Naomi Wright is a UBC grad and takes on the role of Goneril in this year’s Shakespeare in High Park presentation of King Lear (as well as the role of Olivia in Twelfth Night). Now in its 35th year, Shakespeare in High Park is Canada’s longest-running outdoor theatre experience.
This year’s presentation of King Lear will see it reimagined from a female perspective. As a method of dividing her kingdom in three-parts, Queen Lear demands that her daughters (Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia) compete in declarations of their love for her. Misjudging her children’s loyalty, she soon finds herself in the middle of a civil war, stripped of her family, kingdom and crown.
We caught up with Naomi this week.
SDTC: What should we be paying more attention to?
NW: I’m guilty of living in an echo chamber of my own opinions, and after the American election I felt pretty blind-sided and listless. I think to actually effect change we have to try to understand how our political opposites have come to hold the opinions they do. The stakes are too high to be this divided. And of course that’s easier said than done.
I refuse to take steps backwards on issues like gender parity, racial equality, LGBTQIA rights, and protecting the environment, so understanding an opposing opinion is challenging. But without figuring out the logic or motivation of those differing opinions, we’ll never create lasting change.
What was the last Netflix series you binged on?
Please Like Me – it’s hilarious and devastating.
One new thing you learned this year?
I learned to tap the Shim Sham.
What memory brings a smile to your face?
My nephew and nieces laughing until they are red in the face.
What book/song/lyric/etc is resonating with you right now?
Right now I’m reading Carlo Rovelli’s Reality is Not What it Seems, which is about Quantum Gravity. And while I am nowhere near intelligent enough to really understand it, I appreciate how little it makes me feel in the grand scheme.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t take things personally and find the humour in everything.
What is the best part of being your current age?
Having so many variations of family: my literal awesome family, and groups of friends I’ve known long enough to consider family.
What word or phrase should we use more often?
What’s on your night stand?
Books, a china plate with a horse painted on it – for my jewelry, a Moroccan lamp.
What one item would you be lost without (besides your phone)?
Your biggest theatre pet peeve?
Lack of funding (and those super crinkly wrappers).
What trends are you loving right now?
Post-Trump Feminism. And ballet-inspired fitness classes.
Who was your celebrity crush when you were a kid?
What play will you never be sick of?
Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Shakespeare in High Park is a PWYC event and runs June 29-September 3 at High Park Amphitheatre. Get tickets here.