Are you ready for a whirlwind, 90 minute musical tour through the transformative years of the 60s to kick off 2015 and warm up the winter? Good! That’s what Round Barn productions has in store for us with Shout! The Mod Musical, January 7 – 10 at C103.
Director Kristen Finlay (who also plays The Orange Girl) says, “It’s first and foremost a celebration of the 60s, the British mod era, but it’s also about the 60s themselves as a decade of change… At the beginning of the show the girls, the five of us, are a little more naive, but the 60s was really a transformative decade through the music and some of the cultural changes, seeing how it affected attitudes towards love and marriage and roles in society and in terms of clothes and that sort of thing. I think we have a long way to go at the end of it, but it was kind of a kick-off decade.”
Shout! The Mod Musical explores social changes from 1962 – 1970 through the music of the 60s which propels each of the five characters’ transformations. Kristen says, “I play the Orange Girl, who is described as the maternal one, the very traditional one who sees marriage and children as the epitome of life. Then there’s the Yellow Girl (played by Erin Foster-O’Riordan) who is actually from America and has come to stalk a Beetle because she’s in love with Paul McCartney so she’s bringing that brash Americanism to it. The Blue Girl (played by Monica Roberts) is the beauty, the model, the girl who looks perfect and we discover that everything may look perfect, but it’s not. That this perfect girl may have some surprises under the surface because she makes discoveries about herself – that things can look perfect, but that doesn’t mean you’re happy. The Green Girl (played by Leslie Caffaro) is a bit of a slut, is how they describe her. She’s embraced the free love and her journey is that she actually falls in love and that you can embrace your sexuality and still find your true love. And the Red Girl (played by Nicole English) she’s a bit naive, she’s trying to figure out who she is. She’s the youngest and clumsy and naive and her journey is to grow into figuring it out. She may not have it all together like the other girls seem to, but that’s okay and she finds her way. So, they each have their own little journey into what they become.”
Kristen had wanted to self-produce a show outside of Fringe, and when Erin Foster-O’Riordan brought up the idea of doing Shout!, the pieces fell into place. “ It is a pretty big leap, because with Fringe you have a lot of infrastructure, but to do it yourself outside of that, you’re dealing with some different dynamics. But I wanted to find something that was the right size of project and Erin mentioned Shout! and I thought it would be perfect, you could get five really strong performers and Sally Hunt, who I’ve worked with before and trust implicitly as a music director, was available and interested… It’s great to find a show where there is no lead. All five women have the same amount of weight in terms of the show and we have so many strong female performers in our city.”
Kristen says the music, which is all recognizable hits from the 60s, reflects on how women’s role in society changed throughout the 60s. “There’s a lot of little things touched on in terms of attitudes towards marriage and partnerships, so that’s certainly in there. Off the top, we say “we’re here to talk about love” but that shifts over the play to what love means and that idealism when you go late 50s into the 60s to the 70s.”
To finish off our interview, I asked Kristen what her favourite song in Shout! was. “I really like “Wishing and Hoping” because it’s a fun song to sing. “Goldfinger” is really fun because it’s fun to be the James Bond character and we do all the vocalization. I have two really big ballads… they’re both big, big sings. But probably [my favourite] is “Boots” because once you start to learn “Boots are Made for Walking” it’s hard not to keep singing it. And we have the boots for that song – they’re so impressive, the go-go boots. Boots is an anthem, it’s a fun song to sing – it has a lot of attitude.”
Shout! The Mod Musical runs January 7 – 10 at c103. Tickets are $27.25 at Tix on the Square.