November 27, 2015
Behind the Curtain: Anana Rydvald (Love, Child)
Writer and performer in Love, Child
QDF: Tell us a bit about the play
Anana: Love, Child is about a mother and a daughter. The main character is Lina. She is about to become a mother who needs to revisit her past in order to come to a place of forgiveness. There were a lot of abandonment issues in the relationship, a lot of wounds but a lot of love too. Lina wants to be ready to take on the role of motherhood, but wants to make sure she is no longer holding on to things from the past.
There are seven characters in all that are played with masks, and then there is me (Lina) who is played without a mask. The only character that comes back four times in the show is the mother because she is the central character of the play. The show’s theme is healing, going beyond the hurt and forgiving, loving one another again. Mother-daughter relationships are very delicate; I have kids myself. Your mother is your first love as a child, if there is hurt in your heart it stays with you. Lina makes the same mistakes with men as her mother, so she ends up going down the same path too, where there is some abuse as well. What I hope the audience takes away from this is that you can get through it, learn from your mistakes and move on. I hope people will relate to the subject matter even if it’s not their story, as we all have a private relationship with our parents. The story can be very dark at times, so the masks make it light, to even it out. Mask characters are endearing and funny, however there is one mask character that may not be so endearing (Anana laughs) but the rest are funny. I like playing with text that can be dark but having mask characters that can make the subject lighter.
QDF: Why did you choose to do a one-person show?
Anana: I did so because I love that private creative place you get into when writing a play and all the characters live so fully within me. It’s not completely biographical but it’s definitely inspired by my life. I am focusing on one part of the story. I’ve changed some characters from female to male and I’m in different places demographically but it definitely stems from some memories I have. As I write the play the masks that I’ve created start to work on my imagination and it’s almost as if they start talking on their own and telling me what to say. It feels natural; I feel like I should be doing this because they’ve been living inside of me for a long time.
Creating masks, writing and producing a show does take a lot of energy though. I’ve thought maybe I’ll hire a 20 year old actress next time to do all of this (Anana laughs).
QDF: Is this the first one-person show you’ve done?
Anana: No, I did a one-woman show 10 years ago called Section O it was about five women in a mental institution, it was quite funny, but it was tragic at times. It seems like I’m going to do a mask show every 10 years (Anana laughs) I would like to make a mask trilogy, maybe in 10 years I’ll do the third and last piece. In a way I see Love, Child as a connection to my previous mask show. In the previous show, it was about a girl who suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was only 12 years old, and in this show I see the grown up version of this girl who is now trying to become a mother. Even though the names are different, I do see a connection.
QDF: Why did you choose to do this play, what specifically attracted you?
Anana: It attracts me because I now have kids myself and I watch other parents and see how demanding it is, everyone tries their best to give their children a happy and secure life. To have kids is to hold a mirror up to yourself; you have to be honest with your life and about yourself. You can’t ever extract the pain or scars but you can be aware of them and try to make better choices for your future. What inspires me, is seeing communities of mothers, fathers and children connect. One of the most important things to do is to create a happy child, it’s the best thing we can do for our planet. It is a hard balance; we want to live our lives and follow our dreams but be there for our kids at the same time. In this story the mother went full out in following her dreams, which is a great inspiration but had a lot of aftermath in terms of how she left her kids in some very precarious situations. We are here to find ourselves but if you have children you really have to find that balance between following your dreams and making your children happy. This can be very hard.
QDF: This play involves different masks; tell us a few pros and cons on working with masks
Anana: Pros are that as soon as you put on the mask you modulate your voice and physicality to meet the mask, and it’s so exciting because you can be instantly transformed within seconds, even your thoughts change. It’s a crazy imaginative state of being when you’re acting; it’s a wonderful playful way of acting. That’s the part I love most about the masks. There is no hiding; you’re just all out there. Cons are that it demands so much energy and you need to meet that energy, if you don’t it can fall flat; the mask can die on you. You have to be fully committed, which does demand a lot of energy in that sense. I can feel it; I have to squeeze every little drop of my energy out to fill out these seven different characters. After this play I will probably sleep for two weeks (Anana laughs)
QDF:Would you work with the masks again?
Anana: Yes, I love masks; I’m just so in love with working with masks. It’s so liberating and I come from a physical background. I trained in classical ballet for many years, then went into acting. The first time I studied mask work was with John Turrell and I immediately fell in love, it’s just something that I fell in to, that fit like a glove. Mask characters are so physical, and I had a physical background to begin with, so it just felt right. Then after I left theatre school and started acting, I didn’t do work with masks for awhile. I started becoming self-conscious in my work so I enrolled in a clown school where they taught mask work for a year. It always brings me back to what’s most important in acting, and that is a state of playfulness, finding that inner joy, and for me that is working with masks.
QDF: Looking forward is there a dream project you have in mind?
Anana: I love performance art and acting. I believe any part I am offered is a dream part, seeing it as a new opportunity, new ways to discover a character that you didn’t know exist within yourself. Everything that comes along I get excited about.
QDF: What motivates you to create stories and act?
Anana: I feel like I just have to, I don’t feel like I’m a writer, I write because I feel this pressure that I have to release. It’s not a mental choice; it’s almost like a need, a furious need, like a fire. I just have to do it. I don’t think about an audience looking at it, until here I am now! (Anana laughs) I’m here sharing it but that is the reward, getting to share the story with people, and the best part is people get something out of it that you didn’t anticipate. I’m excited to see how people respond to it, in their own way.
QDF: Why do you think folks should get out and see this play, and what would you like the audience to leave feeling after seeing your show?
Anana: I want the audience to think about their own parents, the way they are as a parent. If they were a mask character which character would they be? I’m always intrigued by masks, we’re so complex so it can be messy sometimes, it can be hard to see who we really are but masks bring that very archetypal quality that we all have in us. If you look at it at a very archetypal way it becomes quite clear who people are, if you can see your parents as a mask character it helps you forgive them if they hurt you, or other people in your life. It helps to see people through the eyes of a mask character- as an archetypal individual. Life becomes more fun in that way. It isn’t as heavy; we can laugh at ourselves and other people, but not in a mean way. I use a quote from Joseph Campbell Find a place inside where there is joy, and let the joy burn out the pain. This is what I find the play is about, that there is a lot of pain but there is a lot of joy in the characters, it’s through the joy and through being able to laugh that we can overcome our pain.
Anana will be performing in her show Love, Child
From November 25th to December 6th
Produced by Infinitheatre