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Sound + vision: local musicians the live key to Colosseum

While COLOSSEUM is a dinner theatre presented in four acts, the play concerns the restaurant Colosseum. The main attraction, one could say, is the live in-house band.
Taylor Thomas leads the band in Colosseum, a FSJ dinner theatre rolling with south talent in Feb.
Taylor Thomas leads the band in Colosseum, a FSJ dinner theatre rolling with south talent in Feb.

Director Stanley Kubrick called the practise needle dropping, while Quentin Tarantino says it helps him get the handle on his writing.

Bringing a score to moving performance is something that dates back to the origins of theatre. 

“The music comes with the writing, the editing. Sometimes it is simply tunes we are into at the time or that sound good on a certain day,” says director Matt Preprost from the Colosseum band rehearsal Sunday.

“When we thought, let’s go with a live soundtrack, we thought the most exciting part would be getting together with the band. Here we are.”

While COLOSSEUM is a dinner theatre presented in four acts, the play concerns the restaurant Colosseum. The main attraction, one could say, is the live in-house band. The players are; Taylor Thomas, Catherine Johnson, Joel Primeau, Mathew Savard and Micahel Vansandwyk along with a handful of cast members gracing the music stage of Colosseum in some form or fashion. Singer songwriter Thomas leads the onstage group, christened Anno Domini in the production as the COLOSSEUM house band.

“I've done a live score for plays, but the concept behind this is something I’ve never seen before. I am thrilled to be a part of it," she says.

“Now the band is adding their work and songs to the set list. It is so collaborative,” says Preprost.

Co-writer Rob Brown says when the pair started thinking about pacing, the look and here is the role of music on the live stage.

“The strategy was to listen. Think about the role of music to help carry scenes more or less or to drop clues. 

Try some things, what feels what might belong and go from there. When you think about music, high school, is when you get interested in music that isn’t your parents’ stuff. It’s tough not to attach emotion to music.”

There are soundtrack moments for us all, be it Singing in the Rain or Stuck in the Middle with You, a musical accompaniment is something that helps scene lock in, or in the aforementioned examples,  classic scenes. Preprost says the band is a few weeks out from integrating with the cast of actors. Right now people are talking lyrics. Melody. 

“Take the vocals on this, I’ll do the harmony,” says Thomas to Catherine Johnson, a Dawson Creek singer in the mix with the band.

“And we do some Springsteen? He’s the Boss,” says drummer Savard. 

“You can’t grow up in Canada without the Cohen track,” adds Johnson looking at a potential set list. Thomas is looking forward to the live aspect of Colosseum.

“I can honestly say I’ve never been a part of a something quite like this. Colosseum is very unique and something you don’t want to miss,” she says. Thomas is busy herself, and has a few swords in the fire beyond COLOSSEUM. She is looking to start a group that doesn’t only play for a fictitious  restaurant owner during a play at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre.

“Tanisha Ray, Brin Murphy and myself are all working hard on getting a repertoire together.” 

Their first concert rolls January 27th at Original Joes. Thomas will also play the Rolla Pub on January 21.

Colosseum, the full dinner theatre production, takes to the stage February 14, 24 and 25.  

        

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