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Thursday, July 18, 2024

20 questions with Emelia Symington Fedy

Meet Vancouver theatre professional, writer and actor, Emelia Symington Fedy.

Emelia next appears in a remount of Motherload (Oct 4-15) at The Cultch. Written and performed with Jody-Kay Marklew, Juno Rinaldi and Sonja Bennett, the foursome take turns telling their personal tales of motherhood, in what our reviewer called “stories that charm, delight and touch you“.

Meet Emelia Symington Fedy

Emelia Symington Fedy is a creator, writer and actor, and has worked on over twenty new theatre productions across Canada.  Motherload has been her first foray into producing new work and it has been the most “personally stimulating” job she has had to date (other than giving birth).

Emelia is also the Artistic Director at The Chop Theatre, an international touring and award-winning creation-based theatre company, as well as the creator of Trying to Be Good, which is a website dedicated to personal essays and live storytelling that candidly explores the darkness of the human condition.  Now, thanks to the success of her blog, Emelia also hosts and produces a daily Trying to be Good radio show that focuses on personal storytelling and interviews with her favourite people about their greatest fears and longings.  Oh, her first book is on its way too!

When she has the time, she also makes feature-length documentaries about her home life and tells personal stories on CBC Radio.

Emelia lives with her husband, Christie, and two little boys Arthur and Obidiah.

20 Questions with Emelia Symington Fedy

1. Your first job.

I scooped ice cream in a small down deli for a summer and I got fired for stealing money from the till. Yes, I stole the money, but my best friend stole so much more than me that she paid for her first year tuition in college so I really felt my firing was an unfair decision. I only cleared a couple hundred bucks?!

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

I wanted to be a lawyer because my babysitter said I was the best arguer and manipulative child she’d ever met.

3. Your pet peeve.

People who write me asking for favours, ideas, inspiration, how I do what I do and I take the time and craft a response full of heart and passion and then they don’t write back to say thank you. Bad form. Also, don’t be more then 10 minutes late. For some reason this throws me into a blind rage.

4. Your hero.

Wow. I have so many. Joan Rivers was a hero to me because she was so badass and edgy before her time. Her parents kicked her out while she was trying to make a living in comedy so she slept on her friends couches. She never quit and never said no to a job. Shopping Channel. Yes! Reality TV. Yes! Hollywood Squares Yes! She kept her ego in check, knew it could end at any moment and never stopped working her ass off until the day she died. I’m also very impressed by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They are out loud hilarious feminists who support each other in their careers and talk about how uncomfortable spanks are.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

Chips. Chips. Chips. Pot. Chips. Chips, and getting my eyebrows threaded.

6. One thing no one knows about you.

very day at around 5 I become very overwhelmed. My heart races and I don’t think i can make it though the rest of the day. So I tell my kids it’s “cuddle time” and we lie down together so I can just deep breathe and try to find some resilience before I have to get up and finish the rest of my day. I make theatre during the day and do a live radio show at night so…basically 2 jobs and 2 kids is a bit too much to handle sometimes and the anxiety attacks.

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

Q-tips. I’m addicted. My diva cup (for obvious reasons) and my husband (because he can make anything out of sticks and we’d end up living in the coolest treehouse).

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


9. If you were not pursuing a career as a performer, what would you be doing right now?

On a lot of meds. Miserable. Feeling worthless. Art is what makes my life meaningful, it’s the small thing I can do to try, from my little place, to be useful to the world. If I share myself, my fear, my grief, my anger, my questions, my imperfections,my hope is that then folks hopefully relate and maybe feel less alone and effed up themselves. I just want to be honest about how hard life is sometimes, and terrifying. And if I couldn’t express that, when I don’t express that, I turn into a real sad sack.

10. Hero or villain?

I’m a villian against the bad guys.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

If You Seek It, It Will Come (Rumi). Although I almost puked a bit writing it, I still hope it’s true.

12.  Your favourite playwright.

Great question. Wow. Eugene Ionesco. I love absurdity. Also Karen Hines from Calgary, she’s a neo-boufoon who’s dark, stark, hilarity has been inspiring me for years.

13. The last book you read.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. Don’t bother. It was a total hate read. I found it privileged and boring.

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

Oh easy. Miss Piggy. She’s the queen.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

Loved. Beloved. Died old. Before her husband.

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

David Sedaris, I’m working on it. I’ve sent him three letters, the prologue to my book and some of my finger nail clippings. He loved them. He’s written back twice, so we’re almost at pen pal status.

17. Your idea of happiness.

My book is a bestseller. Every once in awhile someone “recognizes me” so I get to feel popular and current. I’ve taken all my friends on a vacation and we all have separate bungalows and the water is turquoise. (Oh, and my kids are healthy and my husband loves me). I understand if this answer makes you hate me. Again, I really am trying to be honest.

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

That I’m feeling my feelings. It’s so hard to feel all the feelings ya know? It’s so hard to not push them away with drugs and food and TV and the phone and all our bad habits and right now I’m really trying, to feel how I feel, even when it feels unbearable, and it’s going okay so far.

19. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 20-year old self?

Don’t suck so much dick. You don’t like it. You don’t know how to do it, you don’t even like him. Just stop. Crawl into bed, light a candle and read your favourite book instead.

20. To be or not to be?

To Be. To Be. To Be. To Be. What else is there?

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