Cendrillon at the Bar Mitzvah: 2011 Toronto Fringe Dance Interviews

Illustration of Cinderella by Arthur Rackham

“A poor girl and her ugly step-sisters are totally, wildly obsessed with a boy. When the invitation to his Bar Mitzvah arrives, they must transcend their tween styles and outshine each other for his attentions.” Patricia Allison and Kevin Michael Shea contort the Cinderella story….Get ready: they are also doing Summerworks!
 Patricia and Kevin answers some of my questions below.

Lucy: You are doing the double play in Toronto this summer with a Fringe show and a Summerworks show in fairly close succession: Is that madness for you? How are you finding the preparations?

Kevin: It’s definitely intense, but in both cases I have great collaborators who take care of a lot of what my job would normally be on a show. Cendrillon is dance-theatre, and I’m able to rely a lot on choreography. Hero & Leander [for Summerworks] is a musical theatre piece, and I’m able to rely a lot on the songs. If both shows were dialogue driven plays that I was both writing and directing, there’s no way I’d be able to do both, but since the writing and directing are pieces of a larger puzzle it’s far more manageable.

Lucy: with Cendrillon you are remixing the traditional Cinderella story. What is your adaptation and how did you decide on the direction to take with it?

Patricia: Cinderella was a story that both Kevin and I have always had in the backs of our mind to work with one day. We enjoy the themes and the character potential that it has to offer.

Kevin: Like most fairytales or myths, it’s a great lens through which to look at various aspects of society and culture. Our show looks at issues of sexual insecurity and anxiety, as well as sibling dynamics. It’s also about being twelve years old. So instead of going to a ball, Cendrillon goes to a bar mitzvah, and instead of a prince charming, it’s just some boy all the girls have a crush on. Hopefully making the characters so explicitly young will help people see the story with fresh eyes. And combined with the fact that it’s set in a very contemporary world, it also makes it quite a bit funnier than the original story without sacrificing any of the meaning.

Lucy: I am a lover of fairy and folk tales myself, so it may be a bit of a loaded question for me to ask: why do you think these tales offer endless possibilities for adaptation?

Patricia: I think they offer endless possibilities for adaptation because they are nice and basic stories based on simple morals and story structure. It gives you a lot to play with and to interpret.

Lucy: In a few sentences can you tell me about your choreographic process?

Patricia: This process in particular was different than most I have been a part of before due to the fact we are trying to blend text and choreography together. Some of the scenes of the show are text driven, so we allowed the text to lead the way and other elements of the plot come from choreography only. The story was the main driving factor so all movement has been based around advancing plot.

Lucy: What do you hope for from your Fringe experience?

Patricia: The fringe experience we were looking for was really an excuse to try this collaboration out together. It has already begun for us in the sense that the process itself is what we were hoping for. We are now excited to get it in front of an audience and see how it is received and to see what kind of feedback we get. We hope to have a lot of fun!



Presented by Lastname Firstname Productions and Common Descent

Director: Kevin Michael Shea

Choreographer: Patricia Allison

Genre: Play, Dance

Warning: Sexual Content

Mature Language

Venue 1 Tarragon Theatre Mainspace


60 min.

Fri, July 8 5:15 PM

Sat, July 9 7:30 PM

Mon, July 11 1:00 PM

Wed, July 13 11:00 PM

Thu, July 14 11:30 PM

Fri, July 15 Noon

Sat, July 16 6:15 PM

All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee).
Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.