How did you first get involved with KSK?
I met Jamieson Child back in late summer/early fall of 2014, when he auditioned for Rope. We hit it off in rehearsals right away, and at some point KSK came up in conversation. I remembered hearing about it when it was in Fringe a few years ago, and as I was looking for something to take to the NYC Fringe in the summer of 2015, I wanted to learn more. He had me read the script in October and I knew right away I wanted to help expand the show and bring it to New York.
What drew you to the project?
A few things. For one, it fit with Bygone’s style & mandate; a period piece, kinda dark & funny, and it was very closely tied to film as it’s inspired by vintage exploitation cinema. As well, I LOVE musicals, and really wanted to be involved in one again. Then of course there is my twisted love of cult & exploitation cinema, and I was excited by the fact that there were these 2 talented & crazy brothers who were just as into that stuff as I was, and who had taken that passion for the genre and put it towards building a really unique play. We hit it off early on and I thought we all had great complimentary skills. It just seemed like a good fit all around.
Describe your work as dramaturg, what does that entail?
It’s basically a fancy word for saying that I have to be aware of every creative aspect of the show, and that I am there sort of over-seeing the creative process. I met with Jamie & Drac a lot in the early stages and we worked out script stuff, expanding the story, breaking down beats, talking about music styles etc. Then, as we got into producing, I had to have a knowledge of the inspiration for the show to make sure that it was coming across in the marketing & overall production; being aware of the time period, the filmic references, all of that. Now, in the rehearsal stage, it’s being there to help support J with providing extra info for the actors. Being able to give period references to help fill out some gaps, to give them a strong background so they have something to build their characters off of. It’s about as broad and all encompassing as producing is, but for the other side of things.
What do you do as producer?
Everything. There are roles that are specifically mine, but at the end of the day the number one thing is making sure that everyone else is doing their job too, and stepping in to do it myself if they aren’t. As for my regular stuff? I’ve written up contracts, coordinated with the Fringe and the venue, assisted in casting & hiring, written up budgets, organized fundraisers & funding campaigns, made some posters, designed a website, worked on promoting, scheduled production meetings – you name it, I’ve done some part of it. And then I’m stage managing as well, so there’s some cross over. With that I get to be in rehearsals working closely with J the director and the cast. Really all the roles I’ve taken on just require a lot of overseeing and organizing, so while it’s an INSANE amount of stuff to get done, it actually gets a bit simpler the more I take on, because there is a lot of overlap.
What are some challenges that you’ve had to overcome?
When you’re working with artists there’s always a lot of passion & energy brought to every conversation, which is almost always good. It can make for some loud fights and big clashes though, now and then. Plus, this is a big show for a lot of us. Taking something out of city adds so many additional challenges (and costs) that it makes for a lot more stress than a usual show, and that can put a strain on relationships. I’m used to being the one directing Bygone shows as well, and so it’s a new process having to step back from that while still managing all the other stuff – not bad, but very different.
What has been your favourite part of the process so far?
Working with incredible people. I know, it sounds like a cheesy answer but it’s really true. I knew very early on that Jamieson was someone I wanted to keep working with, and he’s been a great co-worker & friend, so that’s been great. And everyone we have brought on along the way has not only been really talented but a lot of fun too. While some have gotten tense, a lot of production meetings have been filled with laughs and good times, and I’m sure as everything falls into place we’ll see more of that. I’ve always said of any show I’ve directed that I think what’s made it is having a great cast, not just in regards to talent but personality too, and I’m very happy that the same result has happened here.
Any good rehearsal anecdotes to share?
When you spend a lot of time around a small group of people, you naturally begin to let your guard down, and when you’re an artist that usually means you start to get a little weird… I couldn’t tell you how exactly it started, but for the longest time our 2nd act opening number was called “The Timbit Song” (now “Fear City”). It came about somehow when we were discussing the potential issues of a Canadian show in a US venue, and I know that we had the music down but not the lyrics. Jamieson started improvising about what the character Ronnie could sing and (brilliantly) came up with “What’s a timbit? I want a timbit! Have a timbit, what’s a fucking timbit?” and for whatever ridiculous reason that stuck so long that we now have many very formal, serious looking correspondence talking about the “Timbit Song”.
Why should people come and see the show?
This really is a unique production. The show itself is unlike any other musical I’ve seen, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. We’ve got a really talented cast & crew of young Canadian artists, and our band is made up of some very experienced (Broadway-level) NYC musicians.
How can people help support the project?
If you’re in NYC August 26th-30th, come see the show! Tickets can be purchased online. And if you can’t make it out to see it live, you can still help support the show by making a donation – every little bit helps!