Jani Lauzon has brought life to puppets on a long list of children's shows from Mr. Dressup to Tales from the Longhouse. She recently won a Gemini for her role as the puppet Seeka in Wumpa's World in the Best Performance in a Pre-School Program or Series category, the first time a Metis professional puppeteer has won the award.
Windspeaker: What one quality do you most value in a friend?
Jani Lauzon: The ability to listen-unconditionally.
W: What is it that really makes you mad?
J.L.: Injustice that results from an assumption of superiority. (I am a Libra.)
W: When are you at your happiest?
J.L: When I am on stage singing, acting or with my daughter at the beach and I don't have anything pressing to do.
W: What one word best describes you when you are at your worst?
J.L: Overwhelmed. (Rather than a word, I think it's a state of mind.)
W: What one person do you most admire and why?
J.L: I am currently researching Daphne Odjig for an upcoming production by Native Earth Performing Arts in which I will be playing Daphne. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. She is grace itself, positive in spite of everything and an amazing artist. Very under-appreciated, however.
W: What is the most difficult thing you've ever had to do?
J.L: Be a parent. It's ongoing.
W: What is your greatest accomplishment?
J.L: I have had so many. I am happy, however, to still be involved in the arts and making a living at it. The artist is still undervalued and unsupported. Even in our communities. The fact that I have survived this long and continue to do so is a test to my tenacity and survival strengths. That has brought me many rewards and awards, literally and figuratively.
W: What one goal remains out of reach?
J.L: To travel the world more.
W: If you couldn't do what you're doing today, what would you be doing?
J.L: I am very good at administration, as I discovered while the artistic director of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. I would hope that whatever I did, however, would be somehow related to the arts and with the idea of hopefully making the world a better place.
W: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
J.L: My foster mom and dad used to tell me to live my life creatively. Then, no matter what I was doing, I would love to do it because creativity would be involved.
W: Did you take it?
J.L: With everything, you tend to forget the best advice. But I have trained myself to remind myself when the going gets tough.
W: How do you hope to be remembered?
J.L: As one who gave from her heart.