She’s a true veteran of the stage, but despite her ability to bring the bard to life, Myla Southward hasn’t always been a Shakespearean scholar. In fact, like most audience members, she had to break a barrier before she could truly dig into the text. Before she dons traditional garb and steps into the role of Beatrice for the Shakespeare Company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, Southward gives Swerve’s Josiah Hughes some tips on how to pay attention even when we don’t understand every word.
What are you up to today?
Well, we have rehearsal today but I wasn’t called so I’m running around being a mom. It’s a crazy balance, but it’s a good one.
How long have you worked with the Shakespeare Company?
I have been involved with them since the new management took over. I guess it was probably five years ago. It’s not a company where you have a constant job. I get hired for different positions, but I have been lucky enough to act in a number of Shakespeares, which has been great for me. As an independent artist you get contracted out per show. If the role is right, you audition and get it, and the director wants you, then you get to do it.
For you personally, what is it about Shakespeare that you like? When did you first get the bug to pursue Shakespeare?
Well I’ll be honest—Shakespeare intimidated the hell out of me. It was sort of a thing that I feel like I missed in school. I remember studying it, but… certainly Shakespeare wasn’t a dominating part of our education. I remember there were opportunities to do Shakespeare, but at the same time I was in a different musical. So I feel like I missed the Shakespeare boat.
And then when I was out in the world as an actor, I felt very intimidated by it. I felt like it was something I wanted to do but maybe wasn’t prepared to do. But then I got an opportunity—I did some auditions for Theatre Calgary and felt more and more confident as I did it. And then my very first Shakespeare show was with The Shakespeare Company. I did The Winter’s Tale. I think that was definitely when I fell in love with it and started to gain an understanding of how to unpack the text and what Shakespeare’s trying to tell us through his …read more