Victoria Fringe Festival 2016 Preview – Café Soap Operas
August 23, 2016
It’s been a big year for workingclasstheatre. The team gears up for the Fringe with a series of victories and losses under their belts. Though thanks to an exciting collaboration with their long time ally 2% Jazz, allowing them access for a site specific, super caffeinated, soap opera extravaganza. Grab an espresso and enjoy what artistic director Tristan Bacon had to tell Showbill.ca’s Matt McLaren about the show.
Matt McLaren: You’ve already encountered plenty of the ups and downs of the business in your time as a young theatre professional. So I have to ask, was any of what happened this year out of the ordinary?
Tristan Bacon: I think it was all out of the ordinary, but it never really felt like it. I think we were pretty well equipped to take on what this season threw at us. My company is an amazing group of people, who were very supportive of the big decisions we were making, and with that support we accomplished a lot. I was really excited to take a lot of risks this year and push the boundaries of what workingclasstheatre was capable of. I’ve learned a lot and I think I can say the same for my company.
MM: Let’s breakdown what audiences are in for. Certainly you’ll have a few die-hard fans that will be there for the whole run, but are other patrons at risk of being left out if they come in at the middle, or even the end?
TB: No way, this one’s good to the last drop. Certainly audiences who can stick it out will get a much more rewarding experience, but just like a sitcom you can drop in any time. Episode’s one and two will get you really acquainted with the characters. Three, four and five are pretty goofy, and the season finale is not to miss. We’ve got a bit of a deal we’re offering, to make it a little easier – anyone who purchases a regular priced ticket will receive two-for-one tickets to any other show in the series. We didn’t think it was super fair to ask people to come to more than one show when there’s so many other great performances without giving some sort of incentive. It’s not half price though, it’s two-for-one, so bring someone else and get them hooked!
MM: 2% Jazz has been consistently good to your company. So it’s not that much of a surprise that you’re putting the space to use for the show. Where did that idea take route?
TB: Sam and I have been talking about this idea for a few years. It’s no secret that Sam’s a big supporter of the Fringe festival, offering discounts on coffee to Fringers and keeping the fringe volunteers going on pots of coffee at the site office. When I moved to Victoria from Vancouver in 2012, I proposed the idea to Sam who was immediately receptive; it was just me who had to make it happen. Four years later here it is.
MM: Who among the usual company faces will be along for the ride this time? We should also take a moment and discuss what they’re each bringing into the work.
TB: workingclasstheatre aficionados will remember staple company member Nicholas Yee from Burn This earlier this year. Nick wrote and directed and episode, and is playing our lead man Hamilton. He found time to do most of the sound editing as well. Emma Hughes is back, last seen with workingclasstheatre in Hedda Gabler at Craigdarroch Castle, but most recently played in Doubt at Langham Court. She’s written an episode, and directed the finale. Markus Spodzieja was last seen, or rather un seen as the stage manager for Burn This, and stars alongside Nick as musclebound fitness freak Josh.
This is Sophie Underwood’s first time performing, but fun fact: she teched our first show in Victoria, Savage in Limbo at ITC, and we’ve been looking for ways to get her more involved ever since. Rachel Paxton makes a guest appearance along with Ross Crockett, and there’s a bunch of guest stars and cameos from the community of people that surround workingclass. It’s really a blast, so many passionate people on the project. Everyone pitched in in almost every way. We each directed and and wrote one, give or take, we all built props and sourced costumes. This one is truly collaborative and the results speak for themselves.
MM: Now that market square is behind you, do you suppose that workingclass will scout another location anytime soon? Are you nomads again?
TB: I’m always looking for space. It’s a shame that one didn’t work out, but I’m happy for the experience that opening and running that space gave me. What I’d really like to see is a group of companies come together and pool resources to open a rehearsal and black box performance studio and operate as a collective to share costs and make it work. That’s really what I wanted to do with Market Square, but while I had a lot of interest, commitments were hard to find. Next time I’ll do it a little differently – but the goal will be the same.
MM: What’s the biggest success you hope that you and the work will achieve this fringe season?
TB: I just want to make people laugh. I want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves at the theatre. Sure I’d like to win pick of the fringe or sell out every show or whatever, but really on this one I want my audience and company to have fun together and share a laugh. I think the show’s a lot of fun, and I want to share that.