Briefly introduce yourself/your company…
Born and raised in London England, I moved to a tiny community in rural BC in 2007 to live with a man I had just met while travelling here after graduating Cambridge University. I have been creating solo theatre since 2018. Deep in the woods, in the midst of homesteading, raising three children, and building nature-playgrounds, I make theatre woven from my personal life experiences. I also create interactive solo shows for young children that include lots of music and zestful movement. Supported by my husband Charles (tech and stage manager) I specialize in making intimate solo theatre that can be performed anywhere, for audiences large or small, using simple but imaginative staging, always incorporating music as a deep part of the storytelling.
What is it that makes your work/company unique
I love making one person shows about my life, namely the epic mothering adventures of a British-Jewish, Cambridge-educated geek raising an interracial and intergenerational family in the woods of rural BC. The theatre I make is always intimate, vulnerable with strong comic tones to keep it dynamic and engaging. As a singer, I always use my voice in my productions which is a bit of a signature. There isn’t enough theatre that addresses the themes and issues around birth, motherhood, immigration, (inter-racial) marriage – these have been my personal and theatrical preoccupations so far in the two adult solo plays I have created. My writing draws on diverse influences; Shakespeare, Fiddler on the Roof, Goddess Worship and the literature around natural birth, for starters.
What kind of experience do you hope audiences will have during your show?
If you have given birth or been pregnant, I hope my show offers some catharsis, some reflection of your own story, and possibly some healing, if it is needed. If you haven’t given birth, I hope my show provides you with a fascinating insight into the ups and downs of the most everyday, yet extraordinary physiological process that got us all here. I hope audiences will be fully immersed in the world of my tale, gleefully entertained and transported. And I also hope that when the show is done, in the following moments or days, audiences thank their own mother for giving them their life, whatever the circumstances or story. I would also be disappointed if audiences didn’t release some tears and/or belly laughs – either or both are good for us, and both are equally welcome in this story about the basis for the human condition.
Without spoilers, tell us what you think audiences will remember most about your show?
That they spent an hour of their life close to true stories about birth, which is really saying that they spent an hour close to the great mysteries of life and death. To quote a midwife who came to the show, ‘What I remember most was sitting in the audience with my adult daughter, the two of us laughing and crying together, and falling in love with birth all over again .. all the while falling in love with this dynamic, authentic, funny woman, Ellie Reynolds” Also, without giving too much away – they will probably remember moments such as: the birth-orgasm; the laying-of-flooring-dance; and the deer-in-the-middle-of-the-night moment.
What do you think is the best thing about the Fringe?
My only experience of Fringe-ing has been at the Edinburgh Fringe way back in 2006, when I took a show I had directed while at Cambridge University. It was the most fun I’d ever had. It was such a treat seeing such a huge variety of shows and street performances in such a small span of time – being so often surprised and delighted. This is my first time doing a Canadian Fringe and I love the idea that there’s a tradition here of letting independent artists get their work out into the world without the traditional gatekeepers.
What is the most important thing you hope audiences will take away from your show?
I hope they take away Awe – at the remembrance that we were once stardust and through our parents and all their foibles, we now have a body and a spirit capable of transformation and love, as well as suffering. If my audiences have experienced giving birth or being a parent, I want them to take away that no matter if the pregnancies and births were blissful or traumatic; that there is a story to share, and there is power in telling it and claiming the narrative. I hope my show leads to more honest discussions about birth in our culture.