Dirt City: Grime and Punishment at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Poster design by Matt Schuurman, photo credit: Aaron Pedersen and Mat Simpson.
Poster design by Matt Schuurman, photo credit: Aaron Pedersen and Mat Simpson.

An interview with Kory Mathewson.

Describe your show in five words.

Sexy Film Noir in Edmonton.

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

Dirt City is a sexy murder mystery set right here in Dirt City. Full of lust, dust, and mistrust Grime and Punishment explores what happens when the mayor goes missing and Detective Pinot Noir follows the clues. It is a new scripted work from the talented minds of Rapid Fire Theatre performers.

Having a background in improvisation, what is your process of putting together a scripted show like Dirt City: Grime and Punishment? How (or do) you carry improvisation impulses into the show itself?

We wrote Dirt City together by jamming out scenes on our feet using improv, and improvisation really helped hone the beats of the show, both dramatic and funny. The four of us are improvisors, and we all come from diverse backgrounds. I have experience in Engineering, Colin comes from a world of poetry, Sam has formal training in fight performance, and her and Lee both hold BFA degrees.

Dirt City: Grime and Punishment is a murder-mystery set right here in Edmonton. I know “Dirt City” is a nickname for our town, but what else did you want to evoke when you were creating the name for your show?

Dirt City evokes a gritty underbelly. The worlds of great noir films live in the seedy, dark, gloomy always-raining shadows of bustling downtowns. It is up to the detective to get the dirt on what is happening and clean the grime off the oily streets. For the literary minded, Grime and Punishment is a pun on the title of the dark novel by Dostoyevsky, and both explore the mental anguish and moral dilemma of the characters held within.

For audiences that are familiar with the cast’s improv work, what should they expect to be different and/or the same in Dirt City: Grime and Punishment?

Dirt City is a comedy-noir. It is a funny take on the genre of film noir, and thus should have the same playful energy as a high-paced improvisational show. That being said, scripting allows us to really polish beats, patter and moments in the show. It also opens the door to some well placed, timed, and executed choreography. I don’t want to give too much away but I think we have written a pretty good mystery.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Dirt City is the sexiest show you will ever see.

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

Syd Gross is our wonderful technical designer and stage manager, and Paul B. helped out with script consultations.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23.