The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault
August 12, 14, 17-20 at Venue #8: Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre
An interview with Amy DeFelice.
Describe your show in five words.
19th Century Irish Melodrama fast-forwarded.
Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
Dion Boucicault’s popular 1860 play has a secret marriage, an imperilled estate, murder, illicit moonshine making, rowdy drinking songs, a plotting hunchback and plenty of romances.
Why did you choose the 19th century classic, The Colleen Bawn for Fringe this year?
I have long wanted to do a huge cast play with multiple locations, but with four actors playing everyone (including all the crowd scenes) and using DIY techniques to create this elaborate world. I love plays that are actor driven.
The Colleen Bawn is based on the true story of a young girl who was murdered in 1819, but also contains comedy. Where does the comedy in this piece come from?
First, Irish writers have a long tradition of satire and “taking the piss out” of pomposity and people in power. Dion Boucicault as an Irishman likes to do that to the Anglo-Irish characters. Second, some of the characters take themselves very seriously in this play, so it is hard not to laugh at them. Third, a tradition of 19th Century theatre was to have a serious romantic couple and then a more comic romantic pairing, a tradition that has continued into modern movies.
The cast and crew of The Colleen Bawn (Kirkland Dorion, Clarice Eckford, Cody Porter, Kristi Hansen, and Amy DeFelice) is pretty great. What brought you all together to do this show?
Short answer – we enjoy working together and have a respect for the way each other think, so rehearsals are a blast and yet really productive – everyone is making great stage offers and playing productively together.. Longer answer- In 2013, I was directing “Or” with Kristi and Clarice and “Port Authority” with Cody in the casts. All the rehearsals were in the same room, so it started to seem like it should be the same show too. Albeit, one with major tonal shifts. I was half expecting that when we did the first run, that we’d all finally be in the same room. And now we are.
Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?
It is a full Fringe experience.
The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale August 3 at noon and will be available at tickets.fringetheatre.ca.