Please Thrill Me premieres today at La Chapelle Scenes Contemporains. Written by the enigmatic Sean Nicholas Savage, and directed by Sophie Cadieux, this musical tells the story of two punks who meet freight hopping in the night, and share their most intimate fears and reflections on a world whose meaning constantly slips through their fingers… We spoke to Sean about the process of writing Please Thrill Me and his favourite musical moments. Read on below!
When did you first get the idea for Please Thrill Me?
Hubert Tanguay Labrosse and I met working on a collaborative performance with two youth orchestras a few years ago, and he brought up me writing a musical right away, like “if you ever write a musical” and I was like “ya maybe sum day...”... then a year or two later I was sitting around wondering what the hell to do with my life and he came around asking again, I was like “that’s a great idea!” so I set to writing it, took me about four or five months, it’s been a tonne of fun.
Where was it written, and what was your process?
I had lots of demos for the music, but I was lazy and didn’t write any lyrics, then suddenly time was really running out! so I went to valencia with a big notepad and just walked around night and day eating and drinking like a child and singing to myself and writing my stupid play. I felt so complete while i was writing the text. I wouldn’t have any ideas for the first two hours, then like clockwork, on the third hour, I’d have an idea or two, and by the fourth hour I couldn’t write it down fast enough! who has time to write like that? every day! it was amazing, and you know? I ate terribly, I slept poor hours, smoked in the morning and drank a lot of whatever was around, and just felt so damn young, I felt so fresh succeeding in my own creativity over and over again with nothing else to worry about. it was one of the best weeks of my life.
Where did you draw inspiration from?
Well sort of theatrical or dramatic songs are my main thing to begin with, so I was already inspired just to take that further and contemplate and imagine the context of these songs more, knowing it would potentially be physically realized.
when I wrote ‘please...’ I was listening to a lot of opera like Maria Callas and Pavarotti etc and watching any musical I could think of in film form or live performance, like Starmania, Cats, Les Miserables, Evita, etc..
What is your favourite “musical” moment?
Almost every classic hit musical has one just giant song, like "Don’t Cry for Me Argentina" from* Evita*, or "Memory" from Cats, or "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Mis... with these lyrics that sum up a characters entire life in the context of the central theme of the play. I just die for these songs. 'So I chose freedom, running around trying everything new, though nothing impressed me at all, I never expected it to' - that lyric blows me away. I feel like crying even from singing that song in my head. I often sing ‘I had a dream life would be so different from this hell I’m living’ too, haha. my fantasy was to make a musical that was only those songs, just way too much you know? like the madness of it all, over and over...
Tell us about your favourite song from Please Thrill Me.
There is a song twards the end called "I believe in everything" and this is my favourite I think. sum have declared it is some kind of sung version or rip off of theJurassic Park theme, but I think they underestimate the number of songs that I was able to steal from for that melody. there’s a lot of "Reflections" from Mulan (I’m absolutely obsessed with Lea Salongas voice btw omg) and the chorus melody is a kind of mutated “Live to Tell” by Madonna or something... and what about "Nessun Dorma"? they’re ALL like that! anyways, I had that without lyrics for a long time, and the pressure was high and time was up. I sort of just tore the lyrics out of myself!
The theme of the song is basically 'I’ll never be suprised again, now I know how little I know' but it has sum good lines about how you meet people in life who look like other people, and go places that remind you of other places... I feel incredibly blessed to have ever written a tune like that.
Please Thrill Me runs February 17th - March 1st at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines. More information and tickets HERE.