Bachelor of Arts, History, 1998
The Pit … smelled quite gross, like stale beer, and yet I had this overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to be there.
Thanks to Margaret Evans, Maggie to her friends, there is a gang of American actors who know all about toques and poutine.
Maggie and two fellow King’s grads, Graeme Gillis (BJH ’95) and Jeff Margolis (BA ’98) were working on their master's degrees at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York.
“We were like the three musketeers from King’s who ended up in New York,” Maggie recalls. “Those friendships were really important in that phase of my life.”
While they helped their American classmates learn the intricacies of Canadian fashion and cuisine they were busy developing their acting and playwriting chops. All this in a school affiliated with the famous Actors Studio currently being run by Al Pacino, Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel.
Acting had long been a passion of Maggie’s. She had been on stage in high school and the King’s Theatrical Society (KTS) was a real incentive for her to come to King’s. She remembers her first trip to the campus.
“I remember the tour that I took with my mom and a friend. “We walked into The Pit and it smelled quite gross, like stale beer, and yet I had this overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to be there. I really wanted to make theatre there.”
And she did - from Shakespeare to playing Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But it was the second show she did with the KTS that had a long lasting impact. It was written by Graeme Gillis. Jeff Margolis was in it as well. It was the origin of the three Canadian musketeers.
Maggie would act again in a Graeme Gillis play. She played the role of Anna in The Moon Bath Girl. She originated and developed that role from its infancy, using her performance as her Master’s thesis. A few years later Maggie and Jeff Margolis produced the play in Toronto.
Maggie spent three years at the Actors Studio Drama School, then a year to see if she could make it as an actor in the Big Apple. That year was 2001. The year of the attacks on the World Trade Centre. Maggie was a kilometer away, across the Hudson River.
“For a lot of artists in New York it was a difficult time to figure out where your place was in the ecology of the city. How can we go out and have fun and do a show when this just happened,” she recalls.
Shortly after, Maggie moved to Toronto, acting and then producing plays. She’s still doing that, making a living by doing what she has always loved. And in a way she attributes some of her success to the academic side of King’s.
“One of the most important parts of acting is being able to make your own choices, then create your own journey in a role, your own path within a play. The Foundation Year Program (FYP) encouraged us to think for ourselves and find our own way through it.”
Posted: Apr. 2016