In Vancouver this year it seems Jason Robert Brown is one popular composer with a production of Songs for A New Word (link to that article at bottom) Parade, Last 5 Years upcoming in the fall and two productions of 13 it seems this is the year for a more edgy musical scene in Vancouver, Canada. I sit down with Laura Reynolds, director of 13 (the first production of the two) which is being produced by Eternal Theatre Company, who's mandate is by youth for youth.
Laura was born and raised in Vancouver, began her theatre training early with Carousel Theatre School and through high school and then went off to the Guildhall School Of Drama in London, and is now back in Vancouver halfway through her BFA in acting from the University of British Columbia. While she isn't a stranger to directing, this is her first full length musical so I chat with her a bit about her approach, working with youth and why it's important to see the show.
ONSTAGE BLOG: What are your thoughts on the show?
LR: It's a pretty silly show, but the cast bonded quite quickly in rehearsal and outside of rehearsal which made them come back with a lot of heart to the show, because it's easy to perform the silliness that just on the surface, but there is a lot if you actually look. There are some characters that are driven by life threateningproblems that are physical while some characters that have more superficial problems such as "this girl wont date me or whatever". Were trying to find the contrast between them. As an audience member and o me especially its shocking to see characters like this who written as 12 try to show the typical problems of a preteen vs issues that would be difficult to deal with as an adult let alone a kid.
ONSTAGE BLOG: The show is almost 10 years old, so how do the issues in the show stay relevant to pre teens/teens now in 2017?
LR: I don't think they have changed at all. I think that some of lines feel dated, but the actual issues happening to them haven't changed at all. Some of the main issues are like parents getting divorced (which lots of cast members can relate too) the idea of finding your friends, and popular kids and then ignoring your friends to try to impress the popular kids, I think that very relevent to anyone 13 now or even lter teens. The only dated things were some lines and references we had to look up. we only have two actual 13 year olds in the show and on the first day some of the older cast commented n "how dumb some of the lines were, but I had them bring in real writing samples from when they were 13 and they were all quite shocked athow accurate the style was and it could have been pulled from the script.
ONSTAGE BLOG: How's the dynamic of working with the real 13 year olds versus the older kid?
I think it's worked pretty well, the range is 13 all the way to 20 so it's a huge range, but it allows them at all work and learn from each other. It makes the younger ones work harder to learn lines and choreography to keep u with the more experienced cast but everyone has a youthful energy. When the actual 13 year olds come onstage and the cast sees them, you can tell the difference andI think it inspires them to create an honest authentic performance.
OSB- In keeping in the spirit of the OBC with an all youth cast and band everyone involved in Eternal Theatre collective is youth or under 25. Tell me about ECT
Eternal Theatre collective is newish youth Vancouver theatre group , less than 3 years old and the. The cast is all 13 - 20 the production and admin team is 16 to 24 ish. it means that everyone is at different stages, some being in theatre school , some out, some are just getting started. On the whole there isn't a lot of professional experience on our team so this is our way to gain it together and learn from each other. There are challenges that come with that, like people having less experience in their job so it goes a little slower but it allows people to gain some professional or leadership experience and skills to take away when they do go out and work. It lets people take risks in their jobs, our choreographer Hailey Fowler for example is only just 19, and how often do you get the chance to choreography a whole show and explore all your ideas at that age. We help each other and pick up the slack for wherever its needed so everything gets done.
Onstage Blog: Why should Vancouver audiences need to see this show?
The need to because since everyone involved is a young and up-and-coming, it serves the spirit of the show. The spirit of not knowing where you're going but working to get there together. Really it's like what the character Archie says it's about putting "one foot in front of the other, and just keep walking on
13 the musical is presented by Eternal Theatre Collective and plays Aug 9th to 12th at the Redgate Revue stage on Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada.
Youth Tickets(25 and under) are $17.00 CND and general is $22.00 CND
If you are not able to make it to the show, or are reading this from afar, and want to contribute please visit the website to find out how you can sponsor this youth theatre company in Vancouver, Canada.
Media Contact: Hannah Maden-Krasnick- Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org/ 604-356-6632
LINK to SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD article: http://www.onstageblog.com/onstage-news/2017/3/22/vancouver-re-imagines-songs-for-a-new-world-with-immigrant-focused-production