Monday, December 11, 2017

Musical celebrates the work of Canadian folk legend Joni Mitchell

November 16, 2016 by Lynn Wohlgemuth, contributing writer

Given that Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell had her career peak in the ’70s, why would Camosun College students care about I Think I’m Fallin’, a new musical playing at the Belfry? I Think I’m Fallin’ director Michael Shamata says the time is right to talk about Mitchell, with Bob Dylan recently winning the Nobel Prize in Literature; he points out that, in his opinion, Mitchell is as good as, if not better than, Dylan.

“And she’s Canadian,” he says. “Her words are as relevant today as they ever were. And the songs are personal, and there’s also a great kind of social aspect to her songs as well.”

Shamata, who has been directing musicals since 1995, says that rehearsing for the musical was a great chance to enjoy Mitchell’s lyrics.

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I Think I’m Fallin’ director Michael Shamata (right) says the time is right to talk about Joni Mitchell (photo by Peter Pokorny).

“Sometimes the music is just so pretty that I don’t hear the words as clearly because the melodies are so catchy and fantastic,” he says.

Jonathan Gould is one of the actors in I Think I’m Fallin’; he discovered his passion for the stage at a young age.

“[My father was] sort of a children’s magician, as a side thing, so we always used to be his little helpers, and it got us into performing and singing,” he says.

Gould discovered Mitchell when he was in high school; he says that because his school experience was a bit different than the experiences of those who went through the public school system, so was the music he was exposed to.

“Because I went to a performing-arts high school, the music we listened to wasn’t the Backstreet Boys of the day or NSYNC, it was the folk artists like Led Zeppelin, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell, and, you know… that was cool. I was 14, it was cool to like Joni Mitchell, and even if you didn’t really want to, that was the type of music we should be listening to, as artists.”

As for what Gould’s role is in I Think I’m Fallin’, he says he’d like to leave a bit of an element of surprise to that, but he does say that no one in particular is playing Mitchell during the musical.

“Nobody’s playing her, per se,” he says, “but there’s a movement and a storytelling that’s happening through the order of the songs and how Michael has crafted it together.”

I Think I’m Fallin’
Until Sunday, December 4
$20-$53, Belfry Theatre
belfry.bc.ca

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