Andrea Menard: a profile, I create a world and live in it
By Marjorie Beaucage
with permission from
Singer, actor, songwriter I am sitting at the Second Cup, in conversation with Andrea Menard, after the Matinee performance of Cruel Tears. She is now in rehearsal by day for another show and in performance by night. And she still has a bundle of energy! The play Governor of the Dew, written by Floyd Favel will be her first one-woman show. All her skills as a storyteller, singer and actor will be called upon as she tells of the visitation of an Old Beaver and the life lessons of love, responsibility and forgiveness.
Andrea studied Education at university, thinking she might teach drama. There she found out that you can do this for a living!! While at university, she also performed with the band H'r attitude. "Angie Tyson was the first woman I knew who did this with a feminist twist", says Andrea.
First acting job was in Sacred Places written by Joe Welsh and performed at 25th Street Theatre. She would love to do more Aboriginal scripts because the women characters are more than the traditional whore, virgin, mother stereotypes found in conventional drama. Real, ugly, tough, funny, and courageous woman with range and depth are what she sees and would like to portray.
"Acting is intellectual work filled with intense emotions. I become so different....I create a world on the stage for that time and I live in it." In Cruel Tears she is Debbie Lou. She never lived in that time but takes on a 1970's mind. Her line about being a liberated lady...reverberates with the fact that women could then say "Yes" and it also holds the nineties message that women can say "No".
As the conversation unfolds, I discover that she is also in production on her first CD: Velvet Devil a jazz and blues collection that she has written. Ms. Menard is originally from Winnipeg and her dad was a singer there. They performed at a lot of Metis gatherings!
Andrea says, "I was given the songs, I had never written songs before. The lyrics came first and the story fell into place." She leans across the coffee table and softly sings The Mother Song for me. A soul-full gift. A song about a mother who is gone but still here in the song. It reminded me of that old classic, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child" in the feelings the song held.
And then, another surprise: coming soon to a theatre near you, hot from Regina Beach: Skipped Parts a Hollywood Trimark movie with Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It's a coming of age story and Andrea Menard plays a waitress.
With such a diversity of expression, Andrea has been able to make a living with her talents. "I can do what I love and expand in all directions. I also go into classrooms as an artist." Her enthusiasm and positiveness continue to take her forward. She believes and so she can do.
Andrea is always looking for new ways to do her work, to learn from different directors and styles of theatre. She dreams of working all across this country, and of playing Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf" when she is older of course! And Shakespeare women... She can be seen in the Saskatoon Christmas show as a Singer in "Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan."
This young woman is going places! We're cheering for her.
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