“From Glam Rocker, to MMA, to TV Personality, to the 2018 Toronto Fringe with ENJOY THE HOSTILITIES” 5 Questions with Robin Black
Interview by Hallie Seline.
We were excited to get the opportunity to chat with Robin Black, who has had quite the journey going from glam rocker, to mixed martial artist, to television personality, and who now adds Toronto Fringe storyteller to his list of titles. We discussed his greatest challenges both mentally and physically, his personal philosophy that kept him moving forward, and why he decided to share his story with the Toronto Fringe this summer in Enjoy the Hostilities.
HS: What an incredible journey you have already had at this point in your life! Is there a singular philosophy that you carried with you to each of your very different ventures?
Robin Black: I have a goal of getting better at something every day. I think I started thinking this way as a Martial Artist at a young age, and I apply that thinking to everything. I can get a little better at my job, a little better at editing my art, a little better at being a good husband, a little better at yoga.
This ‘growth mindset’, the idea that wherever I apply effort I will grow, has been a part of the way I’ve approached every venture in my life. It’s also a theme in our show Enjoy the Hostilities.
HS: What was harder on your body and mind: being a rock star or being a fighter?
RB: Traveling and playing rock music in a C-List Glam Rock band was definitely more damaging to my body, my relationships and my physical and mental health.
Fighting is very, very tough mentally and physically but it is rooted in healthy things; training your body and mind, getting better every day, overcoming obstacles, striving to achieve goals.
Rock and roll can be viewed, performed and expressed this way too but we had a more grungy, drug-and-alcohol-fueled interpretation of being rock performers.
Both are tough. Both damaged my body. Both were mentally stressful and challenging. Both probably took years off of my life.
HS: What experience has offered your greatest challenge and if you were faced with it again, would you deal with it in the same way?
RB: Failure is hard, and I fail a lot.
When you fail in a fight you’re so naked and alone, both metaphorically and literally. It is a very pure form of failure. It’s incredibly painful.
I would not change a thing, these setbacks are what creates your strength and resilience and ability to be stronger in your future.
What you end up wishing you could change is the PREPARATION before the failure, but you cannot, the time has passed.
So the lesson you end up learning from failure has to be lessons about preparation so that, next time, you will increase your chance of success.
HS: If you could now try any other profession at this moment, without limitation, what would it be and why?
RB: I spend my days studying Martial Arts and sharing what I find with an audience. Sometimes I tell stories. I commentate combat for people watching on television. I love what I do. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.
But if something pops up that I’d rather be doing? I’ll pursue it immediately and deploy all of the passion and persistence necessary to make it happen. That’s what I always do and I’m sure I will do it again.
HS: What made you want to turn your life’s journey into a Fringe show at this time in your life?
RB: I’m not rich, I’m not famous, but I have honestly lived a life of passion and adventure.
In the process, I’ve learned some pretty cool things that I really wanted to share with people.
I also really wanted to work on something with Graham [Isador, co-creator & director] and this was so fun to build and it’s been so fun to express.
It just all came together so beautifully and I’m just so stoked for people to see it at the Fringe.
Enjoy the Hostilities
Company: Pressgang Theatre
Playwright/Creator: Robin Black and Graham Isador
Performed by Robin Black
Directed by Graham Isador
Have you ever woken up in the middle of a cage fight? Have you ever overdosed backstage in a concert hall? Have you ever tried to out-drink a two time world Sumo champion? Robin Black has. It’s kind of been his job. In Enjoy The Hostilities, Robin Black (TSN, MUCHMUSIC) uses humour, storytelling, and punch drunk philosophy to share his journey from glam rocker, to mixed martial artist, to television personality. Co-written by Graham Isador (VICE, Soulpepper Playwright Unit), the show offers audiences advice on how to make the most out of almost making it.
542 Queen Street West
4th July – 6:00pm
5th July – 6:00pm
8th July – 6:00pm
9th July – 6:00pm
10th July – 6:00pm
11th July – 6:00pm
12th July – 6:00pm
15th July – 6:00pm