It’s not every day a rock musical is born, let alone one bursting at the seams with Saskatchewan music. Dancing Sky Theatre is proud to premiere Kelley Jo Burke & Library Voices’ new rock ‘n’ roll fantasia The Curst in Meacham. Full of live music, fog, lights and video projection this rock spectacle follows mythical band The Curst as they battle to make it in the music biz.
Playwright Kelley Jo Burke says she heard a universal story about the life of an artist within the music of Library Voices. (Globe Theatre)
“I wanted to do a show about what keeps artists going, that need to create.”
The musical was inspired by the experiences of Library Voices. The Regina band, once dubbed “The unluckiest band in Canada”, who persevered through a string of misfortunes including a flood that destroyed their instruments, the theft of their replacements, and an attack that left their singer in a coma, all while they were on the verge their “big break”. While Library Voices story only served as inspiration, the band’s music is the soundtrack for this production.
“I could see how the band’s experiences and its songs could show the hardships of artists and life on the road,” says Burke. “I wanted to do a show about what keeps artists going, that need to create.”
A production like this is incredibly demanding of the cast because they are not only acting the part of rock stars but also play the music live. Actor Tim Bratton plays the band’s frontman Merle. He says this is not a jukebox musical full of familiar tunes, it’s a deeper story about the bond between artists.
Actor Tim Bratton plays lead singer Merle in The Curst. (Judith Schulz)
“Song writing is the only thing Merle feels he’s any good at,” says Bratton. “If he didn’t have the band and music to pull him out of himself and work through his mental health struggles, he would never be able to be his full self.”
“It’s not a material quest, it’s actually a spiritual one.”
At its heart, The Curst is about what drives artists to push forward and keep on rocking when the odds are stacked against them.
“It’s not a material quest, it’s actually a spiritual one,” says Burke. “If you’re creating art because it’s who you are, then nothing can ultimately hurt you. Your job is not to succeed. Your job is to do.”