When Adam Brazier was pondering ideas for the Confederation Centre’s community holiday show, he wanted to do things a bit differently.
For the past three years, the artistic director and his creative team have created pantos – colourful, comedy-filled shows like “Cinderella: A Fairly Tall Tale”, “Aladdin” and “Robyn Hood” for holiday audiences.
“But this year I realized that coming up with an idea, writing a script and casting in the community was limiting. So I thought why not let the community do what they do best and build a show around them?”
So instead of auditioning people for different parts he invited people to show him what they could do.
The result is “The Island Super Duper Fantabulous Holiday Smorgasbord of Joy”, a show where everything is possible and it hits the stage of the Homburg Theatre of Confederation Centre of the Arts on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and 16 at both 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“It’s amazing the calibre of talent and the unique talents that brought themselves forward,” says Brazier.
And although it was a little more work for him because he had to see the acts and then go away and think of an idea that would work them all together in one show, it was worth it.
“We’ve found a nice story. It’s enough to keep people engaged and having fun through the whole evening,” says Brazier.
The show is about an artistic director (played by Brazier) who comes up with a new concept for a holiday variety show featuring talent from the community. The audience listens in as he adjudicates the auditions that, at times, are hilarious. Then, in the final act, the actual holiday variety show is performed. CBC Kids personality Patty Sullivan plays Brazier’s assistant.
“We’ve created this fun, funny, irreverent but also very sweet and touching celebration of the Christmas season for the Island.
“And, like the past three years, our goal is to fill the centre with joy and celebration at this time of the year,” says Brazier, who has penned the script with comedy writers Graham Putnam, Rob MacDonald Cameron MacDonald.
“It’s like we’ve taken a normal variety show and turned it into a panto.”
Besides a desire to do things differently, other “practicalities” have informed his decision to do a variety show.
“Over the past three years I’ve used up every piece of set that we’ve had in storage. Also, when you write a story and attach a title like ‘Cinderella’ it requires a different type of licencing,” he says.
And licencing and obtaining rights cost money.
“The centre has taken a big step this year. Now we have a mill going for development of new works. And so our focus shifts. And this is a way for us not to be bogged down with licencing and rights. And with a variety show we can do whatever we want.
“So we’re focusing on the bigger picture.”
If you are going
-What: “The Island Super Duper Fantabulous Holiday Smorgasbord of Joy”.
-When and where: Homburg Theatre, Confederation Centre of the Arts, Dec. 15-16, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Details: With a cast of over 90 people, ranging from ages six to 75, there will be special performances by Tara MacLean, The Popalopolots, Ava and Lily Rashed, Roberts Academy of Dance, The Mi’kmaq Confederacy, Maria Campbell, Justin Simard and Sequence, an a capella group.