to do if I’m not busy, or if I’m not doing the things that I normally do and I’m like, but the world has shut down. Yes, yeah, you be okay with that. And this was the world telling us all to like, wake the fuck up like

oh, yeah, in small ways. I’m grateful.

Phil Rickaby
Are you familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

Reba Terlson
Oh, that sounds so familiar.

Phil Rickaby
It seeing here like seeing that so took so much pressure off me. Because it was pointed out that like, so there’s five levels of the hierarchy of needs. Yeah. Like physiological needs, which is like food, air, shelter, safety needs personal safety, love and belonging. esteem at the top is self actualization. You need the basis to be able to get to the being able to be creative, which is would be under self actualization. And we’re at level two, we’re going to have safety. So of course, none of us could really be that creative. Yeah, that makes a lot and that took so much pressure off me to be like, Oh, I feel like such a failure because I haven’t been writing something and now I’m like, No, there’s a reason for that. Mm hmm.

Reba Terlson
I think it’s always good to talk to other creators artists in this time. And for all of us to be like, um, I don’t think I need to create anything right now. And then just to kind of share in that and not feel guilty about it.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, yeah. Really

Reba Terlson
nice. Because I don’t think I’ve come across an artist that’s been like, you know what I need to be like super productive right now. And it’s like, you know what, maybe my productivity can take a backseat for like a month.

Phil Rickaby
Yeah, I’ve really appreciated the people who are really open about the fact that they’re not doing anything. Yeah, that they haven’t been creative. I really appreciate that.

Reba Terlson
Me too, if only to like ease my guilt, not being creative.

Phil Rickaby
I think we have to be honest about it. Because otherwise the majority of us are in that situation where we’re not being creative and can’t be and then otherwise, we’re just lying to each other and playing these terrible head games. Oh, let’s not do that. No. So as we start to draw to a close, one of the questions that has been that I’ve liked to ask people, especially at this time, is what is giving you joy, what, what helps you get from day to day and gives you that spark of joy in a time that is can be very stressful.

Reba Terlson
Um, this is gonna sound so cheesy when I say it. But I’m going to say dancing because so COVID happened and the dance studio that I literally have only started going to in September, shut down. And I was in some programmes there and, but then they managed to like, put their platform online. So I was taking online courses and they figured it out to do through zoom. So I was still able to take classes and then recently my studio opened back up again, and just being able to be around people and I think I wrote a Facebook status the other day that just feels really good. That was like it This sounds so trivial. Like Haha, I wrote a Facebook status but what I love about to me what I love about dancing is I know I don’t have to be good at it. Because I’m not because I like doing it. No, I’m not like I’m not somebody that’s been dancing since the age of five. But like just the energy and for me, it’s now that my dance videos has opened. being around other people being around other people I don’t live with has been really great. And their mantra, this dance community I’m a part of called dropping dance Winnipeg. Their mantra is dance is a community. And I’ve created so many lovely connections with people that I would never normally create with. Because I’m not involved in the dance world of Winnipeg, Manitoba. But to me, that’s been the thing that gives me the most joy. I remember I was walking to class the other day and I ran into a friend of mine and she was like, Where are you going? And I’m like, Oh, I’m going to dance class and she was like, You look so happy right now. You look like you like you look like You’re really excited to be where you’re going to go. And I’m like, that’s really true. Um, so whenever I’m dancing right now, whether that’s like, mostly it’s like when I’m in a class, but or even if it’s like by myself, um, that’s the thing that I continues to bring me joy and it’s very Yeah, I don’t know. It’s really what’s been getting me through that through my pen to make that in my antidepressants because my antidepressants are a godsend.

Phil Rickaby
Sorry, Reba, thank you so much has been a great conversation. I appreciate it.

Reba Terlson
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.