Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In a Word... Tim Murphy on Kuwaiti Moonshine (Fringe: Vancouver)

(photo credit: Heather Marie Annis)

Huge crowds and loving audiences
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Tim C. Murphy was born and raised in Ottawa. He is an international teacher and performer and just finished teaching high school Phys. Ed for 5 ½ years in Kuwait. He has lived, worked and travelled in more than 45 countries. Tim is the founder of the Murphy Hull School Project which has raised over $30, 000 since 2011 and built three school houses in Kenya and Ghana ( He was also a contented professional student in his 20s – earning a B. Commerce, M.A. Sport Psychology, B. Education and a Diploma in Theatre. Selected stage credits include: Blind To Happiness (various Fringe Festivals 2009-12), Kuwaiti Moonshine (various Fringe Festivals 2012-13), Libertine (Rep 21 – Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto), Henry V (Gateway Theatre Guild – North Bay, Timmins, Parry Sound), and Red Roses And Petrol (Tara Players - Ottawa).

CHARPO:  Before we get into your show - this year has been for you, as for us, a Fringe marathon rather than a sprint. Tell us about how you're living it! 

MURPHY: It’s been a great summer, busy but great. I arrived back from Kuwait mid-June and had a few weeks off before the Toronto Fringe. Then it was off to Montreal for 10 shows at the Just For Laughs Zoofest, then two weeks off before the Edmonton Fringe. And now I have a week off before my final stop, the Vancouver Fringe. I love being on tour with all of the amazing friends I’ve made through the past five years touring. The Fringe circuit is blessed with some of the friendliest, most talented, big-hearted souls on the planet. 

CHARPO: Which Fringe stop has been most satisfying and why?

MURPHY: Once again, so far it has been the Edmonton Fringe. As with any Fringe, some artists have a lot of success, while others struggle. I was fortunate to have another great run with KUWAITI MOONSHINE there. Huge crowds and loving audiences. I had so many volunteers and patrons stay after my show, or stop me on the grounds, to talk to me about the show. It was a blessing to perform every night to over 100 people who were on board for the show and the story. 

CHARPO:  Without naming names, why has the least satisfying been the least satisfying.

MURPHY: I won’t comment too much here. I’ve only done three so far. Some festivals go better for some artists and worse for others for a variety of reasons. I feel that the more festivals I work with and listen to artists, the better the experience is for everyone. 

CHARPO: How have the reviews been for Kuwaiti Moonshine? (and while you're at it, the reviewers?)

MURPHY: Ahhh, good ol’ reviews. As Fringe artists, we live or die by them. My reviews this year have been up and down. Some great reviews and some reviews from those who didn’t get it or like it. It happens to all of us. Every show isn’t for everyone. As an artist, you always hope that you have an experienced reviewer who reviews the show for its artistic and performance merits. This isn’t always the case. Man…I’m trying to be soooo diplomatic.

CHARPO: Tell us about the creation of the work - how much of it is autobiographical?

MURPHY: I never advertise my show as true but several people think that it is. That’s how good I am! Haha. I taught in Kuwait for 5 ½ years so obviously a lot of the show is informed from those years. The conflict and plot that was created is very plausible but is not true. The main character Andy is very much based on me and my personal insights and struggles. And I do have Catholic guilt. I’m from Ottawa. I love the Montreal Expos. I have amazing nieces and nephews. And I do hate Nickelback. 

As with my first show, Blind To Happiness, I wanted to write and explore my own personal struggles through art. I’ve often struggled with my intuition and decision making and I enjoyed exploring that with this show. I brought my lovely experiences of teaching the students in Kuwait and my time living there. It was a joy to write and research the show while in Kuwait. Teacher, students, and parents were involved in the research and creation process.  

CHARPO: Finally - are you going to do this again? Everything? And what would you do differently?

MURPHY: In terms of Kuwaiti Moonshine, I will be performing it in Toronto in October with Sterling Studio. I do plan applying for several other festivals with the show and I’m working on a screenplay for it.

In terms of other Fringe Festivals. Yes, I would love to return to do more next year!! I have a few new show ideas, the working title for one show is Finding Santa in Kuwait about a quirky adolescent trapped in Kuwait on Christmas Eve during the Gulf War in 1990. I’ve also started working on my first fully autobiographical show about living and teaching overseas.

I’m looking forward to moving to Toronto after the Vancouver Fringe so that I can begin working with more of a team on my shows. I was working in more isolation in Kuwait. I look forward to brainstorming and creating with some of the talented people I’ve met on tour. 

Thanks for the great opportunity to answer some of your questions! And thanks CharPo for reviewing and promoting Canadian Indie Theatre!

Kuwaiti Moonshine is at the Vancouver Fringe
Read our review

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