The Colour of Life at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

The Colour of Life

Academy at King Edward (8525 101 street) August 16-18, 20, 22, 23

The Colour of Life. Photo credit: Anais Faubert

The Colour of Life. Photo credit: Anais Faubert

An interview with Thomas Barnet.

Describe your show in five words. 

Death, Daring, Drugs, Dynamism, and (a bit of) Dark (humour)

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

The Colour of Life is a coming of age story about three 20-somethings who start a group for thrill-seeking youth. They beat each other up, they jump across and off of roofs, they enjoy copious amounts of drugs. The games get more and more intense until two of them (see: MAIN CHARACTERS) promise to try and kill each other. It’s about youth, it’s about that feeling after a night of partying where you ask, “Should we keep going?” Really, it’s a family-friendly piece.

In your press release for The Colour of Life, you say ‘imagine a mix of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club with a more modernized Trainspotting’. What is it about those two references that is helpful in describing the show?

The way Fight Club uses fighting as a way for these guys to feel like men again, the characters in that story are trying to feel human in an inhuman society. The characters in The Colour of Life are doing a similar thing, trying to tap into something primal and essential deep within them. Trainspotting is helpful because of the way it uses comedy to talk about dark subject matter. We tried to make the show fun!

The Colour of Life was developed by Jon Lachlan Stewart and Thomas Barnet – where did the initial idea come from and how did you two collaborate to create the show?

In spring of 2013, I got super inspired after seeing solo shows by my friends Ben and Alex and the movie Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine. I wrote a draft, and the idea was to write a show that felt like an out of control night, like a story you might tell friends and they wouldn’t quite believe you. At some point, Jon (who was at the same school as me at the time) agreed to help out with the creation (because I was really lost on how to develop a piece) and we met up that fall. It’s hard for me to remember details because I was figuring out how to write as much as I was writing it, but there really wouldn’t be a piece without Jon’s guidance. A lot of our meetings would be me getting excited about something, Jon asking questions, and me writing for a week. Something like that.

There is a lot of mortality in the show – was that something you purposely set out to explore? Or are there other themes in the show that you were more interested in exploring?

I think there’s something about late-teens, 20-somethings that when they get into something it’s life or death. Those are the stakes. So I really wanted to explore that, and take that as far as I could. What if these two guys made a religion out of that kind of in the moment, life or death mentality? So that was really central. But other than that, for me the story is about growing up. At what point should we accept responsibility and enter the world? At what point is giving up on something we thought was cool actually the braver thing to do?

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Yeah! I think the use of drugs is a big turn off for some people, and I totally get that, but the show is about so much more! This is a story about how youth can feel like a hurricane sometimes. I think we can all get behind that. Also, I might kiss you if you come! So that might be fun.

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

DIRECTED BY: JON “THE ROCK LOBSTER” LACHLAN STEWART. I’m gonna put this name here, but we aren’t sure what she does: (m)elena b(utt)elyea.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at

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