BWW Interviews: Matters of the Heart with the Stars of GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES

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Gruesome Playground Injuries marks the Canadian premiere production of Pulitzer Prize Finalist Rajiv Joseph’s play. Opening tonight at The Theatre Centre, Gruesome Playground Injuries explores the lives of two people over the course of thirty years, while closely looking at the various scars and physical calamities that continually draw them together.

The play was born out of an idea to explore how injuries can mark our personal relationships, and attempts to answer bigger questions relating to how we get hurt when it comes to matters of the heart. The two lead characters both have scars, some psychological and others more physical, which serve to landmark their interactions throughout the course of their thirty year relationship.

Directed by Stefan Dzeparoski, the show stars Peter Mooney and Janet Porter as Doug and Kayleen, the conflicted couple whose injuries are explored. The two actors spoke with BWW in a no holds barred Q&A about love, loss and matters of the heart:

Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all?

JP: No question. This makes me think of all the loves I've had in my life, and how they have helped form me into the person I am now. Without them, who knows what kind of human I'd be. Probably a pretty boring one...

PM: Absolutely.

If given the choice to lead a lonely life with no heartbreak, or a life with someone else filled with heartbreak, which would you prefer?

JP: This is like one of those questions, "Would you rather eat poop for dinner for the rest of your life, or stab your mom in the eyes with a fork?" I guess I choose heartbreak! It sucks. I've been there, but I wrote songs and poetry. That was kind of neat.

PM: The words 'lonely' and 'filled' are throwing me. I couldn't choose either. They're at opposite ends of the scale, for sure, but both suggest an equally deep unhappiness. If I had my druthers I'd exchange a little loss to have lived with love but if faced with the extremity of these two choices I'd bail and head straight for a Buddhist monastery in the mountains.

Do you believe that there is one perfect person out there for everyone?

JP: No, I don't. Part of me thinks I should be saying yes, because I just got married this past fall. However, I think there are many options out there for everyone... it's about timing, circumstance and commitment.

PM: There's seven-some-odd-billion of us so if that's true we're fucked. Chances of us ever bumping into them are virtually nil.

What was the best thing that a significant other ever did for you? What was the worst?

JP: The best is easy. My husband, Andrew, was a professional cyclist when we first met and 3 months into our relationship he had to go away to do a race in Cuba. He warned me that the race was very remote and that he wouldn't be able to communicate with me for two solid weeks. While he was away, I started receiving handwritten letters from him in the mail, telling me all about his experiences in Cuba. He had prewritten letters based on his experiences the year before at that race and gave them to his dad to mail to me throughout the month he was gone. The worst is also easy. I found out a guy I was dating was dating other people at the same time. That sucked.

PM: Hmmn... I'll save that one for myself.

Would you rather risk your heart or your head?

JP: I think my husband would be pretty upset if I lost either of those things.

PM: Wouldn’t both be fatal?

Do you have any physical scars that were the result of a tumultuous love?

JP: Nope, all of my scars are from my own personal risk taking. I've always been very accident prone.

PM: Numerous third degree burns. It was an accident.

In matters of the heart, is it truly the thought that counts? Why or why not?

JP: Absolutely. I'm one of those people who hates Christmas lists and registries. I'd rather someone put great thought into something, even if it's something I didn't want.

PM: Sometimes. But that adage has fallen prey to the lazy and insincere. I do employ it when I cook for someone though. The thought is always more delicious than the dish I've so lovingly burnt.

Do you believe that love conquers all?

JP: I think it definitely has a fighting chance.

PM: I wish. I think it can. But all too often greed, bigamy and fear win out. Love's a hell of a match against them though.

In the mix-tape of your life what song would mark the beginning, the middle, and the end?

JP: The beginning of my life? 1978 was a good year for music. It's really tough to choose between Rolling Stones' "Beast of Burden" and Boney M's "Rasputin". As for the middle, I hope I'm not quite there yet, but if I had to choose a song for my life right now, it would have to be something Canadian. I'm going to go with "Robots" by Dan Mangan. The end of my life will be "So Far Around the Bend" by The National.

PM: I'm really hoping I'm still a good decade or two away from the middle, and who knows what music will be like then. The beginning's probably FrEd Penner and I'll save The Dubliners 'The Parting Glass' for the - hopefully very distant - last track.

When and Where?

Gruesome Playground Injuries

May 3rd – May 13th

The Theatre Centre

For tickets call 416.538.0988 or go online: www.birdlandtheatre.com

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Kelly Cameron Kelly Cameron's love affair with the theatre began when she was just five years old, on an outing to see the Original Canadian Cast of Les Miserables at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. She instantly fell in love, and is honoured to be representing the Toronto contingent of BroadwayWorld as Senior Editor overseeing the GTA region.

Her writing career started almost by accident, though it has always been in her blood as her Mom was an English teacher who firmly believed in the importance of being able to turn a phrase. She also loved sharing her love of theatre with her students (and her children), and was a staunch supporter of the arts in Toronto.

When not at the theatre, you can usually find Kelly with a Starbucks in one hand and her BlackBerry in the other, tweeting, reading or doing something quirky and clumsy for the sake of getting that next big story.

She's incredibly grateful to the amazing Toronto theatre community who have embraced her with open arms, giving her the greatest gift a little redheaded theatre geek could ever ask for - getting to be a part of this vibrant arts and culture scene. She may have never had the skills to be on the stage, but is thankful every day she gets to write about the inspiring people who do.

Headshot photo by Racheal McCaig www.rachealmccaigphotography.com


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