If I Could Tell You Everything
Written by : Julia Jelinek
How long have you been part of the mentorship program?
This is my first time being in the program, so since September.
The play’s title implies that there’s a wish to ‘tell everything,’ but can’t. Particularly teens to their parents. Is this correct? If so, how does that play out in this work?
I think that young people have a lot more ideas and perspectives than adults believe we do. We have a voice but right now we are at this weird age where we are not taken seriously. Specifically, parents try to keep the innocence alive in their children, so when we are at the age of exploration, we don’t want to tell our parents what we already know. This play deals with these issues that young people face and is told from their perspective.
Tell us what the creation process was like – how did you all come to agreement, generate ideas and build the storyline?
The creation process was completely different from anything I have ever done. We are really working together with the incredible Geoffrey Simon Brown. We have a lot of discussions that Geoffrey records and later used when he was developing the text for the play. Seeing how the whole play came together was really incredible, and the fact that everyone is represented in an authentic way.
What was it like working with Geoffrey Simon Brown? What did you learn from him?
Working with Geoffrey has been one of the highlights of my entire education in theatre. Geoffrey in many ways is a true artist and incredible at everything he does. I have grown so much as an artist and as a person just by being in the same room as him. I was able to learn new ways to express myself creatively, as well as in my personal life. The energy he brings to the Mentorship Program really creates an amazing atmosphere and positive space for young people to be able to let go and explore.
Geoffrey is, and still continues to be, a huge inspiration to me. I hope to have the honour to work with him again, and that Geoffrey’s work will reach many more people.
Tell us about your role in the play
I’m playing myself but in a more exaggerated and controlled form. Geoffrey used the words we said, and the work we did in our sessions, in the play so a lot of it is really authentic and a true representation of each of us as individuals..
What does a mentorship session generally look like? Can you walk us through a typical day?
A typical day in the mentorship program… every session is very different although normally they follow a similar structure. We do a lot of improv activities, have discussions, practice movement and writing. We also worked with different artists in Calgary and had the opportunity to explore other aspects of theatre, such as the technical side. Anton DeGroot, the show’s designer, came in earlier in the mentorship season and did a workshop about stage lighting and the ways you can add different depths to the stage.
The students have had a really fun time together! I have made so many great friends though his program and have had the opportunity to really connect with fellow young artists in Calgary.
What have you learned about yourself by participating in the Mentorship Program?
Being in the mentorship program has allowed me to really grow as a person. I have learned so much through talking to my fellow students and by being around Geoffrey. The mentorship program was a positive place where I could be myself and share my voice. Through this experience, I have learned to not be so hard on myself and to take more risks.
What have you learned about theatre and creating new work?
I have learned so much especially since I come from a musical theatre background, where the audience has been families and children and didn’t have the same depth as at Theatre Junction. I have learned a lot about sharing experiences in a raw form, how not everything has to be scripted, and that the mess of it all can lead to something beautiful.
The show is only a few weeks away now. Are you getting nervous?
I’m so excited! We all have been working for so long together and are so proud of what we have created. The only thing stressing me out is that I won’t be seeing all these amazing artists every month after the show is performed.
What would you tell others who were interested in applying to the program?
Apply! It has been one of the best things I have ever decided to join. Not just if you are a performer, but someone who is open to learning new things and meeting creative people.