Fredericton’s Collective Theatrics are preparing to produce the 1970’s award-winning musical comedy classic, Company.
The local theatre group came together in 2013 as a new creative outlet for city theatre artists and enthusiasts, interested in producing fun, entertaining theatre.
Kyle Peters, company co-founder and director of their upcoming production, explains how Collective Theatrics came to be and why Company is such a great fit for the group.
First off, how did Collective Theatrics come into existence? Was it to fill a void in city theatre?
Collective Theatrics came into existence in the fall of 2013. For years I had been directing productions for other companies in the city, primarily the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Fredericton and Mostly the Moment Theatre (with one installment of Christmas@thePlayhouse in the middle). At that time, the media was becoming overwhelmed with news stories about gay teens committing suicide, and the ongoing marriage equality debate across the globe. I felt like I needed to say something about it all, in the only way I knew how – theatre. I had spent years telling others people’s stories, so why not my own? So I got a group of friends together, and we decided we would produce The Laramie Project in February of 2014. This group of friends was comprised of people I had worked with over the years in my various projects, and it felt like a great fit for us all, so we decided to continue on with this new group.
You’re preparing for your next production, the musical comedy, Company. What is it about this show that attracted you?
Company is a musical written by Stephen Sondheim, and honestly that was one of the biggest draws for me. I first discovered musical theatre by watching a live stage recording of Sondheim’s Into the Woods and I’ve been waiting for years to find the right show, at the right time. Company seemed like the natural fit – I love directing shows that deal with adult content and relationships. I’m also naturally drawn to shows that are comedic, and Company has several funny moments, but also ends with some serious drama. I was also drawn to all the characters in the show. When I sat down and read the libretto for the first time, I felt like I knew all these people already; they were all my friends, and I think that’s what the audience will feel when they watch this show.
How have rehearsals been going? Are you working with a big cast?
Rehearsals have been going very well. The show contains some very challenging music, and with a cast of 14 performers, all of who are community members from various backgrounds and musical experiences. Couple that with no ensemble, there’s no room for a weak link. That being said, with the support of each other and my great music director Heather Dunham, they’ve more than risen to the challenge. There’s also the pressure of doing material that so many people know. Company contains some of the most recognizable standards of musical theatre; songs like Being Alive, and The Ladies Who Lunch have been performed by some of the greats, and while we pay homage to the history behind the song, I also think it’s important that the actors follow their own journey for these stories, and make the moment their own.
What’s been the biggest challenge in producing shows with Collective Theatrics?
The biggest challenge producing shows has been scheduling. With a flourishing theatre community like Fredericton has, finding the right time to do the right show in the right venue can be taxing, but somehow, the community always seems to come through.