Home-grown clone star


author: elisabeth sahlmueller | contributor

credit: trevor via flickr

Maslany’s acting skills are highlighted as she plays over twelve different characters, all clones of herself.

Although Saskatchewan is often not recognized with being a centre for the performing arts, this has definitely begun to change in recent years, as movies promoting the province are being filmed and other actresses and actors are becoming well known internationally.

On Sept. 18, Regina born Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her role in Orphan Black. Maslany’s remarkable achievement also set a record, as her win marks the first time a Canadian actor on a Canadian show has won an Emmy in this category. Ferne Downey, the national president of the Canadian Performers Union has said that even though “people say we need to import talent to succeed, Tatiana’s win is proof that talent is here.” I agree with him, many talented performers live and work in this province, but aren’t always recognized, or given the credit they deserve. I also believe that Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy win will further promote the Saskatchewan Arts community.

The first time I heard about Tatiana Maslany was from her role in Heartland, another Canadian show filmed in Alberta, where she played the minor character of Kit Bailey; however, that was in 2008-2010, and she began acting almost ten years prior to that. She has acted in various other television shows including: Being Erica, The Listener and Instant Star, as well as multiple movies such as, The Vow, and Picture Day. In 2013, she was given the opportunity to act in another Canadian produced television show, Orphan Black. This show, filmed in Toronto, was where Maslany really made a name for herself and became recognized. She is an amazing actress and has been acknowledged for her hard work and skill with twenty-three awards, including three Canadian screen awards, as well as twenty-two other nominations.

Orphan Black is an action sci-fi drama television show that follows the life of the female protagonist, Sarah Manning, who sees a woman get killed who looks exactly like her. She decides to take on the woman’s identity, hoping to improve her own life situation and as the show continues, she discovers that her and the women are actually clones and there are dozens more of them out there. On the show, Maslany’s acting skills are highlighted as she plays over twelve different characters, all clones of herself.

One of the best things about Orphan Black is that it has an extremely positive influence on young girls, as the leading character is a woman. Maslany considers herself lucky “to be on a show that puts woman at the centre.” Often times, females are not given the leading role in an action television show, or movie and if they are, it is almost never a standalone role, but rather alongside a male; however, Orphan Black is different because it highlights the fact that women are strong and can have a successful leading role.

While some people may consider Tatiana Maslany’s Emmy award as being insignificant in the broader picture, I don’t believe that is the case, and I don’t believe it would be overreacting to say that it would positively impact the arts in Saskatchewan. Her win has brought more attention to the province and shows that their are talented performers here.

Maslany’s success will also likely encourage people living here to have a more positive perspective on acting, especially the younger generation. Her role and achievements have not only turned her into a well-known celebrity, but a role model as well. When young children see someone who is successful, it gives them something to work and aspire toward. The fact that she is from Saskatchewan and Regina-born shows that it is possible to come from a small province and be successful at what you love. I think it is fair to say that more people will begin to look up to her and will be inspired to consider the performing arts as an acceptable occupation.

Even though in the past Saskatchewan was never given much acknowledgement for its performing arts community and actors were seen as hopeful, creative people who would never find success on a large scale. Maslany’s Emmy challenges this framework of thinking. She has demonstrated that acting is a career that an individual can find success with if they work hard and never give up on themselves. Local talent does exist here, and instead of searching somewhere else to see talent, we should support the people here and continue to invest in the Saskatchewan arts to allow others the opportunity to rise up and also be successful.



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