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Big Dreams, Insanity/Theatre, and Gord Downie

A graphic of Tony Nappo edited to appear as multiple people sitting in a circle as a spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous. At the top and bottom of the image is text that reads
/By / Jun 1, 2016

Nappoholics Anonymous is a weekly column featuring twelve random thoughts by actor (and recent Dora Award–nominee) Tony Nappo. Some are funny, some are poignant, some bother him, and some make him weep from sadness while others make him weep for joy. Here are his thoughts: unfiltered, uncensored, and only occasionally unsafe for work.

1. On the night of the premiere of The Resurrection of Tony Gitone, I was to meet Kate’s dad and brother, Dave, before the show. I had met Dave once briefly while drinking and may or may not have met her dad at all. Dave sent an email proposing a meeting place. It said, simply,“Hey Meatball? Gato Nero? 7 pm.” I didn’t know Hey Meatball was the name of a restaurant so I answered back, cc’d to everyone, something like, “Hey Wonder Bread Family! That’s fine by me.”

They all still call me Meatball to this day.


2. Years ago Salvatore Antonio told me he hated circumcised men because they lacked sensitivity in their… you know whats. And, as a result, it was so exhausting for him to make them… you know. “It’s like they’re made out of shoe leather,” he said. I laughed my ass off and told him that’s why they called it a hand job and not a hand vacation.

3. When she first found out that I was only half Italian and that my other half was British, Cara Pifko said, “That makes perfect sense because you are a absolute gentleman and a complete fucking pig at the exact same time.”

4. Nobody likes a quitter.


5. The first professional show I ever saw in Toronto was Judith Thompson’s I Am Yours at the Tarragon. That was twenty-nine years ago. It blew my fucking mind. It was raw and ferocious and I remember thinking, deep down in that part of myself that dared to dream, “I think I’d like to do that.” The first show I ever did at the Tarragon was Motel Helene, sixteen years ago. It was written by Serge Boucher and adapted by Judith Thompson from a translation by Morwyn Brebner. I was thrilled to be playing in the house where I had seen that first show and speak the words of that same brilliant playwright.

The night of the second-last performance of The Summoned, my ninth show at the Tarragon now, I bumped into Judith before the show at the snack bar; she had come to see us with one of her daughters. We reminisced about both of the aforementioned shows and she was complimentary and supportive as she always is to me. I did that show for her. As I was dressing for it, the last thirty years just kind of flashed before my eyes and I remembered that I was actually living what was once my dream. Of course, dreams change over the course of a lifetime and your perspective shifts and opportunities change, grownup responsibilities present themselves… I have kinda come to convince myself that what I do is mostly just my job. Maybe that’s necessary. Maybe it grounds me. Maybe it makes me an asshole with some elite sense of entitlement. Whatever it makes me, I was grateful to be reminded of the dreamer I once was and how lucky I am to have been in this show, in that building, and I truly enjoyed the shit out of doing this particular show for Judith.

6. Why don’t they just cast Don Rickles as James Bond for one last film and then just bury that outdated fucking bore-a-thon of a franchise?

7. During the high school matinee last week, someone asked if we were working on any other projects while we were doing the play. I answered that I was working on a film and an excited buzz broke out amongst the students. I immediately clarified, “Calm down. It’s a Canadian film. You’ll never fucking see it.”

8. When I was at school in New York, my teacher Jim Demonic said to me, “I can teach you everything you need to know about acting in twenty minutes, but it will take you twenty years to become an actor.” I never forgot those words but took years to understand them. It isn’t just a vocation. It’s the way I absorb and process all experience and the world around me.


9. It’d almost be worth Trump becoming president because he’d have to move into a black dude’s house… Almost.

10. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results—not all that different from the definition of theatre, really.

11. On April 1, 2016, Canadian Actors Equity celebrated their fortieth anniversary of their amicable separation from the AEA (US). On that same date, their most up-to-date agreement turned thirty-nine.

12. “I suppose, in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go. But what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” The Life of Pi. Thinking of Gord Downie and the incredible gift he is about to bestow on this country who so loves him. And the, I believe, unprecedented opportunity that his fans will get to thank him for a lifetime of uncompromising artistry.

Tony Nappo

Tony Nappo

Tony is Italian, he’s from Scarborough, he’s an actor, he’s a father, he’s a really good house painter, and he doesn’t believe that most things matter, ultimately, at all.



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