Local cult history re-imagined in musical

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Sounder News

Monday, July 16 2012

Brother XII and his Aquarian Foundation of the late ’20s and early ’30s are no tall tale, yet they seem fitting material for a play, or even a musical.
That’s just what Bill Miner thought. He has written a musical on the “larger than life” Brother XII (otherwise known as Edward Arthur Wilson) and his mistress Mabel Skottowe, or Madame Z, whose cult headquarters were in Cedar-by-the-Sea and on Valdes and DeCourcy islands.
The Cult of Brother XII - A Musical Dark Comedy, based on an earlier play Bill wrote, premieres at the Fringetastic Theatre Festival, Aug. 16-26.
“I had felt that the characters, both Brother XII and Madame Z, and the three other characters I had created, seemed perfect for breaking into song and telling some of their story in music,” he said.
Bill created three investigative journalists, including the “strong, no nonsense” lead, Doris Abercrombie, played by Kathy McIntyre. (seen in photo above) Brother XII and Madame Z are her foes, portrayed by fellow Gabriolans David Botten and Nicole Busby.
The musical takes place in Cedar-by-the-Sea and in the offices of a fictitious newspaper in Nanaimo.
Musical rehearsals are in full swing on Gabriola. Holly Bright, artistic director of Crimson Coast Dance Society, is choreographing the production.
“There’s a certain level of realism that I try to keep one foot on while ... making daily movement a little bigger than life and then maybe abstraction,” she said.
“I like to keep things in the believable realm rather than the whole idea of breaking into song.”
Antonio Gradanti co-wrote the music and lyrics with Bill. The show runs for eight performances at Fringetastic, with hopefully more after the festival, said Bill.
For more information on the Fringetastic Theatre Festival in Nanaimo, visit www.fringetastic.com.