Musical relives Death’s greatest hits

A musical about Death reliving his most “glorious” conquests will be part of Ignition Theatre’s Bohemian Rhapsody festival of short theatrical works. The festival at The Matchbox will feature two different plays on each week, July 8 to 10 and July 15 17, as well as the same musical throughout the two-week run.

A musical about Death reliving his most “glorious” conquests will be part of Ignition Theatre’s Bohemian Rhapsody festival of short theatrical works.

The festival at The Matchbox will feature two different plays on each week, July 8 to 10 and July 15 17, as well as the same musical throughout the two-week run.

Death: Lies is the new 70-minute musical that will tie both weeks together. Written by Edmonton actor Joel Crichton, it involves the Grim Reaper waxing nostalgic about his most memorable dealings with doomed humans.

None of the depicted deaths will be of the well-known, celebrity variety. No Cleopatra’s death-by-asp nor Horatio Nelson’s heroic expiry during sea battle. “The premise is that the most glorious deaths are unknown to the rest of us,” said Ignition Theatre’s artistic director Matt Grue.

What the epic demises in the musical have in common is that they involve great stories and intriguing people.

“I think what Joel wanted to find is some interesting things to write a musical about, instead of just the stereotypical things,” Grue added. He believes Stephen Sondheim’s weightier themes and non-rhyming style were Crichton’s inspiration.

The five-actor presentation, Death: Lies, is one of several original works that will be part of Bohemian Rhapsody.

The locally written dramedy The Universal, by Red Deer actor-turned playwright Jeremy Robinson, will be presented during the first week. Robinson will also direct this production about two sisters having an emotional evening before one of them gets married the next day.

The other first-week work is The Agreement, a published play by Douglas Taylor, directed by Andrew McKechnie. It’s about Sal and Jenny, an artistic couple who successfully manage to keep their careers and their love life separate — until Jenny gets pregnant and wants to get married.

The second week features two locally written works — Unknown, a drama by local actor/director Jenna Goldade, and Friends . . . Just Friends, by Red Deer College student Chantal Vaage.

The former is about what happens when an older lady hires a young male prostitute, and the second deals with the age-old debate about whether girls and guys can just be friends.

Grue said Vaage’s play will be brought to the stage for the first time after being recently workshopped during the Scripts at Work playwrights festival.

“We’re focusing mostly on original works because we want to create possibilities and opportunities for emerging playwrights,” added Grue, who noted the various plays weren’t chosen for their content and weren’t juried.

The five works were accepted as part of Bohemian Rhapsody because the people behind them “were passionate about what they were doing.”

At least one of the productions — the Death: Lies musical — will later be shown at the Edmonton Fringe Festival.

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. shows are $15 ($12 students/seniors) from Ticketmaster. The outdoor patio and cash bar will open at 6:30 p.m.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com