Interview :: Meet Sara Bynoe

Meet Sara Bynoe. She’s a comedic performer in Vancouver and I met her through former Vancouver Neatos :: Chris Bentzen. Sara Bynoe is the creator of Teen Angst show/website/book, Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing, the character Sparkle Bunny, and a Vancouver dance class Dance Dance Party Party.

Also, I should add, Sara Bynoe is so awesome that she squeezed me into the performance line-up of her show Comedy Gems presents Teen Angst Night. So on April 29th I read some deliciously mortifying poetry + journal entries from my 14 year old self. ( I’ll share the video footage soon! )

Read on to find out more about Sara Bynoe, like what’s she’s up to + a little something embarrassing from her early career!

Sara Bynoe

1. How did you get into acting + comedy? Did you always know this is what you’d be doing?

Someone read my palm when I was ten years old. They said, “You’re going to be an actor and a writer.” My response was something like, ‘yeah, that’s exactly what I want to be.’

Acting came first. I was always drawn to performing. When I was a teenager I took after-school classes with Calgary Young People’s Theatre. As I had a lot of energy I was considered to be a more comedic performer than my friends.

I have always enjoyed writing. I also wrote a journal obsessively from the age of 10. When I was 14 years old my best friend and I started a zine we sold at punk rock shows. We mostly used it as an excuse to act silly and make fun of people that bullied us.

When I was 19 years old I rediscovered my 12-year-old self’s poetry and was so embarrassed and amused by it I knew I had to do a performance incorporating my bad teen angst poetry. That turned into Teen Angst Night, which was probably my first foray into comedy shows. The rest, as they say, is history.

2. What are you working on now?

I’m actually planning a Vancouver sabbatical. I’ll be away from June-September.

Upcoming events before my time off are ::

PAL Cabaret – Behind the Curtain
Storytelling from performing artist about comedy and drama off-stage.
May 4
At PAL Studio Theatre

Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing
May 21 – Cottage Bistro
Funny people read from terrible books.
This will be the LAST Say Wha?! show for several months.

I’m currently a member of the Rookie League at Vancouver Theatre Sports League.

I have a bi-monthly podcast. Listen here.

3. I love that you have so many different roles + passions that you follow. (As you say you “do what you do!”) I feel like we can have a lot of pressure to define ourselves + what we do into one job title. Do you have any advice for other artists + entrepreneurs with multiple passions?

My only advice is to follow your curiosities and joyful experiences. You have to do whatever makes you happy. I know that I’ve confused people by doing different art forms, but at the end of the day I’m the one I have to please.

I’ve realized that I’m less interested in being the star of the event or show and more interested in creating spaces where people can experiment and play. I want to connect with people and sometimes that’s through dancing (Dance Dance Party Party), laughter (Teen Angst Night or Say Wha?) or though social media (I love Twitter).

As for defining oneself, that can be tricky. On one hand you need to be able to pitch yourself to a potential audience in a succinct way, on the other hand I find the undefinable interesting and engaging.

There are two quotes that I often read at for inspiration about this:

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

:: Andy Warhol

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

:: Oscar Wilde

4. Do you have a pre-performance psyche-up routine?

Not really. Mostly I try to relax and get into a playful mindset. Oh, and I never drink before a show.

5. Is there a role or a project that you’ve been dreaming to do? Something that if someone came up to you with this idea you’d say “OMG how did you know? I’ve been dying to do something like this forever!”?

I would love to host a TV show or interview series. If we’re dreaming big, anything to do with the any of the SNL lady dream-team: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolf.

I’d also love to do a panel show based on Say Wha?!

6. What’s been your biggest or most recent challenge for you in your career? How do you overcome it?

I’m my own worst enemy, for sure. Dealing with my inner gremlin is a daily battle. One thing I’ve started doing is keeping a file on my computer of nice and encouraging things people have said to me. It’s helpful to put some perspective when I’m falling into a negative thought pattern.

7. Do you have a favourite actress/performer/producer/writer (or a few) that you admire? What is it about them that you love?

I have so many! Tina Fey is smart, funny, talented and charming. I admire Lydia Davis for her unique stories and for sticking to her style. My career heroes are Writer/Performers like Greta Gerwig, Miranda July, and Lena Dunham.

8. If you could play the role of any character (from a book, real life, dead or alive), who would it be + why?

Angsty, lovesick women are my wheelhouse. My dream roles used to be Helena in A Mid Summer Night’s Dream and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. However, I’m a bit too old for those parts now.

9. What’s in the works for you in the near future?

First up is my sabbatical from Vancouver then we’ll see. I’ve been going full-throttle for a while and I need to recharge my batteries.

10. Aside from your own events etc, are there any upcoming events, shows, conferences, festivals, etc. in Vancouver that you’re excited about?

  • I LOVE the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
  • There’s some great and inspiring improv going on at Instant Theatre, The Sunday Service and in the Rookie League at VTSL.
  • Ira Glass is coming to Vancouver in September and I’m going to be back for that.
  • The Rio Theatre has a lot of great events going on all the time, same with Hot Art Wet City. I really respect what those organizations are doing for culture in this city.

11. Can you tell me one silly, inspiring, embarrassing, or noteworthy story about when you were first starting out in your career? Any mishaps or interesting things that happened?

In grade 12 I played the Wicked Witch of the West in my high school production of The Wizard of Oz. The rainbow fell on the munchkins right before my first big entrance. Later that show the smoke machine didn’t work when I was supposed to be melting. I think I just crawled out the window I was supposed to disappear from and pretended to kill myself by jumping off the roof or something.

I remember being so angry and embarrassed after that show. I couldn’t wait until I got to theatre school where things would be more ‘professional.’ Then I got to theatre school and things were pretty much the same, only by then I’d learned how to deal with accidents better. Improv is a fantastic skill to have.

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