Calgary Herald article

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Syrian-born actress turns Calgary into a stage

Cast, crew of humble Go Fish all from the city

Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Published: Thursday, December 12, 2013

Spotlight Go Fish airs on Shaw Cable 10 on Monday at 9:30 p.m.

Ghazal Alnahas may not seem the likeliest of champions for Calgary actors.

For one, the Syrian actress, writer and director has not actually been here all that long. But it has been long enough to detect a certain frustration among fellow thespians in her adopted homeland.

“There are so many people like me in this city,” says Alnahas. “They are disappointed. It’s like they don’t want to try anymore.”

So in the summer, Alnahas decided to take matters into her own hands. Go Fish is a fiercely do-it-yourself TV series that will air on Shaw Cable, an ambitious comedy that loosely follows the lives of six women as they look for love and jobs in Calgary.

The actors and crew are all local. So is the story.

“I thought it was a good idea to bring this to the city about our life,” Alnahas says. “Why do we need to bring in outside stories, or an old story, and not focus on the reality of our life now? It’s comedy and drama. The comedy comes from the story, not someone saying a bad word and everybody laughing.”

Go Fish was shot completely in Calgary in the summer, using 100 performers and crew members from the city.

Other than its strange overuse of sound effects, the trailer on YouTube is probably most notable for the large number of characters in the ensemble cast. Currently, there are six episodes of Go Fish. Alnahas says she would like to make a second season and shop it around to various networks. But the series itself has been a two-year endeavour for Alnahas, who came to Toronto in 2009 to perform as a dancer. She landed a role in the Calgary-shot film Treacherous Heart a few years ago and has been here ever since. Initially, she was writing a dramatic film script, until troubles in her homeland of Syria convinced her to try something lighter.

While her Internet Movie Database entry only lists Go Fish and Treacherous Heart, Alnahas says she has many TV credits in the Middle East. She graduated from Damascus University and has worked extensively in Egypt and Dubai.

“When I came to Canada for a visit, the war in my country happened and I could not go back,” she said. “The situation started to get bad in Syria and I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do something here. I’m not going to stop.’ I had done a lot of TV and theatre back home and I thought, I will start from the beginning. I thought instead of searching for auditions and try to act for other people, which was not going to happen, I will do something for the city and the actors and my friends. I went to school here for acting to see how acting was different here. I met so many actors who were struggling here. They want to do it, they have a passion. So I thought, ‘I’m a writer, I’m a director and I know how to do a big project, I have done it before.'” evolmers@calgaryherald.com

 

© Calgary Herald 2013

 

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