‘Musical Thrones’ leans on five actors in an HBO series parody
Are you one of the millions who can’t wait until 2019 for the “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premier? Have you given up on expecting George R.R. Martin to finish another book in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series?
Fans of HBO’s hit TV show and book series “Game of Thrones” can get their fantasy fix Friday night at the Wheeler Opera House as the many characters vying to rule the Seven Kingdoms descend on Aspen, or should we say Westeros, in “Musical Thrones: A Parody of Ice and Fire.”
Billed as “90 minutes of hilarity,” the parody show is closing out the Wheeler’s winter season.
“For the audience, coming to a show like this is like getting to participate” in the “Game of Thrones” world, “Musical Thrones” director TJ Dawe said. “It’s getting to play in the field with these big, iconic, archetypal characters that, whether people realize it or not, in some ways it’s almost a religious ritual.”
But if you’re not a fan of the series, there is still plenty to be entertained by.
“For anybody who is new to it, I would say it is an introduction to just how elaborate the world is and how fun it can be, just how much juicy story and characters (there are) to sink your teeth into,” Dawe said.
A Vancouver native, Dawe is known for his work directing one-man parody shows such as “One-Man Star Wars Trilogy” and “One-Woman Sex and the City.” He also is a huge “Game of Thrones” fan.
When “A Parody of Ice and Fire” writers Jon and Al Kaplan, best known for writing the long-running “Silence! The Musical,” started creating the musical there were only five seasons of the hit HBO show, but when it came time to actually produce the stage show there were seven seasons, prompting the writers to add more material.
With each “Game of Thrones” episode running anywhere from 50 to 80 minutes depending on the season, that’s a lot of source material to condense into an hour-and-a-half musical with only five actors.
“So how do you get it across? How do you do it in a funny way and, in this case, in a musical way?” Dawe asked. “It’s a very specific challenge of the writers, and I really have to bow down to them. It was no easy task and they did an amazing job.”
The writers turned to songs to move the story along, including “You Know Nothing Jon Snow.”
This particular number between Ygritte and Jon Snow takes the audience through their entire relationship, a major story arch that took almost a season and a half to portray in the show, in just three minutes.
The musical numbers don’t only help move along the story, they also get around another challenge: having just five cast members attempting to portray over a dozen important and well-known characters.
“The writers came up with a pretty clever solution to that exact problem. There is an entire song called ‘What About Me’ where all the characters that had been cut from our show get one verse each of the song to say, ‘What about me? I’m an important character, I do this and I do this. How come I’m not in the show?’ ” Dawe said.
And with the cast portraying a vast amount of characters, sometimes multiple in the same scene, they had to master the art of the quick-change with a minimal backstage crew to help.
In the end, the production has everything a “Game of Thrones” fan could hope for from a parody show rooted in a deep-seated love for the franchise; a “ surprise cameo” from the author Martin where characters criticize him for not writing faster, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons (which are “three small, stuffed puppets about the size of a kitten,” according to Dawe) and an imaginative trip across the “Game of Thrones” universe.
Just don’t hope for any resolution when the show ends.
“Season 7 ended with some major cliff hangers, so appropriately we can’t end the show with any kind of resolution because that just wouldn’t make any sense,” Dawe said with a laugh.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center’s new fall lecture series will run weekly from Oct. 20 through Dec. 6. The lineup consists of artists nationwide who will be spending one to three weeks at the ranch completing projects within their area of expertise and exploring new work in the studios.