Sitting in the mattress department of a Sears department store in Halifax, Cathy Jones is having a pretty hectic day. She’s had a haircut, got a new screen on her cell phone, and now she’s found somewhere relatively quiet and comfortable to sit while she does a barrage of interviews one after the other about her new solo show. And yet, she said she feels like she could be working harder, doing more.
The title of her one-woman show, Stranger to Hard Work, came about after she kept hearing people say of her, “Oh, she’s no stranger to hard work,” and thinking, “No, actually I am.” This is her third solo show, but Jones explained that there were large gaps of time in between them all, and she tended to “feel guilty for not getting the hang of hard work.” From anyone else’s perspective, Jones has had a very accomplished career with her 23 years on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and many other roles in film and television.
She described the show as being her way of sharing what she has to offer in the way of advice and life experience. “It’s a story about me and the people I interact with.” The stories and scenes are told from her perspective, with her wry sense of humour and astute observations about the people around her. “In my heart I really want to be helpful in some way,” said Jones. She feels that she is doing that through this show: she’s able to help heal people and make them feel better through laughter.
Jones has also been working on a self-help book for some time, and explained that she was “held back by feeling uneducated.” After gaining a new perspective on the book and realizing that she had to tell her own story, Jones plans to get back to it soon. “It’s the kind of book you buy for other people,” she explained. The kind of book that would make you say, “Oh, I’ll get that for Ed, he’s really weird.”
Unlike her previous solo shows, Jones explained that she feels a very strong connection with the audience. “I can be myself, and the audience has fun and enjoys it.” She feels more comfortable than ever talking to the audience about her neuroses, her age, how she feels different from other people, and what she’s paranoid about.
It’s her favourite show that she’s done and she guarantees that if you come, you won’t wish you brought a pillow, and you won’t want to get out of there as fast as you can.