Maja Ardal is one of those triple-threat theatre artists who can act, write and direct with equal finesse. This week, the fearless former artistic director of Young People's Theatre remounts her 2006 SummerWorks hit solo show, You Fancy Yourself, about an Icelandic immigrant childhood in Scotland. See Opening.
What did you learn from the first production of You Fancy Yourself?
That I've still got the chops to fling myself onstage and into character. Once an actor, always an actor!
What's different this time around?
I've got enough history with the show that I can relax and enjoy what the audience is giving back to me. I even leave a couple of moments to chance.
Any Icelandic delicacies we should know about?
When I was a child in Scotland, my mother missed an Icelandic staple - sheeps' faces. So she went to the butcher and had him give her the sheeps' heads. She sawed them in half, burned off the wool and boiled them for our dinner. To this day, the smell of burning wool makes my mouth water.
Funniest post-show audience comment?
A teenager came to see the show with her high school and I overheard her say: "I was trying to sleep during that woman's play, but she kept doing things that made me want to peek. I'm fucking exhausted."
What would the play's narrator, Elsa, think of the show?
She'd think: "I thought Fiona Reid would be best for the role of me, but Ardal's got something. I'll let her do the movie."
Strangest misspelling of your name?
When I was artistic director at Young Peoples Theatre, I saw a memo that mentioned "the Majatollah." Probably just a slip of the pen.
Winter survival tips?
You're never too old to go tobogganing. Just make sure you go to the washroom first. There's something about falling face first in the snow that makes a person lose it.
Message for President Obama?
"Have another think about gay marriage. You're elected now - you can take the risk! Go on!!"
Message for PM Harper?
"Bring back those fabulous grants that stimulated work in the arts during the 1970s and gave birth to so many theatre companies. Go on! Take the risk!!"