Fraser Elsdon is an actor, writer, director and filmmaker. He has appeared in dozens of productions on stages across the country, including The Globe Theatre in Regina, Theatre Northwest in Prince George, and The Grand Theatre in London, as well as Toronto Fringe and Summerworks. He wrote and directed the play Vacant (2012), and was part of the inaugural Storefront Theatre Playwrights Unit, developing his play Superheroes. He is the writer and director of three short films and is currently at work on his first novel. Fraser is a graduate of the University of Toronto and George Brown Theatre School.
When did you first think of yourself as an artist?
It’s an ongoing realization. I’ve often thought of an artist as someone who is either super skilled at their craft or makes money at it or both, so a lot of the time I feel like a person who is struggling to one day be an artist. Having said that, there are times when I’m doing something that feels true and fresh, when the few skills I have acquired come to bear, and it feels damn good. One of the first such times was when, in a fifth grade talent show, I played ‘Basket Case’ by Green Day on the recorder. The most recent time was today in rehearsal when I connected with some text and my scene partner.
Who helped you develop your voice as an artist?
I once took a playwriting class with Paula Wing. Highly recommend. Also, if you’ve never seen Dawson’s Creek do yourself a favour.
What’s something that’s inspired you this week?
As research for Mary’s Wedding Kate and I watched the recent First World War documentary ‘They Shall Not Grow Old.’ Peter Jackson took old black and white footage from the war and did all sorts of fancy movie magic to it to make it feel contemporary, and he paired it with snippets of archival BBC interviews with veterans from the war. The war was, obviously, hell on earth but somehow the soldiers managed to occasionally smile, laugh, support their fellow soldiers. I was inspired by the flashes of warmth and humanity in the midst of that nightmare.
What’s your favourite restaurant in the city to visit?
God, I love those cheddar and spinach waffles at Lady Marmalade. They’re the stuff dreams are made of. The new space on Broadview is stunning and inviting in a grand sort of way, but I’ll always have a soft spot for that cramped, quaint room on Queen Street.
What do you want to see more of on Toronto stages?
I loved Kat Sandler’s run at Storefront. (Can I call it that?) I always knew the plays were going to be very funny, satisfyingly dramatic, a bit touching, with good structure and solid acting. I think she’s moved on to slay bigger dragons, but I’m always happy to see plays with that blend of light and dark, sad and funny. Those are the plays that to me feel like life, elevated