This week we are shining the spotlight on Heather Russell, playing Anna in Iceland. When we spoke with Heather, she shared her passion for Bouffon, fossils and the Settlers of Catan, and her thoughts on ICELAND’s monologue form.
TPM: You are also part of local buffoon/clown troupe, the Talentless Lumps? What draws you to buffoon/clown work?
HR: The father of bouffon, Philippe Gaulier, says: “Bouffons are everything humanity has rejected, but they come to tell us that all aspects of humanity belong to everyone. In the grotesqueness of the bouffon is a truth about humanity.” The Talentless Lumps are six women who strive to celebrate the so called “ugly” parts of ourselves and our world. As members of a society obsessed with perfection, it’s a terrifying and exhilarating experience.
TPM: How did you become a theatre artist?
HR: I was originally going to be a teacher. I was at Brandon University in my 3rd year of a B.A. in French, when I acted in a play for the first time. I’d been in musicals before, but never a straight up play. It made me want to pursue theatre as a career. So I finished that degree, moved to Winnipeg, and got an Honours Acting B.A. at the University of Winnipeg.
TPM: Any passions or hobbies outside of theatre?
HR: I play a mean game of Settlers of Catan.
TPM: Iceland is a trio of intersecting monologues. Are there any particular challenges or advantages to working on a show where the characters don’t directly engage with each other?
HR: Although we don’t directly engage with each other, we are still affected by each other’s energy. I don’t feel alone up there. The audience becomes our acting partner, so we never know what to expect!
If you were not a theatre artist, do you have a fantasy, alternate dream job?
HR: Astronaut. Or paleontologist.