We will spare you the fate of butcher Frank Miller, who embarks on a journey across Colorado in 1873 with a group of miners searching for gold.
“He’s a little, pessimistic, angry guy who hates the whole idea of going there but joins along to feel part of the group. He’s a bit of a tough guy, rough around the edges type of character,” explains blossoming local actor Ryan Lino, of his role in Cannibal! The Musical.
Lino, a recent graduate of Cambie secondary school and now a student of the Capilano University School of Motion Picture Arts, is presently performing Miller’s character at the Vancouver Fringe Festival.
It’s the 21 year-old’s first acting role outside of school.
“It has definitely been a bit tiring, but every show I look forward to because you gain that energy backstage. I don’t see it as a chore. We have a good mix of people with different theatre backgrounds. Our age range is 15-28. It’s great to be around those people, especially the older ones, gaining a lot of experience. The production company does a good job catering to people’s strengths,” said Lino, who credits his high school teachers for allowing him to express his artistic skills in the drama program, as well as extracurricular groups such as the improv club.
Cannibal! The Musical chronicles prospector Alfred Packer’s journey into unchartered lands with fellow miners, as well as his subsequent trial for cannibalism after things go awry.
The Awkward Stage Productions stage play is based on a dark comedy musical film written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the creators of South Park) in 1993.
“There are a lot of cool elements that are a bit off-putting and random… and characters that may make people hesitant as to if they should laugh,” said Lino.
The Richmondite says the production company has “upped the stakes a bit” by adding a few new characters. Also, because the original script is copy protected, the director wrote a new script with some modern tweaks, such as a number of present-day pop-culture references.
Also, things get a bit silly and freaky, said Lino.
“We meet a lot of people along the way like a trio of lesbian biker chicks and a group of Amazonian women.”
The play features lots of singing and dancing and will only be Lino’s second musical.
As for playing Miller, Lino says he’s had to test his boundaries as an actor — a good thing if you ask him.
“The character is completely different than my personality. He curses the most out of anybody. He’s loud and sloppy. I think I’ve sworn more in this play than I’ve ever done in my lifetime!” exclaimed Lino.
“There’s a lot of violence, sexual innuendo and bad language. So it’s a good experience for me; it’s something that gets people talking, and that’s what I like about it,” he added.
Lino said people should be prepared to expect the unexpected, have an open mind and, most importantly, be ready to laugh.
“Just be prepared for anything. It’s unexpected and controversial in many ways,” he said.
Cannibal! The Musical is playing Saturday and Sunday at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver and has already performed sold out shows this week. For more information go to www.vancouverfringefestival.com.