Hello! My name is Emma Orr.
I am a junior in the BFA Theatre (Acting) program here at Wayne State University. I am extremely grateful to be a part of the 2020-2021 Motor City Cabaret ensemble. With this being my first year in MCC, I have had quite a different experience as opposed to past cast members. Although this year isn’t as traditional as past seasons, I have reaped a lot of splendid opportunities from my time in MCC. Not only did I get to meet the famous Alayna Jacobs & Scotty Arnold, but I also have had the honor of participating in their originally-written “Trivoya Gold.”
The conception & execution of a virtual musical is not an easy one. There have definitely been some learning curves that have helped us grow as an ensemble. Jill Dion (director) and Danielle Wright (musical director) have served as superb support systems throughout this vigorous process of art-making. Although this is not the first season of MCC, it is unique to every season that has come before it. Motor City Cabaret is making history this 2020-2021 season with its strides in virtual theatre. I am grateful that I get to sit back, perform, and enjoy the ride!
When I tell people that I’m in a musical entitled “Trivoya Gold”, it is always met with glances of confusion or boredom. Sadly, Trivoya Gold is seldom known by a drop of its title. To alleviate looks of skepticism, I explain that Trivoya Gold is a “musical about Norwegian curling.” This statement is true, but it isn’t technically the whole truth. Yes, the show is centered around the sport of curling. Yes, all characters in the show have Norwegian accents. Basic facts aside, the show is much more complicated than its first appearance. In the words of Trivoya’s composer Scotty Arnold, “Trivoya Gold is a mix of Urinetown & the Mighty Ducks.”
Here is a small summary to bring clarity to all that “Trivoya Gold” encompasses:
Trivoya is a small island under Norwegian reign. Princess Ulrika (of Trivoya) does not like this fact AT ALL and discusses the idea of making Trivoya an “independent nation” with Norway’s king. King Magnus (of Norway) tells her that this could be arranged if Trivoya beats Norway in the sport of curling at the next Winter Olympics. Here’s a small (but important) fact about Trivoya: it is COLD.
It is so cold that the dead do not decompose on the island. Most of the sick and elderly are shipped off to Oslo to die & be buried. Trivoyans do not like this aspect of Norwegian rule, so they support Princess Ulrika’s idea of curling their way to independence. Torbjorn Bjornsen is a retired curling Olympian, who is recruited to lead the Trivoyan team to victory. With the help of fellow curlers (Dagmar Wolff, Lisbet Vinter, & Oddvar Ellefson), the Trivoyan team heads to the Winter Olympics. Will they win the coveted gold medals? Will they beat Norway at their own game? This musical extravaganza answers all these questions and more!
I play Torbjorn Bjornsen’s wife, Ingrid. I have had a blast playing off of my “stage” husband Torbjorn Bjornsen (Ethan May) and “stage” daughter Sigrid Bjornsen (Miranda Cole). Finding ways to connect with cast members outside of rehearsal has been an interesting challenge! I feel that we’ve bonded as a family through late-night FaceTime chats & game nights. “A curling team is a family,” and I am happy to be a part of the best virtual family that I could ask for in a pandemic.
Virtual theatre has had its fair share of ups & downs. Working through a computer screen has been very enlightening to how I personally approach my craft. I have learned (the hard way) that I am an actor that likes to use touch & human contact in scenes to fully connect with my partners & the audience. Because of the pandemic, I have had to use different “acting tools”’ to find this same chemistry with scene partners & convey what my character is truly thinking or feeling. This has allowed me to explore several aspects of my art that I might’ve never even considered through in-person theatre training.
One of the most beautiful things about acting is figuring out how to be creative through the confines of set dialogue & plot-points. This aspect of virtual theatre has only added to the possibility of creativity. What can be made in the confines of our homes? How can we approach this as artists while staying safe & sound in our zoom boxes? Technology has been a friend & foe during this pandemic.
As an actor, I hadn’t the first clue about how to record my own songs or film my own scenes. I have learned so much about what it takes to produce professional content. Although I am still very much an amateur, I am leaving this experience with a richer knowledge of how to properly record my talents. Not only are these skills fun to have under my belt, but they will also most definitely come in handy in the future of my career. I have yet to talk to a Wayne State theatre alum who has remained unscathed by the rigors of self-taping. I am also eternally grateful to everyone working behind the scenes to make “Trivoya Gold” a success. Sound engineers, Mark & Dan, have assisted greatly in making us sound like a live ensemble. Lexie Farrer is taking on the daunting task of editing all the pre-recorded video content that is to be featured in the production.
Through it all, a bit of “theatre magic” has still been able to sneak its way into a run of a scene or a show. Energy can flow through an Internet connection. Musical numbers can come together, even though the confines of zoom lag. I promise you, art can and does exist right here & now. Make sure you find your creative fix.