Inside The Unplugging: Allegra Fulton

We’ve partnered up with Factory to bring audiences the Toronto debut of The Unplugging by Yvette Nolan (March 14 – April 5, 2015), and here we get to know a little more about the key players in this production and partnership.

L-R: Diana Belshaw, Allegra Fulton; photo by Akipari

Along with Diana Belshaw, and Umed Amin, today we round out the cast of three with theatre veteran Allegra Fulton. Multiple award-winning actor,1 best known for her Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning performance in the one-woman tour-de-force Frida K., Fulton says she is excited to work on Yvette Nolan’s play about “love and loss and crafty survival”.

“I’m always drawn to first and foremost the story, the story, the story, that is being told. The Unplugging has been a very interesting exploration because of the nature of the story,” she explains. “To imagine the end of the world, which of course we all had to do each day of the rehearsal period and to deal with the kinds of thoughts, fears, needs, desires, simple survival skills that we would or would not have in such circumstances. Projecting yourself into that kind of difficulty and end-of-the-world scenario each day has made for some very challenging moments.”

“If we all carry seeds of everyone inside us – if we are all one – then Bern is in me in all the facets of her that I drawn on.”

And though she says the circumstances of the play are different from her own experiences (They are “surviving an apocalypse and that is very different from anything I’ve had to endure, thankfully.”), Fulton saw something in Bernadette that compelled her to take on this role.  “I certainly relate to her clown, her artist, her lover, her large spirit. If we all carry seeds of everyone inside us – if we are all one – then Bern is in me in all the facets of her that I drawn on.”

Nolan’s The Unplugging tells the story of two very different aging Indigenous women cast out of their community because of one thing they share – the inability to bear children. But it is their differences in response to these shared circumstances that make for two contrasting, but equally interesting, characters.

L-R: Allegra Fulton, Umed Amin; Photo by Akipari

“Bernadette is a fascinating character. She has no family, is rootless, disconnected. She longs for love and connection and community. She is self-taught and very smart but doesn’t really believe it. She doesn’t have a lot of confidence in who and what she is and yet she is spirited, generous, funny, willing, loyal. She sees the best in people even when their worst sides are forward,” says Fulton.

“I have no idea what parts of me would emerge in such a dire circumstance. I think we all hope the best, but no doubt the worst parts of ourselves would also be on full display. Yet I always have such faith in the triumph of the glorious human spirit. We are such divine and complicated creatures.”

The Unplugging is on stage now until April 5th, after which audiences can see Fulton in the title role in Susanna Fournier’s adaptation of Medea, and also in the upcoming Julius Caesar and Comedy of Errors in the Dream in High Park.


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Getting Unplugged with Allegra

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do it all. Never give up. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers.

Who inspires you?
All the artists in the world who continue
to fight for freedom of expression.

What was your first job in theatre?
John Van Burek gave me a role in Les Temps Sauvages
when I was 11 years old. I was acting with grown ups,
on a real stage, and I was in heaven!!!!

What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
The dearth of good writing for people over 40 yrs old.
Especially women.

What ability would you like to steal from another artist?
David Ferry’s superpower of being able to work
on three things at the same time.

What are you reading right now?
Joel Thomas Hynes’ Straight Razor Days,
Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman,
and my script.

What’s your favorite line from a book,
or play, or favourite lyric from a song?
“like a bird on a a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir,
I have tried in my way to be free” – Leonard Cohen
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
“A poet is a time mechanic, not an embalmer” Jack Spicer

Where is your favorite place to be?
In bed with my favourite lover… or in nature, mountains,
oceans, cliffs, rolling green hills by the ocean.

What is one of your pet peeves?
Texting.

Who is one of your heroes?
Malala Yousefsy. She continues to fight for the rights of children to have education, despite being a teenager, a female, and having been shot in the head for her insistence on going to school.

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

What’s your favourite dessert?
Tracy Pritchards Rose and Raspbetty Meringue



1
 List of Awards


Recent Theatre Credits: The Carousel (Nightwood Theatre), The List (Nightwood Theatre), Tout Comme Elle (Luminato/Necessary Angel), Night of The Iguana, The Gentleman Caller (Hart House Theatre), King Lear (Antaeus Classical Rep/L.A.), The Taming of The Shrew (A Noise Within, L.A.), Geometry in Venice (Crow’s Theatre/Segal Centre), Scorched (Tarragon Theatre).

Recent Film & TV credits: Cronenberg’s Map To The Stars, Fargo, Desgrassi: The Next Generation, Against The Wall, King.