Victoria Fringe Festival 2016 Preview – [title of show]August 26, 2016
This summer, Pat Rundell and the members of Urban Arts Productions is bringing out an old friend for a brand new Fringe. That’s right folks, get ready for the return of [title of show], the little piece that could just be your ticket to a good time. Showbill.ca’s Matt McLaren chats with Pat.
MM: Pat, how’ve you been? You’ve been so hard at work inside of Kaleidoscope that I haven’t seen you in outside projects for a while. What freed you up for [title of show]?
Pat Rundell: It’s true! Kaleidoscope has kept me rather busy. Can you believe I’ve been here 6 years now? I made a commitment to myself that 2016 would be the year of Pat and that I would make my return to the stage even if it meant very little sleep. I was fortunate to recently work with Puente Theatre on GRUFF and perform in that production at two different festivals. It was that experience that re-lit the spark for me. I am actually stepping down from my position at Kaleidoscope in September to focus on my theatre career, I will still be teaching, but no will hopefully have the time to create theatre that I am passionate about.
MM: I don’t think I’m wrong in saying you’ve got a fondness for this piece. Actually, when I started doing the fringe seriously you were mounting it for the first time. There’s been several remounts since. What’s it about this musical that attracts you?
PR: This will be our second time presenting [title of show]. We first presented it five years ago at the Fringe for the 25th Anniversary and thought that the 30th anniversary would be a perfect time to re-visit the show. Director Tara Britt and I love this show because it is a love letter to musical theatre and really celebrates the underdog.
The characters are real people who are struggling in their careers to make ends meet. They unite and write a musical about themselves, hoping that it could launch their careers and solve all their problems. For anyone who has ever produced or created a show on their own, there is so much to relate to. The joy, the stress, the agony of rejection. It is a glimpse into the backstage creation process of what it takes to get a show up on its feet from the page to the stage.
MM: So at this point is the process of bringing this piece back to life still experimentation or rehashing? Different casting aside, you’re still treading some familiar beats.
PR: This is a different [title of show], it’s sharper, funnier, tighter, and updated. I am the only returning cast member in this version, and our new cast have embraced their characters with opens arms. It is a brand new show. While some of the choreo might be similar, we have had five years to really sink into the production, tear it open.
The show has matured and the characters have come to life in an all new way. Revisiting the role of Hunter has been such a wonderful experience. Looking back, five years ago I was still relatively fresh out of theatre school and very terrified of letting loose. I’ve now overcome that, which has allowed me to fully delve into Hunter’s quirks and mannerisms. This is a very different production that five years ago, and I am excited for those who saw it before to experience the new production.
MM: Let’s give the floor to your co-stars. You’ve usually had good taste in collaborators and I don’t think that this is going to be the show where that changes.
PR: I am so honoured and privileged to have always worked with some of the best teams that our city has to offer and that hasn’t changed for [title of show] version 2.0.
I am the only returning cast member in this re-envisioned production. Joining me on stage as Sadie Evans, Liam McDonald, and Tara Britt (director). Sadie is no stranger to the stage, often appearing as a dancer with the Victoria Operatic Society. Liam, a recent grad of UVic, is still new to the theatre scene – this being only his second production outside of high school theatre. He last appeared with VOS as Sir Robin in Spamalot. He is a natural talent though, and he is such a joy to share the stage with.
Tara Britt is playing triple duty on this show, acting, directing and choreographing. She has done a fantastic job. This will be our 14th production together, and we only met in 2010. By the end of November we will have hit show number 16. We recently performed at a Donor event for Intrepid Theatre where one of their Board Members remarked after Tara’s song, “I wish I could sing like that, she makes it look so effortless.” Tara is a consummate professional.
MM: And who’s got your back behind the stage? Let’s look at the creative team.
PR: My partner in crime Tara Britt returns as our director and choreographer. Tara is a highly accomplished director, choreographer and performer in town and we work extremely well together. Tara is one of the only people I trust when it comes to making creative decisions on my behalf, so when I needed a director who wasn’t me, she was the natural choice. We complete each other’s sentences and are often confused as a married couple. We just get each other on all levels.
Nancy Curry is both our musical director and our live pianist on stage. While new to Victoria, Nancy is a wealth of knowledge and an absolute delight to work with. I am so thrilled to be able to introduce her to Victoria Audiences and I know that shell will be a hot commodity in the local theatre scene.
Hannah Harper is our stage manager. Hannah comes to us after spending her summer producing Theatre SKAM’s Skampede Festival. Hannah is one of those stage managers that directors dream for – funny, upbeat, but knows how to get the job done. I’m sad to be losing her to Scotland come September when she begins her Masters in Dramaturgy at the University of Glasgow. What can I say? I love working with fellow overachievers.
Other than those three very talented women, I am the “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” of Urban Arts, from prop design and building, to graphic design, marketing, website design, I do it all!
What’s the biggest success you hope to walk away from this fringe with?
PR: I really want to use [title of show] to revive Urban Arts. We’ve had some great success since I started the company in 2010: Nevermore, Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh, Into the Woods, our Co-presented Summer Ballet series with Canadian Pacific Ballet, etc. After several quiet years, it is time to come back with a vengeance and I really want to use our Fringe platform to let audience know that we are back and not going anywhere anytime soon.
MM: Why should audiences come and see [title of show]?
[title of show] is a kick ass time. It is a musical theatre geek’s wet dream. The show has half naked guys, and girl on girl action, show tunes, tight harmonies and guarantees lots of laughs. It is a homage to the wacky world of musical theatre and celebrates the creativity in all of us. What’s not to love?