Twenty five-year-old Rebecca Peters is the voice of Ruby the rabbit in the classic Canadian kids' television show Max and Ruby. She is teaching a musical theatre class in Whistler this autumn. Pique thought we'd check in with her about her job and life.
Pique: How did you get started in theatre?
Rebecca Peters: Since I was born I've been putting on shows. I went to a private arts elementary school and I got an agent. Bless my parents, they'd drive me hours to all these auditions. Some kids do hockey — I auditioned. In Grade 6 I got a role doing the voice of Diana Barry in an animated movie of Anne of Green Gables. I played Michael Cera's girlfriend in an episode of I was a Sixth Grade Alien. Since then I've always done something. This spring I went to Halifax to do a stage production of Legally Blond.
Pique: How did you become the voice of Ruby?
RP: I actually auditioned for Ruby in Grade 6, but it went to someone else at first. Then I auditioned again in Grade 12 and got the role. So I was doing it all through musical theatre college, during seasons three, four and five. We wrapped the series last summer, but that's happened before. I've heard rumours it might come back.
Pique: Why did you leave Toronto last autumn for Whistler?
RP:I'd always wanted to do a ski season somewhere. I love Whistler. I'm a pretty big city girl, but I came out here for a break from the entertainment industry and to see what else I'm interested in, without the pressure of agents and auditions. I don't plan on leaving anytime soon.
What are you doing now?
RP: I'm working with Little Bear Productions, teaching the youngest kids (five- to seven-year-olds) a musical theatre style class. I plunk out stuff on the piano and we make funny voices, do stretching and some improv. Right now I'm just helping out, but I have a class starting September 4. It's wonderful to have something like this in Whistler, a place that's so sports driven. It's nice to have an arts community that's not just people playing music in bars. I'm also a server at Earls. We get a lot of families, and kids will be watching Max and Ruby on their iPads. If there's a kid at my table, I'll say who I am because they find it really cool.
Pique: What's it like being Ruby?
RP: The show is two bunny siblings. To put it nicely, Ruby is a leader. A lot of people say she's bossy and rude, but she's just an older sister. My younger sister would probably say she's like me. Ruby has my voice but a bit younger. She speaks with wide eyes. Voiceover stuff is very physical. I stand with my knees bent and use my hands.
Pique: Do you like voiceover work?
RP: It's so much fun I don't get how you get paid for it. Theatre is work, and you sweat and get exhausted. Film and TV is a lot of the same thing over and over, and very frustrating. But for voiceover, you get to play and use your imagination. It's a blast. And it's a good chunk of change.
Pique: What will you do next?
RP: In the autumn I start a youth care course through UVic online. I used to volunteer at Toronto's SickKids hospital, so maybe I'll move towards expressive art therapy, combining all my loves. I don't think performing will ever be not a part of my life, but I don't know in what way.
Pique: What happens if they start up Max and Ruby for another season? Would you move back to Toronto?
RP: Who wants to go back to Ontario after living here? Not I. But I don't want anyone else playing Ruby. I'd have to pay for my own flights — I don't think they'd fly me, because other people sound like me. I'm pretty disposable. Max has changed a lot over the years, as the kids' voices change as they grow up.
Pique: Any advice for others who want to go into theatre?
RP: Someone said to me once: 'If there's anything else that you want to do, then do it — this isn't for you.' I think that's true. It's tough. There's a lot of rejection and room for self-doubt. You always think: 'I hate this, why do I do this to myself?' It's too hard if you don't want it with every bone in your body.