Quick questions with syd + fraz

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We heart our intrepid Encounters performers in a serious way. Syd Hayduk of Village Ax and Fraz Wiest of FRAZ Vs. The Future have captured our hearts and imaginations with their intelligent, quirky and touching forms of expression- we can’t get enough! We picked their brains this weekend about their artistic experiences, social media and insects. Here is what they told us.





TPM: How old were you when you started performing?

SH: I went onstage the first time when I was 6.

FW: I’ve kind of always been performing. I think the first words out of my mouth may have been an impression of someone else. 

TPM: Your first time on stage? 

SH: It was a dress rehearsal for my ballet performance. I was supposed to take off my pink house coat to reveal my cute tutu and pink sparkly vest. But my pink sparkly vest came off with the house coat. Let’s just say, it was a complete and utter disaster. 
FW: I do believe my first time on stage was in the role of ‘Santa Claus’ for my 1st grade Christmas concert. Also, if memory serves, it was adorable. 

TPM: First piece you ever wrote?

SH: I had a cat named Popsicle. I wrote a story about Popsicle’s greatest adventure. 
FW: I’ve written lots of monologues and sketches and bits, but I think the first think I’d consider a ‘piece’ would be my first solo show, FRAZ: Lonely At Last. That was less than four years ago, but feels like way longer. 
TPM: Favourite way of expressing yourself? 
SH: Dancing. Hugging. Eye contact. 
FW: My favourite way of expressing myself is through conversation. Improv and comedy in general are great artistic expressions, to be sure, but I’ve found that in an age where the majority of communication is done electronically, I’m constantly craving and seeking out more people to interact with on a personal level, which FRAZ vs The Future touches on. 

TPM: Greatest inspiration?

SH: Metaphysics and the power of love. And Ellen Degeneres. 
FW: My greatest inspiration is humans, which has a lot to do with my last answer. The cynical side of me looks at how humans behave, makes me shake my head, and then hopefully finds the humour in it somehow. On a more personal level, I’m constantly amazed at how a conversation with a close friend or fellow artist can inspire a creative endeavour. I’m blessed to say this happens all the time! 
TPM: Biggest artistic roadblock?

SH: Anxiety and fear.

FW: Myself. To me, art is inherently collaborative. It probably has something to do with my improv background, but it’s hard for me to fathom creating any project without at least one other person involved. It’s sometimes quite hard to motivate myself without the ability to riff and bounce ideas of another person or group of people. 

TPM: Do you prefer collaborating or working alone? Why?

SH: Man, I love collaborating. Cause that’s life. Connecting. You know? But alone time is important too. My answer is both.
FW: See previous answer! Some of the best moments I’ve had on stage were because of who I was sharing it with. Solo work is a different animal entirely, but I also consider the audience to be collaborators in sense, so I guess what I’m trying to say is please no one leave me to my own devices ever. I will get quite bored. 

TPM: In honour of Village Ax – your favourite insect? Why?

SH: Bees. Because they actually do shit. All other bugs are buggers.

FW: Spiders. Most animals people are terrified of fascinate me to no end. They build their houses out of their butts! That is BONKERS.

TPM: In honour of FRAZ Vs. The Future – your least favourite form of social media? Why?

SH: I don’t think I have a least favourite ‘form’ of social media. But I can tell you what I dislike about it. I really dislike that I know stuff about my friends that they haven’t told me personally. It makes us all closer, but it also tears us further apart at the same time.

FW: All of them. They all have a purpose, and it’s not that I don’t see the appeal, because I certainly do. My problem is that there’s no social limitation to their use. Using these sites and apps as often as you can, in any given social context, is not only accepted, it’s more or less encouraged. There was a time when everyone smoked cigarettes. Everyone. Without a thought as to what it was doing to our health, both personally and as a culture. I’m clamouring for the day to come when people say, “Remember when everyone stared at their phones all day, every day? How did we get anything done?! How could we have possibly gone all that time without eye contact or actual conversation using our mouths and ears?! So weird!!”

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