Published on March 25th, 2018 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Madelyn Osborne and Katerina Gimon
Little Mountain Productions brings Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play by Anne Washburn to Studio 1398 beginning on April 4th.
Previously nominated for a 2014 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production, the first full-mount of the show in Vancouver features Keara Barnes, Graham Coffeng, Douglas Ennenberg, Stephanie Iszak, Liz Kirkland, CJ McGillivray, and Matt Montgomery.
To find out more about Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, we spoke to Madelyn Osborne (top left)- the Director and Choreographer – and Katerina Gimon (top right) – the Composer and Musical Director.
Can you start by telling us about your involvement with Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play?
Madelyn Osborne: I am the Director and Choreographer.
Katerina Gimon: I am the gal behind the music: AKA Composer and Musical Director.
What drew you to be a part of this production?
Madelyn Osborne: I’m a total nerd for anything post-apocalyptic. With the state of our world, we don’t really know how our futures are going to play out. So, the idea of being able to investigate what would happen to pop culture pushed beyond an apocalypse and how we would continue to rely on storytelling to heal was fascinating to me. As an artist, I am constantly questioning “why do we make art?” Mr. Burns shows us how vital art is to surviving beyond basic survival.
Katerina Gimon: Similar to Madelyn, I was very interested in the storytelling aspect of the show and as a music nerd, how that might play out in the music of the show! How would the music evolve over time? What would stick? What role would art and music play in the lives of these survivors?
Can you share some of your creative process in preparing the production – from the initial planning all the way to opening night?
Madelyn Osborne: Well I’ve been on this project for a year, so there has been a lot of build up.
I spent the first six months researching nuclear energy, evacuation plans, apocalyptic worlds, storytelling, and what exactly pop culture is, just to name a few things.
I read books, watched TV shows and movies and talked to anyone that would listen about the world of the play just trying to grasp what exactly Anne was creating here.
By November, we had casted and brought on our design team, this was about the time Kat and I started talking about music.
Then February hit and we were in rehearsals! Once that happened, it was all about giving shape to the world in order to allow the actors to breathe life into their characters.
Even with all the time I had to research, the richest information has been found within the rehearsal room. It’s like having seven other brains just as excited and passionate about sculpting the show instead of one!
Katerina Gimon: Oh my. Well, I’ve been at this for a while now! Lots of planning, research, and sketching since about April of last year.
The real writing began, however, once we set our cast in November. Then, I was able to tailor the music to each of their voices. At this point, I hid away for several weeks to get this done!
In February, we dove into rehearsal and learning this brand new music! Now we are shaping it and putting things all together for a fantastic show!
What should audiences expect from this show?
Madelyn Osborne: They should expect to enjoy all the magic that theatre has to offer. It sounds cliche, but this show really does have something for everyone. From Kat’s original music to pop culture references, campfire stories and moments of joy and tragedy. Although we have yet to live through an apocalypse, everyone will be able to see familiar faces and situations on stage. This show is deeply human and reflects our own day to day in a new light.
Katerina Gimon: In terms of the music, you should expect a pop-fueled soundtrack with everything from catchy melodies and harmonies to energetic beat-boxing and rapping. You won’t be able to help but tap your toes along and will definitely be leaving with some tunes stuck in your head! I’m already guilty of getting the tunes stuck in the heads of our actors and production team!
What are the three most important ingredients for a successful stage production?
Madelyn Osborne: Great team. Great script. Great love for the craft.
Katerina Gimon: Collaboration. Passion. Hard work!
“Don’t wait for doors to open. Make your own doorways in life.”
What is the most important lesson you have learned so far in your career?
Madelyn Osborne: I think the one I’m most connected to at this point in my career is the saying “80% of a director’s job is casting.”
If I cast correctly and hire on the right designers, then all I have to do from there is hold space for others’ brilliance to blossom.
Katerina Gimon: Don’t wait for doors to open. Make your own doorways in life.
Are there any books or authors that have been influential to you so far in your creative journey?
Madelyn Osborne: So many! For this show specifically, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel has been a huge inspiration. As a director/artist my bible is Notes on Directing by Frank Hauser and Russell Reich shortly followed by Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I’m a big book nerd.
Katerina Gimon: I came across a book recently called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey and have found it really inspiring to read about the behind the scenes rituals (and all the hard word) behind our worlds greatest minds.
What other projects do you have coming up and where can people find out more about you online?
Madelyn Osborne: Matt Clarke, one of our producers, and myself will be doing a one-on-one, interactive, art installation, Alice in Wonderland-inspired show premiering at rEvolver Festival 2018! The show is called Asking Alice and deals with themes of mental health and growing up. It’s a free show with limited seating! You can find more information and the trailer here: UpintheAirTheatre.com/AskingAlice or on my website: MadelynOsborne.com
Katerina Gimon: I’m actually in the early stages of a cool new short opera with re:Naissance. Can’t give away too many details yet, sorry!
You can find about more about me at: KaterinaGimon.com
Thanks to Madelyn Osborne and Katerina Gimon for speaking with us!
You can see Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play at Studio 1398 from April 4th to April 21st. Special preview on April 3rd. For tickets, please visit TheatreWire.com.
Photos by Duy Nguyen.