I’m always excited to hear what kinds of cool things the gurls I know are working to accomplish. So, several months ago, when my friend, Cindy Pereira, told me that she was working on a play for the Fringe Festival, I was ecstatic. I’ve only recently started seeing shows at the Fringe, but I knew that Echoes would be one I’d need to see.
A partial summary from Vue Weekly reads as follows: “Stories have many ways of being told, with no one single ending or plot, and can be enhanced with just a little mischief. The darker intentions behind fairy tales are brought to light as unlikely heroine Merry finds herself on a journey to catch a thief in a magical world unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Dialogue is kept light, allowing for interpretive movement to take centre stage in telling Merry’s story.”
The play isn’t dialogue heavy, relying more on imagery and movement to tell the story – something directors Kate Koziewicz and T. Erin Gruber wanted when they approached Cindy to help them with the show in November. “I’ve always been more of a dialogue person myself, but I was intrigued by the challenge,” Cindy says. “After three years in a practical, communications and business based program, I was itching to do something creative again.” She also says she missed theatre, having done work on several plays back in high school.
To create the fantasy world seen in Echoes, Cindy immersed herself in the fantasy worlds of other authors. She read lots of Neil Gaiman, Edgar Allen Poe, Edward Gorey, Shirley Jackson, and Lewis Carol, in addition to checking out old myths and fairy tales. One weekend a month, she would get together with the other writers (Colin Matty and Morgan Smith), as well as the cast and crew, to develop the characters and their world. Any ideas her reading gave her could come out here.
While concerns can arise when there are more than one writer involved in a show and lots of different ideas going back and forth, Cindy found her work with her co-writers to be a positive experience. “I’m used to working with other writers largely due to the PROW program and I think we were able to mold our ideas and voices together into a smooth and coherent piece.”
Not that there weren’t some struggles. It has been several years since Cindy wrote anything for the stage, so it took her some time to get used to the format and style. While Cindy likes writing dialogue, but play dialogue is different from novel dialogue. She says it’s because dialogue that looks good on a page may not flow well when spoken by the actors.
The other difficult part was not turning the script into a novel by using excessive internal dialogue and stream of consciousness. You have to provide enough content so that directors/actors have enough to actually work with without giving too much so that their own visions are stifled. “The first two drafts of the script were incredibly long and in all honesty, somewhat long-winded,” she says. “A lot was said in those versions without a lot actually being done.”
But every process has its ups and downs. “My favorite part of the process definitely had to be listening to the actors doing a read, or better yet, actually watching them rehearse,” she says. “To hear my words spoken aloud and see my ideas actually come to life is an incredibly thrilling experience.
“I’m deliriously proud of my fellow collective members – for their talent, integrity and imagination. Since this was a group process, I honestly wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. This really isn’t my script at all – it belongs to us all.”
Echoes will be showing at the Catalyst Theatre during the Fringe Festival. And with a Vue Weekly review of four starts and knowing some of the talent behind the show, I can hardly wait to see it for myself.
Thursday, August 23 at 4:30
Sunday August 26 at 5:45.
For more information on picking up tickets for Echoes, click here.