by Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Trudy Moffat recently choreographed the NBC made for TV movie "Mr Rock ’n’ Roll: The Alan Freed Story". She has over twenty-five years experience in the entertainment industry. At age seven her career began as a child actress and model, she has since never left the business, having performed in television series, specials, on radio and in theatre. For the last twenty years she has directed and choreographed productions all over the world. Some of her theatre credits include: Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story, - the Shubert Theatre on Broadway, Bits and Pieces - the Dominion Theatre, West End, London. The Hobbit, Watership Down, A Step In Time, Home and Away - all UK tours, Three Guys, Run For Your Wife and Jacob Two, Two in Toronto.
CHARPO: I see you co-adapted the Barrie work, but also see that you are going in the direction of a panto. Tell us about that.
CHARPO: Now there are very specific problems with plays like this one and Mary Poppins and they all involve flight. As the director of the work, what did you have to learn to make sure the Darlings flying didn't look - as it did with one production I saw as a kid in Germany - like a public hanging?
MOFFAT: Flying properly is hard work on the actors. There are many elements and coordination involved. The general basic rules include keeping your back upright (almost pushing back against the harness), moving your legs at all times (very important to look alive), learning how to move your legs to limit rotation and finally not have the harness so loose that you see a big hump in the back of the actors when flying.
CHARPO: Now you've got four members of the same family appearing here - your company's AD Alex Mustakas as Captain Hook, his wife Jackie as Mrs. Darling and their children Hadley and Lukas as Wendy and Michael Darling respectively. It sounds like a good hook (forgive the pun) but what does that mean for a director that the boss and his brood are all there?
MOFFAT: I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity. Not only do I admire Alex Mustakas for all he has done for Canadian theatre, he is an accomplished actor. I already had the opportunity to work with Jackie on two previous shows, Robin Hood and Cinderella which was great, so adding the talented kids into the mix was an easy and wonderful extension.
CHARPO: Now back to the panto...is there going to be a Dame?
MOFFAT: Of course there is a Dame and it is played by the wonderful Keith Savage. The Dame's name is "Delilah" and she is Captain Hook's Ships Cook….now say that three times fast. And….in keeping with traditional panto, there is a song sheet at the end…and tons of audience participation.
CHARPO: Finally, we've talked about script, directing, adapting to flying and the family but you're also choreographer! This can be both a blessing and a curse that it is all your vision up there! For you, which has it been?
MOFFAT: Pantomime at Christmastime has been part of my life for almost 30 years now. First in Canada at the Royal Alex, then in the UK for 10 years and now happily back to Canada. I met my husband 25 years ago on a pantomime in Belfast. I have been so blessed over the years to learn and appreciate this very special genre. Christmas just is not the same without it. I truly hope one day that Canadians make it a tradition (like the Brits do) and there is a panto in every theatre across our country at Christmas time. This would be wonderful, because it introduces the next generation of theatre goers to 'the magic of theatre' not to coin a phrase from Alex!