Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congrats on the launch of A Dream at the End of Time in this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the premise of this show?
Thomas Barrett Blakeley: A Dream at the End of Time is a musical adaptation of “The Quest of Iranon” by H.P. Lovecraft. It’s about an immortal bard who brings a naive youth on a quest for a mythical kingdom of art and music, but as they get closer to their destination, it becomes clear that the bard isn’t who he seems. Think the lush score of Once on This Island meets the worldbuilding and adventure of Hadestown.
BD: What can you share with us about the creative process of working with the cast and crew to bring this production to life?
TBB: A Dream at the End of Time was originally supposed to premiere in the Hollywood Fringe in 2020, but got cancelled because of the pandemic. Because of this, we decided to stage the show as a virtual reading and enlist a number of actors outside of LA, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We were able to get Jim Hogan to play the lead, of viral T.3 fame, and Kevin Clay to play opposite him, who is currently on Broadway in Book of Mormon as Elder Price.
That reading was hugely successful, and once it started to feel safe to stage theatre again, we started to re-evaluate the life of the piece. I ended up being awarded the Hollywood Fringe Scholarship for my writing, including industry mentorship, which seemed like the perfect excuse to get the show on its feet again!
BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that A Dream at the End of Time will connect with and impact audiences?
TBB: The biggest commentary we wanted to make with our work was to take an old story (the original short story was published in 1921) and give it a more modern spin. I think, if you look back at the original text, there’s a really interesting relationship between the two main male characters that doesn’t really get explored to its full potential, which was something we wanted to tackle in this piece. When we evaluated the story, the composer and I found that it spoke to our passion for telling queer stories, and by turning Lovecraft’s work with an LGBTQ narrative, we were also able to create a response to the author’s notorious bigotry.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for your productions?
TBB: The amazing thing about Fringe is how much creativity can thrive under budgetary and time constraints. We were able to enlist the help of Jenn Kuberka, a Disney Imagineer, to help with set design and she ended up creating a truly striking set built entirely out of found objects. After we enlisted Jenn, we then ended up finding a wonderful CalArts grad who also had a passion for upscaled materials, and I later discovered a company that creates instruments out of found objects, which is where I found the lead bard’s lute. This kind of scrappy theatre-making is the stuff you can only find at Fringe!
BD: The show will be appearing at The McCadden Theatre at Asylum in June. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
TBB: We’re currently in talks to expand the show from its current 40-minute form into a full-length show. If we can find the financing we’d like to take the show to New York, but we don’t have any plans set in stone as of yet.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects that you would care to share with our readers?
TBB: The composer of Dream, Duncan C. B. Smith, and I are also collaborating on an animated musical sci-fi pilot, which we will begin pitching after Dream concludes. It’s about a teen superhero who discovers that she and her team are actually secret weapons in an intergalactic conflict, and she must venture across space and through various realities to reunite her friends before they're manipulated into igniting a catastrophic war.
Director Matt Toronto is currently in post-production on the feature film, House of Lies, which is directed in association with Filmstreet Productions for Lifetime Television. Matt is also raising money for his upcoming sci-ii feature called Detached about a Visionary scientist struggling to survive her husband’s abusive tyranny in the face of crushing isolation. But when catastrophic events put her husband in mortal danger, she must decide whether to save his life or spend the rest of hers completely alone.
Jenn Kuberka will be rejoining Walt Disney Imagineering as a Paint and Color Specialist.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for A Dream at the End of Time?
TBB: The last performance is Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 3:00 p.m.!
You can use the code “fringefam” to get $5 off tickets! Get tickets here.