Q+A: Sock ‘n’ Buskin director Meg Sutton

Carleton’s own Sock ‘n’ Buskin theatre company has a production of The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon premiering on Nov. 16. With the show a week away, The Charlatan sat down with director Meg Sutton to learn more about the show.

The Charlatan (TC): Let’s start with why [you chose] The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon? What drew you to the play?

Meg Sutton (MS): It’s a very cute story. I’ve been a part of Sock ‘n’ Buskin for a while. I found my family and great friends. I always thought I’d be an actor, never thought I’d be a director. When I choose [the play], I was across Canada and my friend Mary convinced me to direct a show. I didn’t want to, [then] she said “what about that show you always tell me about?” We found it online and started reading it just as the two narrators, and that’s when I knew that other people would find it just as cool as I do.

TC: Tell us about this production.

MS: It is a show about the 209 fairytales that the Brothers Grimm collected. They’re known in contemporary senses of Disney and kids story books. This play attempts to put all the stories on stage and make light of both sides that these stories have tried to navigate. There are 17 actors playing 45 characters in two hours. The show is super high energy. We’ve been working on it since September.

TC: What got you into theatre?

MS: I’ve been doing theatre since I could walk. Shakespeare shows, musicals—I’ve always been a lead or a very big character on stage, so I never had that time to be backstage or see that kind of view of a show until now.

TC: Is there an element of the show you wanted to emphasize?

MS: The last two minutes of the show we attempt to redo the entire show, so it’s crazy. We have all the characters changing costumes, running across the stage saying one or two lines, we’ve managed to get it under two minutes. It’s so much energy and it really just amps you [up]. It’s almost like taking a caffeine shot.

TC: Got any behind-the-scenes stories?

MS: To start off, there’s a big mix of veteran and newbies to the company this year and [with] the show having such a big cast, it’s essential that everyone bonds. We did a cast bonding where everyone showed up to Carleton and brought different brunch food. We all hung out and played improv games to get to know each other. We told stories about our day and week. It was super wholesome, it was really chill. There’s diversity within the cast . . . it was an essential to me that everyone felt like they were a member of the cast. I made Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes, because even though Mickey Mouse isn’t in the show, the mouse is alluded to, so we have this joke that the mouse is always watching.

TC: What challenges did you run into along the way?

MS: The biggest challenge would be that Sock ‘n’ Buskin is a ‘friendship company’ so I had to learn how to be an authority figure. A lot of my friends are in the show, so I have to make sure there’s no bias and I can redirect people. It’s a challenge to be that friend but also that nice director.

TC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

MS: The show isn’t for kids, it might sound like it, but there is a lot of adult humour in it. It’s a good time for people who want to come out. It has feminist and cross-dressing dwarfs, so it’s going to be a fun but crazy time.