Candace Woodland, a graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts, is delighted to reprise her role as Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show. Though she is currently working towards her Bachelor of Sociology, Candace is still in love with theatre. Some of her favourite roles have included Puck in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew, Constanze in Amadeus, and Helen of Troy in The Penelopiad.
Candace took the time to answer some questions from us about her first experience with Rocky, her excitement about touring, and her other interest - sociology!
Q: What’s the best thing about being a theatre artist?
A: It’s quite possible that the best thing about being a theatre artist is the wonderful, surprising opportunities that this career tends to throw into one’s path. Because of my art, I’ve had the chance to explore parts of myself I’d never considered before as I adapt to new and challenging roles. I’ve been able to learn discipline and dedication in the way only a two week rehearsal process can demand. I’ve had the opportunity to spend entire summers performing outside in the setting sun and under the stars for a bunch of people eating picnics and cuddling under blankets. And now, I get to fly to the Yukon to perform The Rocky Horror Show with a company I co-founded with a group of my friends. It’s unbelievably exciting. On top of all this, I get to bond with new people constantly, and basically play dress up all the time. It’s like Halloween comes four or five times a year. And, of course, the thrill of making audience members laugh or cry is one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever experienced.
Q: What would you do if you were not a theatre artist?
A: I can’t really imagine not being involved in the arts at all. I’m actually also a full time student in Sociology right now, so I’d probably still be doing that. But I don’t think I would enjoy it as much. I love school because it’s an opportunity for me to be quiet and introverted and work on my own in the day times, while my nights are filled with extroversion, excitement, and tons of group work. I think it’s the balance of the two that I love. So, probably just wouldn’t be as happy if I wasn’t an artist.
Q: What is the most memorable response you’ve ever experienced to your work?
A: Definitely my most memorable experience was during the first time I performed in The Rocky Horror Show, two years ago in Victoria BC. I played Columbia (as I still do now). The theatre was completely sold out, and the crowd was wild, but I didn’t fully understand how into it they were until “Time Warp” started playing and they just lost it. I remember that my tap solo (which I’d worked pretty hard on, since I’m definitely not an advanced tapper) was completely drowned out by screaming and cheering. I was so overwhelmed by their excitement – it felt like a huge wall of their positive energy just slammed right into my chest – that I actually had a split second where I teared up because it felt so incredibly joyful and interactive, and I had to snap back into character and keep performing. Actually, playing Columbia in general for the past three years has just been amazingly memorable. The responses I get, both on stage and off, are so positive and filled with such excitement. I think that’s a neat thing that Rocky Horror does that not all shows do; it creates this fandom of people who are excited beyond belief to be a part of the show both on stage and off.
Q: Are you excited about touring?
A: YES! Personally, I’ve never toured before. I graduated from theatre school five years ago, and I’ve had a lot of luck performing in my own home town – plus, I’m back in school for Sociology – so touring hasn’t been an opportunity for me until now. Travel is my second favourite thing in the world (next to theatre) so I can’t wait to combine the two! It just feels so neat to be able to share our show with an entirely new group of people. Plus, it’s an added bonus that my first tour is also with the company I co-founded. I am so incredibly proud to be a part of creating our company, RKO, and this show. To be able to tour it so soon is such an amazing treat.
Q: When was the first time you saw Rocky Horror?
A: Technically, I first saw Rocky Horror when I was in high school. I remember liking the feeling it gave me, but since I watched it alone in my mom’s basement, it wasn’t much of a social experience so it didn’t make a lasting impression on me. Fast forward almost a decade, and I was auditioning for The Rocky Horror Show (with a different company) without remembering the movie very much at all. They had me read for Columbia, and, to be honest, I barely knew who she was, so I just guessed at what she should be like! Right after my audition, I went to my friend Erica’s house, and she couldn’t believe that I’d just auditioned for Rocky without realizing what an amazing show it was, so she put on the movie right away. I remember sitting on her couch, drinking tea, and thinking “This movie is AMAZING! Why did I let myself go to that audition so unprepared?!?”. Luck was on my side, and I landed the role despite my lack of research. I was SO happy when I was offered Columbia! She’s been my favourite alter ego ever since.
Q: What was the process of working on the show like?
A: t’s been really interesting this year because about three quarters of our cast are reprising our roles from last year, and some of us are even reprising our roles for the third time. I think this gave us an advantage. We already had the framework of the show down, so we were able to get really specific and add a lot of depth to our characters, at least for ourselves. We have such a great team on this show, so most of the time we’re laughing our way through rehearsal. It’s really been a blast.
Q: What was the response in Victoria?
A; Victoria loved our show both this year and last year. We’ve had amazing support from our community, and a super positive response. It feels so good to leave the theatre and walk past groups of people raving about the show, or singing the songs that are still stuck in their heads. It’s so fun to know we’ve created this awesome event for so many people to enjoy!
Q: What was the best / most fun part of working on the show?
A: think the most fun part of working on the show has been the ability to take a character whom I’ve played a few times before, and try some completely new things. Working with Britt (our director) really pushed me way out of my comfort zone, and I find these moments in the show that I never would have on my own, or when I first played Columbia back in 2013. I love that I have the chance to take a new stab at a character I absolutely love – and I think the rest of my team feels the same way about their characters! Coming back to a role you’ve previously played is such a treat; there is always more to discover.