Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spotlight On...Taryn Parrish

Name: Taryn Parrish

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Education: MA in Communications from Wilfrid Laurier University

Favorite Credits: Hey '90s Kids, You're Old, Bedroom Makeover Wednesday, The One, The Holiday Season

Why theater?: I love the immediate reactions from audiences - the good, the bad - it helps you to create your strongest product and tell your story in the best way possible. There's nothing like engaging with a real live audience, in real time and to see how they are affected by your work.

Tell us about Hey '90s Kids, You're Old: Hey '90s Kids is a '90s nostalgia sketch comedy show that's set in the present. What if the Midnight Society still told stories? What if you started using your CD Player again? Where is Waldo, anyways? Hey ’90s Kids You’re Old will bring you back to yesteryear, but will also examine what it means to be a ’90s kid in a post ’90s world.

What inspired you to create Hey '90s Kids?: I was first inspired by the recent popularity of '90s nostalgia, especially online. For example, a simple Google search reveals lists like "You're a true '90s kid if..." "10 things only '90s kids will remember." The comment sections of such listicles are filled with comments about feeling "old" or about what it really means to be a '90s kid.  Offline, '90s culture is making a huge comeback in clothing stores (Urban Outfitters is selling velvet chokers), toy stores (Furbies and Tamagotchis are selling again), music (New Kids on the Block & Backstreet Boys reunion tours), television ("Girl Meets World"). I was and am fascinated by this '90s revival, and fascinated by the fact that my generation is spending a lot of time reminiscing online - longing for “the good ol’ days”. I wanted to sort of, critique this new phenomenon by asking what if our favorite ‘90s characters had to grow up, like we did? What if we blended our warm and fuzzy memories of the ‘90s with today? We does it mean to experience the ‘90s in our now very different, modern lives? There's so much to say with regards to how we confront aging, nostalgia, technology, shared experience, and generation gaps. What I've created is a nostalgic show packed with cultural references to make you laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy inside - but that also functions as a satirical, social commentary.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I'm a hug fan of comedy, so I love sketch revues or sassy musicals like Book of Mormon. I love it when stories can be told in fun, concise way. For me, this is often found in sketch. Some of my favorites are Lucille Ball, Mr. Bean, Weird Al, Tina Fey, Colin Mochrie, and Jimmy Fallon. I'm inspired by parody, smart social commentary, and physical humor.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: In the world? I can choose ANYONE? Jimmy Fallon. He's done such a brilliant job with "The Tonight Show". The segments he comes up with - the games, the music, the skits - everything is so smart, unique, and hilarious. He and his team are amazing at creating smart, engaging, shareable content. Plus, he's a big '90s fan too, so we would definitely click!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Most recently Book of Mormon and The 39 Steps.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: "I can't wait to put my sweatpants on: The Taryn Parrish Story" starring  Ellen Page.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I would love to go to a live taping of  I Love Lucy or The Carol Burnett Show.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Anything and everything on the TLC network.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Sad. Sad and rich.

What’s up next?: We're taking Hey '90s Kids, You're Old to the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July 2015! It's the second largest Fringe Festival in North America.