Q&A with Playwright Kristen Thomson

Q&A with Playwright Kristen Thomson

What inspired you to write this play? Were the characters, or any aspects of the story, drawn from personal experience?

I was at a dinner party where the hostess described a wedding she attended. During the speeches, the bride’s side and the groom’s side lobbed increasingly intense insults at one another. The story ended with them departing the reception separately. I loved the theatricality of the idea, the way that the audience could be a stand-in for the wedding guests and actively be present in the imaginative world of the show. I also loved the parallel between going to the wedding and going to the theatre. An essential element of a wedding is that words are spoken and witnesses sanctify these words by hearing them and believing in them. It’s the same in theatre. You walk on stage and you say such and such, and everybody believes in it. We need the audience there, to believe in what we say, or there’s no theatrical experience. That’s where the pleasure and magic of theatre come from—the audience, their belief. 

What was the writing process like?

I invited some of my favourite actors to join me in an extended creation process. I originally came with ideas and exercises to create characters and scenarios. The actors generously jumped in and improvised. I would, then, take these improvisations away and work with them to structure the play and the storylines of the characters. I’d bring back scenes, along with more ideas to further our improvisations—and in this way, the play was built over the course of four years. 

Why did you decide to focus almost exclusively on the wedding guests, rather than on the bride and groom themselves?

The title has a double entendre. The party refers to the event, but also to the gang of people gathered around the event. If I had focused on the bride and groom, there would be a certain kind of love story inherently at the centre of the play, and we would experience all of the characters through the filter of the bride and the groom. But I was interested in the inner workings of these families and how they come together at the wedding. For the bride and groom, the entire day is about the wedding and their love. The family members are the underbelly of that story.

Do you anticipate any significant changes from previous performances for the Arts Club’s production of the show?

A big change is the cast!  This is one of the first productions not being done by the original cast.  I can’t wait to see how new actors bring fresh perspective and their own flair to each character.  I also have to admit, I’m especially thrilled to see my brother, Todd Thomson, in the role of Jack/Tony/Janice. His involvement in this production makes it especially dear to my heart.

What project or projects are you working on now? I’m taking a brief hiatus from theatre and going back to school to do my master’s degree.  But I plan on returning when I’ve had the chance to recharge and fill up my think tank!

The Wedding Party

By Kristen Thomson
February 27–March 22, 2020
It’s the big day, but the newlyweds are offstage and the two families are at each other’s throats. The father of the groom saves a seat for the dog, a long-lost twin confuses everyone, and the bride’s mother is cut off from the wine. Grab a ringside seat for all the laughs, debauchery, disagreements, and love as this changing cast of characters keeps you howling right up to the final dance.
Buy Tickets From $29
Posted on 18th Dec 2019