We talk to two-thirds of Girl Brain about their upcoming Halloween show, the movies they shouldn't have watched as kids, and Skeet Ulrich
By Cory Schachtel | October 18, 2023
You say Girl Brain puts the “ha ha” in Halloween, so what’s the funniest part of Halloween?
Ellie: The funniest part of Halloween for me is seeing the costumes that people choose for their dogs. There are some really ridiculous ones, like a UPS delivery person!
Alyson: I like to predict the costume of the year. Like this year we just know there’s gonna be a ton of Kens walking around.
It sounds like Girl Brain Halloween is perfect for people who prefer the fun pageantry of Halloween, not so much the jump scares — can you give a general description of what people will see at the shows?
Ellie: People will see us play a whole host of silly characters, there will be many epic musical numbers, fun prizes for the audience. There will also be a costume contest after intermission. And Brendan Fraser will be featured.
Alyson: Folks can come dressed up if they’d like, grab a drink at the bar and settle in for a bunch of laughs. We have guests who make appearances throughout the show so, depending on which night you come, you’ll see a burlesque act or an amazing singer songwriter. Oh — and Tarot card readings! It’s gonna be so fun!
Wait, Brendan Fraser?
Ellie: Well not the Brendan Fraser, but…you’ll have to see the show to find out.
He has been in a classic movie featuring a character some might call a monster — and The Mummy was good too! So why did Girl Brain want to do a Halloween show? Is this the first seasonal show?
Ellie: We’ve always aimed to do a show around this time of year. There are just so many recognizable themes, that it’s a veritable buffet of situational humour for us to prey upon!
Alyson: We actually started out in 2018 doing monthly shows at Grindstone Theatre. Every one of those was themed depending on the time of year. It’s fun to write when you’ve got a theme in mind and Halloween just has so much hilarity surrounding it.
What was your favourite costume as a child?
Ellie: I enjoyed the one year I went as an Ewok, because I got to wear my favourite fuzzy brown coat, and it was probably the warmest I ever felt trick or treating.
Alyson: My mum made me a ladybug costume once. It was epic.
What’s the candy you wanted most when trick or treating?
Ellie: Full-sized chocolate bars. Didn’t necessarily matter what kind — if they were full size, it felt like you won the lottery.
Alyson: I love mars bars, but really it’s the variety. And when I got home I’d sort it all out and put the like ones together. Then I’d make a detailed inventory of every candy, which made my brother so mad because he couldn’t get away with stealing any! And to this day I love spreadsheets.
What’s a scary movie that you managed to see when you were too young, and you regretted it at the time?
Ellie: Honestly, I remember watching Pulp Fiction with my family as a child, and there were a couple scenes in there that were pretty disturbing for a 10-year-old.
Alyson: The Ring! Oh god, that girl coming out of the TV still pops up in my nightmares!
Haunted houses, like Deadmonton — yay or nay? Why?
Ellie: I love the haunted houses that sprout up during this time of year — it’s fun, and a lot of thought and creativity goes into creating those worlds for us to enjoy, so I definitely appreciate it!
Which member of Girl Brain is most likely to work scaring people at a Deadmonton-like haunted house, most likely to patronize it, and most likely to stay far away from it?
Ellie: Hmm, this is an interesting one. I honestly think we’d all be most likely to work something like this, because that sounds like the most fun option!
Alyson: I don’t think I’d be able to handle it! I’d scare myself!
Has Girl Brain ever used a Ouija board or played Light as a Feather, Stiff as Board, ala the movie The Craft? Did hilarity or terror ensue?
Ellie: I definitely did do all of the Ouija and witchcraft stuff with friends as a kid, especially when The Craft came out and witches were a huge trend. We have not tried to have a seance yet as Girl Brain, but we’ll get back to you when one of us starts levitating!
Alyson: In junior high we were all into this kind of thing. I remember some kind of seance in the girls washrooms with the lights off.
Speaking of The Craft, which character would each member of Girl Brain Be: the one played by Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, Robin Tunney or Rachel True (or, if applicable, Skeet Ulrich)?
Ellie: I feel like Caley would be Skeet. Alyson would be Fairuza. Not sure who I’d be — maybe Robin Tunney?
What’s the most scared/nervous you’ve ever been on stage?
Ellie: This one show, Beowulf at the Fringe in 2007. One of our castmates — who played a HUGE role in the show — didn’t show up, and we had to cut their part and do the play without them about 10 minutes before we went on. That was pretty exhilarating and kept us all in the moment.
There are tarot readings at a few of your performances. Let’s say it gets really intense and Roro pulls a card that will either tell you when you die, or how you die — which would you choose, and why?
Ellie: Wow! That’s never happened to me in a tarot reading, but I did find out how I die at the Fringe this last year when I went to see David Johnston’s, Let’s Talk About Your Death. We all got cards with our cause of death on them. Mine is ‘bratwurst.’
I mean, that sounds bad, but there are less-delicious ways to die.
Alyson: Yikes! I don’t think I’d want to know either!