Letters to Laura at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Letters to Laura
C103 (8529 Gateway Blvd.) August16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22

An interview with Elisa Benzer.

Letters to Laura at Edmonton Fringe. Photo credit: Nico Humby

Letters to Laura at Edmonton Fringe. Photo credit: Nico Humby

Describe your show in five words.

An unintentional romance that crosses borders.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

When you are hard working and career focused, love is the last thing you’re looking for. However, love has a funny way of finding you, especially when you least expect it. In this light-hearted romantic comedy, two unintentional lovebirds remind us just what it means to be swept of our feet. How far will Laura and Marc go to keep their international romance alive?

What inspired you to write Letters to Laura?

I have wanted to write this story for a number of years and when I received a spot in the Fringe Festival I had the push I needed. As someone who is familiar with long distance relationships, I thought it was interesting how much relationships have changed since the launch of Facebook, Twitter, Facetime, Text Messaging and all the other ways we communicate. I wanted to tell the story of how relationships now can be even more honest and more meaningful than they were before. If we take advantage of the mediums we have available to us, two people can come together when otherwise it was impossible. Instead of waiting weeks to write to one another, we can talk in an instant. And if we remain honest, the results can be incredibly romantic. I also wanted to ask the question of what happens when the honesty is not respected. With the mediums we use in the play, there are opportunities to exaggerate ourselves to be better. Portraying the perfect version of what we are. If we do this, if there is no mistakes, no flaws, is it then that the relationships become meaningless? Are they really in love? Or just in love with the perfect version of someone.

It sounds like your premier at the San Diego Fringe went really well – why choose to debut at the San Diego Fringe?

I wanted to premier the play in a festival setting that I wasn’t familiar with. The San Diego International Fringe Festival is in its second year and they already have a reputation for treating their International Artists very well. Also, it was in San Diego. I love California. As a writer, I wanted to have an audience that wasn’t familiar with myself, Evan or Perry so I could get a raw and honest opinion about the script and where it was sitting; without anyone feeling obligated to sugar coat anything as an audience member. A third reason is because, as artists in Edmonton, we are spoiled with a festival of this size. San Diego being such a young fringe, I knew we had our work cut out for us. Which I wanted. I had never produced anything of my own, so I thought, “Well, if I’m going to make my mistakes, I’m going to make them somewhere that has a beach.” San Diego was a huge challenge and I learned a lot. More than what I had imagined. It was a test to see how far I would take something, and after being there, I know I’m going to want to continue to tour internationally, and I feel like I have some useful knowledge on the Do’s and Don’ts. I’m definitely going to go back.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

This is a play that I am going to continue to develop. I’d like to see it as a full length. There are so many things I had to cut from the script because there just wasn’t enough time to explore them all. This version of the story is just hitting the surface of what our relationships through technology really are. In the future I’d like to take it to another level and use multi media. Conventions such as projection, scrims and live video feed are just some things I’d like to bring in. The possibilities are endless. I’d really love to hear what people will think of the show in a year from now after seeing it at this years Fringe.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

I’d really like to give credit to some of the people that have been super supportive in this whole process. Jason Chin helped me at the very beginning when I was nervous and lost and had no idea where to take this story. When I was questioning if I was even on the right path, he looked at what I had, and pointed me in the right direction. Brian Dooley is another mentor of mine that can’t go without mention. He has always inspired me to create with an open mind and have confidence in myself. Last ( but certainly not least) I’d like to mention Perry Gratton (Director) and Evan Hall ( playing Marc). I was so lucky to have these wonderful artists on board with the show in San Diego and here in Edmonton. They are both incredibly smart and talented artists and I am grateful that they are involved in the show.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.

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