Interview: Kaleidoscope Theatre’s Trevor Barrette talks new musical “A Song of Fiction”

The creators of "Captain Aurora I & II" present their latest production at the Next Wave Festival from September 14-16, 2016

Director, playwright, composer and lyricist extraordinaire, Trevor Barrette is Kaleidoscope Theatre Montreal‘s omnipresent founder and creative engine. His dynamic theatre company’s 9th stage production and 4th original homegrown musical, A Song of Fiction: A New Musical is being presented in collaboration with the CETM and premieres at the 8th edition of the Next Wave Festival of musical theatre from September 14-16th, 2016. We spoke to the multidisciplinary Montreal-based artist about the ins and outs of his exciting new works and what’s next for Kaleidoscope (hint: more “Captain Aurora”?) as the 2016-17 theatre season kicks off this week.

Tackling everything from Sophocles and Shakespeare to superheroes since 2011, the award-winning Kaleidoscope theatre company has etched its signature on the mural of Montreal English theatre, becoming a local household name among Fringe Fest aficionados and Broadway junkies alike. Musicals have sprouted here and there on the regional landscape over the past handful of years, but perhaps no other independent company has emerged and established itself with such gusto as the aptly named, eclectic Kaleidoscope. The 2015 recipients of the Segal Centre’s “Most Promising Local Company” Frankie Award, Trevor Barrette & co. aren’t disappearing anytime soon.

After the fortuitous (yet certainly well-deserved) successes of Captain AuroraA Superhero Musical and its sequel Captain Aurora II: A New Dawn, which played to great public and critical acclaim (and generated lineups of unprecedented lengths in front of the La Chapelle Theatre earlier this summer due to sold-out performances – we were among the lucky ones to find a hot ticket and to hold onto it for dear life), Trevor’s newest brainchild is being birthed with high hopes and much buzz among the community.

Captain Aurora

A Snapshot of Accolades
Nominated – Spirit of the Fringe (Frankie Awards, 2016)
Winner – Most Promising Local Company (Frankie Awards / Segal Centre, 2015)
Nominated – Best English Production – Captain Aurora (Frankie Awards / Centaur Theatre, 2015)
Nominated – Montreal Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Award (Curtains Up!, 2013)

His next tour de force, A Song of Fiction is a musical within a musical and a two-day account of the lives of childhood friends Max (Lee Clapp) and Aaron (David Noelwho have come together to create a theatrical piece and suddenly find themselves lost between what is real and what is imagined. The story they have been commissioned to write about chronicles the adventures of a young singer-songwriter (Sean Colby) who has left his broken home in the suburbs to pursue his hopeful dreams in the city. When he is invited to an exclusive party in town by a handsome stranger (Jonathan Patterson), sparks fly, and, well, things take a turbulent turn.

The piece is an exploration of how we face our truths and cope with the frustrations of reality,” says Trevor. “Here we have these characters who are going through their own personal drama as they work to create this musical and the lines between fiction and reality become blurred. They get caught up in certain ideas of love and success in relationships and careers and then we see them project, reflect, and fabricate these lives that they believe to exist.”

A Song of Fiction, while not autobiographical, hits close to home in many regards for its creator and audiences alike due its universally relatable subject matter: “At its core, it’s a story that relates to unfulfilled desires and how hope and envy tie together; how do we deal with wishing for the things we want but can’t have?” Trevor elaborates. But the production also brings to the forefront themes of identity, male sexuality, and queer relationships (all four protagonists are gay men) — a welcome touch considering the prevalence of musicals that overwrite heterosexual presumption with lyricism. We hum hetero love songs on our way out of theatres.

Gallery: A Song of Fiction in Rehearsals

(Photo Credit: Kevin Conforti)

Reflecting the “work in progress” nature of the narrative and its characters, A Song of Fiction takes shape in a concert of sorts — which is not to say that this is an unfinished, unpolished product or reading. It is however, a departure from the razzle dazzle of the Captain Aurora comic-inspired musical series. “This time around we’re switching gears from doing a flashy, full-company spectacle to a more intimate, book-focused piece,” he explains. “It’s been a fun challenge transitioning from the larger scale productions. Going back to working so closely with a small cast and crew has been extremely rewarding.”

Despite the shift, the show is still fundamentally Kaleidoscope. We’ve been told there’ll be some traditional choreography (including tap and salsa-infused numbers). Also anticipate seeing some familiar faces among the cast and creatives (notably: designers Rachel Quintero Faia and Kevin Conforti and actors Sean Colby, David Noel, and Jonathan Patterson). Above all, expect the trademark wit, collaborative spirit, and reflective storytelling that have already garnered Trevor and company so many accolades in and around town.

“What’s next for Kaleidoscope?”, we ask. As one of the few indie companies currently producing original musical theatre of professional calibre in Montreal, we’re hoping the streak continues. According to Trevor (who frankly appears to be everywhere in the theatre community these days — how does he do it?) there’s several projects brewing, but among them, we were most excited to hear and share the news that “A Captain Aurora prequel is in the works.” We’re already in line for it.

A Song of Fiction plays at the Next Wave Festival for only 3 performances on September 14, 15, & 16 at 9PM at Salle Paul Buissonneau (3819 Calixa Lavallée Ave., Montréal, H2L 3A7). Tickets can be purchased at the venue door or in advance online (highly recommended as performances are expected to sell out). General admission: 20$ | Students / Artists: 18$ | Box office: / 514-504-9339

Running time: approximately 1h15m
For mature audiences 18+

Director, producer and stage manager: Trevor Barrette | Musical director: Luce Belanger | Technical director, lighting and sound designer: Kevin Conforti | Costume and set designer: Rachel Quintero Faia | Starring: Lee Clapp, Sean Colby, David Noel and Jonathan Patterson

Next Wave Festival

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