Q&A with Deb Pickman

Deb Pickman is co-founder and an ensemble member of shameless hussy productions, based in Vancouver B.C. Deb is also one of the writer/researchers for the hussies original play Sonfoabitch Stew: The Drunken Life of Calamity Jane, which is coming to Winnipeg this fall during FemFest 2012! She also alternatives in the title role with her hussy colaborators Renee Iaci and Daune Campbell. Sonfofabitch Stew has toured across Western Canada and in the US, and will be visiting the Maritime provinces next year. For more information about FemFest showtimes and ticket info, check out www.femfest.ca. We can’t wait to see you there – wear your best western gear!

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What is one thing every actor needs to know?

1. Mine your passion and don’t stop digging – this shaft has no bottom.
2. If there is a fire onstage stop the show and take the rest of the night off.

What does every great story have to have?

A woman who’s kicking someone’s ass – even if it’s her own. Maybe even especially if it’s her own.

What is your favourite word?

At the risk of soundimng like a stereotypical feminista – I admit, I love to talk about the etymology of the word cunt, I confess. It’s still a very misunderstood word even with all the feminist gyrations of the last 50 years, it’s like the ugly duckling of words. It’s not a word I use frequently, though I co-authored a play called The Happy Cunt to get it out of my system.

For a well used and loved word I’d go for “heart.” All we need is love.

Complete the sentence: If I wasn’t typing this email interview right now, I would be …in my garden. Don’t tell anyone but I’m a flower freak and I’d love nothing better than to show you photos of my 10ft tall Himilayan lillies. Serious.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was… Ever? Well, most recently it was that my husband had a stroke January 2011 – and couldn’t say my name for a bit, couldn’t read aloud, forgot his provinces, our phone number and a multitude of other important things. That was a shocker. His recovery has been exciting and funny and brave – really the most fun anyone could have recovering from a stroke. You wouldn’t be able to tell anything had happened today – he’s back at work. I’m very glad I got to experience it with him, not glad it happened – but our lives have changed for the better.

Most shocking ever? Hunh, maybe that was it – the stroke was bigger than the fire I had onstage once in SanFrancisco while performing in our play that we’re bringing to FemFest. Our fogger burst into flames but it was just behind the curtain & the cabaret audience couldn’t see it, thought it was just bad bad fog. Being the Fringe in San Fran there was no backstage crew at all. I yelled “Fire, fire” and “Bring me some water from behind the bar there goddamit!!” In retrospect I should have dropped the western accent, again – they thought it was just part of the show. In the end I grabbed a drink off someones table, put the fire out and continued with the show. If it happened again I would stop the show, this was not my best work, I was a bit rattled and for the first and only time dropped two or three scenes from the play and it didn’t make a hell of a lot of sense frankly.

A common misperception of me is… I’m extroverted. Secretly I’m shy, but I’m shy about it so I keep it carefully hidden. Also some people think I’m sexy or a very sexual person. I mean really? I’m a late bloomer in the sex department… still trying to understand it. My sexuality is more of a fashion statement than a way of being. See, I’m just this secretly shy person.

You know me as an actor but in truer life I’d have been… I dreamed of being a June Taylor Dancer, however I have a sense of rythym that isn’t shared by many people, maybe nobody. I was also aching to be a singer – in the mold of Dionne Warwick or Aretha Franklin – but my music teacher was always telling me to “quiet down” and even my super supportive  mom would ask me “where does it hurt?” when I burst into song.  Could these two weaknesses be related? I do take pride in marching to my own tune. In retrospect I’m glad I didn’t get to be a dancer, it’s pretty hard to keep going in your senior years. As an actor – you’ve got a job as long as you’re able to draw breath and communicate something people need to know or feel.

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  1. […] Q&A with Deb Pickman […]


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