Barbra Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Your one-act, Timeheart, is a sci-fi space opera currently playing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the show, how would you describe its premise?
Kat Primeau: Timeheart is an original time travel, musical comedy adventure that aligns with the sci-fi subgenre "space opera" in its scope and setting. When oddball inventor Bruce Greenstreet invents time travel, he is taken along for a cosmic quest to restore the universe, meeting his literal dream girl and a host of unusual characters from the future, as he journeys to the fabled center of the universe: The Timeheart.
BD: You have quite a talented team surrounding this project in the form of the musical improv troupe, Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party (RTAP)! What can you tell us about how the group was formed?
KP: Robot Teammate & The Accidental Party came together in 2012, when founding members started jamming on musical improv forms together in a living room and then at the (now closed) Bang Comedy Theater. Little by little, new members were auditioned and vetted until we arrived at our current make up of eight members in late summer, 2013. We've improvised hundreds of 15 and 30-minute musicals in the meantime!
BD: Leading up to this year’s Fringe Festival, RTAP has made a name for itself by performing spontaneous original musicals based on an audience suggestion. What encouraged you to take on a scripted musical, and how would you describe the group’s creative process in this endeavor?
KP: RT&AP had the great fortune of performing at iO West in a weekly cage match (where audience votes for who will return each week) for over 86 weeks. During that record-setting streak, we were able to refine our musical improv form, build our audience, earn a monthly iO and Golden Road Brewing show, and learn from some incredible improvisers. But, the set was only 15 minutes, and we craved more fulfilling work and a better pay off for our audiences, who seemed to really love the sci-fi/fantasy stories we were creating each week. One night, as we were gearing up to take team photos and watching tapes of our performances, we picked out costumes that became the seedlings of our Timeheart characters. We started meeting before each show to hash out an outline, then began improvising off of that outline, filmed those improvisations, wrote the scenes out from the best material, improvised then refined our musical numbers, and eventually held a reading at iO West for a small audience of writer/director friends this past March. After getting some feedback, we assigned a writing team to unify the world of the story, and we tweaked, tested, and cut material up until preview week at the Fringe!
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival the best venue for Timeheart?
KP: Fringe Theatre by definition is meant to encourage experimentation and new ideas, with a built-in community of open-minded audience and structure for feedback and development. As a comedy ensemble looking to expand outside of the improv scene, and very much feeling like we are equal parts improvisers, live band, and musical theatre performers, it was a natural next step to develop something for this community. Audiences are really responding to the rock 'n roll vibe of the festival and our show, and while it's been difficult to explain our non-traditional development and production process in a world where a director or playwright is usually king (RT&AP ensemble directed, produced, and designed all aspects of the show), it has been a great showcase of our aesthetic and a testament to what we can do when we collaborate to such an extreme.
BD: As a geek-oriented individual and a fan of all-things sci-fi, the genre of your one-act naturally intrigues me. Is the show accessible for audiences that may not be science fiction fanatics?
KP: Timeheart may be based in sci-fi, but it is truly a universal story that speaks to audiences of all kinds. There's a love story, a heroe's journey, themes about loss and family, beautiful, catchy, original songs, and an over-arching call to be present and really appreciate the here and now. The comedy comes in jokes of all types (physical, puns, high, low, geek and theatre references, etc.), it's appropriate for all ages, and the most common feedback we've been receiving from audiences is that the fun we are having is contagious, which is incredibly inspiring! As not a huge sci-fi fan myself, it was important that the story stand alone, and I think we've struck a good balance of embracing that world without alienating those who don't "get it," per se.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Hollywood Fringe Festival until Friday, June 26th. Are there any future plans to perform the one-act at other venues?
KP: We are definitely interested in taking Timeheart on the road and have been approached by a couple of theatres about extending after the Fringe, but it will depend our schedules and if the conditions are right, so nothing official to announce just yet! Recording the Timeheart soundtrack and getting back to our regular musical improv gigs is the next immediate goal.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
KP: Robot Teammate & The Accidental Party will be continuing our musical improv shows at iO West, Golden Road Brewing, UCB, and Nerdist stages, back on the road for our regular gig at a really cool theatre in Lake Arrowhead, CA, recording bespoke songs for people on the internet (Check us out at fiverr.com/robotteammate!), and returning to the Geek & Sundry Twitch live.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Timeheart and Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party?
KP: We love our audiences and welcome feedback via our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@accidentalparty), and YouTube. We also perform for hire at private parties and events and are open-minded about collaborating and trying new things, so we'd love to hear from anyone who has questions or is interested in getting in touch!