Q&A with Playwright Kristen Thomson
What inspired you to
write this play? Were the characters, or any aspects of the story, drawn from
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
What was the writing
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
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
GOLDCORP STAGE AT THE BMO THEATRE CENTRE
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.
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