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Better Parts: A Hip, Sassy, Wordsmith Takes the Stage

17 Oct 2005

An Interview with Nicole Stamp, writer, director, and performer of Better Parts

>> Nicole Stamp in action.

If you are looking for an entertaining night out, head over to Theatre Passe Muraille on Queen Street West and check out Better Parts, playing as part of the Stage 3 festival.

Created, performed and directed by the energetic, fast talking, Nicole Stamp, Better Parts takes you into her fantasy world where she excels as a gifted singer, talented songwriter, and creative chef, in between twenty mile fun runs. Of course since it’s her fantasy, she’s taller, doesn’t need bikini waxes, and is desired by many exotic, artistic lovers for whom she is their muse. Described by its creator, as “a cross between standup, cabaret, and theatre,” the rhyming, humorous monologue is performed against the backdrop of cool urban bass lines, played by musician Paul Clifford.

Better Parts was inspired while Nicole was temping as an office clerk. Bored with answering telephones, and entering data, she would daydream of another life on her way home. At the same time, she was working on writing a show with a group of women each trying to come up with a character. She wrote a monologue about these daydreams and Better Parts was born.

When you meet Nicole, you are immediately drawn to her warm smile and charismatic personality, all of which she brings to the stage. Sitting in the Opal Dining Lounge on Queen St.West, she shares her thoughts about the show.

“It’s a story about me and what I wish I was,” says Stamp. “The play feels like a tremendous ego thing because the daydreams are about me. You’re allowed to laugh at me because I want all these things. But I think we all want similar things. We all want to be better looking than we are, more loved than we are, more talented than we are.”

Another interesting aspect of the performance is the use of rhyme. “You don’t expect people to talk in rhyme about real things,” says Stamp, “you expect them to talk about poetic ideas. But to talk about something real, like walking home from work doesn’t happen that often.”

The show was first performed in December 2002 and has since evolved with the addition of new lines, new moves, always with the audience in mind, an important aspect for Nicole. “When you do theatre, it’s important to give your audience something that they’ll like. I think of it like a present that I’m giving to you. If I know what you like I’ll try to give you that, at the same time staying true to what I want to do.”

How does she keep it fresh? She relies on the principal of clown. “Clown is a form of performance,” she explains. “Everything you do should depend on what’s happening in the room with you. Clown teaches you that no matter what you’ve planned to do, be aware that what might happen is even more interesting. I like to have that feeling onstage. So I love when the audience is loud and responds. I do everything I can to bring tonight into the room. So every night the show feels really different.”

A graduate of University of Toronto’s joint theatre program with Sheridan College, Nicole has come a long way from being the shy 12 year old girl in grade school. She has directed Christian Values (Toronto Fringe) and Present Tense (Critics’ Pick, SummerWorks). Some of her acting credits include: For coloured girls who have considered suicide (coloured girls’ collective), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CanStage) and 4 revues with Second City’s National Touring company. Better Parts is the first show Nicole has written.

Nicole has no desire to change the audience with her performance. It’s all about the entertainment factor. “I would love for you to see my daydreams and see yourself in them and think it’s funny,” she says. “I want you to have a good time. It’s exclusively entertainment. I want you to say, that was hilarious, I love the writing, and I like watching that girl on stage.”

Nicole certainly delivers. Highly entertaining, the sassy, fast talking, humorous performance with it’s urban riffs, leaves the audience applauding for more.

Better Parts is playing until October 29 th at Theatre Passe Muraille.

See Theatre Passe Muraille site or call 416.504.7529 for tickets

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