Nov. 14, 2012 - Issue #891: Heap and Pebble
Adventures in Childhood
Think back to the games you took so seriously as a child: playing house emulated the life you dreamt up for yourself, capture the flag was a mission in stealth, and agility was tested when the floor became a boiling pit of lava. Now, what if all that was just training for what was waiting around the corner in adulthood?
What If?! Theatre, founded by Grant MacEwan University theatre grads Kurtis Nawrot and Leah Beaudry, sets out to test this notion with its original debut, Adventures in Childhood.
"Ever since we were in theatre school together, I've always had the idea of putting together shows that were of my own vision because I always had these great ideas through theatre school, but never had time to sit and develop them," explains Nawrot. "Instead of auditioning for shows like other people did, I started writing immediately after theatre school and building shows ... Leah and I were always really good friends throughout theatre school and she's a terrific actress as well, so we decided to go together and start this company so we could get some of these ideas out there and see how Edmonton liked them."
Nawrot and Beaudry plan to bring these ideas to fruition utilizing the city's up-and-coming theatre talent, giving others who are entering the industry a chance to express themselves in ways they may not be able to otherwise. For now, the shows have a comedic theme, which Nawrot says is a genre he enjoys writing most, but he's open to what the future holds.
"It's always interesting to see the way you wrote something or the way you imagine it at the beginning turn into something completely different on stage and loving it or seeing your ideas come to life and seeing how they influence other people," Nawrot says of his experience switching from student to spearheading a full-length production.
Aside from flexing the company's comedic chops, Nawrot explains that Adventures in Childhood, a collaborative writing effort amongst the What If?! creative team, raised thought-provoking notions of what exactly childhood games could be utilized for later in life.
"We want to continue asking 'what if?' about everything that goes on in our lives and the world around us and contemplating the 'what if?' instead of the 'what is.' How could we change the world to make it better or what if the world was just goofy—well, it already is," he laughs. "Being a young person myself, I'm still very much connected to a lot of my childhood roots, and it just made sense to write about my childish ways and to try to personify those in a more adult environment and try to turn my childhood into something that I could use."
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