Stage Actor Hazel Parsons Returns to Acting

Actor Hazel Parsons [© Photos by Phyllis]

Actor Hazel Parsons
[© Photos by Phyllis]

Here’s what she says…


“I have had a casual interest in acting since my early years.  In fact, in 1974, in my late teens, I joined the Elgin Theatre Guild.  Back then, believe it or not, our space was on Talbot Street, St. Thomas, upstairs above where that medical clinic currently is, where the walkway goes via beside the former Royal Bank.  It was no more than a cubby hole apartment, where we did all our rehearsals there, and our actual performances were on stage at AVSS.  It was way too long ago to remember the plays I was in, but I recall “Witness for the Prosecution”, “Scrooge”, “The White Sheep of the Family”...these are all back in probably season 7 or 8 of the Guild.  I was also on the executive of the ETG in those early years.   Later I returned for another and obviously older character in “Witness for the Prosecution” in approximately season 30.

 In between the years, well you know, life and family get in the way, especially when I started working or going to university classes out of town and would not be able to keep up with any kind of rehearsal schedule due to unavailability.  Now I am happily retired, and can go back what I love and craved to again become a part of for so long.   

I have not done any film, until Matthew Marshall gave me a chance with the movie “Not Ready”.  I was totally inexperienced re film work, and although some skills can be transferred over, certainly many aspects are different.  I have been told that stage work is all about grand gestures and voice projection, film is more subtle, using the eyes, facial expression and smaller movements more.  I think, from my small amount of experience in this production, that was certainly a correct statement.

iFilmGroup actors awaiting their turn. [© Photo Don Hickey]

iFilmGroup actors awaiting their turn.
[© Photo Don Hickey]

 I remember audition day in May.  Here I come, as a complete stranger, and was heartily welcomed and not made to feel awkward, strange, or that I had no business being there.   I had asked to be present only as an observer as I had not been cast, and was not really looking to be cast in a speaking part, but only as an extra.  I asked to be present to see what actually goes on.  Yeah, well, at the end of the afternoon there was some time left, was asked if I wanted to read, and I read a prepared monologue about death that I had just been handed a few mins before.  I had not memorized it, but was able to complete it, and hopefully conveyed the meaning of the words on paper.  At first, I felt that I had made a complete cock-up of it, but Matt and Don Hickey, gave me valuable information.  Yes, I rattled the paper a little too much for the sound equipment, and I also had had the benefit of seeing others do that particular monologue earlier in the afternoon, but in the end, I was deemed credible in the way I portrayed the words on that page.   I came away from that afternoon, satisfied that I had learned a great deal that afternoon, and the whole experience was a positive one.  I had no idea that I would be cast as a more regular extra in “Not Ready”, giving me the opportunity to really feel like I was part of the “Not Ready” family of performers/crew and associates.

Hazel Parsons on-set of “Not Ready” [Photo by Steve Struthers]

Hazel Parsons on-set of “Not Ready”
[Photo by Steve Struthers]

 This whole experience has reminded me of some reading I did many years ago, and a particular passage that I often refer to. It is by Dr. Ralph Greenson (1974), and he speaks of how “it takes courage, honesty and modesty to grow old with joy and dignity”, and “to be able to have a sense of fun gives one a quality of youthfulness, no matter what age”. He further refers to how important it is to nurture a certain playfulness, and that man is the only animal who continues to enjoy that sense of play in adult life. Doing so will help to minimize or at least survive crises of adult life. What great therapy that is !”

iFilmGroup has given me an opportunity to do just that.
— Hazel Parsons

Photos by Phyllis

Photo Steve Struthers
Photo Don Hickey■

London ■ St. Thomas ■ Chatham-Kent
Ontario - Canada