Victoria Fringe Festival 2016 Preview – EVERLAST
August 25, 2016
This summer: it’s a full on smackdown in the house of the Lord. Kevin Koch, Lighting Theatre artistic director and two time Fringe veteran, will attempt to kill, God. Showbill.ca’s Matt McLaren has the pre-fight promo with Kevin.
Matt McLaren: At our scheduling meeting for the Fringe, everyone lost it when we read, “An aggressive Pope always looking for his next fight kills himself to fight God.” Consider yourself off to a good start, but I’m going to make you sing for your supper. In the end, how is this not South Park lite?
Kevin Koch: Well first off I have to admit I’m a big fan of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s type of humour, Team America is one of my top five movies. An early draft of EVERLAST was very South Park-esque, but to be honest I wasn’t clever enough to fit the humour on stage. So, I ended up going for a different approach, and the story became more personal. The show sees Marty looking back on his life, so Marty is for the most part too self-aware to be a South Park character. Pope Martin’s got heart and the story has some sincere emotion in it.
MM: So this piece is apparently an interpretation of your life?
KK: The play is pretty much a piece of anarchist propaganda, I very clearly have a world saving agenda. Now if that doesn’t ring some “white saviour complex” bells, it should. Both me and Marty are a couple of privileged – he literally lives in a palace – white guys trying to save the world, without any real understanding of what oppression feels like. That’s part of the joke, but it’s also an essential element of the story. The relationships and characters are based off elements from my life, twisted and exaggerated of course. Many of the emotions come from a very real place. Stallone got to base Rocky off of his life, why should get to have all the fun?
MM: You’re not a stranger to debating the question/problem of religion, magical thinking or spontaneous shamanistic bureaucracy. What hooked you? And how will this end up being more than a flame war?
KK: I used to be a militant atheist, I’m very aware how this sounds like a bad joke, but in university I read Nietzsche, and it like totally opened my mind. Seriously though, it made me re-think all of the values I held, especially truth. The myths/stories that people hold, shape the world, what’s to say they’re not real and true. What matters is the power they hold. Unless this all BS, how could you not be hooked?
If I heard people arguing over the meaning of my show in a fringe line I would be so happy. I hope the thematic work I put in reads. Regardless I wrote the story to stand on its own.
KK: You’re embracing a straightforward narrative seems like a bit of a break from your work at Lightning Theater.
KK: Yep, I wanted to create a show and a character I could perform again, and again. The premise is instantly understandable which allows me to get a little weird without being alienating.
MM: So what’s your training regime been like for the big fight? Lots of running up and down the legislature steps?
KK: So funny enough, in February I decided that I was going to beef up for the show. I stepped my diet and worked out hard twice every day for like two months. I went from 0 to 100 and it was too much, I should have paced myself. I was never not tired and in pain. It was starting to affect my work in childcare so I took that as a sign to take a break. By break I mean I went from 100 to 0 and have stayed at zero since.
MM: What is by far the biggest risk you know you’re taking for this show?
KK: There are a lot of negative connotations surrounding anarchism, I hope when the show dips into that subject matter, the only thing people get tired of is hierarchy.
MM: Why should audiences come and see Everlast?
KK: If people want to see a show that they can bite their teeth into or that will challenge their values, if they think the world deserves better than Pope Francis, then EVERLAST is the show for them.
Tickets and more at kevin-k.ca/everlast