In Conversation with Britta Johnson
We sat down with Britta to discuss the development of Life After and how her creation process varies from project to project.
Life After was a part of the Toronto Fringe Festival last year, what did you learn from the experience?
The festival taught me a lot about taking risks and listening to your audiences and tirelessly searching for the right answers. I was lucky enough to have a cast and a director who were completely willing to stay on board even when I was making a million changes a day and throwing out songs and re-writing scenes. I don’t know what more I could have asked for.
You have a variety of projects in the pipeline, does your creation process differ from piece to piece?
Absolutely. Every process is so different- it is shaped by who I am collaborating with, what the content of the piece is like, what the role of music is within the piece—the list goes on. Working on Life After is vastly different than any other project I am currently working on because I am working alone. It is very scary, sometimes maddening and often a lot slower than my other projects- but also very exciting and empowering. In contrast, when I work with my sister Anika (we often collaborate on both music and lyrics), it is a very different, very fast, very exciting process because we can basically finish one another’s sentences. It is very stimulating to create music with someone else because what we create sounds so different than what would each be able to make on our own.
Any thoughts for an audience before they see Life After?
I just want them to know how grateful I am that they showed up to support something new. I am so grateful and I hope that there is something in the show that manages to speak to them. Our goal is to create an experience that feels honest and our hope is that telling this story through music helps to crack open something new and true about grief and growing and life and loss.
Life After is on stage September 23 – October 22 at the Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs. Tickets on sale now. Produced by The Musical Stage Company, Canadian Stage & Yonge Street Theatricals