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VanMag: What is it like coming back to Ariel?
Jennifer Lines: There’s so much less anxiety this time-though physically, it’s been six years and I’ve had a baby and I’m trying to do weights and get strong again. It’s a bigger stage now-my movements have to be much bigger.
VM: How did you get your acting start?
JL: I grew up in Midway, B.C., on a ranch. I was actually thinking of going to military college because my brother was in the military, but then I got this scholarship to UVic and my parents were supportive. I thought, I can do this.
VM: Has Shakespeare always been natural for you?
JL: I definitely had to practise. I cried after some of my classes, out of pure frustration. And then something just clicked. I was studying Romeo and Juliet and all of a sudden I understood the love that she was talking about and it fit into a thought process. Once the language becomes your own, people will listen to you.
VM: Has Bard had its low points?
JL: Yes! I was playing Portia in Julius Caesar. I had given Scott Bellis a kiss, and Scott had his foot on the back of my train, so I face-planted. I scrambled up and did some sort of deep movement towards him, then ran off the stage mortified. Another one: my petticoat came off in Merry Wives of Windsor. Another actress kept saying, “Oh mistress forgive me, you’ve come undone. You are undone!” and I kind of looked down and my petticoat really had come undone!
VM: Was that her ad lib?
JL: No, it was her actual line! I’d been found out, so I’d “come undone.” The audience was howling and it was a big fun mess. At first, there’s that crushing feeling, but it’s also a victorious feeling if you figure out how to get out of the mess.
VM: Did those mishaps cost you any tears?
JL: I was upset about my Portia. Scott didn’t see it at all, but I was humiliated. I came off and did cry. It was a really solid funk. One great thing about Bard-and the humiliating thing as well-was back in the day, the gates weren’t as thick. Once, a duck came onstage during Antony and Cleopatra, looked at the audience, and wandered away again. It’s an outdoor venue. We can’t control everything. We’ve had bats fly into the tent and teenagers outside screaming “Romeo, Romeo!” Or the party boats go by, playing Cantopop or hip-hop as you’re crying over your dead lover. It’s just…On with the show.
VM: What’s your favorite moment in The Tempest?
JL: When we honour the marriage of Ferdinand and Miranda, we sing this beautiful song. Meg Roe, the director, created music for it, and it’s really lovely. There are bubbles and it just builds and builds.