A founding member of Jest in Time, Mary Ellen MacLean, is an award-winning actress with many theatre, TV and film credits. Her one-woman play, Frankie, received wide acclaim on stages across Canada and aired on Bravo TV. Her recent movement play,Velocipede, using 21 bicycles, 7 dancers and actresses - played to sold out audiences here in Halifax in May 2006 as part of Live Art Dance Productions.

20 Questions With… Mary Ellen MacLean

The East Coast invasion continues this month with Frankie, a one-woman show written and performed by Halifax entertainer Mary Ellen MacLean.

The comedic drama takes place at a high school reunion where memories begin to roll in like the tidewater in the Bay of Fundy. Performing eight different characters each full of surprises, Mary Ellen MacLean? relives the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of growing up gay in Nova Scotia as a woman searching for her own voice and identity.

In a playful game of 20 Questions, Mary Ellen MacLean leaves little up to the imagination.

  1. What was your nickname in high school? I didn’t really have a nickname in high school but I did in junior high. It was Buckle Bum. I got this name playing basketball. It just wore off.
  2. Growing up, what posters did you have on your bedroom wall? The Commadores, Fleetwood Mac and some wildlife posters.
  3. Did you play sports as a kid? Yes, I played a lot of sports as a kid. Hockey (only girl in the league), ringette, basketball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, baseball and softball. I remember that it saved my life because I was so wired as a kid I needed to burn off energy. School was very hard for me but doing sports helped me deal with the difficulties of it. I will always remember being at the First National Ringette Championships where we received sportsmanship award for the Jr. Belles.
  4. Were your parents strict? No they weren’t but it was very clear that when they said ‘no’ that is exactly what they meant. If Dad said no, Mum felt the same way. If Mum said no, Dad felt the same way. We had rules we had to obey and chores we had to do but I had a great time growing up and a lot fun with my parents. Now that’s not to say I wasn’t a jerky teenager who drove her parents crazy.
  5. What was your first concert? My first concert was Trooper at the Halifax Forum. I wasn’t really into Trooper’s music but it was the idea of going to a concert that I was interested in. Not a lot of bands would come to Halifax. I went with my friend Malcolm and we had to buy gum to hide the smell of Vodka on our breath. What I remember the most is the l-o-n-g walk home to Dartmouth over the MacDonald? Bridge (the Old Bridge) in the freezing cold because we missed the ferry and the bus.
  6. What was the first job you've ever had? My first job was mowing the neighbor’s lawn and doing general clean up as well looking after her dogs when she went away. At that time I also worked in the mall at pizza joint, which made you wear T-shirts that were too tight for you and your bra strap would show. This was something I always feared would happen to me—and it did. I didn’t last long. It was terrible pizza.
  7. Who was the first person you were sexually attracted to? My friend in Jr. high because she was interesting and very cute.
  8. How old were you when you had your first kiss and what do you remember about it? I had my first kiss when I was 10 or so. I liked it and looked forward to more, which for many years disappointed me until I started kissing girls.
  9. What do you remember about the first time getting drunk? Bad idea.
  10. What is the hardest thing about being a woman? There isn’t
  11. What did you want to be growing up? A performer.
  12. Who were your childhood heroes? My sister, my brothers, Carol Burnett, Bugs Bunny, Popeye and my dog Koko.
  13. When did you realize that you'd grown up? When I was asked to do this questionnaire.
  14. What did you believe in at 18 that you wish that you'd believe in now? That life would become less complicated.
  15. What is the best advice your parents ever gave you? Be honest, do what you want in life and enjoy yourself.
  16. What have you done that you will never do again? Punch someone in the face.
  17. What is the best lie you ever told? That’s a secret.
  18. What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you? Going in for day surgery and having to wait a whole week to get the results.
  19. If somebody made a movie about your life, whom would you want to playyou? Me! Because there is not enough good roles for actresses in film.