‘Tent Meeting’ is Blair Young's first show in Rosebud, and he “couldn’t be happier!” Recent theatre credits include: ‘The Selkie Wife’ (Wayward Artists), ‘Of Mice and Men’ (Spirit Fire Theatre) and ‘War of the Worlds’ (Workshop Theatre). Television credits include ‘Fargo’, ‘Bluff!’, and the wonderfully named Otis Spong in ‘Hell on Wheels’. You can also hear Blair in the occasional radio commercial or see him acting sick for U of C Medical students as a standardized patient. He’s also president of ACTRA Alberta (the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists) representing 22,000 professional performers across Canada, with over 740 of them living right here in Alberta.
Where do you call home?
I was born in Montreal, moved to Toronto while still in diapers, and then my wife’s job brought us to Calgary 11 years ago, so I’m definitely a big city boy! This summer I’ve been living in Rosebud from Wednesday through Sunday, then back home to my girls for the early part of the week. Loving the peaceful, scenic surroundings of Rosebud!
What’s your must-have morning ritual?
I have been resistant to coffee drinking for years. But then I was working on the TV show, Fargo, in the coldest Calgary winter in decades and had brews of a tiny amount of coffee, then the rest of the cup was hot chocolate. But I don’t really like hot drinks. So now every morning starts with a travel mug consisting of a third of cold coffee mixed with chocolate milk. My wife likes it because coffee is never wasted in our house. Any extras go in the fridge for me!
Done any good summer reading? Netflix series?
I have discovered a fantastic American writer named Jonathan Evison. Check out The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving (it has become a great little film with Paul Rudd) and This is Your Life Harriet Chance. A sobering novel about aging and what’s really important in life. As for Netflix… Stranger Things. That’s all need be said.
What do you listen to driving from Calgary to Rosebud?
I have been taking out CD’s from the library to check out either music I missed, or other albums from bands I already know. Rediscovering Alan Parsons Project (honestly, every album by them is fantastic) and unearthing the immensely talent classical music boy band 2Cellos. They do rock hits on electric cello, as well as several amazing feats of dexterity of their own creation. In2ition is a great album. Really cool!
In ‘Tent Meeting’, you play Pastor Ernest Douglas, a man with an earnest heart who’s also the focus of some good-natured teasing. Does he feel a bit like the youngest brother? What’s his secret to being so good-natured?
I wouldn’t say little brother, but he’s definitely the outsider. He’s trying so hard to be the ecumenical go-to guy for everyone, and his experience is, the more flowery the language, the better. I’m not sure he’s so good-natured either! He’s just trying to be accepted and liked, so he’s hesitant to make any waves and goes along with whatever the boys say. When he finally does something right... the worm starts to turn, and then he finally accepts that speaking from the heart and not the head is the right way to go.
Are there any roles (for TV or the stage) you’d love to take a crack at?
I would love to do a musical called City of Angels, and pretty much anything with a Sondheim score! [For television] along the West Wing/Scrubs/How I Met Your Mother vein. Fast paced, highly sarcastic, and hopefully intelligent scripts. (I’m a sucker for a fast-paced dramedy.) Any writers reading this?
What’s the difference between the television and theatre audition room?
Theatre auditions are more grueling, but more friendly and forgiving. In the television audition, it often feels as though your appearance is the most important factor. You get used to that, and just wait for the role they can’t imagine anyone else doing.
Any pre-show / post-show rituals?
The only pre-show ritual (which I brought to Tent Meeting where it was very enthusiastically received and is now done before every performance) is a pinkie-swear kind of thing, accompanied by “Good show.” I know. We actors are wacky.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
It’s one I try to think of every time I’m about to go on stage. "Have fun!"
Lastly, you’ve spent the summer harmonizing with a crew of talented musicians and singers. What’s been the best part?
Singing great songs to an incredibly receptive audience that has given us a standing-O almost every show. Exhilarating!