By Jennifer Hoegg
Tracy Dawson is twice as funny these days, splitting her time between two coasts, two countries and two passions: writing and acting.
In Los Angeles, her agent has said she’s a Canadian Tina Fey, shopping comedy scripts around town and going to acting auditions.
In Wolfville, the Call Me Fitz actress is playing Meghan Fitzpatrick – sister to star Jason Priestley’s Richard Fitzpatrick – and holing up at the Blomidon Inn.
She had to carve out time in the middle of a “funny frantic morning” for an interview. The Gemini-award winning actor was part way through her cross continent commute, making a short stop in Brampton, Ont. to see her family and pick up her dog.
The California-to-Nova Scotia commute is tiring, but she enjoys both parts of her work life.
“Gorgeous… L.A. is this huge city with all these people. It’s big and you drive everywhere. Wolfville is kind of chill, the food is really great and the people and Blomidon Inn are great,” she said.
“I don’t think of it as culture shock. Look at how lucky I am – this is where I come to work.”
Meghan’s show bio describes her as a tequila swilling “nutjob,” desperate to net a boyfriend. The shrewish, divorced sister is Fitz’s sibling rival in their family of narcissists.
“Meghan is anything like the straight man,” Dawson said, “she’s like a tornado.”
Meghan might be a difficult person to live with, but, “she is so much fun to play. I love her as a person.
“I can relate to Meghan. If I hadn’t had therapy, I would be Meghan.”
Playing Ms. Fitzpatrick is a natural fit for Dawson because she was one of her creators. Her Fitz career began with a spot in the writing room in 2009, fleshing out the wacky, dark Fitzpatrick Motors family created by Sheri Elwood.
Meghan was imagined as Fitz’s older sister, Dawson said, a woman in her 40s. “Someone said, ‘Tracy should play this character,’ so they made her younger,” she recalled. “I did some auditions and had to jump through all the hoops.
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“I have the crazy inside scoop on everything about her,” Dawson admitted. “I wrote the audition piece.
“We all have that neediness inside of us, but we know how to be grownups and she doesn’t.”
Dawson and Priestley play out the reversion to “angry inner child ways” convincingly, a task that came naturally from Day 1, Dawson said. “It’s effortless with him. He’s such a perfect person to bicker with.”
She spoke highly of Priestley’s work on the show. “He sets the standard on set as a total professional … He’s really dedicated and I love him for it.”
Filming Fitz is fun, but hard work.
Dawson isn’t writing on season three. In fact, she barely sees the writers, “we’re like ships passing in the night. They’re holed up in their rooms working like little writer elves so we can be funny.”
Everyone on the production is working hard, with an intense schedule of shooting on location in New Minas, Wolfville, Kentville and surrounding areas.
“We have quality of life when the show is over,” she said. “It’s nine weeks of working your ass off.
“There are no complaints, but there is not a lot of time to go off sightseeing and traipsing about.”
Tracy’s writing talent is still bringing her attention and she’s currently working on a script with the Tannenbaum Company – producers of the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men.
“It’s a huge honour and also major pressure. I want it be great and I want them to love it. I really love being a writer.”
The Gemini win earlier this fall has brought more attention to her acting, though. “It’s a very interesting, this moment in my career,” she said. “Two years ago when I started on Fitz, I wanted to concentrate on my writing.”