Sniekus has also created,written and acted in the web series, The CastingRoom.biz.The actress has also appeared in the Martin Short Special, I MartinShort and won the CCA 2010 award for best female improviser.The extraordinary actress also serves as the founding member of the Canadian award winning troupe,The National Theatre of the World.com.
More recently,Naomi has been involved with CBC’S hit sitcom,Mr. D where for the past two seasons,she has been portraying the tough and authoritative yet highly respected gym teacher,Bobbi.
With Mr D approaching its third season and Naomi willing to participate in a interview with me, we discuss the ways in which she has related to the character, Bobbi’s previous storylines in the recent second season with her on and off again boyfriend ,Craig and her working relationship with the character of Gerry as well as her reflections on the success of Mr. D.
Furthermore, we discuss the extent to which Mr. D reflects truths about aspects of the Canadian educational system, other projects the actress is involved in as well as much more.
Read through the complete interview below!
Abbas Karimjee: Lets start by discussing your appointment to the role of Bobbi. Were you contacted or did you audition? Could you please walk us through this initial process?
Naoimi Snieckus:I was at the original table read for the FIRST pilot at CBC. After that I still had to audition for the pilot, which I did. I remember I had to bring my dogs to the audition – probably helped me keep my cool – I did the audition and then forgot about the part. I was visiting my mother a little while later and got “the call” that I was flying to Halifax the next day to shoot the pilot – not as exotic as flying to Los Angeles – but I was still VERY excited!
AK:How have you related to the character of Bobbi?
NS:I like Bobbi’s “no-nonsense” approach to things and I’m VERY good at sports. Oh..and I too always wear a whistle but it’s just an accessory really.
AK:What are some of the challenges you have had to overcome in portraying the character of Bobbi?
NS:I’m used to wearing very high heels and pencil skirts every day in normal life – plus I like to spend 2-3 hours doing my hair and make up. Playing Bobbi- I wear track suits and put my hair in a pony tail….it’s VERY challenging to find a way of spending those extra hours.
AK:You have worked on both animated productions such as Franklin and Cat in the Hat as well as set productions such as Mr. D. Which type of acting do you prefer and why?
NS:I love that in my career I get to do a little bit of everything – I also have an improv company called The National Theatre of the World (www.thenationaltheatreoftheworld.com) so being able to perform live helps me keep my comedy muscles strong.
AK:Bobbi and Gerry have had their differences clearly displayed through various episodes , including how she refused to hire him for a gym teaching position when there was an opening and more recently in the finale, passing him down for a chance to lead a senior boys basketball team at Xavier Academy. We have also seen numerous instances when Bobbi has taken great pleasure in deceiving and teasing Gerry.-How do you think Bobbie feels about Gerry and why do you think this is the case? Generally, how would you describe the two’s working relationship?
NS:They are like Scully and Mulder, Sony and Cher, 2 of the 3 Stooges – they HAVE to work together but it’s challenging. At least they speak a common language – sports – they’ll always have that…they’ll always have the courts.
AK:This past season we see Bobbi’s hostile and somewhat oppressive interactions with her on and off again boyfriend, Craig. What do you think the character’s behavior with Craig speaks to her personality and how would you like to see the two’s relationship develop in the coming season?
NS:I think the writers wrote some great stuff for Bobbi and Craig – I mean, he’s an ACTUAL Calvin Klein Model – it’s a fantastic bit of comedy that those two would ever be together. As far as Season 3 and where things go…I can’t speak about that, I’ve been sworn to secrecy! There’s definitely some surprises in store for Bobbi!
AK:With Mr. D approaching its third season, what are you able to tell us about what might be in store , both for the show in general as well as for character of Bobbi in particular?
NS:HA…nice try, I still can’t tell you about Season 3…you’re going to have to tune in…but let’s just say Bobbi and Gerry wrestle some big ideas together!
AK: What are your favorite onscreen or off-screen memories, thus far, from working on Mr D?
NS:We have so much fun on and off screen. The cast and directors we’ve had keep our set really fun so that even when the camera ISN’T rolling we’re still having laughs.
AK: Mr D has achieved record-breaking ratings on CBC since the debut of CBC’S hit sitcom, Little Mosque on the Prairie with the series premiere earning a 1.3 million rating. Why do you think the show resonates with such a large audiences?
NS:I think everyone can relate to this show cause we’ve all been taught by teachers like Gerry, or Lisa, or Simon, or Bobbi – and there’s a lot of teachers that see themselves in the show.
AK:How do you think the show’s depiction of how staff members relate to one another as well as to the student and parent body is representative of real life interactions within the Canadian educational system?
NS:Because the writing is based largely on Gerry’s real life job as a teacher – everything has a level of truth to it. I love that about this show.
AK:You have appeared in a variety of Canadian series including Little Mosque on the Prairie,Ron James Show, Being Erica and Wingin’ It, Why do you think viewers should take an interest in Canadian programming and particularly, what value, in general, does Canada’s diverse programming offer?
NS:I think there is great TV being made in Canada –both in comedy and drama.If we want to continue to grow as an industry it has to be supported by our country.There’s so many ways of having your voice, your opinion heard about these shows on social network- so I think we should talk about it as much as possible. Folks like you are helping for sure!
AK:What message do you have for fans of the show, with Mr. D approaching season 3?
NS:If you like to laugh, you should watch…if you don’t like to laugh…what is WRONG with you?
AK:What activities do you participate in during your spare time?
NS:Running The National Theatre of the World (with my partner Matt Baram) keeps me really busy. We have regular shows in Toronto (I Seen You on TV the last Wed of every month at The Drake) and tour internationally. We are also part of the upcoming YYComedy Festival in Calgary (www.yycomedy.ca).We’ve been a company for 5 years now and we’re working on pitching our own TV shows presently. We have a residency at Soulpepper Theatre so we are doing improv shows there (like The Script Tease Project) and hosting an upcoming international improv festival in December. www.thenationaltheatreoftheworld.com @the_NTOW.