Surviving the apocalypse, SNAFU-style

Kitt & Jane An Interactive Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future opens UVic's Phoenix Theatre season

When Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future hits the stage the University of Victoria this week, it will be as refined as is physically possible.

The SNAFU-produced show was part of SPARK Festival two years ago and the Vancouver Fringe last month.

“We’ve been workshopping it a lot since then,” says director Kathleen Greenfield.

Kitt & Jane is a highlight on this year’s Spotlight on Alumni that runs Oct. 17 to 26.

It’s a collaborative effort of UVic Theatre alumni Greenfield (BFA ‘05) and Ingrid Hansen (BFA’09) with Rod Peter Jr.

As much as 40 to 60 per cent of it has changed Greenfield says, noting all three involved – Hansen and Peter who perform as Kitt & Jane – work collaboratively.

“When we start a project it’s never really finished, we’ve even made some changes since Vancouver,” Greenfield says. “As soon as you perform it for a group of people it changes. You learn what works and what doesn’t quite quickly.”

The story focusses on two socially awkward 14-year-olds who hijack their high school presentation and launch into fantastical instructions on how to survive the impending apocalypse told through playful music, fantastical lighting, shadow and found-object puppetry and naturally, humour.

“They teach their fellow students how to survive,” Greenfield says. The idea was born of another Kitt project, the award-winning Little Orange Man. They chose to revisit the Kitt character that Greenfield and Hansen created.

“We were having a lot of conversations about how scary it must be to be a youth today,” she says, explaining how issues like global warming were considered conspiracy theories when they were 14. “Now they’re very real.”

“We wanted to talk to youth about those and encourage that they had a voice to speak,” she adds. “There’s a lot of references to youth movements all over the world that have changed their world for the better.”

But that doesn’t limit the audience, she says.

“We’re like PIXAR in that youth and adults get different messages from it,” she says. “(Phoenix) is a great place to meld those audiences.”

Kitt & Jane is the first of four award-winning plays in the Phoenix Theatre’s 2013/14 season. Named the Best New Play in 2012 by Victoria’s Critics’ Choice Spotlight Award. SNAFU’s plays have won several awards including Best Fringe “M” Award and many Best-of and Pick-of-the-Fringe awards for Little Orange Man (2011-13).

Kitt & Jane: An Interactive Guide to the Near Post-Apocalyptic Future runs Oct. 17 to 26 at the Phoenix Theatre, with a public preview and talk-back performance slated for tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $7 for the preview, to $24, with discounts for students and seniors. Visit phoenixtheatres.ca or call 250-721-8000.

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