yo5InLLk.jpeg

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 
Interview

Eloise Coopersmith
My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical
VENUE 21 - C ARTS | C venues | C aquila - studio
Aug 3-14, 16-21 - 14:00 /  Tickets
July 4, 2022

My (Unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical discovers a writer who dreams herself awake and rediscovers romance in a non-conventional way. Escape with us… experience cinema and live theatre in this innovative show, as one woman, with the help of cliche singing and dancing rom-com movie characters, takes you on a frivolous, fractured and fun musical ride of pure joy… where love always wins.

 

Hi Eloise, thank you for taking the time to talk with The New Current, how does it feel to be heading to Edinburgh Fringe & C Venues this summer?

 

Like a heroine at the end of a Hallmark Romantic Comedy - thrilled, delighted, ecstatic, tickled, flying high and excited!  C Venue was recommended by a friend who had previously been to the Fringe. Hartley has proved to be a respectful and helpful resource as we prepare to bring this show to Edinburgh. We cannot wait!

 

Will this be your first time bringing a show to the fringe festival? 

 

Yes!

 

You had some wonderful notices for My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical with Ernest Kearney saying “…it’s amazing what you can pull off when there is talent, skill and imagination on hand…” what has it meant to you to get this type of response for your show?

 

Reading Mr. Kearny’s review, I immediately feel grateful for the many hands that made this show work.   This is my dream and it was made possible by the many artists who brought this show to life. 

 

Will the show change much ahead of your Fringe Premiere and are there any nerves ahead of your run?  

 

The show’s content will not change.  It showcased well in Los Angeles and we believe it will be well received by Fringe audiences as well. Nervous?  Who me…..Well “Excited” nervous really.  The mission of this show is to give the audience 88 minutes of joy.  We all need a reprieve from the challenges of the pandemic, isolation, war, the economy and so much more.   The Magic of this show is audiences escape with us and leave refreshed and revived – ready for the world.

 

Is there any one comment you have received for My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical that has really connected to you as a performer?

 

At a “talk back” after the show in Los Angeles, one audience member shared; “This is my story.  A story of a person who has been told they cannot be creative and has been put down when trying.  Watching your character succeed, makes me believe I can too.”

 

Can you tell me how My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical came about, where did the inspiration come from to create a one-woman show that had such a unique multimedia element to it?

 

Like the Writer in this show, I am an essential worker.  I was working during the entire pandemic and often the trauma of those I helped spilled onto me.  I started binging Hallmark movies (other people ate, I watched Rom-Com’s).  I often had a running commentary with the television while watching these movies- it was hilarious.  Anyone listening would have thought me quite mad.  I joined a courageous group of artists and we explored The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. We discussed the heroines’ journey, and I saw my noble Hallmark ingénues in the movies as the heroes. I partnered with the amazing Roxanna Ward while taking an online class focused on writing musicals, and we started to develop the music.

 

It’s COVID, so developing a one-woman show seemed to make sense, although I myself have a hard time with one person on stage for 2 hours.  As a playwright, I hear the voices of the characters in my head and simply put what I hear on the page. Why not let them speak from the screen? So I wrote a screenplay and a play. And it worked! I had just wrapped a video project and pulled in the resources from that project to this one.  

"The live audience remains the essential ingredient. However, it also takes actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, and stage managers."

What was/is the experience like working with your directors Anne Runolfsson & Crissy Guerrero?

 

Anne Runolfsson is a Broadway veteran. She has been my voice teacher for the last 11 years.  Working with a talent like Anne is a privilege.  Her insight and creativity honed from years of experience provides richness to the work.  By the way, Anne is playing the Writer in this show at the Legacy Theatre in Connecticut the same time we open here in Edinburgh.  Wow!

 

Crissy Guerrero starred in my award winning and FYC Emmy nominated web series, Home for Mom.  She is a brilliant actress and director of smaller productions, but nothing of this scale.  I believe in supporting women in the industry with new opportunities and Crissy stepped up to the plate.  She had to face obstacles- we were all new to Zoom and self tape auditions. It was a challenge to rehearse for the first time solely on Zoom and not be in the room with the talent. Crissy met that challenge. 

How important is the collaborative nature of theatre making for you when working on a show like this?

 

Collaboration is key in creating art.  It is even more important during a pandemic.  The live audience remains the essential ingredient. However, it also takes actors, designers, directors, playwrights, producers, and stage managers.  I admire and am grateful to every person who helped with this project.  From my Covid Compliance officer to my Lead performers- everyone gave 1000%.

 

Do you allow yourself much flexibility with your a show once it’s running?

 

This is a very unusual show in that one “presses the button” and the film and music go.  There is no stopping.  The video actors always know their lines and always sing on key.  I am always discovering new moments due to the audiences’ reaction; I stay in the moment- moment to moment-all the time staying in tune with the multimedia.

 

What would you say has been the most valuable lessons you have taken from the journey you have been on My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical?

 

As a producer, I have learned that not everyone is as passionate about this show as I am.  Being sensitive to that creates a more positive/collaborative work environment.

 

As a Playwright/Lyricist, I need to hand over my words to the composer and trust they will honour the intention of what is created.

 

As a Performer, the audience and I are traveling on this magical journey together. Open hearts, trust, and a willingness to believe are key to our shared remarkable adventure.

 

Have you always had a passion for theatre and performing?

 

Yes! Always!  The magic of theatre, its characters, language, music, themes and spectacle, lift us up while reminding us of our humanity.  Heaven is collaborating with other passionate artists to tell stories which challenge, entertain, heal, or transform.   

 

Has your style and the approach to your work changed much since you started out?

 

In the beginning of my career I was very “me” focused.  Over time, as I collaborated with fellow artists, my connection with the work has become more compassionate than egocentric. As artists, we want our perspective to be heard, stepping back and listening to others makes the work richer.  Rather than judge the work of others, I now honour the partnerships of creativity.  This point-of-view came with age and raising my children.

 

Is there any advice, tips or suggestions you would offer theatre creators?

 

Get up and write every day. Write everything down.  Take yourself on Artist dates.  Do the work, don’t judge it. Love what you do and find those to share that love with them

 

And finally, what do you want your fringe audiences to take away from My (unauthorised) Hallmark Movie Musical?

 

You are magic and capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. Find your voice and remember… love always wins.