Kill Sister, Kill! A Musical – Crew Spotlight – Lyricist, David Backshell

How did you get involved in KSK?
I had been friends with Drac for a couple of years; I was a a regular in his bar and I worked in a cafe down the street from where he lived. So when I released an EP earlier this year (called Halfsleeper), I played it for him, he dug the lyrics and asked me to help out. I had a meeting with his brother and director Jamieson and brought along some lyrics surrounding some general themes (some of which eventually got used in the show’s opener ‘Fuck This City!’). He liked the direction of them and I was pretty much hired.

What’s the creative process like for the lyrics like?
Typically it starts with a production meeting where the creative crew talk about content, structure, themes, what voices we are going to hear and character arcs that should be present in the songs. I go away and overwrite and essentially create a brain dump. I bring it back to Drac and Jameison  and they talk about what they like, dislike, what fits and what elements we should play up or play down. At this point the refining process begins until we are happy with the end product. I take it to Mike (the composer) and see how it works together with the music and we tweak things until it fits.

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing the lyrics for KSK?
Probably trying to incorporate all these distinct voices into a clear narrative. Trying to make each character’s voice well rounded but balanced to serve the story without making them cliched.

As a result I feel that Dagger and Kitty both have strong personalities but act very much as catalysts to the story. The repercussions of their actions often fall upon their respective siblings who find themselves picking up the pieces.

Who is the most exciting character to write for?
Ronnie, he’s arguably the most tragic character in the musical. Certainly the one that audience will be most sympathetic too. His voice also mirrors fairly closely the kind of lyrics I naturally write. I had a great time writing Ronnie’s lament, I feel it cuts to the core of his character and you see both his naivety, idealism also his weakness. He is a man that is lost in the world.

Who has been the most difficult character to write for?
Probably Lily, as she is a very schizophrenic character. In the first act she comes across as almost a Mother Theresa type character, doing her best to help those around her. In the second act, after the attack it’s hard to know where she is coming from. She’s incredibly violent and we are left wondering whether this is some kind of PTSD reaction, or is she really doing God’s work? Balancing this Old Testament style judgement against someone who has gone through traumatic events, while keeping them human is a hard act to get right.
Check out David’s own work on his website. Want to help support our show? Visit the show page to make a donation.

Retro Radio Hour – Suspense!

Just in time for Halloween, Bygone Theatre presents the third show in the radio hour series;

Retro Radio Hour – Suspense!

Join us for a chilling evening of spooky oldies music, terrifying vintage radio plays and a hauntingly good raffle. Come in costume – if you dare – for a chance to win a prize! All proceeds go towards our November production of Rope.

Date & Time: One night only, Thursday October 23rd, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Venue: Black Swan Comedy, 2nd floor of the Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave., Toronto
Tickets: Available at the door – $5.00 cash

Raffle Prizes:

  1. A pair of tickets to Alumnae Theatre’s Fireworks Festival
  2. A pair of tickets to the Theatre Brouhaha/Red One Theatre collaboration of The Skriker at the Storefront Theatre
  3. A pair of tickets to Soup Can Theatre’s Circle Jerk
  4. A pair of tickets to the UC Follies production of The Government Inspector
  5. A pair of tickets to the UC Follies production of Damn Yankees

Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special – Performer Spotlight – Peter Grant Mackechnie

Peter Grant Mackechnie is one of Bygone’s go-to-guys for music. He played the keyboard for “Doubt: A Parable” and for our first “Retro Radio Hour”, and now is back again to lend his musical talents!

Peter Grant Mackechnie

Peter Grant Mackechnie

What made you want to be a part of Bygone Theatre’s “Retro Radio Hour: Holiday Special”?
I really love the idea of presenting authentic scripts from the golden age of radio plays as they actually would have sounded. Nostalgia and relics of days gone by appeal to me! One of my roles in the show is as an improviser of music and advertisement jingles to go along with the plays, and it’s fun to think about and imitate the style of cheesy, heavy-handed music that accompanied radio dramas.

What is your favourite holiday tv special?
I was actually never big on gooshy TV specials or things like that, my family was… not so holiday-oriented, I guess? Although, if movies are an acceptable answer, I really like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

What is your fondest holiday memory?
The Christmas the Nintendo Gamecube came out. It launched with Super Smash Bros. Melee, and I and several friends got it and spent that entire holiday playing it. Ah, 2001.

What is your most funniest holiday memory?
Funniest? Well, my cats always used to pee on the tree and/or knock it over (we had a lot of cats). That necessitated my parents tying the tree to the wall with fishing line so it wouldn’t keep falling and smashing all the ornaments. I thought it was pretty funny, my Mom didn’t.

What are you most excited for in regards to “Retro Radio Hour”? Why should everyone come to see it?
I’m excited to perform! The radio format allows me to just play some music, read some scripts that are a lot of fun and feature all kinds of wacky characters, and kind of get an interesting window into the minds of people in the 40s (etc.). It’s neat to see the way their biases, gender roles, opinions, and the general ways the wind was blowing come through in the dramas of the era.