When the opportunity arose to book the Blood Moon Theatre in Sydney, Alex Giles and Kaleigh Wilkie-Smith had to make a decision.
“We found ourselves in a position where we could either book the theatre or not book the theatre,” said Wilkie-Smith. “We booked the theatre and then realised we should probably put a script together.”
Giles and Wilkie-Smith had been sitting on a story for a couple of years. They knew they wanted to write something together – some sort of call to adventure story. They booked the theatre and started writing their story idea into a musical. The first draft was ready in September and the final draft was completed in November, with changes made through the rehearsal process in a collaborative effort with the cast and creative team.
“It’s really been a crazy process. We really haven’t done it in a conventional way. Most people would write a script before they book the theatre!” laughed Wilkie-Smith.
The unorthodox process allowed Director Christie Koppe to have considerable input, transforming ideas the writers thought seemed somewhat impossible, into a physical presence: things such as a a river that needs to disappear, a lake and a barge.
The result is The Tale Of Ichabod Scrubb. It’s a new, 75 minute, one act, Australian musical with original songs written by Alex Giles (Stalker: The Musical) and Kaleigh Wilkie-Smith.
“We knew we wanted to tell an adventure story, so two and half years ago we came up with a concept of a boy who is afraid of water, but has to go and face this fear in a really big way. It’s a pretty typical hero story.”
The Tale of Ichabod Scrubb is being presented in the Blood Moon Theatre at the World Bar in Kings Cross.
“In November 2015 the back of the World Bar – the dance floor of the World Bar – got changed into a theatre. So basically, the way it works is before 10pm that whole space can hold 70 people (as a theatre). When the show’s over, around 9pm, we bump all of our stuff out of the theatre and at 10pm it becomes a dance floor. It’s like it never happened!” explained Wilkie-Smith.
The set design is by Brendan Hay (Man of La Mancha, Grey Gardens – Squabbalogic).
“Nothing can be left in the theatre because 100+ party goers will be on the dance floor. He has designed it so that every thing comes to pieces and what we can’t store in the World Bar we can take home with us in our car. He’s absolutely brilliant!”
The Tale of Ichabod Scrubb is described as an immersive theatrical experience.
“There is no fourth wall, essentially, … we’re telling the story and we’re experiencing the story with (the audience) at the same time … it’s about telling the story with them, rather than just presenting to them.”
The current production of The Tale of Ichabod Scrubb is aimed at adults who want a theatrical experience that takes them back to their childhood.
“The venue is 18+. For this production we really encourage you to buy a drink at the World Bar first, enjoy the show and laugh your troubles away. It’s very escapist. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve left your troubles behind for an hour and 15 minutes,” commented Wilkie-Smith.
The audience response to the season so far has been very positive, attracting people who are not usually regular theatre-goers.
Following this season of The Tale of Ichabod Scrubb, Giles and Wilkie-Smith plan to create the musical into a family show and want to seek feedback from parents and teachers. The original score has some clever word-play and catchy tunes. It’s not “kids music” but Wilkie-Smith says it is definitely kid-friendly.
The music is also available on itunes and Spotify for those wanting to hear this new Australian musical.
The Tale of Ichabod Scrubb is playing until this weekend at the Blood Moon Theatre in Kings Cross.
Kaleigh Wilkie-Smith invites you to grab a drink and escape into a world of adventure with Ichabod Scrubb.
For tickets: https://ichabodscrubb.eventbrite.com.au/