Some argue that there’s simply not enough love in this world for the pale skinned nation. If this is true, Rebecca Perry seems to be absorbing the little that’s going around otherwise how else does one explain the success of Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl in which she created and performed for playgoers on both sides of the border.
The forever exuberant performer is back this month to play Aries, a headstrong and awkward tea shop owner with dreams of living large, in Gingers In Love: A Folk Musical on stage at The Annex Theatre April 23-25.
Told through a series of original songs, this pseudo-sequel to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream investigates the mysteries of love and attraction and the magical consequences of redheads falling in love—a Swan Song to chance encounters.
Proving that Toronto’s premier online theatre magazine is by no means discriminatory towards pigment challenged performers, we couldn’t resist the opportunity for a no filter dialogue exchange steeped with irony and intrigue.
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What did you want to be growing up?
Hilariously enough – one of our favourite early 2000s redheads: pre-crazy Lindsay Lohan. When you reflect on her work in The Parent Trap, she seemed like a cool kid to be or at least be best friends with!
Who were your childhood heroes?
Three big (and very contrasting) ones were: Jane Goodall (a woman saving the wildlife one chimp at a time), The Pink Power Ranger (that woman kicks all kinds of butt in real life and when fighting crime), and Bill Nye The Science Guy (BILL! BILL! BILL!).
Did you play sports as a kid?
The great thing about being the pale, skinny awkward redhead who is always lathering on SPF 60 sunscreen is that people assume you hate sports. They were correct, so there wasn’t much pressure to join a team.
I was very busy doing theatre stuff but the two teams I was on were my school’s Snowboarding Team and their Swimming Team. Basically anything where my pale skin was not exposed to that angry, angry Mr. Sun.
Were your parents strict?
I kind of lucked out, my parents were pretty cool.
As long as I got good grades and it appeared as though I was excelling in a few extra-curriculars I was free to hang out with my friends on the weekends as much as I wanted.
What posters did you have on your bedroom wall growing up?
In Kindergarten to Grade 2 it was Sailor Moon!
As I god older it was Spice Girls all the way with an occasional hint of Backstreet Boys or N’Sync.
Later on, it was Hayden Christensen (he was the dreamy, yet angry Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars)
What was your nickname in high school?
Rebecca Cherry—as opposed to Perry—because yes, I had red hair lol. Also when Spiderman came out I was called “Sidey” a lot because I seemed to prefer side parts to keep it funky.
Never minded either name because they were pretty harmless.
What was the first concert you attended?
Embarassingly enough, it was Hansen when I was in Grade 3. MMMMMMMBop.
What was the first job you ever had?
I was scoopin’ ice cream at the local Baskin Robbins Caledon. I must have been on a permanent sugar high that summer.
Have you ever been fired?
I have. I was working at a café and my boss didn’t want me to take 2 weeks off to attend a theatre festival in New Orleans.
I was excited to go and perform my show in the states and so on my way out she pulled the whole “If you walk out now don’t bother ever coming back”.
Needless to say, I went to New Orleans.
Who was the first person you were sexually attracted to?
We had this gorgeous gym teacher assistant in Grade 8 named Greg. Can’t even remember his last name, was too busy daydreaming about him every time he spoke.
That may have been the one time in gym class that I tried to get good grades.
How old were you when you had your first kiss and what do you remember about it?
It was quite early—Grade 5?
Jason C. and I were “boyfriend and girlfriend” which doesn’t mean much when you’re that young. Basically we would spend recess cuddling and listening to WuTang Clan on his Walkmen.
Anyways, one day he had an after school sports meet up I waited with him on a park bench because his parents were running late to pick him up. I had an awful day, I got glasses and a bunch of my friends said they didn’t like them.
He responded by saying I was pretty to him whether or not I had glasses. And then he kissed me. It was pretty adorable when you think of it.
What do you remember about the first time getting drunk?
It happened in Grade 9 at a cast party for Into The Woods when I attended an arts high school. Hilariously, a lot of the people in that show are still in the business right now: Samantha Piper, Tasha Potter, Jonathan Nathaniel, Caitlin Claessens, Sara Wilkinson.
Anyways, I was playing Little Red Riding Hood and became good friends with a Grade 12er who was playing opposite me as The Wolf. He figured I was responsible enough to handle 2 coolers…he was wrong!
I was super hyper and basically acted like the road runner all night – I was running around and couldn’t sit still and dancing up a storm.
I cannot seem to handle sugar and alcohol in the same drink. This is why I stick to bourbon on the rocks these days.
What is the hardest thing about being a woman?
The fact that we are still given less pay or professional respect than men regardless what industry or career path we have chosen.
I read an article recently about women revolutionaries who have helped shape history. It made me sad: there are women who did more for WWII than an entire battalion and, still, nobody gives a damn 80 years later.
What did you believe in at 18 that you wish that you’d believe in now?
That anything is possible. And I still do but back then ignorance was bliss for me and so I didn’t fully understand that anything is possible but that you need to work your butt off to make it happen.
Luckily the minute I graduated it became crystal clear.
What is the best advice your parents ever gave you?
“The world owes you nothing so show them you are worth something.” That saying gave me a good work ethic.
What have you done that you will never do again?
I once took a rainforest walking tour in Costa Rica. On the very first day, a baby tarantula crawled across my Birkenstock and I almost slid off the side of a cliff.
I now know that I am a rock climber, not a hiker. No more rainforest walking tours for me.
What is the best lie you ever told?
In Grade 2, I had my friend, Pahpreet, convinced for almost a week that my family was going to run away and join the circus.
What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
I recently drove down to NYC with a friend to attend a conference.
We left Toronto at 6 a.m. and the weather was fine. By midday it was a full-on blizzard and it was so blustery that I when I slammed on the brakes at a stop sign we skidded through an intersection screaming our heads off.
Luckily we were ok but I have never been so scared or felt so out of control.
You’ve been exiled to an isolated island with no other inhabitants but permitted to bring one book, one CD, and one DVD. What will this list include?
The book would have to be The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham.
I’d need to take the newest The Decemberists album entitled What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.
As for a movie, my choice would be The Go-Getter. It’s a wonderful indie road trip movie with Lou Reid and Zooey Deschanel before they both had their big breaks.
If somebody made a movie about your life, whom would you want to play you?
Ellie Kemper from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If she was too busy being The IT Girl of the moment.
Obviously my girl Emma Stone would be an awesome choice as well.