Cathy Jones is well-known as a member of the famed Codco troupe and as a star of CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes. This week, her play “Stranger to Hard Work” will run from the 26-30th at the LSPU Hall, with a 2pm matinee on the 29th. It’ll also take place Nov. 5th in Labrador’s Arts & Culture Centre.
The LSPU Hall is promoting the play as a “hilarious and thought-provoking show; a combination of stand-up comedy and theatrical, poetic scenes that lets us look at what Cathy has learned in life so far.”
Directed by Ann-Marie Kerr, this play has been touring all over Canada, and The Halifax Chronicle Herald raved that “One of Canada’s top comedians, Cathy Jones, bares her soul in a seemingly erratic but brilliant performance guaranteed to deliver belly laughs and lots of them.”
Jones is happy to be at The Hall for this week’s run of the play. Before doing Codco & Sold out shows there, she recalls getting her start in Live Soap. “In ‘82 I got busy there, and I started doing things,” she said. “One of my favourite things was the Live Soap.”
She and Janet Spence would write 40 minutes of a show every week. “She’d write long hand, write the whole thing out, we’d improvise on a tape recorder, the different characters and what they were saying, we had this amazing cast of characters in it, we’d have it written by Friday and run it through the copy machine, all the actors would get their scripts and Saturday night we’d do it … It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.”
As for the origins of her new play, Stranger to Hard Work, she says she ran into director Ann-Marie Kerr at the Eastern Front Theatre and thought, “she’s really cool … [and] I have so few opportunities to be one on one directed,” and the new play spun out of that.
“Ann-Marie was really interesting, she never said ‘you know we are opening in a week,’ her eyes were glowing and I would improvise stuff, and she would record it on her phone and go home and type it up, I mean that’s like heaven.”
In a way, the new play is about Cathy’s relationship with herself. So things should get funny, given that she is – or at least has joked that she is – writing a self-help book called Get Help You Sick Fuck.
“I have often been horribly inept at doing the things that I want to do, hung on to the TV show for security, and I feel like an idiot because of it, I haven’t been brave enough to break away, but it means a lot to me to have gotten this show done, especially where it is a show that I like. I really do like it.”
Her loving it has a lot to do with the timing of it. “Back in the day, I was offered gigs everywhere and I wasn’t ready for them. Now I have this show, and I love it, and have it off my heart.”