Featured in the first week of Weesageechak Begins to Dance 27, is founding member of Turtle Gals, Jani Lauzon. A multifaceted artist, Lauzon is a three-time Dora Mavor Moore nominated actress, a three-time Juno nominated singer/songwriter and a Gemini Award winning puppeteer.
Jani Lauzon is of Métis heritage, and originally from East Kootenay, British Columbia. She returns to Native Earth’s annual festival to present her piece I Call Myself Princess, a play with music, which she has been developing as Playwright-in-Residence with Cahoots Theatre Company, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
“I am at an age where looking back is inherent. But not to dwell, to inspire. The play borrows from Tsianina Redfeather’s life as a touring Mezzo-Soprano in a world construct that was, in part, more complicated than what we experience now,” explains Lauzon. “By examining her choices, a young Métis Opera student is able to better contextualize his own life experience.”
Lauzon is honoured to be working with Ruth Madoc-Jones as Director, Marjorie Chan as Dramaturge and Kevin McGugan as Musical Director on this amazing and important story. She explains that returning to Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival is about community. “[It’s] a safe place to present the work in it’s tender stage of development. This is the birth of new ideas. The most important part of the creation process. And, a great way to inspire the creative process within ourselves.”
“This is the birth of new ideas. The most important part of the creation process.”
Lauzon has countless theatre, film and radio credits to her name. Her memorable theatre appearances include; Cordelia/Fool in King Lear and Yvette in the Mother Courage (NAC); White Girl in Almighty Voice and His Wife (GCTC), and Shylock in Merchant of Venice (SITR). Television guest appearances include Saving Hope, Hard Rock Medical, Destiny Ridge and Conspiracy of Silence.
In January 2015, she will produce her play A Side of Dreams at the Aki Studio. She will also further develop her one woman performance art exploration Prophecy Fog at the Banff Playwrights Colony in April.
Some bits and bobs about Jani Lauzon
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do what you do? Train and take classes. If I was to hire you as an actor I would want to know that you have a set of skills.
Who are some of your favorite writers? favorite playwrights?
David Mamet, Shakespeare, Marie Clements,
Lynn Riggs, Hone Kouka.
Describe your ideal writing environment.
In the bush, with a fireplace.
But that is hardly possible so my home is now my sanctuary.
What was your first job in theatre?
I started as a street performer. Busking. Great actors training.
What is your profession’s greatest challenge today?
The “isms”. Ageism, racism, ….
What ability would you like to steal from another writer?
The use of metaphor in the language.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?
If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?
Three Day Road, The book of Jessica, Anything on the history of John A MacDonald from an Aboriginal perspective.
What is one of your pet peeves?
The one word your best friend would use to describe you?
Who are your heroes?
My mom, Buffy St. Marie (my role model growing up),
and my daughter Tara.