photos/cover: Dan Abramovici
Actress Naomi Snieckus never allowed the word “No” or a closed door stop her from reaching her dreams. With passion and determination Naomi crashed the auditions at the Second City Stage when they would not allow her to audition and went on to win a spot with the company and write and perform 5 reviews. The actress has since gone on to star in some amazing movies and TV shows. SayWhatNews caught up with the busy starlet to discuss her rising career and latest projects:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Naomi. Thanks for taking the time and speaking with SayWhatNews. First tell us who is Naomi Snieckus?
Naomi: That’s a big question…one that really, do we ever fully answer? AND as an actress, being “Naomi Snieckus” could mean a different thing every day. Today for instance – it means staying in my pj’s, catching up on things to do with the National Theatre of the World, writing a TV pitch with my partner Matt Baram and pretending chocolate is a proper lunch just because it contains nuts. Tomorrow – I may get into real clothes and the whole day will be different!
SayWhatNews: Naomi, how did a daughter of a world-renowned chemist (her Father) who was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Chemistry become an actress?
Naomi: My father would argue that he “performs” when he lectures around the world – my mother was an actress locally while I was growing up and my brother is incredibly intelligent and funny. I think I had to do something to earn my place in the family Snieckus tree. I always loved performing and making people laugh as a kid…it’s the best job in the world!
SayWhatNews: So, at what age did you realize your love for acting and theater?
Naomi: I think when I got cast as Grumpy Dwarf in the favorably reviewed Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs at Empire Public School, with Karen Nansen in the lead roll. I realized I wanted to wear funny boots and paint dark eyebrows on my face for a living.
SayWhatNews: I see you have a passion for improv. How did you start doing improv? And - For those unfamiliar, can you explain improv and how different it is from acting?
Naomi: For those who don’t know Improv – it’s making s#$% up!
The only difference between improv and regular acting is the fact that with regular acting you have to memorize lines. The rest is the same: you have to choose interesting characters and character details, you have to listen, react, connect, breath, live. With the work we do with The National Theatre of the World – for some of our shows we choose costumes, set pieces, soundscapes – we make our shows theatrical. The only difference between our plays we improvise and a regular show is we don’t know what the play will be about or what characters we will play before we start!
I started doing improv in Vancouver with the VTSL. I had been doing regular acing work, the classics, Shakespeare – that kind of thing. When I got into Second City I never looked back. I knew I had found a home at Second City.
SayWhatNews: Naomi, you are now an alumnus of the Second City Main Stage of which you have written and performed 5 reviews; is it true that you crashed the auditions and won a spot with Second City? What inspired you to take such a risk like that?
Naomi: Working at Second City had always been a dream of mine. When they wouldn’t see me for an audition I thought: “what have I got to lose, I may as well crash the auditions?” If you want something badly enough, you shouldn’t let a little “no” get in the way!
SayWhatNews: What inspired you to become a founding member of The National Theatre of the World along with your partner Matt Baram?
Naomi: After we left Second City, Matt and I knew we wanted to create something together, to build something in our community. (Our company originally included Ron Pederson but he has gone on to other projects) There was some great improv going on in Toronto, but we wanted to challenge ourselves as improvisers AND actors. The creation of NTOW has given me a full time job for as long as I want, not always paid in money but always paid in creative-dollars. Also, It is always satisfying knowing I am investing in something I can be proud of that contributes to our community.
SayWhatNews: The National Theatre of the World is a 6 time CCA winner and you won CCA’s “Best Female Improviser” award and you also won the CCA for “Best Female in a TV show for Mr.D”. How amazing is it for you and your theatre company to be honored by the CCA?
Naomi: We are really proud of the awards that we have received and being recognized for the work we do. I’m really honored to be in this community – it’s vibrant, it’s challenging and it’s inspiring. The awards also help us when we travel to various countries. If there’s a 6xCCA winner in our bio – it supports getting bums in seats for that festival!
SayWhatNews: Naomi, you starred in “Martin Short Goes Home” alongside Martin Short and Eugene Levy. What was the funniest moment on the set working with these amazing comedians?
Naomi: That’s not fair. It was with MARTIN SHORT, every moment was funny! At one point I was having lunch with him, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty at the same lunch table. I just ate in silence, in the disbelief of my life, soaking in the jokes!
SayWhatNews: The SAW horror films had major fandemonium. What was it like starring in the SAW franchise final installment: SAW 3D: The Final Chapter?
Naomi: It was kind of cool actually. I’ve never done anything like that before. Instead of trying to make moments funnier the challenge was to make things grosser! There was a veteran crew-member that came up to me and said it was the most disgusting scene he’s seen in all of the Saw movies -- So proud.
SayWhatNews: How much of Naomi is like the character Bobbi?
Naomi: I think I can be “no-nonsense” too – when I’m uncensored. My father speaks in “memo’s” to save time – I was brought up trying to get to the point fast! I’m also a big fan of comfortable clothing. I get to sleep in an hour longer than Bette and Lauren who have their hair curled. THAT’s me for sure!
SayWhatNews: Naomi, you have a few projects in the works: A comedy drama, “If You See Her” starring alongside Alex Kingston and Peter Forth which is set for 2015 release AND the movie “Two For One” starring Gavin Crawford of which was filmed back in February. Can you tell us anything about either project?
Naomi: Well, they are very VERY different types of movies but the heart is the same – it’s always about relationships. It’s always about love on some level. With “If you See Her”, it was a real treat working with people like Alex Kingston and my pal Michael Therriault was also in it – that was a lot of fun. Working with Joan Carr-Wiggin was fantastic- she’s got a great sense of timing, truth and heart that was really inspiring. For the “Two for One” film, Gavin and I got to live together during the filming so being roomies for a month was a riot! If I can say one thing about that guy – he knows how to rock a crock…pot.
SayWhatNews: What’s next in the future for Naomi Snieckus?
Naomi: We are developing our sketch show “Baram and Snieckus” and will hopefully film some of those sketches in the next couple of months and tour the show. Our improv format called “The Script Tease Project” is being done internationally so we are developing that to be able to support theatres that want to try out a fun improv format. Matt and I are also going to spend some time in LA pitching shows and auditioning and doing a sun-character study!