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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

20 questions with Carly Pokoradi

Meet Vancouver actor Carly Pokoradi.

This continues our special series featuring the 50th anniversary fall graduating class from Studio 58, the professional theatre training program at Langara College.

Meet Carly Pokoradi

Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, she earned a double major in Theatre & Film/Linguistics from McMaster University and studied Performance at the University of Leeds in the UK before heading out west. She is looking forward to feeling like she actually lives in Vancouver after three long years in the basement.

Carly is an actor, writer, stage manager, collaborative creator, and all-around arts enthusiast who gets goosebumps at every phase of the process. As such, her Studio 58 career has been a mixed bag. Highlights include lugging a cart of dead astronauts in the world premiere of Kosmic Mambo, playing with blood in MOUTH, both tap- and brothel- dancing in Oklahoma!, stage managing Elbow Room Café: The Musical, Phase 1, and starting fights in Romeo + Juliet . She is the grateful recipient of the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship.

Currently, this lucky girl is having fun nightly in Theatre Replacement’s Hansel and Gretel: An East Van Panto at the York Theatre. She is also co-penning two plays that will be produced as part of Studio’s FourPlay in February: The Train Carr details the famous artist and her sister’s cross-Canada trip and Retail: The Musical  explores the love/hate experience that is working in retail.

She is eternally grateful for the support of her family, friends, and sweetheart, and she is sorry she is never home. You can find Carly on Twitter at @carlypokoradi.

20 Questions with Carly Pokoradi

1. Your first job.

Not including babysitting and refereeing volleyball, my first legitimate job that offered an actual paycheque was working at Shoppers Drug Mart. I spent seven years there scanning diapers, taking passport photos, stocking toilet paper and helping customers to read aspirin instructions. My co-workers and I used to joke about creating a mockumentary style TV show based on our days there, but as it turns out, it has all become fodder for Retail: The Musical, a play I am writing with (fellow classmate) Kamyar Pazandeh and (grad) Erik Gow.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

I always wanted to be a teacher when I was little. I used to make my poor sister play school in our basement every day immediately after getting home from real-school, teaching lessons and grading her assignments. Luckily for me, I realized that it’s tough to land a teaching job out there before it was too late, and so I went into the entertainment industry instead.

3. Your pet peeve.

My pet peeve is when people don’t recycle. Or littering.

4. Your hero.

My heroes are my parents. They taught me how to love well.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

My biggest indulgence is movie theatre popcorn. This probably says something about what I consider indulgent, but I stand by it. It’s exorbitantly overpriced, especially now we’ve been robbed of free refills. With that being said, they could raise the price every month and I think I’d still buy it. Please, please stop raising the price, Cineplex.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

On the rare occasion that I have a bit of extra money kicking around, I hide a bill or two in another section of my wallet or in a hidden pocket as a treat for Future Carly. Every time, I think “There is no way you’ll forget this is here this time, silly Carly,” but I never fail to surprise myself a few months down the line.

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island.

One: matches or a lighter or a blow torch – some form of fire-starter.  I’ve only recently started going camping so you’ve got to cut me some slack.

Two: a perpetually re-stocking library. Here’s where we start getting unrealistic, but one pro of being stranded would be the ability to spend the entire day reading and not feel guilty about it.

Three: bringing a human is probably against the rules but I’d want my other half, Tom, with me.  He lives in Ontario so we’ve spent far too much time apart and I’d like to think that if I were unlucky enough to end up on a deserted island, maybe geography would be on our side for once.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you.


9. If you were not a theatre professional, what would you be doing right now?

If I hadn’t been accepted to Studio 58, I was planning on studying to become an ASL interpreter.  I have a linguistics degree and I completed a few courses in ASL before moving out here and fell in love with the ingenuity expressive nature of the language. It’s something I’m still very much interested in pursuing.

10. Hero or villain?

Everyone is the protagonist of their own story.  So villains don’t necessarily think of themselves as villainous at all; they’re fighting for what they believe in just like the heroes are. With that being said, for an actor, playing a villain can be incredible because we’re allowed to be and do things we never would be allowed to in our own lives.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

There’s always a bright side.

12. Your favourite playwright.

It’s boring but I have to go with Shakespeare.  For  a  new playwright such as myself,  still attempting to get a handle on structure, stakes,  conflict, words (you know, basically everything),  his plays are a blue-print for how drama works.  His seemingly effortless command of everything is so mind-boggling it’s almost not fair.

13. The role you are destined to play.

I would love to play Laura from The Glass Menagerie because that was the first straight play I remember seeing that really planted the seeds in me that I might want to be an actor. It would feel pretty full-circle to get to play a role in that show, even if it doesn’t happen until I’m playing Amanda.

14. If you were a cartoon character what cartoon character would you be and why?

I used to be a huge keener so I was compared to Lisa Simpson a lot. I also like pearls.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

I think that’s for those who survive me to decide so hopefully I’ll have made a good impression. Besides I think I want to be cremated anyways.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Right now, I’d love to have dinner with Emily Carr. Not only is she wonderfully fascinating and ridiculously inspiring, but fellow classmate Elan Bertles and I are writing a play about her right now, The Train Carr.  You really can’t beat a first-hand encounter for source material.

17. Your idea of happiness.

My idea of happiness is being around people I love. So if everyone could just hurry it up and move to Vancouver (until an undetermined future date when I decide perhaps it’s time to go back to Ontario) that would be incredible.

18. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud.

I am most proud of the fact that I have moved far away from home twice completely alone – first to Leeds, England and secondly to Vancouver – and created a life for myself in both those places.

19. Your most memorable moment at Studio 58.

During Kosmic Mambo, I got to be one piece of the incredibly intricate, beautifully designed (by Mara Gottler) “Solar Spirit” costume  that took a while to get into. During rehearsal one day we were all huddled backstage waiting to enter while, unbeknownst to us, they rehearsed a sombre, sobering dog-funeral on stage. Assuming that the directors were actually waiting on us to be ready to start, one of us yelled from the wings: “The Solar Spirit is ready!” Needless to say, the mood was completely ruined.

20. To be or not to be?

Is that the question?

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