Jacqueline edeling

After the chaos of COVID-19, the musical Alanis Morissette will open in Melbourne

She received videos of rehearsals and previews in Australia on WhatsApp. “I sent 20 pages of notes after every preview in Sydney,” she says. “I wasn’t able to do it in real time, I was getting the videos and watching them at 8am and sending notes. And they would arrive in Sydney before the next night’s show.

The series’ Australian director, Leah Howard, and two Australian leads – Natalie Bassingthwaite who plays MJ and Maggie McKenna who plays Jo – met Paulus in the United States after seeing the series on Broadway.

The cast of Jagged Little Pill in Sydney. Credit:Daniel Boud

As we speak Friday morning, Paulus has just received videos of Thursday’s preview performance to review. She says Morissette’s landmark album holds up as well today as it did when it was released in 1995.

“Before I woke up was such a trope, she had a whole song called To wake up. It was amazing to work on that and remember how visceral and powerful the music was, but then to go back and really look at the lyrics and understand the themes and the topics it touched on. She was 25 years ahead of her time.

“Music gave us the gateway to approach what we are going through in the world today. It was a portal to approach this intersectional and overwhelming world we live in. Well-made musicals often don’t do that, they have a theme, there is a problem, there is a trajectory of a character.

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Shredded is very modern, it’s a multiplicity of things going on, that’s how we live life now. It’s not just a problem we face that’s looming over us. There’s so much about the way we live in the world…our evolving understanding of sexual trauma, gender and gender identity issues, addiction issues that are epidemic.

And will the remote working model become the way of the future? Paulus says the technology has provided a lifeline for the show in difficult times, but the method is far from ideal.

“I wouldn’t endorse it as a model for the future, but the idea of ​​embracing technology and thinking about how what we thought was impossible could be made possible, especially when we’re in a pandemic world. world and we all know that pandemics will be part of our lives. The name of the game in theater has been how to adapt – that’s the name of the pandemic game. »

“There is no substitute for human interaction and I was looking at the moment to be able to come to Australia to see the tour, but in the meantime being resourceful and using technology to connect and complement what we are doing for an international exchange is is deep,” she says.

Paulus says earlier this week she cried on Zoom while talking to Australian artists. She described a pivotal moment at the end of the musical and the best way to stage it. “It’s so powerful…I feel so connected to the Australian cast, most of whom I’ve never met.”

Little shredded pill is at the Comedy Theater until March 31.