Swordplay at Edmonton Fringe Festival

Holy Trinity Anglican Church (10037 84 avenue) August 15 – 24 (every day)

An interview with David Belke.

Describe your show in five words.
Sword & Sorcery comedy musical.

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

It’s a high fantasy romantic farce. The Princess Melodia must find her brother in order to regain the throne. To protect herself she disguises herself as an outlaw hero, but complications arise when she is attracted to a conman who, in order to impress her, insists that he is the outlaw hero she actually is. Add in an outlaw band, an evil swordsman, an assassin on the prowl, an evil wizard and a quickwitted servant, and you have an all-singing, all-dancing, all-sword fighting romantic comedy of mistaken identities and forsaken responsibilities.


This is the debut of a reimagined Swordplay – why did you want to re-imagine the show as a musical?
With its fantasy elements and over the top characters, Swordplay was already a highly theatrical experience. Especially when you consider the farcical dynamics and broad comedy.  I thought, why not make it even more of a theatrical experience by setting it to song? And it’s turned out to be a natural fit. In addition, I was looking for another project to work on with Darrin Hagen and this seemed to be a ready opportunity.


Troy O’Donnell directs this incarnation of Swordplay – what were you looking for from the director of this show?
Troy has directed a number of my plays now and he’s tuned to my rhythms and pace as a playwright. He’s a terrific at working with actors and he has a finely tuned brain for comedy. And of course with an eight person cast I wanted a director he was comfortable with working with a big company and Troy is a master at ensemble direction. And there’s no denying that Troy’s experience in the world of Shakespeare is an attraction. It gives him a background not only in a world of kings and princes, but highly emotional scenes as well. Plus he’s just an all round great guy. That’s something you always look for in a collaborator.


Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
Swordplay is the very first play I wrote for the Edmonton Fringe back in 1990. So as I mark my 25th year as a Fringe playwright, it seemed appropriate to dust it off and polish it up for a new audience. I think the main thing everyone should know is that it’s fun. It’s a big ole happy, silly, surprising barrel of amusements.


Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
We’ve got a terrific company of artists for this production. Mat Busby, Jenna Dykes, Kendra Connor, Janine Hodder, Garett Ross, Linda Karenko, Ben Stevens and Jason Hardwick. It’s formidable team of comic and musical talents. As I mentioned Darrin Hagen is writing the original songs for the show and Janine Hodder has staged some spectacular combat as well.

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

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