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Friday, June 14, 2024

Twenty questions with Evan Frayne

Meet Vancouver theatre artist Evan Frayne.

Evan next directs a production of The Amish Project on stage at Pacific Theatre November 6-21. The Amish Project tells the story of how in 2006, the Amish of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania forgave the man who walked into their schoolhouse and shot ten girls. A meditation on radical kindness, The Amish Project explores the strength of community and the power of forgiveness in the face of tragedy.

Meet Evan Frayne

Evan Frayne was born in Winnipeg, but his family moved to the Cowichan Valley when he was two years old. He spent his early years playing with the neighborhood kids, playing piano, swimming in the summer, playing hockey in the winter. He found drama in junior high and loved it, but hockey and theatre never seemed like a good fit.

Despite playing hockey at the junior level, it was always just a game and Evan found his way into a degree program in psychology straight out of high school. Three years later, a little disillusioned with school, Evan spent four months traveling through Europe. When he returned, he decided to search out an acting program in Victoria. In 2000, he moved to Vancouver and started auditioning for television, but ultimately knew in his heart he wanted to work in the theatre.

After attending the Canadian National Voice Intensive in 2004, Evan applied for and was accepted into the BFA in Acting at UBC which he finished in 2007. After taking a year away from the business, Evan spent a year a Pacific Theatre as an apprentice. It was a formative time, which helped form some wonderful relationships and eventually spawned his own project based theatre company, Bleeding Heart Theatre.

Since then Evan has been working regularly as an actor and director, has been nominated for Jessies for his work in both disciplines, and was awarded the Sam Payne Award for most promising newcomer in 2011. Currently, Evan is in the final year of an MFA in Directing at UBC and is looking forward to directing his thesis production The Arabian Nights in March.

20 Questions with Evan Frayne

1. Your first job.

My brother and I had a paper route- rain or shine those papers needed to show up at the door. I remember bagging those things in our tv room, getting the black ink everywhere.

2. The job you always wanted as a child.

I didn’t really think so much about career as a kid- I think the first vocation that I explored as a kid was writing. My first great short story was about walking backwards around town and running into various outrageous things.

3. Your pet peeve.

It feels like less and less people know the rules of the road. Cyclists, drivers, no-one seems to know what they’re doing. I include myself in this…

4. Your hero.

My mom. She went back to school in her forties, changed careers with two teen-aged kids, and went into social work. She worked for a Employee Family Assistance Program for various wood working and pulp and paper unions on Vancouver Island. It was such a male dominated environment and there were some very difficult times, threats of violence. She was helping families with emotional issues, addiction, abuse, etc. Talk about making a difference in your community, well that was my mom.

5. Your biggest indulgence.

I eat 4-5 muffins a week. Those things are basically cake. Breakfast cake.

6. One thing no one knows about you (and you’re willing to share).

I used to air guitar to the opening of “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights for hours with my friend Justin in his parent’s home gym when I was a kid … So I guess Justin knew this.

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

Is “box-o-books” a thing? So that. And a pencil and some paper. I could finally get to that writing I’ve been meaning to do…

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

I would hope it’s “empathetic” but I think Susie would say, “exasperating”.

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

I had three years of a psych degree before getting into the business, so something in that field.

10. Hero or villain.

I think Antihero would be most appropriate. Can I add an anti?

11. Your life’s motto/mantra.

One day at a time.

12. Your favourite playwright.

Tough, because I feel like plays are meant to be seen/heard more than they are meant to be read alone in your living room. I’ve read way more plays than I have seen. So if it’s a playwright’s work that I’ve seen in some form of production it has to be John Patrick Shanley. I saw the premiere of Doubt with Cherry Jones and it was the perfect play to me.

13. The last book you read.

I’m doing an MFA at UBC in Theatre Directing right now so my nightstand/coffee table/desk is littered with books on directing and theatre. But if we’re talking fiction, I started reading Slaughterhouse-Five recently and I think it’s incredible.

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

Wile E. Coyote. That guy is always scheming and falling on his face. Pretty much my life.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?

“Air-guitared with the best of ’em”.

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

My family- even though they live relatively close I don’t see nearly enough of them and I have a niece and nephew who are growing up so quickly. So as crazy as it is having us all in the same place, it would be the fam.

17. Your idea of happiness.

Man, I love being in rehearsal for something, as an actor or director. Or that moment right before stepping onstage. Or any moment on stage.

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

That guy would never listen to me. But I guess it would be “Careful what you wish for”.

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

A couple of days before we open The Amish Project I will have six years of sobriety. I think grateful would be a more appropriate word for it, though.

20. To be or not to be?

Easy. To be.

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