Kaitlin Williams (transcript)

Kaitlin Williams, James Avramenko

James Avramenko 00:00
Friendless is a proud member of the Saskatchewan Podcast Network, which is in part sponsored by Conexus credit union and Directwest. My sweet babies welcome back once more to a brand new episode of Friendless. Was that too much of a PewDiePie intro. I really hope it isn’t. What did he always say? He said something along those lines didn’t he? fuck, am I imitating PewDiePie? Ugh God. Alright welcome back to a brand new episode of friendless The only show about how to lose all your Facebook friends, one hour at a time. I am as always your host, not PewDiePie James Avramenko back once more to ask what it means to be a friend in this hellscape of anxiety and retweets we call society. As Zack Snyder put it recently, truly, we live in a society. God that movie looks dumb. The internet was a mistake. And the Snyder cut proves that. This week, I unfriend Vancouver actor, director and artistic director Kaitlin Williams. We discussed quarantine theater, the brilliant idea of recreating the success of Hamilton, how to do the work when there’s no work allowed nihilistic visions of the future, staying loose with happiness, weaving in and out of each other’s lives. The risks of site specific theater, assuming people are cooler than they actually are intimidating Leonardo DiCaprio, and so, so much more. It’s a absolutely wonderful interview and I just adore and Kaitlin, you are gonna love this episode. Don’t take my word for it. Buckle up and listen for yourself. Stick around to the end of the show for some super fun updates with friend list and some other side projects that are coming down the line. That is then this is now so for now, lay back. Enjoy my interview with the one and only Kaitlin Williams here on Friendless. So, um, this week, I have a dear friend of mine from way back in the day and it has been so fucking long. Kaitlin Williams. Oh my god, how the hell are you?

Kaitlin Williams 02:26
It’s been so long.

James Avramenko 02:28
Like I was trying to actually after I reached out to you about this interview. I was trying to remember when the last time we saw each other was and it must have been around debts. Like it must have been. Right. Which is like good lord. That’s three lifetimes ago.

Kaitlin Williams 02:45
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. The first one I feel like is like, I think maybe ten years Yeah, which I don’t even want to. I don’t even want to say that. But when did you move away?

James Avramenko 02:56
So let’s see. I want to say I moved to Vancouver. If it wasn’t late 2013 it was early 20. Like mid 2014.

Kaitlin Williams 03:05
Okay. Yeah. That’s, that’s bananas. But I’m sure I saw you since that at some party or something.

James Avramenko 03:14
Right, of course.

Kaitlin Williams 03:15
But, but you’re right. That was probably the most like, concentrated time that I was

James Avramenko 03:19
also having like a very, I mean, for my part, I was having a very reckless time in that in that period of my life. It was, it was, shall we say it was a little looser than usual. And so more ways than one but.

Kaitlin Williams 03:35
So the memories might not be as sharp.

James Avramenko 03:38
A little foggy.

Kaitlin Williams 03:41
What’s my excuse. I don’t know.

James Avramenko 03:44
Like you say, I’m just like, you know, the edges are a little rounder. Yeah, no. But so how, like, what have you been up to you? I know. I know. I mean, which is such a, like, a dumb question. What do you been up to for seven years? But, but what from what I understand you’re now the artistic director of a theatre company, right?

Kaitlin Williams 04:05

James Avramenko 04:07
That’s fucking amazing.

Kaitlin Williams 04:09
Yeah, it’s wild.

James Avramenko 04:10
So what? What led you down that path?

Kaitlin Williams 04:14
Ah, oh my gosh, um, well, I’m still in Vancouver. I stayed in. I’ve been here. I’ve been here the whole time. And what led me down the path. I don’t know. I just keep following the path. The way the path has unfolded for me as of late, it’s really recent. I just got this job in September. So it’s very, very fresh. And I feel like I’m definitely still finding my legs. And that would probably be true. Like anytime that you got a new big job, but right now. It’s particularly acute.

James Avramenko 04:52
Yeah. What’s it like to step into like, like a theater position, like when there’s no theater?

Kaitlin Williams 05:01
Kind of like existential and weird. Like many days of kind of staring out the window like, what am I doing? What are we doing? Yeah, what is it like there’s obviously all sorts of extra challenges. But I try, I really believe like where your focus goes, that’s where your energy goes. So I’m trying not to dwell too much in all the hard things because they present quite easily and often. And so I’m trying really hard to just consider this is like, all the opportunities that that are afforded to us in a year where the theater industrial complex usually grinds it out year after year, right. And so to have a pause, a forced pause, and a chance to examine and take stock and reimagine the way that we work that like what an incredible opportunity.

James Avramenko 06:01
That’s such a beautiful perspective. And it’s something that I felt like I was, I felt like I was expecting more of maybe, maybe, you know, when you looked at like, the the bit because, you know, it was sort of like march into may were sort of like weird holding everybody sort of dominoed canceling and then may to like, August was obviously the biggest sort of flare up of you know, lots of lots of, you know, firings and quittings and all the kind of protests and and justifiably so. And then and then ever since then it I can’t help but get the feeling like a lot of a lot of theaters are just biding their time to wait until the sort of flames die down, and then they can just go back to business as usual. And it’s really worrying in that capacity. Right? we’re still not addressing the, the thing for me is the boards I don’t want to put you in any position to have to speak too much. But like, you know that the idea of like the because I find that board people haven’t stopped because they’re not part of the theater world. And so they’re sort of like, why aren’t you still productive? We’re still productive. We’re in oil and gas, or we’re in potash or whatever it is.

Kaitlin Williams 07:14
Yeah, okay. I have a couple of thoughts. I, I can only speak to my own experience and what I know from the inside of the company that I’m working for, so I can’t, I can’t really know what’s going on. I hope that they’re the same kind of conversations that are happening in my company are happening at other companies as well. I hope that it’s such a tricky thing to know right now. Like, to be quite honest, one of the things I’m probably most afraid of is being accused of being performative.

James Avramenko 07:47

Kaitlin Williams 07:48
Because to me, I’m like, when I really try and dig under that I’m like, why am I why is that such a fear? And I think it’s because it would call into question my integrity, and, and in a public way and that I would, I don’t know that just, I’m really afraid of that ever. Why shame? Yeah, probably. And so, anyway, so to try and figure out how we share publicly without it being performative while still in the middle of the thing, is a real tricky tightrope to walk right. So So part of part of my I guess ethos is I would rather like put my head down and do the work and like show you by my actions that the work is happening rather than just, like I’m quite statement fatigued for example, no more statements or just sort of like empty vague promises let’s like just put our money where our mouth is and like actually get to work and do the thing. So that’s what’s happening behind behind. I don’t wanna say behind closed doors, but behind the scenes I guess at my company and Gosh, I really hope it’s happening other companies too and maybe they’re also like walking through that tension of how to share that work that is so like the self reflective work companies need to do is super raw level and and anyway but I don’t know

James Avramenko 09:13
well, you hit these walls too right? Because you because there’s there’s wanting to show the work that is and will be done but then there’s also you’re not able to do work because you’re not able to make theater and so so much of this becomes this recursive loop of of yelling at people to do better but but not being allowed to do the work right and so we’re you know, I find the theater art industry in general you know, music performance of any kind, you know, anywhere where things gather are really tricky spot where where they want to do better and they’re, you know, I know a lot of people who are trying, but they do hit this wall of like, like you say, and I agree wholeheartedly like, you know, the time for declarations is done. Now it’s you know, time to show you but There’s no ability to show. And so it’s like it’s a it’s a, it’s a head trip, that’s for sure. I really like I really tip my cap to you, you know, like to just trying right, I think it’s incredibly brave of you and incredibly, you know, necessary. Right, like, so. Thanks for being one of those people who’s keeping it going.

Kaitlin Williams 10:21
Yeah, we’ll see it does. Yeah. When the days that are hard, I’m like, wow, okay, we are tasked with not only keeping the company afloat in the middle of a pandemic, but also sort of transforming and innovating the way that we share work while also becoming like, truly equitable. Place. It’s a lot.

James Avramenko 10:42
Yeah. Um, do you find? Do you find yourself interested in digital media with theatre? Or do you find yourself like, very justifiably resistant to like, filming plays or things like that?

Kaitlin Williams 10:57
Yeah, good question. You know, how many people have told me as he comes around me, or it has become a running joke, so many people have told me when this comes up, like, you know, what I saw and loved? Hamilton, Hamilton was great. That’s their number one piece of advice for me right now is just make Hamilton. honestly, like, if I had a penny for every time someone told me that I could make Hamilton right now. But I am, I am naturally I would say, resistant to the digital transition, because to me, it’s, it is antithetical to everything that I love about the being in the space embodied, breathing beside the people that are witnessing the story, and that we’re all in communion together. So, so having an art experience through the screen hasn’t, yeah, is definitely not what I would naturally, you know, be drawn to that being said, I, I acknowledge the opportunities that are there. And I think I have I have witnessed some things that have been, you know, not film, but but theater, film, hybrid, you know, in a, in a way and that have also spoken to me. So I’m trying to be open, I would say like, right off the top early days, totally honest, actually, James, like, in March when the pandemic happened, and I lost all my work, and all my contracts are gone. And yeah, I was like, I’m out. This is it, done, I am so out. I’m not interested in, you know, filming theater, or whatever this is going to take to get through this time, and no one’s going to blame me if I leave theater now an epidemic opportunity,

James Avramenko 13:01
it’s kind of an easy out,

Kaitlin Williams 13:02
a very easy out, I was looking for an out I think about quitting like every day. So this is really good out. Um, but then I don’t know this thing happened, where the pandemic was also sort of those early months was also sort of clarifying about what about, I guess how nothing is certain and nothing is promised? And if that is, if that’s what life is, then don’t I want to be doing life doing the one thing that I love more than anything? Yeah. I don’t know. It just sort of put everything into perspective in a really Stark way. And then at the end of it, I was like, shoot, I still want to do theater.

James Avramenko 13:49
You know, that’s such a beautiful summation. Um, that’s actually something that I’ve been really grappling with a lot recently, I actually have had I’ve been having these really bizarre, like, I don’t know how to call them they’re almost like pre dreams. Like, you know, when you’re sort of like when you’re falling asleep and you’re still awake, but your your, your brain starts going elsewhere, you know, as you’re wandering off, and, and I’ve been having these these sort of reoccurring, you know, not visions, there’s nothing like that, but it’s like, just these thoughts of like, okay, we are these little monkeys that are just like trapped on this rock. And this one rock is just hurtling through eternity. And, and it’s it like it, we’re nothing inside of nothing. And this is not to be hopeless. This is not what I’m driving. It’s like, it’s like we are we are we get this flash in the pan to live on this rock in the, the the center of eternity. And, and we’re worried about like, taxes. And and like, I’m like Summer homes and Bitcoin and you know, like politicians, and we’re worried about like, what some people do with their genitals to each other, and we’re worried about what they do with their own like, we we fill our minds with these worries that mean nothing, you know, and then and then so many people, myself included, stop ourselves from doing the thing that we love. Because we tell ourselves, well, it won’t make money or it won’t make us famous, or it won’t make us loved or it won’t do this other thing, right. And, and, you know, so it’s like, I’m working really hard. I’m coming back to this thing about what you’re saying about like, no, it’s theater I want to do and I think that that’s exactly right. You know, and it’s like, it’s like, we only get a finite number of days. So you might as well spend it doing the thing that makes you happy. Because like, you don’t take any of it with you. Yeah, right. You know, so it’s like money or experience. Either way, you’re dead at the end. So you better enjoy what you did with it.

Kaitlin Williams 16:02
Yeah. Yeah. I’m just trying to hold it all loosely, to like, this is an adventure. I’m gonna say yes. Like I said, I kind of just have this philosophy about following the path or like being in flow of where the next thing is taking me and then I’ll keep I’ll just try and walk out and trust and just keep going. And then if it stops, it’ll stop. It’ll, I’ll do something else.

James Avramenko 16:26
Exactly. Well, and that’s, you know, yeah, no, that’s spot on with the thing about like, that’s what kind of got us here to Saskatoon. We almost kind of Yes, and-ed it

Kaitlin Williams 16:36
Yeah, totally.

James Avramenko 16:37
Like okay. Okay, let’s try it out. You know, some of its work. Some of it hasn’t. But like, what, what works? 100% of the time, right? Yeah. I don’t have an answer for this. So I’m gonna rely on you if you have any of it. I would love to hear if you remember how we met.

Kaitlin Williams 17:02
Yeah. Yeah, I don’t really have a memory either. You just like morphed into my life and then, but but you know what, I I did start to take stock because as I was thinking about that question, I realized like you and I, our lives have weirdly kind of like, woven in and out. I don’t know if you have taken stock or if you even remember all these things. But so yeah, we must have met at theater school at some point like my, like, My first memory of you is like your laugh in the lobby. which I Love. because I feel like you were you were a year below me.

James Avramenko 17:48
Yeah. At least one or two? Yeah.

Kaitlin Williams 17:52
Um, but then. Okay. Do you remember that? We lived in the same apartment building? The colony Park Manor. The worst name. Yeah the retirement home. With the furniture in the front lobby was chained to the wall. I’ll never forget that. Like weird old person furniture that they change the wall in case like we stole it. Like I understand that.

James Avramenko 18:17
Now did you know that was my very first apartment in Victoria. The first place I ever lived. And it was actually a friend of the family’s place. And they rented it to us while we found a place because we weren’t supposed to be living there.

Kaitlin Williams 18:31
Yes, It was like non rentals. You’re not allowed to rent.

James Avramenko 18:34
Yeah, it was even like, I’m pretty sure it was like you’re not supposed to be under 65. So we were getting a stink eye.

Kaitlin Williams 18:46
Like you kind of didn’t you kind of get in trouble.

James Avramenko 18:48
Yeah. Like there was like some old biddie who was reporting us.

Kaitlin Williams 18:54
It was a pretty intense place to live. Yeah, I lived there for three or four years, my parents and my parents bought the apartment and then my roommate because I was they kind of flex the rental rules a little bit. If you were that like you were the projeny of the owner. And then I was allowed to have a roommate but that was it. But it was such a you know, apart from the like neighbors giving you the stink eye there was a pool. There were so many laundry machines. Like my apartment was so big. And I was like you, that was I was the that was only the second place. I’ve lived in Victoria and I just didn’t know. That’s probably the nicest place I lived. Many, many years.

James Avramenko 19:37
Oh my god. It was like this weird like it was it felt like a hobbit hotel to me, because it felt like it was sort of like overgrown. And it was like oddly like it was oddly buried in a hill even though it had multiple stories in such a weird place.

Kaitlin Williams 19:51
yeah. And then my brother lived there after me and he used to joke and then my parents tried to sell The apartment and then they had trouble selling it like the market went down and it was hard to get rid of. So my brother was kind of like stuck in this apartment. It was like, you could only leave if you got another family member in. So I was able to leave. But then he was stuck and he was like trying to get my cousin to move in so that he could leave. So there’s that we both live in the same apartment building. Yeah, speaking my brother, you my brother somehow became friends and

James Avramenko 20:31
big love.

Kaitlin Williams 20:32
Yeah, big love worked at the same cell phone.

James Avramenko 20:36
He got me the job at wireless wave. Yeah. From from literally from it was so funny because we were he came to see debts. And we were we were hanging out afterwards. And he’s like, how are you? And I was like, not good, man. I was just like, I just broke up with a girlfriend. I have no job. I need to find a new apartment. I was like, shit is in the air. And he’s like, well, man, you know, like, there’s an opening up this wireless wave store. He’s like, I’ll put your name quote through you know, just just phone the guy and I got the job. It was the best. Oh my god.

Kaitlin Williams 21:13
Yeah, it’s why I’m sad. I’m glad for him that he doesn’t work there anymore. But I miss him being able to get me sweet cell phone deals. That’s for sure.

James Avramenko 21:22
Oh, my God, I miss those.

Kaitlin Williams 21:24
Yeah. Okay. And then we were we actually lived in the Bayswater house together for a little bit. I’m pretty sure. Do you remember that?

James Avramenko 21:35
Yes. Oh, my God, I forgot that you were

Kaitlin Williams 21:41
we were roommates kind of?

James Avramenko 21:44
Yeah. That was it. Was that not? was it? Was that what it? Was it? You me and, James?

Kaitlin Williams 21:49
Yeah James Kot. Me and the James’. That’s right.

James Avramenko 21:54
I remember Oh, my God, I was so I was so intimidated by James Kot. I like, like, I would get nervous around him. I get like, sort of like, Hi, James. You know, and that’s sort of like, and then I’d like run to my room.

Kaitlin Williams 22:10
You know, that’s like, the main memory I have of you that time is that you were in your room? Just always? Like, maybe you would just come back from barkerville? And you were you were maybe having like a bit of culture shock? Almost, coming back to the city.

James Avramenko 22:27
Yes, I was reaclimatizing. For sure. Because I literally, I’d been alone for five months in barkerville. And so I was just like, I don’t know how to interact with people. I just like, I get too stoned. And then I feel weird. So I go in my room.

Kaitlin Williams 22:43
Yeah. And I knew I could pick up that vibe. So I was just, you know, let you do your thing. And then we, I went and lived in barkerville. So we share that as well. I also spent five months in barkerville. And then

James Avramenko 23:00
That place is hell. The place is literal hell like it’s like, it’s a great idea. And I respect all the people who do it. I say nothing, not saying anything bad about the people. But like, just the concept of that contract and what you do up there? That’s hell.

Kaitlin Williams 23:18
It was there were definitely some really tough things. I, what can I say about it? Again, like following the path. I’m glad for the adventure and for the experience of what that was. And I’m quite inspired by the art that happens there like in wells with the art galleries and the theater and all of the cool people like making stuff happen up there, which is pretty inspiring, I guess. And I did love. Like, I just remember like reading books outside and being in the mountains. And yeah, that whole experience was really cool. But yeah, the day to day kind of grinding it out. Historical interpretation. Part of it was was was tough. Yeah, yes. That’s what I’ll say about that. But I really made some really good friends. And yeah, I miss them. And, and I would like to go Yeah, let’s go visit but yeah, probably right. Do wouldn’t, wouldn’t necessarily do a contract again, I guess there but again, I’m glad for the I’m glad for the experience. Totally. Um, and then that brings us to debt. So that’s like, look at all those things, James, you know, maybe there’s other things that I’m forgetting but so so. I know. I’m probably going on too long here.

James Avramenko 24:37
No, it’s great.

Kaitlin Williams 24:38
But I got it. I got to archive the history of Avramenko in my life.

James Avramenko 24:44

Kaitlin Williams 24:44
So then we get to debts. And I like just fell in love with you.

James Avramenko 24:50
Right. We had Oh my god. It was so much fun. Like, especially the first year but both years were just like so magic. You did the second year, right. It was yeah, okay, it was it was, it was Dan who, who? Who didn’t do it?

Kaitlin Williams 25:03
Yes. Yeah, he did the first I get kind of confused between the years but

James Avramenko 25:07
yeah, they sort of blend but it was just like I remember, you know, it’s it’s funny that you list all these things because it’s like, when I when I think of, you know my friendship with you, I basically just think of debts. Yeah. And I just remember just being like, holy shit is Kaitlin Williams, my best friend. I just like having the best time and then. But then now that you’re listening to these things, it’s like, oh, yeah, of course, we were great friends. Because we had these incredible little like,

Kaitlin Williams 25:36
little sort of like deposits in the bank leading up to that, but but I don’t think before debts. And I don’t really know exactly what the takeaway is here, though. But like, before debt, before debts, I didn’t really know you. And then through that experience, I was like, oh, man, I love James. And I loved your character. And you in that show like, I just remember you being so good in that show. And, and yeah, it was. That was a that was a no, it was a special experience. The whole thing.

James Avramenko 26:09
Yeah, that was a really magic time. I you know, it was that was actually my last show. For like, for like six years. I didn’t do any theater for the longest time. Like I didn’t do any theater in all when we lived in Calgary and I’ve only done one. Two plays now in in Saskatoon so it was like, basically debts and I was done kind of thing. And I did feel like, Oh, this is a good one to go out.

Kaitlin Williams 26:36
Weird it was pretty weird. I was just telling. I was telling Ben, my husband’s a story of the show before we got on this call. And I was telling him about the night that someone like every night. So I know debts has come up on your podcast before. But for people that don’t know, this seminal piece of Vancouver theatre history, it was a play. It was site specific set in this Heritage House in the West End, downtown Vancouver, and we would do two shows a night and it was a it was kind of like a haunted house play inspired by Edgar Allan Poe stories.

James Avramenko 27:10
And you’d like follow that you could follow the actors through the house as they were like killed off.

Kaitlin Williams 27:17
Yeah, it was super cool. And so as it went on, it got kind of more intense. And I remember there was this one part where I had to like, scream like blood curdling scream out the window. And then I remember one night, I don’t know if you remember this, but someone in one of the West End apartments got on their balcony, and were like, oh, we know why you’re here anymore. They were yelling at us. Um, because Fair enough, like, yeah, they didn’t want

James Avramenko 27:49
Yes, twice a day, every day every day

Kaitlin Williams 27:51
for weeks. It was like screaming and I was carrying on in the westend. Anyway, it was good. It was good.

James Avramenko 27:58
I remember that. I remember them. I remember the next day they had they had like lodged a complaint against the like house and then they had had to kind of bicker about like, Okay, what do we do with the volume?

Kaitlin Williams 28:08
I think I had I think I was instructed to scream quieter.

James Avramenko 28:14
scream at top volume a little quieter.

Kaitlin Williams 28:17
Like fear for your life at a reasonable level.

James Avramenko 28:20
Yeah, no, make it believable. Yeah, it’s gotta be you gotta sell it still, but

Kaitlin Williams 28:25
don’t anger the West End neighbors.

James Avramenko 28:28
God damn. I wish I hope you screamed louder.

Kaitlin Williams 28:35
I remember being quiet. Yeah, I was worried that. Yeah, we were gonna get in trouble or get shut down. So anyway, that is good memories. So yeah, that was that’s like my most. That’s I think like I say that when we became close, close friends. And when I found you, I my last memory that really pops that I wanted to share because I don’t think you would know this. But I remember seeing Okay, do you remember this electric company show called you are very star that was at the planetarium?

James Avramenko 29:04
Yes! Yeah.

Kaitlin Williams 29:05
Okay, I worked on that show. And I remember it. I think it was opening night. And there was some sort of party and I remember seeing you and Jennica.

James Avramenko 29:13

Kaitlin Williams 29:14
And Jennica was like kind of grabbing you by the hand and like leading you through the party. And you were both like, laughing and you looked so beautiful and so happy. And I remember just being so happy when I saw that. I remember being like I love that. Yes. Look at how happy James is Yeah.

James Avramenko 29:32
Oh, that’s so nice. That was actually our I think that was like our second or third date. It was like really new.

Kaitlin Williams 29:38
It looked like it. It looked fun and cute and shiny.

James Avramenko 29:43
Now we’re now we’re all now we’re just comfortable.

Kaitlin Williams 29:47
I’m married. That’s what happened,

James Avramenko 29:49
right? watching Netflix. But that’s so funny I remember that that date really well. And I remember I swear I swear we saw you there. I swear. We talked

Kaitlin Williams 30:00
Yeah, probably Yeah.

James Avramenko 30:02
But But yeah, that that show that whole experience was really that was another really weird one where you like, went around the Science Center and like, did little activities and stuff I remember they had set up, they’d set up somebody on a phone number, and so you could text them throughout the week. And then they would like, they would like text you stuff. But it would be really weird. You’d be like, what the fuck

Kaitlin Williams 30:24
Yeah it was, I was that during the intermission, there was a like scavenger hunt, basically, the whole audience could do. So I was in charge with these two others, of setting it all up, and then running it during the 15 minutes and then tearing it down. And it was a huge amount of work to set up. But I remember seeing adults like we had like one of those like, pop bottle rocket, when you launch the pop bottle into the air or whatever. And I remember adults like running up to do that and watching adults play. I was like, this is worth it, this is good.

James Avramenko 31:06
So my first question is like, sort of the really the root of this whole show, right? You know, I mean, the the question of this podcast for me has essentially been like, have I been a good friend? And and how do you be a good friend? And so if I’m gonna answer that question you’re gonna have I’m gonna have to figure out what it even means to be a friend first. So, so I’m always curious to hear the answer to this question of how would you define friendship?

Kaitlin Williams 32:00
That’s a good question. That’s such a big question. You sent it to me earlier this week. So I’ve been thinking about it a lot. And it’s an interesting question to be pondering in this moment, as well. This week, I was really missing my friends. Like Yeah, like, deep level ache like, Oh, what I would give just to just a hug. Yeah, hug me hanging out with my with my girlfriends. So for me when I thought of a few things, but I guess what it came down to was, was just committed relationship is really what it what it feels like, at the end of the day, like the people I’m, I’m lucky. I know. I’m lucky to have some really deep and long friendships, my kinda have a group of girlfriends who are like, ride or die really tight. One of them since I was 10 years old. And now she has two babies and like, like, yeah, just a lot of life and a lot of, I don’t know, like highway behind us, you know, that we’ve walked together. So there’s that kind of level. I used to call it when I was younger, in I don’t know if you know, this reference, but in Anne of Green Gables she talks about her bosom buddy is her like best friend.

James Avramenko 33:20
I mean I know the term

Kaitlin Williams 33:22
That’s probably the first Anne of Green Gables reference on this podcast!

James Avramenko 33:30
What is it LM Montgomery? It’s great.

Kaitlin Williams 33:32
So I used to my term for that was a spirit friend, and I was like, somebody who is like, deep in your spirit, like that you are connected to and kind of, like linked to, and, and then lucky to have those, those friends, but then I also have like, this kind of wider net that I also deeply value. And I would include you in that kind of circle of like community. Right? Yeah. And, and, to me, that’s kind of what life is about. And so I don’t know, it’s got, how would I define it? It’s like a family and it is kind of like meaning of life, almost, I would say, like, I think, um, you know, romantic relationship gets placed on this pedestal, in our culture in our society. And I think there’s some conversation happening around like, examining that and examining all the ways that your romantic relationship or your partner is does not need to be the one and only like soul. Like the primacy of that relationship can be. I don’t know, like examined does that I, there’s things that my friends can give me in terms of relationship that my partner can’t necessarily and that’s ok right to put everything on your one partner. Your romantic relationship I think is not healthy. It’s not healthy, and it’s not giving credit to all those other relationships that we have in our life. So, so my friends are deeply important and feel like yeah, very life giving those spirit.

James Avramenko 35:13
Yeah, sure, that’s wonderful. You know, I think you raise a really nice point too, about this idea of the community that isn’t like, you know, I think sometimes we accidentally put a lot of weight on, like, everyone, if it’s not a deep, intimate relationship, then you’re basically not a friend. Right? Yeah. And I think we’re actually in a really, you know, I don’t know, if I want to call it unique, I just, I know, I can only speak from this perspective is that, like, we’re in a great position to have the opportunity to be friends with a lot of people. And it actually is sort of the, the, the, the part of theatre and the part of art that I both love and sort of hate is that it creates a lot of, sort of one strand relationships. And, and I, I’m always looking for more, and I’m always feeling like, if I’m not creating more, I’m being a bad friend. And this is sort of part of the things I’m trying to reconcile with myself is like, because, you know, I, I, I really love people. And I find people infinitely fascinating. And I always want to learn more about every person I meet, because I’m always like, Oh, my God, you have all these incredible stories in you and tell me everything and oh, my God, right, you know, but, but that’s also like, impossible, you know, it’s impossible to do, and it’s exhausting. And so, but when you when you’re in theater, you know, you kind of get you get new friends every time you’re in a show, and you and you form these bonds, and it’s sort of the exciting thing. It’s also the tragedy, because at the end of the show, they’re gone. And then it goes back to work.

Kaitlin Williams 36:39
Yeah. It’s like, summer camp. Time and the relationships you would make at summer camp that were like, so, so deep and so intense in a week, and then you just, but they don’t, I don’t know if in theater, they totally go away. I guess that’s what I’m saying is that it does sometimes feel like a blessing and a curse. It’s like I have a little bit too much communities.

James Avramenko 37:04
Like, Leave me, leave me alone.

Kaitlin Williams 37:06
There’s so many people that I’m just like you like, I’m kind of obsessed with people. And yeah, love them so much. And so I guess part of my thing has been becoming okay with the fact that, like you, and I might not talk for seven years, but I still have a deep deep love and connection. And that we can just hop on the phone and talk and it’ll feel like no time has passed. And that’s okay.

James Avramenko 37:32
Exactly. Well, and that’s just it, too. And that’s something that I’m that’s something that this show has really taught me is like, just because you’re not present all the time doesn’t mean it’s gone. Right. And, and, and I think both people, you know, have to, I mean, I can’t speak for other people, but I can speak for myself, like I have to hold I have to I have to trust that right? Like, you just have to trust that. Just because you haven’t spoken that person doesn’t hate you.

Kaitlin Williams 37:56
Yeah, and also to not underestimate the value of like little check ins,

James Avramenko 38:01

Kaitlin Williams 38:03
A text or a message or a hey I’m thinking of you. I think can goes so far. And, and perhaps we don’t do that enough.

James Avramenko 38:15
Yeah, I know, for me, I, I talk myself out of that stuff. Because I’m always like, there’s also lots of dynamics, right? Because it’s like, you know, ‘m a married man. What am I doing? What am I doing messaging people.

Kaitlin Williams 38:35
But is that what we have to kind of, I don’t know, I was gonna say is that what we’re what we’re kind of questioning like, You are a married man. And you do have that relationship? Yes. And and she obviously is very important relationship in your life. But you also have these other relationships that you’re kind of attending to or investing in. But you’re right, you wanna be thoughtful, I guess and not.

James Avramenko 39:00
What I just don’t want it. You know, it’s like, you know, it’s like, you’d never know, like, text and an internet conversation is so bizarre to me, right? Because it’s not, it’s not conversation in my, in my opinion, right? You know, it’s not, it’s not how I converse with people. And so it’s like, what am I conveying here? What am I showing? What am I saying? Because I can never know. And so like, people, like, I often get a little bit of shit from my emails and stuff, because I’m very, I’m very accidentally terse in my emails, because I don’t really write an email the way I talk, because if I wrote an email, like I talked it’d be six pages. And so so it’s very, like, here’s the information goodbye. And so people are like, Oh, no, James is pissed about something. And it’s like, no, like, No, I that’s not what I mean at all. So Oh, yeah. So internet internet speak really messes with me. We’ve sort of touched on this already but it but I’d like to hear if there’s like a specific one. What is your most vivid memory of our friendship? Hmm.

Kaitlin Williams 41:04
Yeah, I think it’s from debts and it’s from just us like that experience of doing a site specific show in October outside in the cold and like us. Remember that scene we had to kind of like huddled together like we were Scooby Doo teenagers. And, and, yeah, just sort of the I don’t know, the way that that whole experience. fortified a number of relationships, I feel definitely is the most vivid memory I have.

James Avramenko 41:42
You know what I always think about from that time, I always remember when Brian would play the piano before the show, and we’d all sing Disney songs. Yeah. Right. And I remember, I remember, I remember kind of getting in trouble for singing too loud because they were like, the audience is waiting. They can hear you.

Kaitlin Williams 42:03
Yeah they can hear you singing like little mermaid before this. Edgar Alan Poe show’s not quite the vibe we’re going. Not really. Yeah. And I guess also, you know, earlier, I was trying to say like, what was the what’s the takeaway from this whole story of, of how we like had all these encounters, but didn’t really know each other. And maybe 100 of this is reaching too much. But something in like, I guess I didn’t, I didn’t know how to be friends or like, connect with you, because I thought you were really cool. And we were kind of different because I’m really not cool.

James Avramenko 42:42
And then you realize Actually, I’m a big nerd.

Kaitlin Williams 42:47
I just realized no more just actually like, yeah, who you were, and not that you’re not, you are still cool. But that there that to not like discount people or not like saying, Oh, I can’t be friends with that person. Or that person wouldn’t want to be friends with me.

James Avramenko 43:07
Well I definitely. I mean,I appreciate that immensely. I also just like, like, I don’t, I don’t feel cool, right? Like, I don’t I don’t I’m not I don’t like I thought I like I’m more standoffish because I’m like, nervous or like embarrassed or like, I’m, you know, I’m, I, I’m always really self conscious about like, Oh, don’t you know, like, just just leave them alone. Because, you know, like, they’re better off without you. You know, so that whole like, you know, you’re so cool. I’m Like, Oh, fuck, I just I felt like a fucking loser through most of my life. And so, you know, so I mean, it’s very kind of you to say and it’s also like, yeah, like

Kaitlin Williams 43:52
it’s again a lesson or like revealing Yeah, I suppose of, of how we’re perceived but then also owed actually going on. And it’s a it’s a good lesson for me to not not project those things necessarily, right. Yeah,

James Avramenko 44:04
totally. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the person you think is cool is actually a big fucking loser.

Kaitlin Williams 44:12
That is not the lesson. They’re cool in a different way. They’re cool and they want to be friends with you.

James Avramenko 44:21
Exactly. Everybody wants to be friends. Oh my god. I am. I had like a tiny bit part on The Revenant Yeah, years ago.

Kaitlin Williams 44:32
Heard you talk about it but I have not seen it.

James Avramenko 44:34
So my laugh made it into the movie. I am incredibly proud of that. I am immortalized in an Alejandro Inuritu.

Kaitlin Williams 44:40
It’s what I am watching tonight.

James Avramenko 44:43
You will hear my laugh It echoes across the plains.

Kaitlin Williams 44:47
It called the bear, the bear is like I heard something. What’s that?

James Avramenko 44:55
But, but so I was on set for about a week and I’m Look for me, I’m one of the French trappers but so on set, you know, like Leo’s, like, kind of down the way from us. And, you know, he’s, he’s totally isolated, right? Because we never actually crossed paths in the in the script, he just kind of watches us and then and then saves this indigenous woman and stuff. But, but he, he would always be so far. And between takes, we’d be like, do you think? Do you think he wants to come over and say hi. We’d like to tell ourselves the story that he like, he really wanted to come say hi to us, but he was too intimidated. He was like, he was like, he thought we were the cool ones. And that’s why he was keeping his distance.

Kaitlin Williams 45:45

James Avramenko 45:46
Anyway, that’s the story. We told ourselves. None of it was true. But

Kaitlin Williams 45:50
I don’t know if he is cool.

James Avramenko 45:56
You know, the jury is still out. The jury has never come back for me. They they left one day in 1997. And they never came back.

Kaitlin Williams 46:08
All these all these fellows are being examined under a new light.

James Avramenko 46:13
Yeah. And you know, I mean, that’s the thing is that it’s like, you know, I i’ve always or I’ve tended to like his movies and stuff, but like him as a person. Not sold.

Kaitlin Williams 46:25
Yeah, just, I think jury’s out. That’s good.

James Avramenko 46:27
Yeah. Yeah. This is, uh, this is this is the doozer. Right? Because, you know, it’s really, it’s really the, the, the, the, what do you call it? It’s the future of everything that we do. You know, we’ve talked about what are we going to do when we get out of this? And and are we ever going to enter this? And what even is this? And where am I and what are we doing here? But, but when all this is, you know, or sorry, I actually, I should say, you know, this isn’t over yet. So, so we need to accept that we’re inside of it. And what do you think that that situation dictates in what it takes to be a good friend in 2021? And then moving forward, whether it’s staying in quarantine or somehow miraculously getting out? Right?

Kaitlin Williams 47:27
Well, I’ll, I’ll answer for what, for what it takes right now over in it. And then maybe, yeah, maybe that answer also applies when we’re out of it. But there’s so much that I can’t even imagine of what the other side of this will feel like. So yeah, I don’t know. But for right now, I feel like being a friend right now takes commitment to to be kind of like tenacious and inventive. So So, because we can’t physically show up. So it’s like, how else can I show up for people? And like, I was saying before, like, being following up those impulses when someone pops into your brain to to check in or shoot them a note, or reach out in some way. I think that i think that’s like, pretty vital right now. Because otherwise we’re just gonna slip it’s gonna be it’s, it’s already is so easy to

James Avramenko 48:33
lose seven years.

Kaitlin Williams 48:34
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Right. And that’s in the in a different time when we weren’t mandated to stay apart. So I know I’ve been like a couple of my friends have started a movie night on the weekend. So there’s like a different different person chooses a movie. Each weekend we watch it together, we like text during the movie, or we text afterwards about what we thought. And another friend like made these baskets over Christmas that were like, different. It was very, these this was like very ambitious, I thought these baskets of like, it was basically like an advent calendar. Like you opened a different thing each day and there was a different like event or something that you do that day. That was pretty amazing. No, no, I’m see. I’m lucky to have these friends. I’m not doing anything like that. My things are much smaller and more modest. But I don’t but like I said, I don’t think they can be underestimated right now.

James Avramenko 49:35

Kaitlin Williams 49:35
I think a phone call like just I started calling people like just calling. When I thought of them and kind of beautiful. They get a pandemic as everyone answers. It’s everyone’s on their phone,

James Avramenko 49:45
no excuse

Kaitlin Williams 49:46
and everyone’s at home and everyone’s kind of available. And so I’ve had lots of great phone calls and catch ups with people including this and and right I I think that’s kind of that’s what I mean about commitment. Like, you kind of just have to do it. But practice it.

James Avramenko 50:06
yeah, that’s been something that’s been really reoccurring, not only in the show, but just in my general kind of thoughts is like, it’s not, you know, I think we have in your head that if we’re, if we’re gonna do something, it has to be grandiose, right, we have to make these grand gestures.

Kaitlin Williams 50:20
You have to do an advent gift basket.

James Avramenko 50:22
Exactly. Yeah. And it’s like, no, like, you just have to be nice. So all you got to do, you got to just be nice, you know, in the littlest in the littlest way possible all up. It’s just a nice text. Yes. So, so enough, some

Kaitlin Williams 50:39
some effort, it makes me think too another sort of, I don’t know, thing I try and practice is if, if I have appreciated someone’s art to also always do that. To say, like, if you put your work out there, and no one ever says anything? Yeah. how lonely that can be. And so same kind of thing, just like this, these practices that I think are more meaningful than we would then we can ever know, for the person. And I know that just because I have when I have received it, it’s meant everything to me.

James Avramenko 51:13

Kaitlin Williams 51:14
And that’s free. Like, we can just do that.

James Avramenko 51:16
Yeah, it’s free. That’s the thing. It is so cheap to be nice.

Kaitlin Williams 51:22
Yeah, it’s like, it’s nice, but I think it’s also maybe even more active than nice. It’s like intentional and a practice.

James Avramenko 51:31
Yeah, very much.

Kaitlin Williams 51:33
It’s active practice.

James Avramenko 51:35
Yeah. Ah, Kaitlin, you’re just the friggin best.

Kaitlin Williams 51:40
Ah Jimmy.

James Avramenko 51:42
I just, I just like, I’m so grateful that, you know, I get to call you a friend. And like, and it makes me like this. This conversation has made me miss you even more, you know, like, it’s like, it’s been so wonderful. And it’s also just made me like, incredibly sad. Like, just thinking about, like, Fuck, seven years. God damn it. Like, you know, and, and, and, and just the life like, the worlds that we’ve both lived in are still

Kaitlin Williams 52:18
quite a lot has happened. In those seven years. Yeah, yeah.

James Avramenko 52:33
God damn, but I just like, I adore you. And I’m just like, I’m, like, I say, I’m just so grateful, you know, to be your friend. And fuck, you know, I feel like, I feel like we could talk and talk and talk and talk. And I like, really hurts to have to, like, do this last part here.

Kaitlin Williams 52:52
But let’s be honest, like, Facebook is the worst, the worst, this is not the most painful part.

James Avramenko 53:01
No no. I just I just, you know,

Kaitlin Williams 53:03
It’s the symbol of it.

James Avramenko 53:05
Exactly. Well, that’s just it. And I just want to make sure that like, you know, we are clear that we still follow each other on Instagram and we could still talk any other way. Yeah.

Kaitlin Williams 53:16
As often mentioned at the end of your show, right, but I don’t even think as I like yeah you should go ahead and do it do think but I like I hate Facebook so much as everybody does. And I have like the most fraught I don’t know if I’m the most fraught but I definitely have a fraught relationship with all social media and I’m often quitting it. And a few years ago, I just quit my whole my old Facebook so the one that we’re on friends with now I only started a few years ago and so it doesn’t even feel like I have no emotional attachment to it at all. I’ve know like people get memories that like pop up or whatever from the old days but I don’t have that because it mine only started in 2017. So I have like three photos. And just and I don’t even know if we were I guess we are friends but but anyway, all that to say I don’t have a big attachment to this.

James Avramenko 54:10
That’s good. Well then this will make the next part easy. Kaitlin Williams, we no longer facebook friends.

Kaitlin Williams 54:24
That’s good that leads the way for more genuine connection.

James Avramenko 54:52
And that is it. Thanks again to Kaitlyn for coming on the show. I just adore her. I love her so much and I wish not But the best for her in the future. If you liked this episode, tell your friends, share the links review the episodes. Look. I can’t do this alone, I need your help. Every little shout out helps if only just to give me the emotional boost I need to get through another night of anxiously asking myself what the hell I’m doing with my life. Follow the show at all the usual social media haunts @friendlesspod, or email me all your loving thoughts at friendlesspod@gmail.com. And some really fun news Raised By The Movies is finally ready to launch the show about me and my wife Jennica. Going back and watching old movies and figuring out how they messed us up as adults is finally here. The first episode will be live one week from tomorrow. So if you’re listening in real time, that means Wednesday, March 3 will be the first episode. Maybe we’ll say it was Waised by the Wednesdays? No, we won’t. That is a terrible idea, James. But be sure to look out for it on all your podcast feeds, it is going to be an absolute blast. The whole first season is centered around the Disney Renaissance movies. It’s so much fun. But that’s it for me. I could drone endlessly on about all the other things I’m toiling away at. But honestly, I’d rather just have something worth sharing rather than invite you into the recursive anxiety loop I usually live within. So instead, I will just wrap this up by saying as always, I will catch you next time. But next time is then this is now. So for now, I love you. And I hope you have as great a week as possibly can take care of yourselves. Tell someone you love them. Then tell someone else you love them too. And then if you’re really brave, tell a third. See what happens. All right. I’m out of here. Fun and safety y’all.

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