Bringing a musical to stage is a tricky path under the best of times, but to do so with the weight of your Masters degree riding on it is a whole other level. But that doesn’t seem to faze University of British Columbia (UBC) MFA directing candidate Barbara Tomasic as she completes her final project by directing a production of Triumph of Love.
“It was proposed to me to do a musical because its my background as an actor and director,” says Tomisic. “I was excited to do it. And Triumph of Love, for me, is just such a smart storyline.”
Set in the 1730s, Triumph of Love is a modern take on the familiar “girl dresses up as a guy to get what she wants” plot. Starring fourth year BFA students at UBC, the play promises to be a treat of the unexpected for audiences familiar with the tropes of classic musicals.
“I keep calling it a reverse princess story,” says Tomasic. “Our princess comes into a garden and decides she’s going to win her prince. Its the opposite of what normally happens in a fairy tale. The musical brings up questions of gender and sexuality and is very much about people finding their own definition of love. Its super smart, its super funny, and its super sexy. It’s like a Disney film for adults.”
But its not just the book that’s modern. According to Musical Director Christopher King, the score holds some surprises as well.
“The composer decided to write quite an eclectic mix of styles and genres within the show,” says King. “There’s some very Sondheim-type music, but there’s also a lot of throwback to certain genres like swing music, burlesque, and baroque. It really has it all.”
With so many positives, its no wonder Tomasic chose this show as her final project, but she also knows comedy can be a tricky thing to pull off.
“I just want to hear them laugh,” she says. “Its such a relief to hear the audience laugh for the first time in a comedy. I’m hoping that will be the reaction. We had some crew watching during our tech rehearsals and they were laughing. Its a great relief for a director and actors to hear. I just hope that people come away feeling happy and inspired but also touched by this story. Its all about love and what love means.”
Triumph of Love continues at Frederic Wood Theatre (6354 Crescent Road, UBC, Vancouver) until April 4. Visit https://theatre.ubc.ca for tickets and information.