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This article was published 6/1/2016 (1404 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The idea of stepping onto a stage by herself may have been terrifying, but doing so has taken Sydney Hayduk places she never imagined.
"The idea of doing a one-woman show is super frightening to me," Hayduk, a 23-year-old Miles Macdonell Collegiate alumnus, told The Herald. Yet Hayduk is the star and co-writer of Village Ax, one of two Fringe shows that Theatre Projects Manitoba is presenting this week as part of the double bill of Encounters.
"I’ve always had a lot of anxiety in my life, so the story is based on breaking through that wall," Hayduk said, explaining that co-writer Elsa Reesor-Taylor added her own experiences with anxiety to the mix. Together, they crafted a show about "being vulnerable with people, making connections with human beings. I think that’s such a difficult thing."
Hayduk said she first caught the theatre bug as a student at Miles Mac, thanks in no small part to drama teacher Carrie Gillis.
"She was really conducive to whatever we wanted to do in theatre and really open, incredibly supportive," Hayduk said. "She would consistently give me roles of being a stage manager and assistant director in our school plays."
Hayduk also credits Carrie Gillis with introducing her to Fringe theatre. When Gillis gave Hayduk 100 per cent in her Grade 12 year at Miles Mac, she added $50 towards a pass at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival as a prize.
"I went one day with my friend Christina and we saw some shows," she recalled. "It was like, Holy moly! I’m addicted and I love this and I have to go every year."
Still, working behind the scenes seemed like the place to be for Hayduk. When she graduated, she enrolled in the University of Winnipeg’s theatre program with a focus on stage management.
"In theatre, if the guy isn’t there to pull open the curtain, there’s no show," Hayduk said. "Everybody’s important in the process."
Hayduk began producing her own Fringe shows in 2014, founding Peachy Keen Productions. Peachy Keen’s first show was Bizzaro Obscure. When an opportunity to take part in the Orlando Fringe came her way, Hayduk was forced to step out from behind the scenes and take centre stage.
"My partner, who I did the show with, didn’t want to go to Orlando," she explained. "But I wanted to go, I wanted the opportunity. So I kind of created this show to do that Fringe, to have that experience."
After Orlando, Hayduk brought the show back home to the Winnipeg Fringe, and then out to Vancouver, where she now lives.
"The show has allowed me to grow as a human being and to have a lot of incredible experiences," Hayduk said. "Do what makes you scared, right?"
Currently, Hayduk is hard at work on a new play she’s writing with Victoria, B.C.-based Jeff Leard, who Fringers might know from The Show Must Go On, Space Gigolo or Sperm Wars.
"We’re doing a show about how people’s relationships kind of mirror the disasters in our world right now," Hayduk said "It’s called Angels and Aliens."
Meanwhile, Village Ax’s current run at Encounters is likely its last, for the time being, Hayduk said.
"I’m trying to hit it out of the park with a bang," she said. "It’s going to be a really special thing, I think. Hopefully your heart will be a little more open afterwards and that we all get a chance to kind of connect as human beings."
Encounters, featuring Village Ax and Fraz Wiest’s popular Fringe show Fraz vs. the Future, runs Thurs., Jan., 7 to Sun., Jan. 17 at the Rachel Browne Theatre (211 Bannatyne Ave.).
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112