My task was to shoot and edit a quick video during a media call for the Prairie Theatre Exchanges' latest show, Harvest.
No stills were required, as the section was going to press early and the paper was going to use photos provided by PTE. I tend to shoot stills anyway, but this time I found myself thinking about shooting a portrait after the other media were done. I was taken with the lead actor, Tom Anniko, who was portraying a retired farmer. He kind of resembled my grandfather.
I thought the stage props would make for an interest and quick portrait. I also got a chance to ask Tom about what it is like to be a stage actor.
What led you to take on acting as a profession?
"I love the challenge, I love the fun of it. The process of rehearsal is one of my favorite times. My favorite place to be is in a rehearsal hall. Trying to do things and figure out things and play."
What have you found is the hardest part about being a stage actor?
"The hardest part is getting work. Getting enough work! I've been fortunate this year in that I have had two shows, there are years when it's much dryer than that."
What is your greatest fear?
"My greatest fear, and I probably share this with a lot of actors, is just blanking on stage."
What was the worst instance of that happening to you?
"It happened to me actually last year in The Dishwashers. I was doing the blocking and I turned the corner to carry on with a line, it was a kind of rant and... there was just nothing there when I turned the corner."
What do you do?
"You rely on your fellow actors to help you out, which they did of course. It was all fine, but humbling."
Is it hard to recover from?
"Well, when you come up to that part in the play the next time you do it, you are very aware of it. It's not hard to recover, it's hard to make sure it doesn't become a thing, a stigma, a thing in your head where... a wall that you hit every time. So, you have to find a way through it."
Any advice to aspiring actors?
"If you are looking for fame, you are doing the wrong thing. Do it for the work, not for some perceived status, or glory, or potential stardom. Do it for the work, do it for the love of it."