Interview with Grace Thompson – Playwright & Co-Performer of “Tell Me” a 2015 Toronto Fringe Shed Show
Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird
SSB: Your show only allows 8 audience members in at a time. Have you performed for an audience this small before? How is it different?
Grace Thompson: The smallest audience I performed for was in 2009. I was a part of the Paprika Festival with some friends from high school and through that our play was asked to be part of the Luminato festival. Our performance space was a storage closet at the back of the Young Centre to an audience of about 15 people. This felt shockingly intimate, as there was so little separation between the audience and us. At the time, I had never experienced performing anywhere other than a traditional theatre space. Fast forward six years later and now having seen many, many site specific shows and shows with very intimate audiences, I have gained an understanding, appreciation, and love for theatre in non-traditional spaces. So this time around I feel a confidence in knowing how to speak to such a small and intimate audience and the benefits that can come from that.
SSB: Tell us a little more about the show… It seems very mysterious. What’s the structure? Is it interactive? Scripted?
GT: What you will watch is many things unfold between Kate Maguire, my co-actor and myself. With that the audience will be allowed to make their own assumptions and craft how these two people connect to each other through how the reading plays out. There will be minor audience interaction, but what we really want is for our audience to feel like they are equally a part of this experience. It allows you to question your own morals and beliefs on what it means to see into not only our own future but into someone else’s. I can guarantee you will leave with something.
SSB: The show takes place in a literal shed. What’s it like creating for this non-traditional space?
GT: Kate and I started with brainstorming ideas of what would take place in a shed, what kinds of stories would happen here. Kate came up with the idea of fortune telling. Fortune telling is always told in small intimate spaces and is often very theatrical by nature.
When I wrote this, I thought about the mystery in fortune telling. There is the question of how we tell our own fortunes. How we mostly always feel like we are going to get bad news and that we are doomed. How everyday we are preparing for our future for what we hope will happen or what we hope will never happen. This subject sparked endless hilarious conversations, which inspired most of our dialogue. We also both went to get our fortunes told which was a fun and strange experience.
Soon enough, Kate and I started talking about this subject will all kinds of people. I believe we all, in some way, can see versions of how our lives will play out but we need someone else to tell us, to confirm it. And how we search for that is through so many different outlets and different types of relationships. I think now we both feel this play is made for this space and this small audience to experience… so we are feeling very excited.
SSB: What show at the Fringe are you most looking forward to seeing?
GT: The 10/10/10 Project, The Untitled Sam Mullins Project, Rukmini’s Gold, Water Choke, and In Case We Disappear are some off the top of my head that I really want to check out!
SSB: Describe “Tell Me” in 5 words
GT: When you know, you know.
SSB: Who do you most want to walk into that shed to be a part of it all? It could be anyone!
GT: Well I know for Kate it would be David Bowie. For me, honestly anyone who feels like they are going through or have gone through a life crisis or any crisis for that matter. Come, laugh, and feel calmed by it all.
presented by Obliviate Theatre as part of the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival
Cast: Kate Maguire and Grace Thompson
Written by: Grace Thompson.
Stage Manager: Steven Elliot Jackson.
Where: Fringe Club, Honest Ed’s Alley
July 01 at 10 PM & 10:30 PM
July 03 at 07:45 PM & 08:15 PM
July 04 at 06:30 PM & 07:00 PM
July 05 at 05:30 PM & 06:00 PM
July 06 at 09:00 PM & 09:30 PM
July 07 at 07:30 PM & 08:00 PM
July 08 at 09:00 PM & 09:30 PM
Capacity: Only 8 people permitted each show.
Note: If there are more people outside after they are done both shows, they may add another performance!
Tickets: The show is PWYC! Someone will be outside with a cashbox. You can pay right as you go in.