By Stephanie Bomba
A musical based on the theme of human cruelty may seem unpalatable to some, but Echoes in Concert, starring three Ryerson Theatre grads, handles heavy issues effortlessly.
Echoes features Steven Allerick, Kristin Booth and Mary Krohnert, all recent graduates from Ryerson’s Theatre School.
It was written, composed, directed and produced by a former Ryerson Theatre School substitute teacher, Andrew Seok.
Seok met the three actors two years ago, when he was their substitute teacher at Ryerson.
“Ryerson Theatre School has an excellent reputation in the business,” says Booth, the co-producer of the musical.
“You automatically get more respect as an actor than you would if you hadn’t trained, or say if you trained somewhere else that wasn’t as well known.” Booth has been taking private singing lessons with Seok for two years.
Echoes is about war and humanity’s cruel treatment of one another and explores intense issues such as slavery and mass ignorance. Powerful speeches as “the past is unforgivable but deniable, the present is justifiable but unforgivable, the future is unthinkable but inevitable” give the audience food for thought. But despite its focus on heavy-handed issues, the play is accessible to viewers.
“(Echoes) does make a lot of sense,” says Allerick. “It’s not so much statement-making, it’s question-asking. It’s like, ‘look at what we’re doing and what can we do to fix it.’”
“It’s about questioning what is worth following and what is worth fighting for and how you do that,” says Krohnert.
Although there is a serious element to it Seok attempts to provide the audience with words of hope by singing, “remember what a wonderful place this could be.”
Echoes will only be performed for one night. “You can’t get work unless you’ve done work, you can’t get a show unless you have done shows so I’ve decided to break the chain: put my own show on. It’s all a matter of people hearing about it, getting to know my name , getting to know the show’s name, getting to know everybody else’s name,” says Seok.
After Saturday’s performance, Andrew Seok is planning to write another show or possible rewrite Echoes to make it a full-scale production. Kristin Booth will begin filming a CBS movie-of-the-week. Both Steven Allerick and Mary Krohnert plan to pursue their acting careers.
Echoes is playing at the Factory Theatre on Saturday, September 27 at 8 p.m.