Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Guest Artist "Snapshot" - Elinor Holt

'The Spitfire Grill' marks Elinor Holt’s debut on the Rosebud Theatre stage, but she's a certified star of the Calgary Theatre scene. A founding member of Evergreen Theatre and an award winning actress, select credits include: ‘Drinking Habits’ (Stage West), ‘Pig Girl’ (Theatre Network), ‘The Soul Collector’ (Catalyst), ‘The Ecstatics’ (Northern Light), ‘Sweeney Todd’ (Vertigo), ‘Slipper’ (ATP), ‘Mom’s the Word’ (Theatre Calgary), ‘Boy Gets Girl’ (Theatre Junction), ‘Lest We Forget’ (Lunchbox), ‘Shakespeare’s Will’ (Sage), ‘Urine Town’ (Ground Zero), ‘Helen’s Necklace’ (Urban Curvz), ‘The Piper’ (Downstage), ‘Bingo Ladies’ (Hudson Village), ‘Becky’s New Car’ (Theatre NW), ‘Our Town’ (Caravan Theatre), ‘Romeo & Juliet’ (The Globe). Up next for Elinor: ‘To the Light’ (ATP) and ‘The Humans’ (Theatre Calgary). Elinor and her husband, Spider, form the duo, SPIDERELLI. They live in Calgary with their three children and two pups.

Cassia Schmidt, Elinor Holt, and Alixandra Cowman in Rosebud Theatre's The Spitfire Grill. Photo by Morris Ertman.
Where do you call home?
I call Calgary home now but I actually grew up on a farm near New Norway, Alberta and went to a farm school called Rosebrier School. I was in grades one, two and three with Garfield Sproule, just a year or two behind Royale Sproule, of Rosebud fame. Small world, theatre and farming.

What’s inspiring you right now?
Virginia Woolf's novella, To the Lighthouse. This fall I will be performing in a French adaptation entitled, To the Light at Alberta Theatre Projects. It was inspired by Virginia Woolf's writing and has been translated by John Murrell, who wrote the play Waiting for the Parade, among others. John's writing is ever an inspiration. 

What’s your go-to summer treat?
Ice cream and (thanks to Nathan & Cassia Schmidt) Meadjito for a beverage.

In ‘The Spitfire Grill’, you’re playing Hannah Ferguson, arguably the most ‘spitfire’ woman at the Grill. But she also has complex wounds and an abundantly generous spirit. Do you identify with her, or were there unexpected challenges in the role?
I identify with Hannah a great deal. Hard not to for those of us who have reached a certain age, methinks. The greatest challenge in approaching the role for me was her age. She is 70. I am…not quite there yet…

What makes great musical theatre? Do you have a favorite style, or show?
Nothing beats a good story which is what makes The Spitfire Grill my kind of musical. It is a story and actor driven piece. Years ago I had the chance to play Mercy in Morwyn Brebner’s musical, Little Mercy’s First Murder for Ground Zero Theatre in Calgary. It was the same kind of show, an actor’s musical, a great story with great heart. Usually my favorite show is the one I am currently doing and that certainly applies to The Spitfire Grill.

Elinor Holt warms up her pre-show pipes on the set of The Spitfire Grill. Photo by Nathan Schmidt.
Any roles on your bucket list?
What is on my bucket list is what I am doing at the moment and in the moment. So, right now that is Hannah in The Spitfire Grill. If I had a bucket list role and got too old to play it or lost the part to someone else… well, let’s just say, that way madness lies. Concentrate on the show you are doing, head down, keep working, and as Doris Day sang, “What will be, will be…

You’re also an accomplished voice actor. Do you approach “voice” work the same as “stage” work, or do you use different creative tools?
In voice work I do as I am told and trust the experts because I am not one!

What can you tell us about SPIDERELLI? 
(listen to the music here!)
We have an album of original songs called 12 Farm Fresh Hits. We get some air play on CKUA and University Radio. My husband wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics. I am always carrying some CDs with me. Perhaps I should approach some of the Rosebud shops to see if they could put some out? We would donate half the proceeds to the theatre!

(Editor's note: to get your hands on a CD, contact elliholt@hotmail.com or spiderbishop@hotmail.com)

What’s a great piece of acting advice that’s guided you over the years?
Go there, don’t show there.

In the fictional menu of ‘The Spitfire Grill’, what’s the ‘Elinor Holt’ Special?
We once overheard our youngest daughter, RubyJune, playing house with a little neighbourhood friend, loudly exclaim, “No, Daddies cook! Mommies order pizza!” So, my special would be a George’s Special from Inglewood Pizza in Calgary. I have them on speed dial. In real life, I cook less like Hannah and more like Percy who arrives at The Spitfire Grill. You have to see the show to know who taught Percy how to cook!

'The Spitfire Grill' plays now through September 2. Don’t miss your chance to catch Elinor Holt’s touching and firecracking performance as resident spitfire Hannah Ferguson. For tickets and more information, visit www.rosebudtheatre.com

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