What I did not know that morning I took off from Fergus to LA, was that my inner world would never be the same again. Everything that had been in the shadows would come into the light and there could be no more hiding. I don’t know if it was because I pushed myself to drive 12 to 14 hours a day. I don’t know if was the desolate roads to seemingly nowhere and the sheer vastness of the geography that expanded my mind. Or was it the cold hard reality that I would never go home again. Maybe it was simply the stars. Whatever it was, this was the beginning of a new life.
Researching for the role has got to be my favorite task of acting. Of course I love to perform, but I really couldn’t have one without the other. However much time I am given, I will take it, and I will do nothing but indulge from the moment I am set loose. This is where it get’s into my blood, into my bones and becomes intimate. There is a waking up in the middle of the night obsessive kind of thing, where characters become apart of me. For the role of Ann, I had about 2 months to prepare. I read everything I could on The Donner Party, and that time period in America. I even traced Ann’s genealogy back to England. I was obsessed. When I’m done with a role it is impossible to say how long she will linger with me. Sometime, I couldn’t get away fast enough, and sometimes, she never leaves. Part of my letting go of Ann involved having my own Westward Expansion.
My journey began at my 6th generation family farm in Fergus Ontario Canada. After a hot humid night on the front porch, we woke at 6am to fresh farm eggs, fruit and coffee made by my aunt Nancy, took a tour of the old barn before it gets torn down and the giant silo’s full of spelt, snapped a few photo’s and headed for the border!
At the border I got the same immigration officer that gave me a hard time 4 years ago. With 2 suitcases and a cat for my 1st pilot season, he cut my trip in half, and said “I’ll be watching you” as I walked away. It was nice to see him again green card in hand! We then drove 4 states and I called my 3 year old niece Emma. She cracked my heart wide open screaming “WHERE ARE YOU?!!” “WHERE ARE YOU!!??!!” I LOOOOOVE YOU!!!!”
Here is Benevolence 3 and Red Dance at the beginning of their tour from Canada to LA, across the old Oregon trail and down the coast to California.