AU ABROAD

the AU interview: Director Jay James-Moody discusses outrageously funny new production “Triassic Parq”

With the looming premiere of Jurassic World, Squabbalogic Independent Musical Theatre is taking the dinosaur-theme into a whole new direction with the Australian premiere of Triassic Parq, an outrageously funny musical that revisits the classic movie from the perspective of the dinosaurs (with bonus teenage dinosaur angst and spontaneous gender changes!)

The AU chatted with Director Jay James-Moody at the start of rehearsals to discuss dinosaur training, Dilophosauruses and the joyous hilarity of directing humans as dinosaurs.

So… dinosaurs and musicals? Can you talk a little about how that concept works and what the musical is about?

This is my idea of heaven- I am the biggest dinosaur freak and I love musicals as well, so to have them both together is just a treat. Basically the show is the story of Jurassic Park but told from the dinosaur’s perspective through song and dance.

How do the cast approach their roles as dinosaurs? Special dinosaur training?

We’ve just started rehearsals so we’re just working through that at the moment, there is a lot of claw hands going on. Our costume designer has created some amazing pieces including these great shoes that have claws on them, but they’re sequined claws. So it’s not Walking with Dinosaurs but it is something a little different.

Do you think as a Director that it’s sometimes more fun to work on these crazy musicals, that still have an important message, but don’t take themselves too seriously?

These high concept musicals are great fun because you can just let your imagination run wild. As long as you the director and the actors and the audience get on board up front with “these are people playing dinosaurs” then there’s no problem and you can do whatever you want. It’s a great group of very funny very creative and bold actors that I am working with that are really putting themselves out there and are not afraid to look silly. They’re doing a fabulous job.

The musical also deals with some more serious topics around gender identity. How do you balance these more meaningful messages amongst the comedy?

The message is there quite subconsciously. The show is first and foremost a comedy, but we’re using that comedy to access the message without hitting people in the face with it. I think it is something most people will be aware of watching the show, but at the same time they will be busting their gut laughing. Some people maybe wont consciously see what we’re saying but I’m sure it will affect some side of them as well.

Who’s your favourite character from the musical?

It’s a really diverse collection of characters and they’re all really funny and endearing in different ways, even the ones that are slightly more devious or villainous as some dinosaurs are want to be. It’s really hard to pick and it’s a really tight ensemble of six people, all of whom are past collaborators of mine and close friends as well, which made the rehearsal process such a joy. I have favourite dinosaurs from Jurassic Park? The Dilophosaurus! It is not necessarily scripted in the show… but there is one character who is “random dinosaur” and discussing with the actor we decided that it would be a Dilophosaurus.

On that, are you looking forward to Jurassic World or do you think you’ll find it distinctly lacking in musical numbers?

I am! I can’t wait! I am scouring the Internet everyday for tidbits. I have really been following this show, Triassic Parq, for several years and when they approached us asking whether we would consider producing the show I was like “Yep, we can make that work”. Now I am organizing a class excursion for us to all see the movie.

And finally, what should audiences expect from Triassic Parq?

To be sore from laughing. First and foremost it is one of the most outrageous new comedies to be out there. Even if you don’t care for musicals that doesn’t matter, it is hilarious and crude and rude. It’s going to be really unlike most nights at the theatre, it’s going to be such joyous fun to see these guys play dinosaurs and experience that journey together. We’re only two days into rehersal and I’m sore from laughing.

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Triassic Parq will be roaring, clawing, singing and dancing at the Seymour Centre, Sydney, from the 17th June to the 4th July. For more information visit http://www.seymourcentre.com/