Read our interview with Molison Farmer, creator and director of Trunk! from Kerploding Theatre:
Gabriola Theatre Festival: This is your first visit to the Gabriola Theatre Festival. What are you looking forward to most about bringing Kerploding Theatre to Gabriola?
Molison Farmer: I think we are all very excited about bringing our show to a completely new audience. We have friends, family, and kids who we are used to seeing in our Victoria audiences (and we are so grateful to them, too!) but it is going to be so exciting to perform for an audience who has no idea who we are or what we do. We get to experience being a brand new company again!
GTF: What was the inspiration for your new show, “Trunk!”? What can the Gabriola audience expect from this show?
MF: The inspiration was created initially by a group of 9 year old campers in Ontario- they asked me to tell them a story, and I looked around the cabin for inspiration. They all had these big trunks… so I made up a story about a witch who had a magical Trunk that could take her wherever she wanted to go. A few years later, I thought about using that premise for a Fringe production, but we took the rest of our inspiration from kids all over Victoria. We did workshops at different libraries and schools and asked kids, “if you had a magic trunk, where would you go, and what would you do?” Kids have the most absurd, hilarious, unique, and creative ideas, so we took their stories and wove them together into one big mega-plot.
Audiences can expect an adventure that is filled with pure childhood imagination. Adults can relive the wacky wonder that they experienced in their childhood, and kids can see a show that is the product of their own ideas and interests.
GTF: “Trunk!” won the pick of the fringe for Victoria Fringe Festival’s family fest. Tell us about this journey.
MF: Trunk! at the Victoria Fringe Festival last summer was the highlight of my theatre adventures so far, and I think that some of the cast members would agree. I started working on the show in January, the rest of the team joined me in April, and together we played and devised and rehearsed until we had created something we believed was special enough to bring to audiences. It was amazing watching our audiences go from 10 people to 80 people in just a week. I think adults were a bit surprised at how much they enjoyed a “kids show,” and the kids…. there is nothing that brings me quite as much joy as seeing the their faces light up – they had so much fun and would leave the theatre giggling and singing the songs. Some even left us pictures of the Dragon and other lovable characters. I’ll never forget that experience.
GTF: Kerploding Theatre is made up of recent University of Victoria Phoenix Theatre grads. Can you tell us what you’ve been up to with the company since graduation?
MF: We did two shows during the school year- one was a SATCo (Student Alternative Theatre Company) production in the fall called Amelia and the Dwarfs, written by one of my role models Erin Shields, a Toronto playwright. Our next production was a collective creation called WordPLAY which was presented as an Intrepid Theatre You Show. Since school has ended, we created a piece for Theatre SKAM’s Bike Ride, and I have been writing a play for this years Victoria Fringe called “TATTERHOOD,” which has been a very different experience. Unlike the other shows, I sat down to write this one more or less on my own. It is an adaptation of an old folk tale which focuses on two strong female characters on a great adventure. This show has puppetry dance, music, sword fighting, and I think some great acting challenges as well. It will certainly be a large challenge for us, but a very rewarding one.
GTF: How often does Kerploding Theatre go on the road?
MF: This is our very first theatre road trip! But hopefully the first of many. I would love to travel to schools, summer camps, and more theatre festivals in the future.
GTF: How was it that you ended up working in children’s theatre?
MF: I have always loved working with children, and always loved theatre… so at some point I thought it would be great to put the two together. I couldn’t have been more right- it has been the most fun, challenging, and rewarding experience of my life and I hope to be doing it for a very long time.
GTF: What show are you looking forward to seeing at the Gabriola Theatre Festival?
MF: The local Victorian in me is very excited to see Clayton Jevne’s Falstaff. The feminist in me can’t wait for Strapless. I also am excited about Tomorrow’s Dawn, coming all the way from France! It’s cheating to say all of them, right?