Cast Spotlight: Cass Van Wyck

cass-van-wyck-heashotCass Van Wyck plays “newspaper man” Hildy Johnson in our upcoming production of His Girl Friday; this is Cass’ first show with Bygone.

Bio: Cass Van Wyck is a Toronto based actress who splits her time between her online sketch comedy group ‘Cookie Biscuits’ and her role as volunteer coordinator at The Storefront Theatre. In addition to her BA in performance from Brock University, Cass has worked with many notable directors including Soheil Parsa, Sonia Norris & Daniel MacIvor. Her latest credits include Mercy Lewis in ‘The Crucible’ (The Kindling Collective) and Bridget in Broken Soil Theatre’s ‘#dirtygirl’ (Audience Choice Award winner at the Hamilton Fringe Festival). Originally from the small town of Fenwick, Ontario, Cass currently lives in Toronto and can normally be found baking chocolate chip cookies and cheering on the jays. She is so excited to be working with the Bygone Theatre team can’t wait to share the work with everyone!

How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

I had worked with the fabulous Sean Jacklin previously and he reached out and mentioned that Bygone Theatre was looking to cast the iconic role of Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday. 

What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?

Bygone Theatre has a reputation for producing amazing work and when I heard there was an opportunity to audition for them, it was a no-brainer. Hildy Johnson is such an amazing character who’s gusto and wit tops most of the male characters which is incredibly refreshing, especially for the 1940s. She is unapologetically vibrant and such a treat to play. 

What’s your favourite old movie?

Wizard of Oz.

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

I’ve never done a show like this before. Recently I’ve been doing a lot more contemporary theatre including Hamilton Fringe Festival 2016 Audience Choice Award winning production of “#dirtygirl” director by Michael Kras. 

Why should people come and see the show?

As fast paced screwball comedy, His Girl Friday is an absolutely hoot with crazy characters who find them selves in crazier situations – just good ol fashion fun! 

Anything else you want us to know?

I’m so excited for people to see the amazing work this group of talented artists are doing! Going to be a good time!

See Cass live onstage March 2-5, 2017 at the Aki Studio, Daniels Spectrum.
Buy your tickets today.

Cast Spotlight: Shannon Lahaie

Time for our first Wait Until Dark cast spotlight! Shannon Lahaie stars as Susy Hendricks, a blind housewife living in 1960s New York.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you do when you’re not rehearsing for Wait Until Dark?
    Outside of the show, I also write, rehearse, and perform with the sketch comedy troupe, Dame Judy Dench. We’ve been lucky enough to be accepted into The Toronto Fringe Festival this summer for the third time in a row.
2. How did you hear about the show? What made you want to get involved?
    I saw a facebook post shared by a friend of mine about auditions for the show. I had been saying how badly I wanted to do a play, and knew the film. I love the story and the character challenge of playing Susy, a blind woman having to outwit a group of con men. It was something that really appealed to me, I knew I had to do it.
3. What has been your favourite moment in rehearsal so far?
   I’d have to say the fight rehearsal was a standout day. It was a great bonding moment for us all to go around and practice choking and kicking each other, laughing and playing the whole time. Then to get to the detailed choreography of the individual fights, especially the end where Susy gets to kick some butt was really thrilling.
4. How do you prepare for playing a role like Susy? 
    I’ve never had a chance to play a character like Susy before. I feel like there’s so much to prepare. I want to avoid playing that showy blind default, constantly walking with hands out front. It’s also difficult in rehearsal, when I want to visually engage with my scene partners, and having to force myself not to make eye contact. It’s such second nature to me, so I really have to think about how else I can engage with my acting partners without using my eyes, playing with how Susy interacts with each individual differently. The script has many clues throughout about Susy and all her quirks at coping with her blindness, so I’m lucky in that way.
5. Why should everyone come see the show?
   It’s a wonderful thriller. There’s a lot to have fun with, and the energy of this cast is something I think the audience will get carried away with. It’s touching, mysterious, funny, and at times flat out scary. There’s so much to enjoy.
6. Any final thoughts?
    I’m so grateful for the chance to play Susy and work with this great cast of people. Also to my ever supportive partner, Andrew, who pushed me to submit to the casting, when I doubted if I could.
Come see the talented Shannon Lahaie onstage April 14-16th in the rehearsal hall at Tarragon Theatre. Tickets onsale now.