Friday, 29 July 2016

Lying Dramaturgy: Beyond Borders @ Edfringe 2016

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 (Venue 151)
Aug 4-19 11.00pm (Free for all)

lies. all lies.-fringe-dramaturgy-databaseA piece of quirky workshopped theatre. Through a mish-mash of styles, from a series of monologues to slam poetry and physical theatre, each moment weaves together a powerful performance that certainly packs a punch… and a good few laughs. As separate journeys unfold, raw, real human traits become exposed. A divorcee ramps up his online dating profile. A life-guru leads seminar attendees into sincerity. A liar confronts his truthful character on stage. A rapper in a world torn apart by institutionalised lies. A daughter in denial confesses to her shrink. And more.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
As part of our programme at East 15 Acting School we each developed and performed a self-penned monologue based on an existing character and text and exploring a theme we are enthusiastic about. We combined four of those monologues and realised we have a very strong connecting theme between them - lies.

Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
Very much so! Unfortunately it loses its status primarily to social media. Theatre is mostly expensive and seem archaic for the young generation. We believe theatre allows for a way of discussion not possible on any other platform, including the new ones preventing the crowd from going to the venues. Theatre allows for a live platform, a very direct and real connection that stands in opposition to the virtual connection proposed by films, social media, new media, etc.

How did you become interested in making performance?
One of our cast-members saw Phantom of the Opera in a personally low stage in her life and was so amazed by the world that was on stage, she immediately realised that was a world she wanted be a part of, and that was what she wanted to do in life.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
As we wrote earlier, the show came out of four pieces that we had already, and so it was actually a very unique and backwards-way of a process, as we had most of the show without having a show. Once we found a strong connection between the pieces we worked on consolidating it all into a show (adding introductory pieces and writing additional material to make it a complete show and to tie everything together).

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We aim to make the audience question the necessity of lying. It sounds odd, as most of us think instinctively that lying is unnecessary and damaging but we bring pieces that challenge both ends of the spectre and hopefully make the audience question rather than getting an obvious answer to the nature of lying and its place in our world.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We start the show by a stylistic piece pointing the audience towards several facts, statistics and physiological symptoms regarding lying to focus the audience's attention to our theme. We have several long pieces each raises a different facet of lying in our society. Most of the big pieces come right after an accompanying prelude that acts both as an introduction and as a stimulator for a moral struggle for the audience.

Additionally, to get the crowd thinking even before coming into our venue, we will be performing 20-minute pieces on the street-stages.

Performed by graduates of East 15 Acting School’s MA/MFA programme, the actors bring a mix of nationalities and global flavour to the stage, scrutinising a universal theme while navigating their way through an individual struggle with their inner selves.

You Can Make Five Thousand Pounds

Right, Mad Cyril here with a message for all you theatre people who want to make money. Get your wallets out, and hand me a couple of grand.

Now, fuck off to where you came from and don't even think about doing a show at the Fringe. And you've just made five grand. 

It amazes me that you keep coming back. When some people have got money burning a hole in their pocket, they nip over to Ibiza and piss it up against the wall round the back of a sleazy club. I'm not saying that the Edfringe is like a drug-dealer who tells you he's got the real shit, takes your cash and leaves you with nothing but a bitter after-taste. 

Only I am, aren't I? Still, if you want to encourage the continued degradation of art into a consumerist cluster-fuck, here's how you can really make a fucking mess of your life.


Hey, you're an artist, right? A press release is, like, marketing, man. You are too busy to think about actually getting people in. And hell, fuck critics, right? They are just parasites. 


Well, I guess this one's fair enough. But don't contact Vile, either. He can't talk now, because he is tugging himself off over the numbers his blog is getting. 

I mean, if you really want to get a sit-com deal out of the Fringe, you only need Lyn Gardner to mention you in a round-up, right? Supporting independent underground media is the kind of thing they did in the 1970s, man. It's not like social media levels the playing field and this blog is knocking it out the park at all.


Am I right? Fucking email questions. If you'd wanted to be a writer, you'd be a journalist, right? This database isn't the biggest single set of articles about the Fringe. It isn't a platform for artists to speak about their work. No researchers ever look at it. Just ignore the reply that took me a few seconds to cut and paste and send. It's like - you are doing all the work, and it is so easy to get an article written about you in the Fringe.

Okay, troops. Vile asked me to write something cheerful to celebrate the large numbers of people who have made the effort. It might sound like this is a slagging but the odds are that if you are reading this, you've done the opposite of the advice. 

You've probably got an entry on the database. I bet you are feeling smug right now. 

Immortal Dramaturgy: Nicole Burley @ Edfringe 2016

Five young World War Two airmen trapped behind enemy lines face a life or death decision in Ciaran McConville’s critically-acclaimed Immortal.

With two already dead from the crash, the survivors take shelter in an abandoned Dutch school, while attending to their wounded comrade.

As the enemy closes in, each soldier’s loyalty is tested as they argue whether to stay behind or make a break for survival - before an unwelcome visitor comes knocking.

Fourteen years since debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe, Immortal returns for a two week run this August at
Greenside’s Forest Theatre.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I first read the script in 2014 while I was at the Rose Youth Theatre in Kingston and being mentored by Ciaran McConville, who wrote Immortal

I fell in love with it -  it really bridged the gap between the old and new generation. 

Immortal was the first show we ever did as a theatre  company, and when we decided to take a show to the Fringe we wanted something we knew very well that we could produce to a high standard. 

And because we're a young theatre group, we wanted a show where the characters were all young men and women. The play is about a group of World War Two fighters in their early twenties facing up to their own mortality. It's in turn funny, tense and incredibly poignant, and it really pushes the performers to the limit. We wanted something that was going to challenge us, and Immortal does that. 

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

The Immortal cast has evolved over the last couple of years. We still have three original cast members from the first production, but we held auditions for the rest with young people in our area, so a lot of the actors have trained at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, where I started myself. 

Many of the crew have been with us since the beginning, with a few new additions. Georgia Rolfe, who went to school with our executive producer Olly Fawcett, joined as production manager last year. Georgia Cross is our stage manager and she works with us between studying theatre production at Bath Spa University. Some of us have been friends since school and by starting GreanTea we've kind of carried on our learning together, in an industry we love. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I was first offered the chance to assistant direct whilst I was in the Rose Theatre.

I'd always loved acting but my directors would always tell me "You're too in your head, stop thinking so much." So I asked to assistant direct instead, where I had to use my head, and fell in love with production. 

I directed my first show at the Rose when I was 17, which was mentored by Ciaran. If it wasn't for him I never would have found my passion for production. After that I created GreanTea along with producer Olly Fawcett, because we wanted to make our own opportunities in theatre. We didn't want to wait for one to come along. 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

Yes, although the more shows we do the more focused and disciplined the process becomes.

In the original run we went straight to bringing the play up to its feet, which made our first production of Immortal feel a bit disconnected and two-dimensional. During our 2016 we really broke apart the script, focusing as much as we could on understanding contet and making sure we applied verbs to every single line, and laying out a strict unit structure. The play feels more concise, better grounded and is a lot clearer to understand. 

We have had many practitioners in to see Immortal during its process, including Samantha O’Reilly, who taught us how to “mark” important moments onstage, using simple but effective means such as exchanged eye contact for the characters to connect to one another. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We hope some of our audience members might be old enough to remember the war and recognise the play as a realistic representation of the time. But we also want people to relate to the characters, and maybe see something of themselves in them, to realise how that generation were not that different to us. They were normal people with jobs and families, thrust into extraordinary circumstances. 

We're incredibly lucky to be born in a time when it's unlikely we'll ever be forced to put on a uniform, and I hope people will be appreciative of that when they see our show. Ultimately I want to create a credible picture of what life would have been like for these five bombers. I'm looking for the audience to connect with them and the incredible things people like them experienced during what was often a brutally short life. 

This play encapsulates Britain's sense of honour and what it was like for these men to fight for their country. The audience will hopefully go on a real cathartic journey and be able to relate to the characters and warm to them.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I researched into Staniflavski's emotion memory to try and make the actors relive their characters experiences. If the actors created a believable, human character it would hopefully make it easier for audiences get a sense of what they were going through. It's very difficult for any of us to truly understand what life must have been like for those soldiers, but we felt the best way to do so is through human empathy. 

The set also plays a big part - we have a giant parachute that forms the walls of the school the crashed bombers hide in. In one sense it's obviously symbolic, but it also creates a more claustrophobic atmosphere, a sense of being trapped in a small space. It will hopefully create a more immersive experience for the audience. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Realism, I suppose. We aim to create a show that's as naturalistic as possible; real characters in real historical situations. Whether you lived through the war or not, we've all grown up learning about it, and we wanted to depict the scenario as accurately as possible, even though the story itself is a work of fiction. 

Having said that Immortal features small elements that you could describe as supernatural or fantasy, and there's maybe at least one moment of horror, so I guess it doesn't fit easily into a single category. 

Grean Tea Productions was formed by a group of 17-year-olds at Esher College in 2013, and is now run
by Olly Fawcett.

Since crowdfunding their first show the company has produced critically acclaimed work in theatres
across London.
Immortal will be the first play the company has taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. 

Wunderbar Dramaturgy: Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy

Created and Performed by Rob Heaslip and Laura Murphy
Music by Irene Buckley
Lighting by Rob Moloney
Directed by Tom Creed

Wunderbar is showing at ZOO Southside from  Aug 5th to 13th at 6:30pm (40 minutes)

The two performers could be anyone; strangers or siblings, friends or lovers. They invite you in to decide for yourself. Teasingly, they start dark, quiet and intimate, building up a feeling that something’s gotta give. 

As if observing an uneasy truce, they test one another. With roguish intent they burst into action. When the music kicks in, the dancers do too in a whirlwind of pent-up energy. With live music and beautiful lighting design, Wunderbar is dark and bright, bubbly and troubled, mysterious and playful, and not to be missed.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Our inspiration for Wunderbar came from the two of us working in the studio together. On day one we found ourselves face to face, both thinking about how easily gender and role came into the equation by simply looking at both of us standing still in the space.

Our work is never about something that can go unnoticed, more so something that will always be seen and noticed; we are a man and a woman, two dancers, two individuals, two choreographers. We decided there and then that we would simply build upon everything that was already there, that the work, even from the beginning was already about something - our relationship as humans, colleagues, and friends.

We wanted to create this duet to explore the interaction between us as two people. We explored this from a very physical place looking at our individual movements and how we altered them to create a duet. Did we become dependant on one another? Is the dependence addictive? What would happen if it were removed?

Wunderbar explores a dependency to reach an equilibrium within human interactions. Through a physical research of routine, dependency, tactile-responses and instinct we investigated the addictions of searching for stability. What would happen if an attained equilibrium were to flinch, alter or break down? Would we adapt or would our partnership fall apart?

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Rob is based in Edinburgh, while Laura is based in Ireland.
We began working together in 2003 upon the completion of a Masters in Contemporary Dance Performance at The University of Limerick, Ireland. We pursued our own ambitions while also joining each other on different smaller projects, but it didn’t take long for us to start looking at working collaboratively.

We officially started working on Wunderbar in 2013 at Firkin Crane, Cork. Since then the work has been developed throughout Scotland and Ireland, toured in both countries and even ventured to China.

Live music is important to our work, and Laura has previously worked with composer Irene Buckley. We felt it was important to build a team of professionals from the beginning so Irene has been in the studio with us since the very beginning.

Lighting Designer Rob Moloney came on board in 2014, again at the early stages of development. Rob fitted right in with the team and integrated into the work seamlessly. He had worked previously with Tom Creed who was our director for Wunderbar.

We knew that as professionals they were perfect for the job, but seeing as the characters created in Wunderbar come from such depth within our friendship, we knew that Rob, Irene and Tom all needed to know us on a personal level to really understand and enjoy what the work wanted to say.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We both make performances individually and dialogue about dance together all the time! We became interested in making performance work together via conversations. We met in the studio in 2011 and tested some ideas prior to making Wunderbar. Ideas sparked and we took it from there!

We knew from the get go that we wanted to make a duet. We wanted to find a meeting point where we could both choreograph and dance simultaneously. We needed to find a common language. While it took a long time and we explored many working methods, we now have a strong collaboration and are in the process of making our second duet You and Me, and You.

Our joint work addresses themes of unconscious, unsought and unexpected behaviour of individuals in duet performance. This allows us to work as individuals and find a common ground to create something new in duets that we may not do alone.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Absolutely yes, and absolutely no.
The success of the collaboration comes from the fact that we come from two very different and opposite viewpoints, but the beauty is how we make them meet in the middle and move forward without compromising either. It really creates quite a mix, one that has been so interesting for us in making Wunderbar, and even now, is growing and getting even more adventurous making You and Me, and You.

Our process represents a meeting point of where we both are in our own respective process.
Within our creative concepts we approach our choreographic practice from two different viewpoints – Rob’s practice of Instinctual Response which involves elements of improvisation and Laura’s Choreological Studies background, which involves movement analysis for performance.

The themes of our work and the dance vocabulary is crafted by exploring both isolation and companionship in duets.  We do this through various improvisations of set tasks - as two bodies, as two dancers, as two people.

When crafting our themes and content we ask such questions as: 

What if we can never part contact? If we separate, what will happen?

We ask if by separating can we improve upon working together?

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Wunderbar  is aimed at a universal audience. It explores themes that everyone can relate to; individualism, partnerships and dependency. Although it is a man and a woman on stage, our relationship is open to interpretation. We could be brother and sister, lovers, friends, cousins or whatever the audience imagines…

The two performers on stage represent something that is already integral to the lives of the audience members - human encounters and relationships. We are offering a way to see the lighter and darker sides of it in a playful manner.

We spent a lot of time working with Irene, Tom and Rob so that the soundscape and the lighting design would serve to create many differing pallets so that the world that we move within is always present but never intrusive. Both the lighting and the music are incredibly beautiful and help those watching us to get lost in the performance and the ambiguity of our relationship.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We are interested in creating a work that addresses subconscious behaviours that occur between two people - as both dancers and choreographers. We address this via our physical dance, our bodily physicality.
While we know the themes of Wunderbar well, we hope that the work offers space for the audience to interpret as they wish and perhaps accesses their subconscious. In a way we wanted to take advantage of all the unconscious and subconscious decisions that the viewer will be making while watching us. Harking back to accepting that even if we stood still in the space, a viewer would immediately create their world for us. 

Our strategy was to show behaviour people are already aware or unaware of in their daily lives - but hopefully in a different light. We are merely the vessels for the beautiful imaginative world that the human mind is capable of creating.
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
We hit on many traditions as we are both trained as contemporary dancers and choreographers, however we try to find a place where our work is playing with something more experiential.
Individually we both have different backgrounds - Rob comes from Folk Theatre while Laura hails from Visual Arts. We enjoy our mix, it adds something new to the pot that is the arts world - folk, visual, immersive, live performance, contemporary dance.

With our new creation You and Me, and You we are moving away from narrative and more towards live performance and most of all - immersive. We’ve already have encouraging and favouring feedback from showing an excerpt of it at Dublin Dance Festival 2016, so keep a look-out for it on the horizon.

You and Me, and You 
Dance Live Aberdeen, October 2016 

The Murderer Dramaturgy: Clown Funeral @Edfringe 2016

ZOO Southside (Venue 82) ​
Aug 5-29 6.00pm

‘I have a murderer in my house. It’s all perfectly fine.’ 

In a world where citizens rehabilitate criminals, the Carer and the Murderer go for coffee and play badminton. Clown Funeral’s new adaptation of Luke Kennard’s darkly comic poem tells the story of their unusual relationship, questions how easily we can forgive someone and asks to what extent our obsessions can consume us.
the murderer-fringe-dramaturgy databaseUsing an electrifying style that blends surreal humour, subtle physical theatre and Noir-inspired scenes, Clown Funeral vividly bring the bizarre world of the poem to life. With a rolling cast portraying the characters of the Carer, the Murderer and Everyone Else, this unconventional three-hander poses difficult questions about morality, preconceptions and care in a uniquely offbeat voice.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Luke Kennard’s amazing poem! It’s such a brilliant, weird read and Luke was so kind in letting us turn it into a show.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
It’s pretty much the same team as Clown Funeral’s Fringe show from 2015, Mr Poe’s Legendarium, albeit in a slightly different setup. This time, there are three characters rather than six. However, we have a rolling cast so you’ll get lots of different match-ups, which should be fun. And we’ve brought a tech manager and composer on-board, which is very exciting.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We’re a pretty young theatre company so I think for most of us it was doing plays at secondary school and sixth form. Then of course university was a very formative period: especially important for us because we all met, started creating theatre together and decided to form a company!

 Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes: it was all about the characters first, which is very typical of the way we work. We’re interested in finding the relatable weirdness of characters and pushing it slightly out of the realm of naturalism, then throwing these characters into fun scenarios. This time we were working from the poem rather than devising everything from scratch, though.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We hope they’ll laugh and then go, ‘God, I’ve been in situations just like that’. Even though the situations in the show involve a carer helping a murderer readjust to life on the outside, and the bizarrely comic things that follow.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Drawing from what we know to paint the characters as complex people, not just thumbnail sketches. And returning to the source material, because we really want the show to reflect the tone and themes of Luke’s poem.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Devising companies like Kill the Beast and Little Bulb Theatre are inspirations, especially because they’re creating work that is similarly comic and grotesque. But we wouldn’t necessarily say we’re working in a tradition: we’re just creating theatre that interests us in a style that seems appropriate.

Clown Funeral Theatre Company is based in the West Midlands. Combining storytelling, physical theatre and clowning, they are committed to devising darkly comic shows from unusual stimuli. They have performed a number of shows as a collective at Warwick University (the birthplace of companies such as Curious Directive, FellSwoop Theatre and Barrel Organ), and this is their second time performing at the Edinburgh Fringe.