Never judge a book by its cover. The saying definitely applies when it comes to the villains that inhabit Purgatory on Wynonna Earp. Constance Clootie, aka the Stone Witch, may seem like pure evil–all dressed up in a pretty pink bow–but viewers will soon be seeing a few more shades of gray added to the character in this week’s episode, “Bury Me With My Guns On.” What’s the real reason she put Doc (Tim Rozon) at the bottom of that well for all those years, and what’s the deal with her “boys” that she’s trying to resurrect with help from Bobo (Michael Eklund)?
In order to gain further insight into the Stone Witch’s mind The TV Junkies spoke with her portrayer, Rayisa Kondracki. The Toronto born actress, whose credits include Bitten and The Listener, discussed how Constance’s signature look really helped her get into the unhinged and psychotic mindset needed to play Clootie and how much fun she’s had playing this part. This week is a big one for Constance and Kondracki was able to preview a few things viewers should keep an eye out for that may provide a deeper understanding into the Stone Witch’s true motives.
The TV Junkies: Can you share a little about how the opportunity to play the Stone Witch came about and how you were cast in this role? Rayisa Kondracki: I had an audition and remember thinking it went well and that I had a really good time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I heard 3 or 4 days later that I got the part. They were already shooting in Calgary at that point and I flew out 2 weeks later to start. As soon as I got the part they put me in touch with a vocal coach that started teaching me Hungarian which was really fun. It happened pretty fast.
TTVJ: The Stone Witch has a definitive look about her. Did you work with the wardrobe department to get that right or was that something built into her from the start? What about her awesome pink car?
RK: The car was such a pleasant surprise. I had no idea. I arrived one day and there it was. I remember looking at it and going ‘Of course that’s Constance’s car. Of course she drives that amazing pink car.’
In terms of the wardrobe, I can’t speak highly enough of Jennifer [Haffenden] and the amazing wardrobe and hair and makeup department on this show. When I first arrived I met Michael in the hotel and he already had his beard and his amazing Bobo haircut. I was just off the plane and I hadn’t had my first fitting yet and thought ‘How am I going to do this?’ When I came to hair and makeup it was amazing because I naturally wear my hair wavy but they straightened my hair, gave me these red lips and a fierce part and it all started to come together.
My first fitting was about an hour and I had no idea what they were going to bring. In my mind I thought she was a witch so she’ll probably wear a lot of black. Jennifer opened these garment bags full of designer clothes that were bejeweled and bedazzled. Suddenly Constance really made sense to me, so I can’t take any credit for that. It’s all Jennifer. She’s a genius because once I put those shoes on and those clothes on I didn’t feel like I had to do that much acting. They did most of the work for me. When you put that on you just walk and talk differently.
TTVJ: How fun is it to play a character that is so unhinged? What are the challenges involved in getting in that sort of head space?
RK: Fun is definitely the right word. I had the best time playing her and I’ve never played a baddie before. It’s just a lot of fun. What I love about Constance is that she’s really quick on her feet. She’s a bit of a chameleon and she’s got an amazing sense of humor. She’s also really fierce and can be incredibly strong and powerful, but there is a sadness and pain to her as well. To get to play that many layers to a character is just amazing.
TTVJ: What was your reaction when you saw that you’re character was going to be making people lick her shoe heels and lie on the floor singing to bones?
RK: My initial reaction was ‘Oh wow this is really fun that I get to do all this. How awesome that I get to chant in Hungarian, shoot an oozie and drive this amazing car.’ But now as I’m seeing it, it’s unbelievable. I think she’s incredible.
TTVJ: It totally works for her.
RK: I think so and I think Episode 9 in particular is going to change people’s opinions of Constance a lot. It will bring things full circle. Some people have said she’s so scary but I think she’s really funny and she’s really fun. She’s also a human being and really complex. She’s 25 centuries old right? So there’s a lot going on with her and she’s got some secrets about her past.
TTVJ: From what we know thus far we’re pretty scared at the thought of what the Stone Witch’s “boys” may be. What can you tell us about them?
RK: Yes you should be scared, and I think she’s even a little bit scared, which is so interesting. These writers just write these amazing parts. At the root of it Constance is a woman who wants to bring her kids back. That’s a completely human and natural desire, but then you can see that she’s almost scared because she’s not exactly sure a) can she bring them back? And b) what will they be if they come back? What’s so cool about this show is that you can’t judge any character based on just what’s presented to you. Everyone has a trick up their sleeve and more to them that meets the eye. I think that’s true about her boys as well.
TTVJ: What can you share about the Stone Witch’s motivations for putting Doc in that well all those years?
RK: It’s all about revenge. While Doc is on a mission of revenge, Constance’s motivations were based on revenge as well and unfortunately Doc was a pawn in a bigger plan for her.
TTVJ: Bobo and the Stone Witch have such an interesting relationship and a very twisted, yet special connection. Can you give us any more insight into that relationship and what’s it like doing those crazy scenes with Michael Eklund?
RK: My scenes with Michael Eklund were my second day in Calgary. This is the coolest cast and Michael and I were eating lunch together and asking questions. We got on the phone with Emily [Andras] and had this amazing conversation where she gave us this backstory. She has this wonderful map of the characters and Constance and Bobo come from this other world where they’ve known each other for so long. Now they find themselves back in Purgatory and it’s this weird power play and love/hate relationship. It was so amazing to work with someone like Michael because he’s so curious and we’d ask Emily so many questions.
TTVJ: Were you aware of the characters’ histories from the start? Or were you finding out with each script?
RK: No, we found out with each script. Emily is such an amazing showrunner and always makes it so clear. The communication is very open but I had no idea what was coming which is really exciting. You don’t know what you sign up for so I was just as surprised. I was so happy and excited about this episode coming up because it shows so many other sides to Constance.
TTVJ: Do you have any other projects that fans should look for you in at the moment or coming up?
RK: I am on a show called Shoot the Messenger that will be starting on the CBC on Monday nights. I am also trying to dip my toe in some writing and am working on a little web series and short film.
What did you think the Stone Witch is really up to? Sound off with your thoughts and predictions below!
Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 10 p.m ET on Syfy in the US. In Canada, episodes air Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on CHCH. All episodes will also stream live on CHCH.com in conjunction with the Syfy and CHCH broadcast airings.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.