As an official media partner of the 30th annual St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, Montreal Theatre Hub brings the #FringeBuzz in 2021 with an all-new interview series with artists from this year’s edition of the fest! In this Snapshot, we feature LUCY GERVAIS (playwright) and NATASHA PERRY-FAGANT (director) of GLENMARY KATE MOSS. Read our joint Q&A with the two co-founders of Pastels & Co. on their theatre company’s inaugural stage production premiering at the Fringe.
MONTREAL THEATRE HUB: What is “GlenMary Kate Moss “about?
LUCY: Our show is about how impossible it is to find an ideal position in the current employment landscape. Every character, no matter their station, seems to be wrestling with something or someone that is standing in the way of complete satisfaction. Not wanting the sole point of our play to serve as a reminder that our jobs suck and so does yours, we have injected this piece with a campy queer flair to make it entertaining to the eyes and ears. It’s an adapted narrative, chopped down and rebuilt, with fresh takes within the framework of what came before.
NATASHA: “GlenMary Kate Moss” is a show that allowed us to experience and challenge a traditionally male gendered job. When initially discussing the piece, Lucy and I commiserated over our shared experience of watching films with male ensembles and wanting to play that experience but knowing we would never be cast in those roles. For me it was war films like “Full Metal Jacket” and “The Hurt Locker“; for Lucy it was the stylish “Glengarry Glen Ross“.
MTH: What can audiences expect from the experience of seeing it?
NATASHA: We wanted to make a piece that would insult David Mamet – or at least I did. I really don’t like David Mamet. My partner and consultant on this project Michael Treder joked that the best review we could ever dream of would be “Glenmary Kate Moss: Absolute Smut! A disgrace to the Mamet classic!” Folx seemed to really like the play so our dream of a terrible review may have not come true but I still think we made a delightfully smutty piece.
LUCY: The audience can expect to be entertained by every moment of our show, but besides that, we are hoping to catch them off guard. Our show is filled with surprises.
GLENMARY KATE MOSS | Photo Credit: Joseph Ste-Marie
MTH: What was the idea and inspiration behind the piece?
NATASHA: I kind of touched on this in my answer to the first question. I think we really wanted to flip the source material on its head. Explore this narrative in a world where no one questioned an office of cutthroat business women. A world where no one would bat an eye to see two women happily married and looking to invest in property in the 1980’s.
LUCY: My mom forces me to watch a lot of her favourite movies with her which I quite enjoy, somehow “Glengarry Glen Ross” had slipped through the cracks until fall of 2021. I was really drawn to the tense atmosphere and how all of the male machismo characters interacted within it and with each other. I found the relationship choices interesting, and became frustrated that the only female/femme presence was a coat check girl. I wanted to devour the source material myself, particularly the character Richard Roma as portrayed by Al Pacino. As a femme comedic performer I find that juicy parts with lots of energy and noise aren’t often on the table, and in my career I often create my own opportunities to give me something to do that I find truly compelling. Considering the film itself is an adaptation from the stage, I felt bringing it back with several new takes would be an appropriate direction to go.
MTH: Why did you choose the Fringe as the place to premiere this work?
LUCY: It was a tangible opportunity that came up, and I was approached by a dear friend (Natasha) who I had not had the chance to work with until now. I would have been stupid not to take her up on doing the Fringe together.
NATASHA: This will be the 7th show that I do in the Montreal Fringe festival. I think for me it always makes sense to present work at Fringe. You are allowed to experiment and you have a community that is willing to support you.
GLENMARY KATE MOSS | Photo Credit: Joseph Ste-Marie
MTH: What has it been like trying to create a show during a pandemic?
NATASHA: Man alive… I have no words.
LUCY: Brutal, but definitely worth it. Rehearsing in masks, usually on hot days, having to make adjustments in order to comply with COVID restrictions, it was challenging but we made it work. There were some very creative and successful moments of physical comedy that came from not being allowed to touch each other.
MTH: How does this show/story speak to our present times?
LUCY: Even though our show is set in the 80’s, it takes place in a downtown call center (which let’s be honest, most artists without the luxury of wealthy families have had to suck it up and pick up the phone to make ends meet) where the employees face the same pressures and problems as employees do today. An unhelpful boss constantly reminding you to do your job, needlessly cruel and competitive co-workers, a lack of motivation to perform unfulfilling tasks, there are many little details reflected in our show that an audience of working-class people can relate to. We’ve stripped our characters of modern distractions, leaving only campy costumes and out-of-date technology to decorate the scenery so that the focus can sit on the work itself.
NATASHA: At its heart this show has a very socialist message about feeling respected, valid and capable in your employment. I think these are things that we have all had to think about during the pandemic and general unrest that has pervaded during the past year.
MTH: How does it feel to be back presenting on a live stage?
NATASHA: OMG I missed it so much. The feeling of having the audience cling to your words and follow you in a story is one that can only happen in the theatre and for me its the reason I keep coming back to this medium.
LUCY: A little daunting but really amazing. I think a bit of rust has built over the period of inactivity, but it was quickly shed and everyone’s natural performance instincts took over. We’re really hoping to continue to work in front of audiences.
GLENMARY KATE MOSS | Photo Credit: Dan Crowder Photography
RAPID FIRE ROUND
MTH: What have you missed most about the Fringe?
LUCY: Supporting your friends and making new ones.
NATASHA: The community. The fringe is an ensemble of people that come together to celebrate art, storytelling and share our lived experiences. A post show discussion in the sexy and sweaty Mainline lobby really isn’t the same as a round table panel discussion over zoom. Precautions were of course still in place and the festival did an amazing job to keep people safe but going back into spaces with so many lived experiences was something that awakened the Dionysian theatre spirit in me.
MTH: Favourite Fringe show you’ve ever seen?
LUCY: Vancouver comedian Graham Clark at the Toronto Fringe a few years ago.
NATASHA: “Fuck you you fucking perv” amazing show featuring Leslie Baker, multimedia, touching on intense subject matter. It was the show that gave me the courage to make my one hander “A David Lynch Wet Dream”. Perv definitely changed my life.
MTH: Which other event(s) on the 2021 lineup were you most stoked to check out?
LUCY: Much like everyone else, I was absolutely blown away by “Spiral”.
NATASHA: I didn’t catch enough but was really happy to have seen “The Celebrity Obsession“. I’m hoping for a remount of “Spiral“. It was made by a superstar team and I am hoping to see good things in that shows future.
LUCY GERVAIS (they/them) is a stand-up comic and producer. They’ve written for Vice Magazine and The Comedy Tribune. They’ve also been featured on Sirius XM Radio, OutTv, Tinder Tales, Your Hood’s A Joke, Roast Battles TO, and the 2016 and 2017 Shedot festivals.
They are a founding member of the Haus of Hack, a comedy collective focused on high-format comedy with a fashion flare. Their duo, Hack Couture, is the winner of the 2018 and 2019 I Heart Jokes Best Format Show award.
They also made their Fringe Festival debut is 2021 with “GlenMary Kate Moss“, a sold-out all femme adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross.
They recently apologized to a heckler.
NATASHA PERRY-FAGANT (she/her) is an award nominated actor, writer, director for screen and stage with directing credits on critically acclaimed pieces “A David Lynch Wet Dream” and “SCRUM”. Notable film appearances include the role of Karine in Michael Treder’s award winning Canadian Werewolf film “Le Carnivore” where Perry-Fagant appears as the terrorized heroine forced to endure the attacks of the savage beast.
Since graduating from Concordia University’s Theatre Performance BFA program in 2013, Natasha has been active in both the indie film and theatre scene. Coming off of a run of the witchy one woman show “L’Appel du Vide” summer of 2019 and her feminist solo piece “The Absence of Silence” February 2020 in the Bete Noire Horror festival, when not on stage Perry-Fagant can be caught as a ghost storyteller in the streets. Since 2016 she has been a part of Guidatour’s Fantomes Montreal team recounting the salacious, macabre and bloody history of Ville-Marie. To date she has been working as a street storyteller as her character the prudish Victorian Miss Edith since 2016.
Perry-Fagant’s most recent project is “The Vanity” a film she wrote and co-directed with frequent collaborator Michael Treder. The short is currently being submitted to festivals internationally.
GLENMARY KATE MOSS presented by Pastels & Co. plays from June 11-19 at La Chapelle (3700 St-Dominique). For more information, visit www.montrealfringe.ca
Read here all of the interviews in the Fringe Artist Snapshots series: