news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Q & A with Amy Rutherford

Toronto actor Amy Rutherford - a longtime Volcano collaborator - answered a few questions for us in anticipation of A Beautiful View opening later this month at the Factory Theatre Studio, and touring southern Ontario. Enjoy!

Favourite rehearsal space in Toronto:
Pia Bouman, because it has windows and is around the corner from my house.

What tunes are on your pre-performance soundtrack?
No pre-performance music...just the sound of my own hum.

What was the most memorable Toronto show you saw last year?
Too many!! The Little Years, Miss Caledonia, A Synonym for Love, How to Disappear Completely was a big one.

Camping: yes or no?

Amy Rutherford in A Beautiful View
Photo by Hilda Lobinger

Can you tell us a little about A Beautiful View, and the character you play?
I play "L" in A Beautiful View. Which can be any name that starts with L, really. Also, as Becky [Johnson]'s character is "M"...I like to think of those two being side by side in the alphabet. And when singing the alphabet, those to letters kind of slide together. H, I, J, K, LM, N, O, P. Not sure if this was MacIvor's intent. But I think that it's a cute idea.

I understand the show involves some improvised performance from you and Becky. Can you tell us a little about that? Was improv a big part of building the show during rehearsals?
We do a little movement improvisation in the show. The text sings without us messing with it. Ross [Manson] is always creative in rehearsal. We do a number of exercises separate from the script to create complexity in our characters as well as a specific history of their relationship together. A lot of our physicality in the show was born out of improvisation. We would break our characters down into archetypes and then find precise movements to express those archetypes. 

What was the original run of A Beautiful View in Munich like? How did German audiences connect with the show?
We performed for a beautiful little English theatre called BeMe, in a venue which was formerly a schnapps distillery and is now called the Einstein Kulturzentrum. They have a passionate audience of theatre-goers. They were fascinated by the Canadian-ness of the play. Germans love bears and the outdoors and both of those things feature prominently in the piece. During our talk-backs, we were amazed at people's deep and thoughtful feedback. While there is a lot of humour in the play, they seemed to take its existential ideas seriously. German audiences also clap more than Canadian ones. Three curtain calls is the standard, and we often had more.

You’ve toured to a number of destinations with Volcano. Tell us one of your fave memories of touring with us:
I have been lucky to work with Volcano a lot over the years. Goodness has had many lives and I've toured with that production to Edinburgh, New York, Rwanda, Vancouver and many more cities. Ross has a talent for hiring fun people and I've definitely enjoyed many wild and crazy nights on tour. And we've met many brilliant artists wherever we've gone. In Rwanda, we met pioneering, visionary artists who were building the foundation for theatre and performance in their country.

Why do you think A Beautiful View is a good show for audiences here in Toronto? What do you hope people take away from it?
All of MacIvor's plays remind us of how brief our time here on earth is and what is important in life. Love and friendship. I first saw this show performed by Tracy Wright and Caroline Gillis in 2006 and it lives in me still. I hope that our production will be as enduring and memorable to our audiences and that Becky and I are able to be as beautiful together as Tracy and Caroline were.

Becky Johnson and Amy Rutherford in A Beautiful View
Photo by Hilda Lobinger

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