Doing the Dream Work

Many parents might consider navigating between work and family life with three children in tow to be enough on a bulging plate. But for mom, actress, dancer, singer, make-up artist and costume designer Jen Clark, it’s just all part of the adventure.

Dream Cab actress-turned-mom wears multiple hats

Many parents might consider navigating between work and family life with three children in tow to be enough on a bulging plate. But for mom, actress, dancer, singer, make-up artist and costume designer Jen Clark, it’s just all part of the adventure.

Clark, who will be starring as one of the characters in this week’s production of The Dream Cab, a saucy Flamenco fusion piece by Monique Salez, says the opportunity has been a great gift. Clark is coming out of “retirement” from her careers in the theatrical world — the last time she performed was with Ballet Victoria four years ago.

“When Monique came to me with the news that she wanted me in her production, I was thrilled but a little hesitant,” Clark, 40, says. “I knew it would be a huge sacrifice for my family and everyone in my life . . . and I knew I had to do it.”

Long-time friends, Clark and Salez originally started kicking around the idea of The Dream Cab nearly a decade ago when Clark returned from London after a stint with a recording deal and a relationship that left her a single mom.

“When I was first back in Victoria I tried to resurrect my singing career here, but I had my first son then, and my priorities had shifted,” she says.

Since then, Clark worked for years as a make-up artist and did odd gigs in her various performance fields. She got married again, had two more children, and now works mostly as a freelance artist — at least until Salez insisted her friend join the production team. Now, Clark has been able to come into her own again. “I feel really excited and comfortable working with Monique. I can let myself go, and just relax into the roles without fear of being judged or critiqued.”

Clark’s roles in the production vary from a spoken-word poet to a sex-crazed dancer, to a rough and rowdy rebel. She also will have a chance to play out her various talents, from singing and dancing to voice-over and production work. The characters themselves mirror the dream-like world we all can get lost in, she says. While the group has been rehearsing since early December, Clark says she often feels like a little more time would be nice — especially for someone out of practice, she says. “I actually hurt my back the other day, and I thought ‘Man, I’m getting too old for this!’” She laughs. “But actually, I’m really proud of myself, and I’m so thankful because you just never know when an opportunity like this will roll around again.”

Clark attributes most of the success she is having right now to her support system: family. Her two youngest children, one-year-old Dylan and three-year-old Nevaeh, will actually make a special guest appearance in the production.

Her oldest son, Zen, 12, won’t be able to watch due to the age restriction (15 and up only), but Clark says the encouragement she’s received from him and everyone has helped her stay true to her desires even with the challenges it presents — late nights, a messy house and an overall feeling of being “maxed out,” she says.

“Inside, you always know what you need to do, and if you’re drawn to something it will present itself to you. The trick is to let yourself be guided there,” she says. “Anything worthwhile in life takes work, but no one said work is a bad thing.” M

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