Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Kathleen Harrison

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

This is Kathleen’s first time working with Lark and Whimsy Theatre Collective, but not her first time working with co-director Rob Kempson. Kathleen stage managed the first of Rob's Graduation PlaysShannon 10:40. Kathleen has also worked at Mirvish Productions, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Stratford Festival, Young People’s Theatre, Theatre Aquarius and the Canadian Opera Company. 

Name: Kathleen Stevenson (I got married in September and changed my name, but keep it Harrison for work)

What are you doing on Robert? Stage Managing

Astrological Sign: Pisces

Special Skills: Championship square dancer - won many competitions at the Royal Winter Fair between the ages of 6-16

Do you have any siblings, if so how many? One younger brother, although he acts much older than I am.

How many Roberts do you know? Maybe 4-5? I really only know and love one though - our co-director Rob Kempson!

Do you play any musical instruments? Clarinet - that's how I got my first professional SM gig - I was the SM/narrator/musician/puppeteer for the TIP young company!

 Photo supplied by Kathleen Harrison

Photo supplied by Kathleen Harrison

How do you feel about bagpipes?  As an alumni of Queen's University, the bagpipes were always part of every festivity because of Queen's bands, so hearing the bagpipes now makes me feel proud and spirited.

Are you good at keeping secrets? Depends on the secret. 

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I don't know about at the funeral, but I'd really just like my family and friends to get together around a campfire and tell the good, funny stories of our time together.  And eat s'mores - lots and lots of s'mores.

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? I've been out of the professional SM game for about a year now, so it's so nice to jump back in with one of the best, the super talented Rob Kempson, on this funny yet touching piece.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe?  I've never seen a site-specific show use their venue as well as Robert does.  I think the audience will really love it.

 

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

 

 

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Matthew Maaskant

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

Our incredible sound designer and composer is the multi-talented and multi-instrumental, Matthew Maaskant! We’re so lucky to have him on board for #RobertToFringe. We can’t wait for you to hear what Matthew’s got in store for you. 

Name: Matthew Maaskant

What are you doing on Robert? Sound Design & Composition

Astrological Sign: Cancer

Special Skills: I also do videography and visual projection for theatres or clubs.

Do you have any siblings, if so how many? I’m one of seven.

How many Roberts do you know? I’ve known one Robert well, the rest have come and gone...

Something you and your parents have in common? We agree on most things, politics, music, movies, etc.

Do you play any musical instruments? I am adept at the basic instruments - piano, guitar, bass, drums, mandolin - but for a long time have focused on music production & mixing, mostly using vintage analog synths and old samplers.

 Photo supplied by Mathew Maaskant

Photo supplied by Mathew Maaskant

How do you feel about bagpipes? Well the first thing that comes to mind is the classic joke - what's the best use for a set of bagpipes? Kindling for an accordion fire. That being said, as a musician I love all instruments so I guess I like the bagpipes? Tom Waits says bagpipes sound like someone strangling a goose, which is accurate. Every aesthetic is needed at some point I guess, for example Peter Gabriel uses bagpipes in his track ‘Come Talk To Me’ and they sound awesome.

Are you good at keeping secrets? I’d rather not, if it can be helped.

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? Showing up is brave enough, after that you should interrupt as you see fit.

 

 

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? I love composing and recording with specific goals in mind. It’s fascinating to get familiar with a project, see what’s trying to be communicated, and then translate that into another language.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? The mix of comedy and drama is a razor’s edge as far as composition goes. As of the last meeting it was agreed that the working goal is ‘the saddest music that can be made in a major key.’

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? It’s a comedy in a church, how perfect is that! Churches also make audio sound much better, so it should be a wonderful immersive experience on that level too!

 

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

 

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Jacob Kay

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

This is Jacob’s first (but hopefully not last) time working with Lark and Whimsy Theatre Collective. Jacob is assistant directing to Rob and Bri, which of course means he’s doing a little bit of everything on Robert. We’re so glad to have you on the team!

Name: Jacob Kay

What are you doing on Robert? I am assisting directing

Astrological Sign: Capricorn

Special Skills: I can crack a large number of joints in my body

Do you have any siblings, if so how many? I have one older brother

Something you and your parents have in common? Blonde hair, blue eyes, and a crippling fear of being alone. Oh, and we all had braces.

Do you play any musical instruments? I used to play clarinet for eight years

How do you feel about bagpipes? When I was younger, I thought they were made out of dead Octopi. Does that answer the question?

Are you good at keeping secrets? Yes, unless this is my parents asking then … No, I’m an open book.

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? It would be amazing if someone got Frank Ocean to serenade my corpse. I think that would make me happy.

 Photo supplied by Jacob Kay

Photo supplied by Jacob Kay

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? The play is so personal, yet resonates with me and my experiences. Having spent some hours in a hospital waiting room a couple months ago when my grandmother was sick, I am able to recognize the level of honesty between the two sibling’s relationship, which is incredibly moving. It’s great to be working on a show in which you can connect to the characters so deeply, and yet makes you laugh and feel uplifted at the same time.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? Keeping up with all the talented people working on this show. Everyone brings so much knowledge and heart to this production, which is incredible and an impossible task to follow.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? Because it packs in so much laughter and compassion into a hour and is one of the best, well-written shows you will see this year. Period. AND it costs as much as a couple of drinks! AND bagpipes! How can you top that?

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

 

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Erin Vandenberg

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

Erin is a writer, producer and co-creator of the Lark and Whimsy Theatre Collective. Her play Salt was the inaugural production for the company in 2016, and she stage-managed and co-produced Janelle Hanna’s Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun at last year’s Toronto Fringe Festival

Name: Erin Vandenberg

What are you doing on Robert? Dramaturge, Producer

Astrological Sign: Leo, though most people are surprised by that. I guess I read as shy?

Special Skills: Cat whispering.

How many Roberts do you know? Some but none of them go by Bert, which is a bit of a bummer, to be honest.

Do you play any musical instruments? I can still play Minuet in G by J.S. Bach from memory on the piano. But absolutely nothing else.

How do you feel about bagpipes? Intrigued.  Are you good at keeping secrets? I'll never tell.

 Photo supplied by Erin Vandenberg.

Photo supplied by Erin Vandenberg.

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I'd like someone to set up a room that just has kittens in it, so if you were sad during my funeral, you could step out and play with some kittens.

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? Dramaturgin'. Getting to work with Briana in this capacity is a delight - we get to keep having great conversations about writing and share the joy of finding a particularly obscure reference point for the play. Plus we laugh a lot.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? Also the dramaturgy. As a dramaturge, you are trusted with something both essential to the production and vulnerable at the production stage - the playwright's vision. And unlike the director or the actors, who bring their own interpretation to the text, your job is to plumb the depths of the playwright's intentions as she works to create a text that reaches the fullest expression of those intentions. It's a lot of responsibility, and the work takes a lot of care and thoughtfulness. I think of it as the kind of work that, done correctly, is always challenging.     

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? If you need to process some deep emotions with some big laughs, then come. The piece is generous and funny, and like Dolly Parton says in Steel Magnolias, laughter through tears is my favourite emotion.

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

 

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Janelle Hanna

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

Janelle is an actor, educator and short, sassy woman and is thrilled to be working with Lark and Whimsy again at the Toronto Fringe. Last year Lark and Whimsy produced her solo show featuring her clown character, Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun. This year Janelle is appearing as Kat in Robert.

Name: Janelle Hanna

What are you doing on Robert? Acting, Co-producing

Astrological Sign: Scorpio

Special Skills: I play many instruments, badly. Juggling many things (theoretically, not literally). Animal noises.

Do you have any siblings, if so how many? 1 older brother, 1 older sister

How many Roberts do you know? My Dad, my cousin, and then a whole bunch of Rob friends.

Do you play any musical instruments? Piano, Clarinet, a bit of harmonica, and umm now the bagpipes.

IMG_5231.JPG

How do you feel about bagpipes? They are my everything right now. I sleep, breathe and eat bagpipes. It’s a blessing, and a curse.

Are you good at keeping secrets? Depends on the secret.

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I mean I think we’ve all thought about this day at one point or another. I can see someone putting together a video of my acting clips, though I really need to do more film and tv work because theatre never looks as good on camera.

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? The opportunity to take on something new and outside of my comfort zone as an actor. The idea of playing the same type of character over and over again kind of bores me so I try to be a chameleon, as much as I can anyway. So I have to be willing to take on new (and sometimes scary) skills like the bagpipes. I appreciate the trust Bri has put in me to take on this role.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? Bagpipes. It. Takes. So. Much. Breath.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? Bri has a unique ability to mix comedy and tragedy together, I even compared her work to Chekhov the other day in rehearsal. Bri’s like Chekhov but swap Russia for Scotland. I also can’t wait for audiences to see how we’re transforming St. George the Martyr, the space works perfectly for our show. Also there are bagpipes. When is the last time you saw a Fringe show with bagpipes? Never? Never.

 

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Chris Baker

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

Introducing Chris Baker! Chris is an actor, producer, filmmaker, writer and co-founder of Lark & Whimsy Theatre Collective. Chris produced Lark & Whimsy’s last two shows, Erin Vandenberg’s Salt, and Janelle Hanna’s Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control The Fun, with great success. This time, he is not only "helping" to produce - he's doing more than helping - but appearing in the show as James.

Name: Chris Baker

What are you doing on Robert? I'm acting in the show and helping to produce it.

Astrological Sign: Aries.

Special Skills: I've upped my martini making abilities in the last couple of years. That seems noteworthy.

Something you and your parents have in common? My dad and I both love scotch. Very fitting for this play.

How many Roberts do you know? A few, but the one I'm going to mention is my best friend Shaun's dad. His name is Robert. That's a common first name for boys in their family. This wouldn't be so unique except that their last name is Robbie. So his dad is Robert Robbie. I always thought that was kind of awesome.

How do you feel about bagpipes? I never thought I'd have the opportunity to learn so much about them. Now that I have, I think they are pretty great.

 Photo by Tim Doiron.

Photo by Tim Doiron.

Are you good at keeping secrets? Who wants to know?

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I don't know. I've always imagined Fiddler's Green by Tragically Hip playing at some point. But, let's be real, I'll put that in my will. I guess I'd want someone to give a really nice eulogy. You know, say something really meaningful and thoughtful about how I lived my life. And then immediately after that, show a video of the all the dumb parts I've played in TV commercials. That ought to be good for a laugh.

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? This team. Incredibly talented, hard working and generous.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? Honestly, trying not to laugh all the time in rehearsal. This play is so funny and the things we are discovering are hilarious. Janelle totally cracks me up. It's really hard.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? Robert has the benefit of being directed by not one but TWO amazing directors who are truly amazing at what they do. This trend is not a common one for theatre, but what we are discovering is really quite special. So for the interested theatre-goer, it's quite neat to see two visions working on one play. But really, you should come for bagpipes. Or my legs. Did I mention I'm wearing a kilt on this show?

 

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

 

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Rob Kempson

AS WE GET READY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ROBERT AT THE 2018 TORONTO FRINGE FESTIVAL, WE'RE INTRODUCING THE TALENTED INDIVIDUALS OF OUR CREATIVE TEAM.

Our next team introduction is the incredible Rob Kempson, playwright, composer, director, educator and performer. This is Rob’s first time working with Lark and Whimsy but not his first time working with co-director Briana Brown. The two love collaborating, and claim to share a brain. Briana directed the world premiere of Rob’s musical The Way Back To Thursday at Theatre Passe Muraille. The show went on to earn an Outstanding New Musical nomination at the 2014 Dora Mavor Moore Awards. We’re so excited to have Rob aboard.  

Name: Rob Kempson

What are you doing on Robert? Co-Directing

Astrological Sign: Sagittarius

Special Skills: Singing in harmony, Vintage picking, endless Golden Girls references, knowing all of the words to multiple verses of Christmas carols

Something you and your parents have in common? My mom and I both get unreasonably angry with customer service people on the phone. It's a trait I wish that I didn't take on.

How many Roberts do you know? Me. Facebook suggests that I know nine others... I think it's likely more than that if you include all the "Bobs."

Do you play any musical instruments? I do! I'm mostly a singer, but I also play piano, guitar, and clarinet. I'm working on the banjo but I'm pretty bad so far.

How do you feel about bagpipes? I love the bagpipes! The ones we're using in the show are actually my mom's. While I've never seen her play them, I'm certainly well acquainted with my Scottish roots (musically and otherwise).

Are you good at keeping secrets? Yes! Except from my best friend. She hears almost everything.

 Photo supplied by Rob Kempson

Photo supplied by Rob Kempson

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I'd love for someone to perform something that I've written--like a song or an excerpt from one of my plays. I think my writing always contains a little bit of me, and I'd like people to remember me with some of the words/music that I wrote. I'd also LOVE it if they completely reinterpreted the piece to put their own spin on it.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? I've never been a co-director before, and I'm totally bossy. However, Bri and I are VERY close and very compatible collaborators, so I'm really looking forward to learning about how to co-direct with someone who I have so much respect for.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? So many reasons: it's site-specific, it's funny, it's a little dramatic, the venue is beautiful, Bri's play is amazing, I'm co-directing a play that has my name as it's title... etc. etc. Should I go on?

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert.
For ticket purchases, click here.

Meet the ROBERT Creative Team: Briana Brown

As we get ready for the world premiere of ROBERT at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, we're introducing the talented individuals of our creative team. 

We're thrilled to introduce you to Briana Brown, playwright and co-director of Robert. Briana's previous work with Lark & Whimsy includes directing last year's Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun by Janelle Hanna, and Salt by Erin Vandenberg in 2016.

Name: Briana Brown

What are you doing on Robert? Playwright/Co-Director

Astrological Sign: Leo

Do you have any siblings, if so how many? I’m a proud only child.

Something you and your parents have in common? I think they really imbued me with their ‘life is short, make yourself happy now’ approach to life, their appreciation of the little things. We also all have our funeral songs picked out.

How many Roberts do you know? Oh man, a lot! My grandpa was a Robert (who went by Bob), obviously my dear friend and co-director Rob Kempson, my old landlord… And, for the record, this play is based on none of those people.

 Briana Brown with her parents. Photo by Stuart Paisley. 

Briana Brown with her parents. Photo by Stuart Paisley. 

How do you feel about bagpipes? I love them. You can feel the sound of them in your gut.

What kind of grand gesture would you want someone to do at your funeral? I’d like all the people I love to come together on a full moon to dump my ashes in Lake Huron and go skinny dipping with me. I hope it’s a night filled with laughter above all.

What’s the best thing about working on Robert? For me, it’s this team of talented, hilarious, and generous people. A lot of us have worked together before and have solid working relationships, so there was an implicit trust on the first day of rehearsal, which is amazing. I love being able to just dig in and do the work. Also, everyone is hi-larious.

What’s your biggest challenge working on Robert? Because I was out of commission due to health reasons for most of May, I have more of a playwright hat on in rehearsal than I was intending, and that’s a tough thing to juggle while also directing. Also due to said health reasons, I’m directing from a mostly horizontal position, which feels ridiculous but the actors still seem to respect me.

Why should people come see Robert at the Toronto Fringe? It’s the kind of show I’m always drawn to at the fringe – it’s predominantly funny, but there’s also some meat to it, a possibility of seeing something about you or your relationships reflected back at you. And St. George the Martyr is a beautiful space fringe audiences may not have visited before.  

For more information on Robert, please visit www.larkandwhimsytheatre.com/robert. For ticket purchases, click here.

Ladies Who Pipe

LARK & WHIMSY CO-FOUNDER, PRODUCER, AND ROBERT ACTOR, CHRIS BAKER, ON THE SUBJECT OF BAGPIPES

When Briana Brown first began writing her new comedy, Robert, as part of Driftwood Theatre’s Trafalgar 24 event, she wasn’t thinking, “bagpipes.”

When she won Driftwood’s Beyond the Castle award and received an Ontario Arts Council Playwriting Residency with Driftwood to finish Robert, she still wasn’t thinking “bagpipes.”

And when Robert was shortlisted for the Stage West Pechet Family Comedy Award, one of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada’s Tom Hendry Awards, Brown was definitely not thinking, “bagpipes.”

But when she took off her writing hat and put on her producing hat, the Best-of-Fringe, Jessie-nominated, and 2018 Cayle Chernin award-winning playwright suddenly realized she had written a play that would never make it to the stage. Because, well… bagpipes. Robert requires an actor (the female lead) in the show to play the pipes. And understanding this to be a enormous feat, she knew she’d written herself into a corner.  

Where does one find bagpipes? How many actors, female-especially, are capable of playing bagpipes, or even learning them? Do women even play the bagpipes? Why don’t more women play the bagpipes? How do you put on a comic two-hander, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival, where your third, and arguably your most important character, is a set of bagpipes?

These are the problems that we had to solve in order to produce Robert at the 2018 Toronto Fringe. Every Fringe-level show faces challenges, but this one was pretty unique.

And here is how we did it.

Real Scottish bagpipes run in the range $1200 - $1600. I say “real” because eBay is home to a number of knock-off, mostly decorative, bagpipes that could easily deceive a first time bagpipe-shopper. Any producing Fringe company knows that an expense this big would be a huge chunk of, if not their total production budget, so purchasing was not an option. Music shops don’t rent out bagpipes either. A quick phone-call to Ian Goodtimes (aka the Toronto Bagpiper, torontobagpiper.com), a lucky acquaintance of mine confirmed this, revealing that pipers don’t typically lend out their pipes. They are too personal an instrument. And for that reason, along with their “niche-ness” they are not rented. Goodtimes suggested our best bet was to try and find a used set of pipes, somewhere, and hopefully restore them back to working condition.

Enter Rob Kempson, or rather, Rob Kempson’s mother, Pat, who lives in Kingston. Rob is a long time friend of Lark & Whimsy. Briana and Rob last worked together on Kempson’s award-winning musical The Way Back to Thursday in 2013. She asked Kempson to come on board with Robert as a co-director, a trend she was inspired to try after adjudicating the (formerly Sears) NTS Ontario Drama Festival this past year, and observing many successful pairs of high school directors working together on their plays. Kempson’s mother, amazingly, had an old set of bagpipes somewhere in her basement but hadn’t thought about them in years. It seems a long time ago, when Pat was her son’s age, she used to play the pipes. A female piper. Seems fitting, for a play about a lady who pipes.

Rob’s mother drove from her house in Kingston to drop off the bagpipes to us here in Toronto. The pipes were old, but in good enough condition that only a few things needed replacing  (specifically a valve, which Goodtimes explained, is nowadays is made out of plastic, but in older bagpipes like these, was made out of “hair and spit”). William Glen & Son, a Scottish kilt shop on Avenue Road, also happened to sell bagpipe pieces, so with a new valve, and some cleaning and seasoning, which Goodtimes offered to do, free-of-charge, the pipes just might work.

Our next challenge of course, was finding an actor who could play the pipes. We didn’t. But we did find an actor brave enough to be willing to learn them.  Janelle Hanna (Bad Baby, Prairie Nurse), a member of Lark & Whimsy, has somewhat of a musical background, having played piano and clarinet in her youth. Clarinet fingering it turns out, is very close to what is required for piping. Goodtimes offered lessons in piping at an affordable rate, noting one caveat, “I was taught by a mean, old asshole, so that’s the only way I know how to teach. As long as your actor is fine with that.” It’s unclear how much of a joke that was.

To find out if Janelle was successful, you won’t want to miss Robert, a comedy by Briana Brown, directed by Briana Brown and Rob Kempson, and starring Janelle Hanna and myself, Chris Baker.

Robert is produced by Lark & Whimsy Theatre Collective, and will be playing at St. George the Martyr Church, as part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, July 4-15, 2018. Tickets at Fringetoronto.com.

Director Briana Brown on new work, challenges and working with playwrights

Director Briana Brown on new work, challenges and working with playwrights

IN THE LEAD UP TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF SALT, THE L&W BLOG WILL BE FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH THE CREATIVE WOMEN BEHIND THE PROJECT. 

For our third instalment, Salt’s Director and Dramaturge Briana Brown shares her thoughts on approaching new work, working with playwrights, and what excites her about Salt.

As a director, how do you approach a new work? 

I think of the premiere production of any play as the “playwright’s production.” My job in developing new work is to ensure that I am clear about the playwright’s vision and ensure that all the elements at work support the story that the playwright is interested in telling. As a playwright myself, I understand the simultaneous desire to, and fear of, handing over your story to someone else. Erin and I connected pretty instantly, and I feel quite honoured by the trust and respect she has granted me.

Designer Anna Treusch on her process and working on Salt

Designer Anna Treusch on her process and working on Salt

IN THE LEAD UP TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF SALT, THE L&W BLOG WILL BE FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH THE CREATIVE WOMEN BEHIND THE PROJECT. 

For our second instalment, Dora Award-winning designer Anna Treusch sat down with us for a Q&A about working on Salt, what inspires her design work and what she loves most about working in theatre.

What’s your design process for a new show?

My process starts by reading the script, a quick initial read that I approach with instinct. Then I like to talk with the director early on to get their input on their feelings for the text, to see if they have the same general impressions. Then I work out the concepts and themes relevant to the design, the important storytelling features in the show, and a visual concept. I tend to design a concept through research — deeper research if I don’t know the subject matter well,  but typically more visual research — gathering pictures from different sources, things that stand out thematically to me. I look for images that have a tone that I think represents the show, not necessary to put literally into the designs, but as a starting point for conversation.

Playwright Erin Vandenberg on the making of Salt

Playwright Erin Vandenberg on the making of Salt

IN THE LEAD UP TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF SALT, THE L&W BLOG WILL BE FEATURING INTERVIEWS WITH THE CREATIVE WOMEN BEHIND THE PROJECT. OUR FIRST INSTALMENT IS WITH PLAYWRIGHT ERIN VANDENBERG. 

Salt playwright Erin Vandenberg was inspired by real-life events when she started writing the story of Vivian, an abusive alcoholic, who is ultimately confronted by her daughters Lilias and Petal:

I first noticed a headline from a news story similar to the play’s story. It didn’t have a lot of details about the girls involved, as they were young offenders and protected, but I wasn’t shocked by their crime. Unfortunately, it felt like a thing that could happen under certain circumstances. Circumstances that are far more ordinary than maybe we care to admit. And there were a lot of similar issues in my own family to a degree, and I suspect in a lot of families.