Q & A | Katey Hoffman on LIKE IT OR NOT
After postponement due to COVID-19, we're excited to be touring a brand new comedy for elementary school audiences this fall. Vibrant and witty, LIKE IT OR NOT follows best friends Leah and Zoey as they navigate an evolving friendship and the pull of social media.
For more information or to book a performance, please email Tour and Education Manager Aliya Griffin at email@example.com or call 604 254 4055 ext. 224
Writer Katey Hoffman, who Green Thumb audiences know as the writer of WHAT IF, chatted to us about this new play and why comedy is so important to her.
Hi Katey! Can you tell us a little bit about the story of LIKE IT OR NOT and about Leah and Zoey’s friendship journey?
Katey Hoffman: Leah and Zoey have been best friends since kindergarten but now that they’re in fifth grade, they’re finding things aren’t as effortless as they used to be. While Zoey’s still preoccupied with dominating the soccer field, Leah has become more interested in a new fashion app on her phone. Their friendship is put to the ultimate test when Leah makes a new friend in an ultra-fashionable grade six girl who pressures her to talk differently, dress differently, and eventually leave Zoey behind.
Both the shows that you’ve written with Green Thumb, WHAT IF and LIKE IT OR NOT, include an abundance of humour. Why is it important to you to infuse comedy into your stories?
KH: I love everything about comedy—it’s a big part of how I relate to the world. It’s important to me that my shows have some lightness and frivolity because, as someone witty once said: art imitates life (and vice versa). Life is funny! Not to say I’m laughing at funerals or anything (although I’m not ruling out their comedic potential), but I’m definitely one of those people that can find the funny in even the darker moments.
As someone who has performed for elementary audiences in Dave Deveau’s CELESTIAL BEING, how did this experience influence your writing for WHAT IF and LIKE IT OR NOT?
KH: Performing in a Green Thumb show definitely prepared me for writing one. When writing LIKE IT OR NOT, I knew to think of the space the actors would be using, the lack of any technical accoutrements, and what experience I wanted the mostly-seated-on-the-floor audience to have. Acting in CELESTIAL BEING for those years was not only a masterclass in dealing with surprising audience reactions (“HE’S BEHIND YOU!”), but also taught me about the story beats my own play needed to have in order to welcome the kids into our story and keep them invested.
Green Thumb aims to develop and produce plays that spark critical thinking and empathy — what conversations do you hope this play will start among audiences and educators?
KH: I hope LIKE IT OR NOT facilitates conversations in the classroom about the effects of social media in our lives, how friendships can change and grow, and whether or not soccer is the cardinal sport (it is).
Anything you think audiences should know or would be surprised by?
KH: In creating LIKE IT OR NOT, we’ve come up with some really fun, zany peripheral characters that I’m excited to share with audiences. Get ready for the French teacher, Madame Lagrange, in particular—she’s vraiment fou!
October 25, 2021