The Story Of My Life follows the friendship of Alvin and Thomas, two men from a small town. These lifelong friends are reunited after Alvin’s mysterious death. Through music and song, these two friends recount their adventures, explore their past dissonance, and ultimately discover what is at the base of every strong friendship…love.
I chatted with the director and one of the two stars about the show.
Chris Adams as Alvin Kelby
What is about Erik that you guys keep working together?
It’s just so easy with Erik. He is incredibly talented, always gives 100%, and we just get along so well.
What has been the funnest part of rehearsals?
Getting to discover these characters together. I’ve known the piece for many years and as such, have ideas about the characters, but this is brand new for Erik, so he is making choices and having ideas based upon the material and interactions with me, so he is creating new and exciting things. Getting to be there and see how it fits together is perfect.
What has been a surprising challenge?
The music! As I said, I’ve known this piece for a while, so stupidly I thought I knew the music. But I didn’t. This work is as hard as Sondheim, if not harder, since its just the two of us. The amount of Metre changes or Key changes in a song is unbelievable. But when listening, you wouldn’t notice. It just flows so perfectly.
What are audiences going to remember . what is their ‘takeaway’ from the experience?
Audiences are all going to connect differently. This show touches on a lot about love and friendship and life. And, loss. For anyone who has ever lost touch with a friend or reacquainted with a loved one, will be drawn into this world instantly.
Stephen Aberle – director
How did this production come about – did you approach the boys
or did they approach you?
Chris, Erik, Wendy and Ron approached me. Wendy, Jonathan Holmes and I had done the show before and Chris had seen it. I was delighted, if at first a little daunted, to be asked — directing a play involves a very different approach from performing in it.
What attracted you to the story?
The first time we did it, we were looking for good small cast musicals and this one jumped out and bit us. it’s kind of a perfect fit for what we were seeking: glorious music, a strong, intimate story, performable by a small cast — and Canadian!
There’s something irresistible and unexpectedly gripping about the piece. It seems simple, but it reaches out and grabs you — as real, deep friendships do. What is it that draws us into life-long friendships? what is it that makes these relationships endure, or not, as we grow and change? What do we owe each other?
What has been the best part of rehearsal?
I’m working with extraordinarily skilled colleagues, on deep and challenging material. It’s been a thrill to watch these performers make discoveries that I never thought of when I was performing in the piece. I’ll see them bump up against some moment, some wrinkle in the script, and just as I’m about to open my mouth and tell them how I think they could approach it, they find their own way. That’s a pretty rewarding moment to witness.
What do you what the audience to experience?
I hope the piece will get under their skin a bit, and leave them with a few reflections, and maybe some itchy questions, about some of the friendships they’ve lived and are living. And a few toe-tapping ear worms!
The Story of My Life is a musical with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram, and a book by Brian Hill and will be told concert style with minimal props, sets, or lighting. We run Nov 23rd to Dec 2nd at The Canadian Music Centre downtown Vancouver.
Produced by The Snapshots Collective, sponsored by WRS Productions and Famous Artists Limited.
*Appears with permission of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association.
David C Jones