For 25 years, actor, playwright and author Berni Stapleton has delighted audiences with her unique take on Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage. She’s worn the titles of artistic director at the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival and playwright in residence at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Her latest book, This is the Cat (Creative Book Publishers), is a darkly humorous tale that examines the foibles and failures of memory through the lens of one woman’s life.
What do you consider your best quality?
Embracing my lesser qualities.
A quality you desire in a partner:
Companionable with silence, fresh breath, fresh humour. Must like reading, me and cats, my cats in particular. Must play well with others, enjoy long meandering walks and likewise conversations. I’m listing more than one quality in case he is reading this so he will recognize himself and get in touch with me.
What do you appreciate most about your friends?
They have greater and lesser qualities that are compatible with mine, they love me no matter what, they are usually smarter, wittier and more accomplished than me, thusly constantly massively yet annoyingly inspiring.
Your worst quality:
I am a master procrastinator. I would win the procrastinating Olympics except I’d miss the entry deadline. I can procrastinate procrastinating.
Your favourite occupation:
Reading while in the bathtub. I wish that could be my job.
What is your idea of happiness?
Oh my God, that moment when the procrastinating is about done and the time has come, the walrus said, and then the writing commences.
Your idea of misery:
Trapped in small talk at a party wearing a dress that makes me feel fat. Trapped in small talk anywhere. I prefer tiny talk. No talk. Listening.
If you could be someone else for a day who would it be?
I would be my truest self, the one who hides deep within.
Where you would most like to live?
I would most like to live in a small house on a hill in Italy with a bathtub for reading in every room, a vineyard to one side, the ocean on the other, a garden for the cats on the other, and with a chef who comes to cook and never makes any small talk.
I love riots of colours.
I love cats because they are beautiful, mysterious, silly, natural-born killers.
Your favourite poet(s):
I love Agnes Walsh, most especially Going Around With Bachelors.
I adore Kathleen Winter, Lisa Moore, Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jean Rhys and Stephen King.
Your favourite fictional heroes:
Cleopatra (as played by Elizabeth Taylor) and Morgaine le Fay.
Your real life heroes:
My mother and my son.
Your favourite food & drink:
Red wine and any sort of food that compliments the wine.
What is your greatest fear?
That all my tiny fears will one day morph into a giant fear.
A natural talent you’d like to possess:
I wish I could speak Italian.
How you want to die:
Older than the oldest, in my right mind, in my own bed, in the house described above, lying next to the fellow described above.
Your present state of mind:
I am filled with hope.
Favourite or personal motto:
So Hum. I am.