Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Little Mosque

Deb: After six seasons, we wrapped Little Mosque on the Prairie in Toronto last night.
Deb on set with most of the Little Mosque cast
This last month has been full to the brim with emotion. We have been through a lot together, this cast. We have over the six years shared joy and mourning. We have welcomed babies into the world, and eulogized dear friends and family. We have celebrated weddings and lamented departures of cast friends who moved on to other things. The six years have not been without incident though and we have over time griped and gossiped and complained. That’s part of the gig.

But in these last months of the final season, all of that has just fallen away and all we are left with is friendship and adoration for each other, and a deep sense of pride for having been involved with this show.

Little Mosque on the Prairie will always be a highlight of my career because of its message of tolerance, inclusion and illumination. It is seen in almost 100 countries around the globe and hopefully the message they intended is getting out. Simply put, that people are people. I have learned so much about the Muslim faith on this show and have embraced the differences and the similarities to mine.

But what I will miss the most is the laughs. The only thing, and I mean ONLY thing, that can put a spring in my step at 5 am is the knowledge that I am about to start laughing and not stop for the next twelve hours. Honestly, it is the closest I get to feeling like a kid again. And anytime I want to complain I think, “Really? You come in and get paid to work with talented lovely people, you get free food and time between shots to check Facebook, and every time your feet are tired someone is there with slippers.”

My darling cast member and dear friend Sheila and I have been making a point this last season to catch ourselves when even the tiniest complaint threatens to permeate the laughter. We look at each other surrounded by fun and say, “What the hell are we complaining about?”

We have been brimming with emotion with each day that sees another cast member wrap. Last night there was just three of us left. Sheila, girl of my heart; Neil, the nicest man on earth whom I have known since he was a kid; and myself. We cried. Man, did we. For everything. For the show that we have shared and the life we have shared during that show. And then we dried our tears and laughed. And then we had drinks and laughed some more.

The show-biz family is a movable feast. When you are in the show, they become such a huge part of your life. When the show ends, some will remain and some will depart leaving just a lovely memory of a time of your life. And like most actors, I have no idea where my next job will come from. Right now, I don’t care. Mosque is going to stay with me just a tad longer.

Barbara: Oh, Deb, I so feel for you right now. It’s a close, maybe even uniquely close work-environment being on a set (if you share a similar experience in another job, please let us know!). You are thrown together by happenstance (okay, and talent), you must pretend to be other people with different relationships, you must bond with those around you whether you want to or not, you must put up with crap and be an unsuspecting shoulder, you often discover souls you would never otherwise have crossed paths with or chosen as friends, and you bond before you even know it. The gamut of this relationship can run its course over a day, a week, a month, or it can evolve over a few months a year for several years, as in your case, Deb.

It’s strange. And intense. And beautiful.

Kinda like a family.

29 comments:

  1. *hugs Deb* *sniffle*

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  2. Congrats on a wonderful run. It sounds like graduating. When my old work team got reorganized, we held a wake for the team. We atre, drank and shared fond memories. I still miss those days. May your next adventure be equally grand.

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  3. Barb you are so right. As you well know, being an actor yourself, each gig becomes like a family. Rigel thanks, wrap party tonight and that will be swell! Shawn thanks and we will have a fine wake going on this evening. Yes I do look forward to the next adventure. Being an actor, I don't know when that will happen!!!!!!!

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  4. Awww! Though I've never been on a TV show (or...ever on TV), I know what it's like to say good-bye to close friends. I have a feeling that after I depart from Scotland, I will have the same feeling. It's almost like a part of your life is gone, but at least the memories remain.

    Shucks, now I miss my friends who have all graduated and are still in the states while I'm here.

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  5. Kelly you are right. It's just like any farewell isn't it? But I still envy you Scotland!!!

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  6. I have seen the show Deb and your very right it is just a wonderful show and I do watch it often. Congrads on going through six seasons that's amazing . It's not easy now to find a show that teaches you so much, with LIttle Mosque you had that show . Saying good bye to someone Or A lot of people does not mean that you will never see them. It just means good bye for now. One question though do you think that when time passes a little bit that you all will ever do. Reunion show cause that would be cool. Again congrats Deb.

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  7. The bittersweet. I'm glad you got a chance to stop and recognize what a gift your time with these people really was. So many times we forget to do that until it's too late.

    Congratulations on being part of a wonderful show. (I've been watching them online.)

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  8. Deb, it looks like a great show and cast and I'm glad you've had such a great time of it. It is so strange to be part of something ending, eh? Much different than leaving somethign that will keep going in your absense. I caught a little flavor or what I've heard in the Harry Potter cast interviews I've seen all week... very strange to leave knowing that THIS TIME we don't come back...

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  9. I hope this comes to the US someday. I would love to see the show. Sounds like an amazing 6 years. More adventures for you Deb I am sure in the future. At least you have all the memories sealed in your heart.

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  10. I just found it online so maybe this summer I can start with episode one and watch the whole series. I am going to try and find it on the big scream, my TV.

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  11. Wow- I never knew you were on a show. How can I see it?
    I was a child actress and to this day I still miss my "movie family". I have searched the globe to reunite with them. These people you act with, emote with, cry fake tears with, become a part of you, and they always will be.
    xoxo Deb- I feel your pain.

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  12. Thanks Lynsie,hmmmm, reunion show. Maybe we could skip the getting older part and start it right now! Thanks Lisa. And the best part is that we knew this was the last season and got to wrap it up in a gorgeous moving ending. Hart it must be so weird for the Harry Potter cast. The leads grew up on that show. As did one of our young cast members. She was brokenhearted when it ended. Driving to our son's camp on Friday to take he and his girlfriend to Potter on their day off in fact. I will be sad when it is over. The boy grew up on it. Thanks Madge I do hope for more wonderful acting adventures. It's given me the bug again. So glad you have found it. Hope you like it. This last season just passed was great but the last season will be a fitting end, sweet and funny. Hollye,having been in it you know what it feels like. So proud of this show.

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  13. I have been watching since it started (my husband delivers equipment to the set) and when he told me about this show I thought that it was a good storyline & decided to give it a try. Well, when he told me it was ending I didn't believe him, thought he had gotten his information wrong but now sadly you have confirmed this :o( I will miss seeing all of you on a weekly basis (even when I had to watch reruns). Good luck with future endeavours.

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  14. Awww, Deb, this is so sweet!!!! I don't watch this show but it looks like you have yourself a great extended family! So rare! :)

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  15. i hope it is'nt rude from a stranger but i send you a hug deb. i can imagine what you feel like . i did an ECDL computer course for in 2001. 6 of us on that course became really good friends throughout the duration of it. we were aged in our 20-s to 40-s. sadly we lost touch as life moved us in various directions , that's just the way things go. as i always say don;t cry because the friendships end ( and in your case deb not all of them will) laugh because you had them in the first place . nobody can take a memory away .
    i hope this made some kind of sense !
    cheers
    Linda

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  16. Deb - All things must end, but the ending is often bittersweet. I really enjoyed watching the show every week, and noting the character development and interaction as well as the great acting. Looking forward to watching season 6 of a great Canadian TV show that celebrated diversity and tolerance.
    Great memories and friends, but onwards and upwards!!

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  17. Congrats, Deb, on what sounds like six amazing years!
    I've never been on TV (though it sounds SO fun!), but I know what it's like to work with people for years, and then have to say goodbye to them- it's one of the HARDEST things in the world! You do become a lot like a family, and when someone retires, quits, or transfers, it's pretty sad. However, great things can come of that, as I've learned with changes at my own job! (BTW, I'm getting tested on Friday for my management certification- wish me luck!) Cheers! :)

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  18. 1. Finally, my best friend (a Canadian) can mock me for being unable to watch Canadian TV, instead of the much more common version of me going "haaahahaha I get to see the latest episode of [SyFy show] and yooouuu doooooon't..."

    2. Barb, I think that oddly enough, a software team is very similar - or at least a software team when you're at the end of the production cycle. I've done alpha through golden master (so basically idea to release) on several projects, and when you're there for the entire product dev cycle, and spending 18+ hours a day at the end trying to get all the last bugs worked out, it gets intense. You basically end up spending your entire life, upwards of 3-6 months, with a group of people - and you either get very close, or the group shatters and everyone quits.

    I've never done TV, but it is similar to my theatre experiences - just more intense, since the software dev cycle lasts longer than theatre. But there's a lot of the same rawness, seeing each other at your best and worst, and using humour to keep everything - and everyone - glued together.

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  19. I have been following your blog for about a month now, but am commenting for the first time. Deb, I can understand how you must be feeling right now, though I’m sure nowhere near the same scale. I am an amateur actor and do quite a bit of community theater. It breaks my heart to say goodbye to the cast of each show I have done after a mere six weeks! I can’t imagine having to say goodbye to something lasting six years. You really do form a family with that group of people. I have not kept in contact with everyone I have worked with over the years, but each person holds a special place in my heart. And each person has helped to shape me into the performer I am today. It was so interesting that you wrote about this today. I had just been contemplating these very things as I prepare for an audition tomorrow night!
    Barb, you asked if anyone else out there had similar experiences in their line of work. I can say that my “real” job has the same family feel to it. I am a nurse and work at a very small hospital. We care for all types of people, from birth to death and everything in between. Nursing is not always easy, mentally, physically or emotionally, but I always can count on being able to lean on my coworkers when things get tough. We laugh together, cry together, commiserate together…the list is endless. And it is not only in our professional lives, but our personal lives as well. When I got the call that my father had been in a bad farming accident, I was at work. I would have fallen apart if not for the wonderful people who immediately surrounded me. I have been blessed to be present at the births of several of my coworker’s children. That’s a bonding experience you don‘t usually get in other types of careers! There’s a huge amount of trust involved with this line of work as well. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that your coworkers have your back when things go crazy. We work so well as a team in every way that I take for granted just what I have with these people. I don’t know if I would find it anywhere else.
    So Deb, congrats on a successful six years doing something you enjoy! I hope the next part of your career treats you as well as the last!
    ~Tomine

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  20. (((((Deb))))) I read your post with a tear and a smile. May your next adventure be even more wonderful. :)

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  21. Thanks, everyone, for your comments! Kelly 2, the software development work environment does sound very similar -- not only do you have to work very intensely with each other, but you know there is a clear end in sight to the project too.

    Tomine, welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your nursing experience with us. I can't imagine any work environment being as intense as those in health care. What makes me really happy, though, is that you've clearly found a special family there --one you can treasure and lean on. That is worth its weight in gold, especially when life and death hang in the balance. I hope your father is okay!! And on the "sharing a birth experience" side -- I was there for my sister's first birth and it was an unbelievable experience, one I will never forget. Imagine being there for those of your dear friends and coworkers?! xo

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  22. Oh, and Beth! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

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  23. Deb,

    How are you this morning after last night's wrap party? *hugs* I hope it was more a celebratory party than a mournful gathering.

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  24. Hey Anonymous, that's a small world huh? Glad you watch and enjoy. This season is going to be great. That's exactly it Holly, an extended family! Linda thanks for the hug. Hugs are good from anyone. Okay maybe not creepy guys in alleyways, but almost everyone else. Yep, great memories. Thanks Linda Scott. I know you will love this season. It wraps up so beautifully. We cried just reading it.

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  25. Thanks Beth. And GOOD LUCK on your Management cert! You will ace it! Kelly 2 it does sound like a similar experience. Raw is a good word for it. Tomine I can only imagine how much of a bond a nurse feels with his or her team. Because the word you are doing is so intense and so important. Thanks for sharing that with us. Thanks Rigel, the wrap party was wonderful. Dinner first with producers and cast, lots of farewell comment, lots of food, TOO MUCH champagne and wine which by the by, I am paying for today! But we went out with joy!

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  26. Deb,

    Your post is so sweet! It sounds like the show has been a big learning experience for you and I can imagine it's going to be a big change for you now that it's over! I think it's a good idea to, as you said, take some time after the show has ended before starting something new. Enjoy your life! No matter how long you take off, inshallah good things are to come for you!

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  27. All good things must come to an end, "they" say (don't they?). I will keep an eye out for the final season to air, and am happy to hear that all six years have been such a warm experience for you.

    Also, caught you on Single White Spenny tonight and may I say. . . you are lookin' some good, sistah!

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  28. Try being in a hospital operating theatre if you want to experience teamwork, close bonding and talent like on a TV set.

    I'll miss LMOTP very much and will wait for series 5 and 6 to be released on DVD. Thank you all.

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  29. Thanks Mari, "Inshallah good things to come to you"-I love it. It has been a wonderfully warm experience for me Kate. For all of us in fact. Thanks for the compliment on SWS. Anonymous I cannot even imagine the teamwork that goes on there. It must be amazing and rewarding. I hope you enjoy 5 and 6!

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