Pressgang Theatre is producing Jillian Welsh‘s No Place at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. Written and performed by Welsh (Second City House Co., RISK! Podcast) and directed by Shari Hollett (For the Record, Radio: 30, Second City), the show weaves interconnected stories for a brutally honest and painfully funny examination of the things we take with us and the things we leave behind.
I had the opportunity to ask Welsh a few questions about No Place, her storytelling, and future work — just in time for the premiere of the show at the Fringe this week.
HM: I believe No Place is based on your own relationship to your family, among other personal themes. Could you share how No Place came to be?
HM: As a talented storyteller, what is your process when writing a piece for the stage?
JW: I like to start off by living through something funny/weird/strange, this happens to me by accident, usually when I am trying to be a normal boring human. Then I make sure I can talk about it/ laugh about it and I’m okay with the whole world knowing about it.
HM: How much or how little improvisation do you allow yourself once you are performing on-stage?
JW: Ha, this varies based on how badly I’ve procrastinated. That’s a medium joke, when you are up there, what the audience finds funny isn’t always what you think will be funny, so sometimes I edit as I go or if a joke line pops into my head I’ll just say it. I’m wild like that.
HM: What does Shari Hollett bring to No Place as director – how do the two of you work together on this piece?
JW: I am quite fortunate to be working with Shari Hollett, not only is she extremely talented but she’s just a really great person. Us working together is like I’m deep sea scuba diving and she’s holding my oxygen tank. When I find something I surface and she says “great job, good work, but that’s a boot and we’re looking for a starfish”. Then I go in again.
HM: After your run at the Toronto Fringe Festival, where else can Toronto audiences find you?
JW: I perform regularly as part of Second City’s House Co., our shows are Friday nights in the JCB, you can also check out my sketch group Mein Kunt, or the Pepperoni Pizza Cats.
Written and Performed by Jillian Welsh
Directed by Shari Hollett
Produced by Pressgang Theatre as a part of the Toronto Fringe Festival
Dates: July 6th to 16th – 8:00pm
Location: All shows at St. George the Marytr (The Music Gallery).
Tickets available online now.