There is a list of things I want to do in my lifetime. One of these things is to have a production in The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. In fall of 2012, after just being home a few weeks from having hip replacement surgery, I put my request in the lottery and didn’t think too much about it. I tentatively planned to base my production on my upcoming memoir. Searching for Normal was chosen in the lottery and there my dream began.
Before my Masters in Integrated Studies classes resumed in January, I had two weeks over Christmas break to write the play and the lyrics. The first draft was completed in those two weeks, but the story, formatting and emphasis on dialogue and lyrics required additional drafts. With two amazing songwriters, Rebecca Lappa and Justin McDonough, the lyrics grew into amazing songs.
I held auditions and found a group of Alberta theatre actors, ranging from 11-69 years of age, who inspired and amazed me every time we rehearsed. They were not only talented in their profession but also in crafts, painting, building, fundraising and bringing an enthusiasm and positive energy that I felt privileged to enjoy every time we met.
Each cast member took the very personal story of my life and my world and provided a safe place for the characters to play. They shared ideas to help make the musical stronger. Each phrase, each song, leaped off the page and became a three dimensional character. The choreographer took ideas, the story and wove them into some numbers that represent the emotion. Our assistant directors shared their expertise and allowed this new director room to learn. Our stage manger made each movement a smooth transition. Our vocal instructor shared her wisdom and support as she led us to our best personal performance.
In just one day, having a production in the Fringe will get a large checkmark on my list. More than that, it has been an amazing journey watching the characters come to life. The play is no longer mine, but it is a compilation of each cast member, director, and crew member who has planted seeds of inspiration for the work to grow. Thanks to everyone for being a part of Searching for Normal the Musical.
Come see Searching for Normal the Musical and support our dreams.
Westbury Theatre Edmonton
August 16 – 25, 2013
Tickets are on sale at http://tickets.fringetheatre.ca/default.aspx
As there are limited seats for persons using mobility aids, please reserve your tickets in advance to assure a ticket.
This is the true story of a magical bond of mother and daughter that is challenged and strengthened by a life altering disability, the rigid structure of society, and the people who make the world a better place. Step into the mind of Alison as she relives the memories that define her life and her place in the world, even as her mother struggles to hold onto hers.
Written: Alison Neuman
Music: Rebecca Lappa & Justin McDonough
Julie Heffel – Danielle Weisz – Lola Blake – Dylan Thomas Evans – Claire Meeker
Chase Jeffels – Katherine Restoueix – Liz Allchin – Alex Sutherland – Ian Gordon
Choreographer: Kelsie Acton
Stage Manager: Isabelle Hebert
Vocal Coach: Elizabeth Raycroft