Fraser Morrison, rehearsal director for STOMP, is an original member of the 1991 cast. Beirut.com interviewed him via email to find out more about his experiences, accomplishments, and anticipations of the February 8 STOMP show in Lebanon.
Beirut.com: What do you think are some of your most notable accomplishments in the past decades?
Morrison: STOMP is actually in its 22nd year now which is an achievement in itself. The most recent and notable accomplishment is probably our performance at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, where we put together a cast of 40 performers from 13 different countries which was seen by an audience of billions. I think that epitomizes STOMP's accomplishments over the years. The show has steadily grown and evolved creatively and technically by the diversity of it's personnel and it's audiences alike. STOMP from the beginning was always inspired by music and rhythms from around the world and we have been fortunate enough to travel our show and those inspirations to 43 different countries, which still leaves plenty more to visit!
Beirut.com: What is the best thing about directing a world famous original dance and percussion troop?
Morrison: Speaking as an original performer, the best thing about being in a, "world famous original dance and percussion troupe", is the fact that it is such a fun and rewarding show to do, despite the physicality and obligatory cuts and bruises .The "fame" is a bonus. Working with so many different people keeps everything fresh and exciting, as does the changing of routines and music. Also,STOMP can take you into other STOMP related projects such as film or workshops which bring different but equal rewards.
Beirut.com: What are some of your favorite "instruments" that are used during the show?
Morrison: Every performer has their own favorite "instrument",and probably their least preferred also, but I think its always subject to change. For me I would normally answer my own body, as you become the instrument; the only one you can't put down. However, we have recently introduced "shopping trolleys" in to the show and they sound great and have a great visual quality, which is integral to the show. Another favorite of mine is a routine called "Doughnuts", which are not edible, but are in fact the inner tubes of tractor tires.
Beirut.com: You've toured all over the world and no doubt have some crazy stories. Care to share? Which country/city was your favorite?
Morrison: We no doubt have some crazy stories as we have toured the world...."care to share ?".... Maybe not. I think most of the time, tour stories should stay on tour... I don't think they translate that well anyway, it's more a case of you had to be there. Everyone has different favorite cities or countries for different reasons. It may be the culture/the people/ the food or just the audience response. Japan is a favorite of mine on all those fronts, as is Ireland.
Beirut.com: So what are your expectations of the Beirut crowd? How does it feel to be performing in the Middle East?
Morrison: My expectations of the Beirut crowd are based on our last trip there, which was great. It's been over 10 years since STOMP were last in Lebanon and maybe now more people are aware of the show. We are delighted and very excited to be coming back and the show has changed so much since then with new routines and cast. So, if you think you have already seen it...you haven't! I'm also told Beirut is the party capital of the Middle East, so with that kind of reputation I think we can count on our audiences knowing how to have a good time.
Beirut.com: Do you have any future plans concerning performances, dance routines or tours?
Morrison: Future plans for STOMP are the continuation of what we have now with sit down shows in New York and London and ongoing American and European touring companies.The show itself will continue to evolve as it has done since it's humble beginnings.The directors, Luke and Steve are, in tandem with their hands on approach to STOMP, busy with their IMAX film making ventures. STOMP cast members also feature in Luke and Steve's orchestral show,The Lost and Found Orchestra. Check it out at www.lfopresents.co.uk/