Caroline Russell-King offers a (Pandemic) Postcard Profile with Calgary actor and theatre producer Ayla Stephen (with a nod to Bernard Pivot and James Lipton), to see what she’s up to during quarantine time.
What is the next project for you?
OMG That’s impossible to answer, I have no idea. I was supposed to be in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare) but we don’t know when we can go back. My next project is baking a birthday cake for a friend — vanilla with sprinkles.
How do you contribute to this piece?
I was an actor and a producer on Dream, but now I’m baking and decorating a cake!
What is your greatest creative challenge?
Getting the gig.
What turns you on creatively?
Really, smart, surprising comedy.
What turns you off creatively?
Violence against women. There was time I remember where (it seemed as if) the main plot of every play in Calgary was a woman getting raped.
What’s one thing you’re really good at?
I’m really good at making Swiss meringue buttercream.
If you could resurrect and share a drink with a dead person who would it be?
My mum, we would share coconut tequila margaritas together.
What is one thing you wish you’d known sooner?
Hmm, hmm there are so many. I think not to touch my eyes after cutting jalapeños.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a crane operator. I don’t understand it. It blows my mind. I’ll lift that thing 800 stories.
What would you do with extreme wealth?
Pay for all my friends’ kids’ post-secondary.
What is one piece of advice you would give to the person who wants to do what you do?
Get started with your own work. Also, ask people for help because they want to help — especially in Calgary.
Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at www.carolinerussellking.com.