BWW Special: Chatting with the Team Behind DO YOU WANT WHAT I HAVE GOT? A Craigslist Cantata
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by Kelly Cameron
Fresh off a sold-out run at Vancouver's PuSh Festival, the brand new original musical Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata opens tonight in Toronto as part of Acting Up Stage's and Factory Theatre's new season. The show explores contemporary humanity through the unique (and sometimes) wacky lens of Craigslist, the online classified site with over 50 million ads posted each month.
To celebrate the show's opening night, BWW sat down to speak with a handful of people involved in the production to get a better idea about the show, about Craigslist and about musical theatre in Canada:
Congratulations on the show! Have there been any major changes since its run at the PuSh Festival?
Veda Hille: I wouldn't say the changes have been major, but we have finessed the order of the songs a little bit. The real challenge to 'finishing' this show is that people are constantly sending new and amazing Craigslist ads. So I keep writing songs - we have two new ones for this run and I think they're great.
Amiel Gladstone: I wouldn't call it 'major' but I do love revisiting shows, especially new original ones, so we have made tweaks here and there. There are a couple of new songs, a new design team, and the Factory Studio is a completely different configuration than the Arts Club Revue.
If someone knows nothing about Craigslist, and potentially little about musicals, can they still enjoy this show?
Selina Martin: Yes, definitely. Even if you've never been on Craigslist, most people understand the concept of a classified ad. I've never personally enjoyed traditional musicals but this one has its own original style, musically and theatrically, and it's funny.
Daren A Herbert: This show is wicked and hilarious! You know how 'reality television' prides itself on concentrating a laser-life focus and cranking up the volume on bad behaviour of everyday folks? Well, this show is a musical way of turning up the volume on al the crazy, bizarre and funny ways that people express themselves on the semi-anonymous forum that is Craigslist. I don't know if Craig could have predicated that much of the content for our show we've drawn from his site - but some of the postings??? Humanity at the peak of its quirk!
So I absolutely think folks who know little about Craigslist or musicals will be able to enjoy what we're serving in our 'Cantata'.
Given that this is a brand new musical, could you tell us how important you think it is to continue to foster and develop new works? What's the biggest challenge when getting a brand new piece off the ground?
Veda Hille: Being a living composer I think it is very important to put new work in the world. Writing music is where I feel I'm the most use, although I'm a good cook so I guess I could fall back on that! Please keep fostering new work - we always want to see our current world reflected in some way.
In terms of a challenge, the big thing for me was how much work we spent writing the darn thing. Normally I might spend a year writing an album's worth of songs, but this process was closer to three years. I've really enjoyed the subtlety it brought out. I think this process might be more in line with the time frame that exists in the musical theatre world, so I'm happy to have had the introduction to a longer writing process. If we hadn't had the support of the push Festival, theatre replacement, theatre conspiracy and the arts club theatre it would have been much more difficult to spend this amount of time writing.
What would be the biggest reason to encourage a younger audience to come out and see the show?
Selina Martin: The love plea to a clown on stilts? The need for a heavy metal roommate? Younger audiences just seem to 'get' this show more than older audiences.
When and Where?
Jan 30-March 3 2013
Factory Studio Theatre
Tickets range from $35 to $47 and can be purchased in person at the box office, by phone at 416-504-9971 or online at secure1.tixhub.com/factory/procurement/
For more information visit their website: actingupstage.com/productions/craigslist-cantata