By Kristi Alexandra
Actor. Producer. Director. Musician.Teacher. Vancouver’s Missy Cross does it all.
To say Cross is a quintuple-threat would be to minimize all that she encompasses, so perhaps “threat” isn’t the word for her at all. Her energy as she comes through the Loose Lips office doors is anything but threatening. It’s radiant, ebullient, non-judgemental and welcoming. That may be in part to the chakra work she does with her acting workshop called The Mindful Actor Workshops which uses Yogic principles, and it may be in part to the high energy that her many roles require.
Currently, the five-time theatre producer is at the helm of the latest iteration of The House of Yes, based on the 1990 play by Wendy MacLeod. Some may remember it as the 1997 Hollywood adaptation starring Parker Posey, Rachael Leigh-Cook and Freddie Prinze Jr, however.
This time around, the dark comedy is directed by Leo Award nominated Matt Fentiman, and self-financed by Cross. The story goes like this: it’s Thanksgiving, and Marty’s arrival home is greatly anticipated by his twin sister Jackie-O, his mother Mrs. Pascal, and his younger brother, Anthony.
He arrives during a hurricane, but worse than the storm is the fact that Marty brought his new fiancée. Mental illness, alcoholism, incest, gun violence and the JFK assassination are all part of the dysfunctional world that MacLeod weaves seamlessly together in this black comedy.
The play is described as toeing the line somewhere between Long Day’s Journey into Night and The Addams Family. The House of Yes follows a damaged family when the introduction of a stranger brings its secrets crawling into the light.
So what drew Cross to The House Of Yes?
“I’m a woman who creates her own work, and this play has three incredible female characters in it,” she tells Loose Lips. That’s not even to mention its original playwright.
Those female characters are played by herself as Jackie-O, Mattie Shisko as Mrs. Pascal and Savonna Spracklin as Lesly, Marty’s fiancee. And Cross is no stranger to championing women+ in the arts. She hosts monthly meet-ups for women called Performance Boutique, in which women+ are invited to share their original works based on a theme without fear of judgement.
“More and more women keep coming to these events, and it’s not that we aren’t inclusive, but it’s amazing to be able to hold space for women, creatively,” she says.
And with The House of Yes running, that female-energy will be held onstage at Studio 1393 on Granville Island all week.
Catch Cross in The House of Yes tonight at 8 pm, and until Feb 10 at 8 pm. Additional matinees at 2 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 10. Get tickets here!
Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.