Profile: Joscelynne Bordeaux
by Sean McQuaid
If all the world's a stage, the world may very well be Joscelynne Bordeaux's oyster this year: the Island actress is appearing at the Victoria Playhouse in both The Odd Couple and Norm Foster's Melville Boys this summer, and her recent credits are a cross-section of PEI theatre- she understudied the role of Valency in Theatre P.E.I.'s most recent production of Hank Stinson's The Blue Castle, played the title role in The Affections of May, and portrayed the fiery queen Sonja in Horatio. In her alleged spare time, she is the Queen's County representative for the P.E.I. Songwriter's Association, does some theatrical workshopping, and has recently joined the Venerables acting troupe. "It's been a fantastic year for me," she says with disbelieving glee. "Probably the best year of my career."
While Joscelynne plays many parts, she does have her favourites- preferring "the fiery, strong-willed people, expressive roles." She has enjoyed all her recent work and attributes her satisfaction to good casting, though her own skills have been key in winning her admirers and steady work. She has been characterized as an actress of great presence, a description she acknowledges with sheepish delight: "I don't show it [to people] one-on-one. I come to life on the stage."
Neither presence nor persistence is the sole basis of Joscelynne's success: "Concentration is a big thing," she says, "and belief in whatever character you are. I think that's the bottom line. When you have that belief, everything else disappears. But you can't forget your audience. It's a fine balance- I think it comes with experience."
Joscelynne started acting as a child, doing skits with her sister and acting in high school, but was given her first big break (as an actor with the Children's Theatre) by Theatre PEI's Ron Irving, "the Godfather of Theatre in these parts." She has no specific role models as such, but cites Offstage theatre veterans like David Moses, Rob MacDonald and Ed Rashed as examples of the Island's teeming pool of theatrical talent. Citing PEI's diverse artistic community, she espouses the need for exposure to "all different types" of performing so as to find one's identity as an artist. "You have to fit in, but be unique-a paradox." She admits acting is a tough profession, but it makes her happy. "That's what success is," she asserts.
Much of this contentment comes from her feeling that she is "at the top" now, the point where she is no longer struggling or trying to prove herself as an actress. "When you've reached that point, everything is a positive challenge, not a threat." All she wants out of life now is more good roles, though she also dabbles in singing and musical theatre. "Now that I know where I am in acting, I'm trying to find my voice as a singer." Whatever her creative outlet, Joscelynne's ultimate goal is the same: "to work at something I really enjoy doing which allows me to communicate what's within me."