Laura Barrett is a Toronto sensation whose songs cover topics ranging from video games, to whales, love, and secret agents. If you've ever visited music critic Carl Wilson's blog zoilus, you've probably heard every glowing adjective that can be applied to a singer/songwriter used to describe Laura. She wrote a few of the numbers in the show and has been working with the team since the summer of 2006. In addition to her SOCAN award nominated songwriting, Laura lends her talents to The Hidden Cameras, The Adorables, Barzin, and the soon to debut 'TANK.'
The Daily Rat: How did you get involved with The Rat King?
Laura Barrett: Maggie and I met on campus at U of T many years ago, when she was solidifying her dystopian visions in a beautiful big book. After a few years of connecting through various musical and creative webs, she pulled me into the Rat King universe last year, when we produced it at the Harbourfront Centre. Now my dreams are filled with its songs, and my conversations peppered with its dialogue.
The Daily Rat: What is your role in the show?
Laura: I'm the Musical Director, and I play keys and sing. I try to do justice to Bob Wiseman's original material, and I've also added a few new tunes of my own to the mix. During the show, I am just another rat, albeit one with a piano in front of me.
Rat: What other creative and/or political projects have you been involved with?
Laura: I play clarinet in Henri Fabergé & the Adorables, keys in the Hidden Cameras, and vibraphone in Barzin. I've fallen off in terms of political involvement in recent years, though I will be participating in Ladyfest Toronto and Hysteria in the fall of 2007.
Rat: Of the themes in The Rat King, which do you feel a strong connection to?
Laura: To me, Ed Cannon's hatred of mutants is a stand-in for all forms of prejudice and oppression, whether based on ability, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or class. Humanity got where it is through mutation, and in placing the story at the dawn of a new, mutant world order, The Rat King playfully and intelligently deals with ideas of diversity and the struggle against tyranny.