We have a long and wonderful relationship with playwright and actress Lucia Frangione here at PT, and we are so excited to produce another world premiere of her work, HOLY MO! A CHRISTMAS SHOW!. Below is an interview with her about the play.
Where did the idea for Holy Mo first come from? (The original, as well as doing a Christmas version.)
Marie Russell (composer and the original Buffoona) Rene Joshi (designer and original Guff) and I (playwright original Follie) decided to do a Fringe show as our first professional theatre venture, having all attended Rosebud School of the Arts. We thought it would be great fun to do something as epic as Cecil B Demiill's The Ten Commandments on a shoestring budget with three women and no camels or cast of thousands. Turns out, audiences thought it would be great fun too.
As for the new Christmas show, I missed these three fools. I wanted to see what they had to say twenty five years later. I wanted to play Follie again and see what music Marie would come out with now that we have both lived through a lot more life. The childlike innocence of Follie, Buffoona and Guff are a great way in for me to look at the dark underbelly of the nativity story we don't tend to focus on and ask some hard questions about what the proposed saviour does and does not save us from.
What do you love most about the Holy Mo series?
Holy Mo is unabashedly silly and at the same time, it is the most direct examination of my faith. We put God on stage. The writing demands vigorous prayer from me to keep peeling back the layers of what I know and think I know to find the things I never considered before. This was particularly challenging with the nativity: a story I think I know. What's the new angle to consider? Where is the fresh and relevant revelation? Who is Emmanuel today? To get into the headspace of Follie I have to address my own jaded heart and chip it clean of cynicism.
What are you most excited about with writing and/or performing in this show again after many years away from it?
I am very excited about bringing Marie's music to life, it's really gorgeous and profound. I can hardly wait to perform with Anita again: she played Guff in 1996-7. I am also excited to see what Jess brings to Buffoona. She's young and fiercely funny. Kerry van der Griend did a great job of directing my plays Chickens and Cariboo Magi in the past and I know there are some moments that the audience will laugh their guts out. Yes. I am really looking forward to giving people a hearty laugh. Especially those who experience a lot of grief around the holidays. This show is for you.
In one sentence, how would you describe the play?
This play is a mash up of the nativity, Santa Claus and a handful of our modern day narcissists like Putin, Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow. Anyone who believes in Santa Claus will find this play upsetting. Three fools tell the guts and glory side of the nativity story with a flying reindeer and a few ho ho hosannas. I dunno. The play is madness wrapped up under the tree alongside some political ranting and a sprinkle of beauty. I hate trying to explain my play. Seriously. It is laugh until you pee madness. I think. I hope. This is everything I hate and love about Christmas smashed together. Buffoona loves Santa, Guff hates Christmas and Follie is after the guts and glory of the real nativity story. Yeah that's it.