The lead actress in the musical Pieces of Me talks about following her childhood passion. Shahi plays Pamela, a beautiful prostitute turned housewife, who feels unfulfilled and grows increasingly restless and bored with her new life.
You have a very unique name, what’s your background?
I was born here in Canada, but my background is actually Guyanese. My first name Shahi, is an Arabic name, and my last name is Japanese.
How did you get into acting?
From I was a kid, I was expressive and into the arts. I started singing in church and performing in the annual productions. This evolved when I was 12 yrs old and attended Wexford Collegiate School for The Arts, and really fell in love with musical theatre. From then I knew it had to be in my life forever.
You’re also a triple threat, singer, dancer, actor. Do you have any other areas in the arts you’re interested in?
I’m interested in taking my dance skills a bit further. My experience and training so far has been in traditional West African dance, but I want to also want to go into other forms, like hip hop, and contemporary dance. I know there are areas that I can improve in, and being in the arts you are always a student. I think I’m always going to be studying and perfecting my craft.
So let’s get into Pieces of Me. What was your process to prepare for the role of Pamela?
The first thing I do is read the script thoroughly, and try to find areas where I am similar to the character of Pamela. I went through every line in the script, trying to figure out all the different relationships that I have throughout the play, and imagine what my emotions would be at every moment.
Especially for Parker my husband, (played by Sheldon Neil), I tried to identify how Parker’s character was similar to any relationships I have had in my real life. And I did.
Parker is very similar to an ex, in that we loved each other so much, and he was the type of guy that would do anything for me. There were times though that I found myself going outside of the relationship, to find things that interested me. similar to Pamela’s character. I actually can relate to Pamela being married to a dream man, and not being satisfied, bored, and searching for something more.
I’m finding that I have to go to some dark places in my past to relate to this role. Places that stir up a lot of past emotions.
I heard that Sheldon and yourself have great chemistry, what do you this attribute to?
I don’t know why we have such chemistry, but the deeper we get in our friendship the easier we are to play the roles on stage. Sheldon has such an open spirit, we connected from day one.
What has it been like working with the rest of the cast and crew?
The cast and crew are amazing. Deon’s casting is amazing. It’s as if she found the perfect actors for each role. Every cast member suits their roles and plays them authentically. This play is like a ministry.
What other projects do you have on the go?
I host an open jam every Monday inside the Magic Oven located at 360 Queen Street East (Queen & Parliament), where musicians can come and try out new songs. The event is called the Magic Monday Open Jam.
I’m also a songwriter, working on releasing my own album in 2014. Plus I have been cast in Hair The Musical, which will tour the USA in 2014. Once I’m done with that I’ll be focused on the album release.
How can people get in touch with you?
I’m all over Social Media, and I typically post what I have going on. You can find me on Twitter @shahiinthesky or leave a note on my website Shahiteruko.com.