Coming to the famous 1812 Theatre this month, the world premiere of Ephiny Gale’s electrifying new musical Shining Armour by TrailerParkProductions.
Created as a fairytale musical for adults, the characters in Shining Armour believe that the ‘rules’ of fairytales apply to their existence. Critically acclaimed director Karra Peppler is at the helm and very excited to be there. "I was very enthusiastic to work on this piece from the very beginning, simply because the premise of the show had me hooked," she says. "I'm not sure how many directors have had writers ask them to direct a piece about fairytales and love and expectations, but for me it was like, "Yes please, when will the script be finished and when I can start?" The idea of challenging fairytale stereotypes within a world that reverently believes in them was extremely intriguing. Considering that, plus the humour of the piece and the ability to tie the real in with the magical, and I knew we would have an amazing show!"
This production is a completely new work with all new songs and a new storyline and therein, admits Peppler, lies a fundamental marketing challenge. "Building excitement for the show is not as easy as it would be with an already-famous musical, and considering the sheer number of people we need to involve from start to finish I have had many excited chats to describe my vision," states Peppler. " Our entire cast and crew has put an enormous amount of time and effort into this show, and we needed to give them a great reason to do so! But I love a good challenge, and I have put together a team of some of the most talented people I know. Diego, our choreographer and Lore, our Musical Director have combined all the new dances and songs into something very magical! And of course we have our wonderful marketing team to show them off. I am very proud to be at the heart of this creation, and I can't wait until we are famously remembered as the original production of Shining Armour, 2013!"
Peppler also praises all the creatives for their passion and strong community spirit which has enabled them to work as a cohesive team. "The most enjoyable aspect of this production has been how the cast have bonded together and made the stage come to life," she says. " It is an absolute joy to sit in rehearsal with such a talented group of diverse people – people who are at different stages of life and from different places – and to see the connections that are forming that will last throughout their lifetimes. I always find that to be one of the most rewarding experiences as a director. I also personally enjoy singing along to all of the songs, although I will have to remind myself to not do that on opening night."
Peppler is the Artistic Director of TrailerParkProductions and credits Zahra Shah (Business Director) as her partner in determining the next 'grand thing' that the company will stage. "We search out works that will be intellectually stimulating for an audience while still being a fantastic theatre experience.," Peppler explains. "We also believe very strongly that the process of creation should be a positive experience in itself for everyone involved. We encourage the professional development of our cast and crew, and enjoy having experts mentor less experienced people who want to get into the theatre business. But mostly, we want to change people's lives through the theatre and get some songs stuck in your head."
The 1812 theatre is more renowned for its plays and has a superlative reputation as one of Victoria's premiers non professional theatre companies. So how did it come to pass that they are now hosting this magicical little musical. "Well, it was actually Lore Burns' (musical director an orchestrator) idea," explains Peppler. " During our venue hunting process she suggested The 1812 Theatre, and after visiting the space I just fell in love with it! Lore lives in Tecoma and her whole experience of theatre usually involves travelling very far away, so we decided to make the experience topsy turvy for us instead as we live in Brunswick! We met with The 1812 Theatre staff several times, and their board is very excited about putting on their first musical and also having a group of young, new people in the space! We are very excited about working with The 1812 Theatre because they are an established theatre with an established supporter base. We haven't planned our next adventure yet, so who knows where the wind will take us!"
Shining Armour talks of designated heroes, kidnapped princesses, and little girls who are never allowed out into the woods. This is a magical and as such a misunderstanding can cause an awful lot of trouble. Peppler tells me that the idea of a world believing in fairytales because two people decided that this would be profitable speaks volumes about the power of the media, and also of how much the human mind will believe without question. "Its impact isn't immediate, but this musical examines how a few decades on from that initial deception, a princess believes that she must marry a prince to be able to rule, and she will go to any lengths to believe it – even to the extent that she's convinced that her female rescuer must really be a prince, and that all she has to do is kiss the girl and said rescuer will turn back into a prince, just like the stories," says Peppler.
Peppler encourages one and all to come along and see some theatre with plenty of catchy new songs, dances, a plethora of surprises, twists and turns and some general grandness mixed in. "We have witches and princes and heroes all trying to meddle with the world for their own reasons, and you will see some of your favourite fairytale storylines woven through the narrative to make everything that little bit more exciting! Beware though, you will definitely want to buy our recording after you hear these catchy tunes… "
Shining Armour September 19 – 28 at 1812 Theatre