Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Stealth Dramaturgy: Paul Wady @ Edfringe 2017

Stealth Aspies

5 autistic people tell it like it is. 

A cast show entirely of people diagnosed on the autistic spectrum.

Bar 50, venue 151, 1pm between 11-19th

Paul Wady of the original Guerilla Aspies solo show (3-10 then 20-27th @1pm this fringe) has brought together a cast of five fellow autistics.  Last year I put out a survey on Twitter (@StealthAspies) to find out about when people received an autism diagnosis 
later in life, or were forced to remain in the neurodiverse closet.

The resulting 22 responses (so far) will be performed together with poems and autobiographical pieces written by the cast. 

Nothing like this has been performed anywhere ever that we know of.  This is not pity porn, nor the sad tales of people who want to be neurotypical. It will be entirely devised by the cast.

These are the life experiences of a kind and a tribe that has empathy for its own members. 

(Different people depending on different days)

Alain English
Sarah Saeed
Hannah Yahya
Jason Why
Paul Wady
Janine Booth (and son).

100% ASPIE.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I wanted to innovate a way of converting audiences en mass to my nature, which is autistic.  
I had been using Powerpoint to train professionals in what it was like to be an autistic adult, and decided to adapt it as a show narrative vehicle.  it's worked out very well although it usually crashes half way through - which I have a whole routine around.  

I did not have anyone to base my work on because no one has done anything like this before.  My friend Cian Binchy had the same problem when he created his show about being autistic at the same time.  We seem to be unique.  I would prefer if there were a lot of such shows.  

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Yes, since my show is audience interactive all through.  It's a great medium providing you have lots of time and not a confining slot.  I have to watch my piece as I love to talk to people and if I find any other autistics in the audience, I try to do it with them.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I joined the Everyman Youth Theatre back in 1982.  I went on to a 3 month tour with a theatre group in 1983 and an entire year in a YTS scheme for theatre, the Rathbone Community Theatre Unit, Liverpool.  

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
Attempting to be myself in front of and with an audience, when I am only diagnosed these past 13 years.  I am still discovering my true nature int he face of a lifetime of hiding and masking.  It's quite a unique experience to share it.  The narrative is something I am still developing each time I do it.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Well since I go around training professionals in autism with another PowerPoint presentation, yes.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?

What it is to be an autistic adult.  To be part of a tribe and a kind of humanity that is forever stigmatised as diseased, disabled and inferior.

For us, they never stopped calling gays perverts...  It's the same for us.  

Guerilla Aspies  -  book out now on Ebay, Amazon & Kindle

NOW INTERNATIONAL BOOK SALES ON EBAY. The Guerilla Aspies show picture blog.

Tradition and German Modern Drama

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

All Hail the New Historicists!

Aphra Behn: thoughts on gender and criticism

Old Dramaturgy: Jess Thorpe @ Platform

Do you remember when we used to go camping? And when you helped me make an ATM out of cardboard for my school project? Do you remember when you bought a big plane from town and showed me how to build it? Do you realise what a big impact you have had on who I am?

OLD BOY is a brand new show about the unique bond between grandfathers and grandsons.
It features the real relationships of men and boys of various ages from Glasgow in an attempt to explore the love that is shared between men in families and the legacy passed down through generations in Scotland.

Platform, The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Glasgow, G34 9JW

What was the inspiration for this performance?

OLD BOY is piece of theatre exploring male relationships across generations and ideas of legacy and connection in Scottish men.
It’s an idea we’ve had for ages. Right back since after we first made Hand Me Down in 2010 and worked with a family of women from Port Glasgow around similar themes. This show allowed us a deep process of engagement with women about the love they had for each other and the things they felt were passed down through their family ties. 

It was all about the things they felt they they learned from their mothers, their grandmothers and the hopes they had for their daughters. It was about the things that they meant to each other.

For the time we worked on Hand Me Down (and still today) we were moved and inspired by these women and what working with them made us think and questions about love and connection in families.

And so we wanted to make another piece. This time about men. About the bonds that are shared and the complexity of love and legacy in male family relationships. We wanted to share this and see this and celebrate this and understand this.

I have a 3 year old son and the process of watching him and my dad build a relationship has been fascinating for me. It has led me to question the things that need to be taken forward and the things that are better left behind. Of the nature of what it means to be a man. To be in in a family. To love other people. To keep making sense of complicated things.

So now we are finally making OLD BOY. It’s piece we first scratched with Luminate and Platform in Easterhouse in 2015 and are now working on the full production of which will be presented as part of the Luminate Festival in October 2017.

The piece is made up of a sequence of three duets performed by:
A 2 year old boy and his grandfather
A 11 year old boy and his grandfather
A 21 year old man and his grandfather

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

For me as a maker and as someone who goes to see theatre I believe Performance is still a crucial platform with which we reflect on the world in which we live. It's a form which asks us to be in a room which each other and actively think and feel about the thoughts and ideas of others. 

I think it is more than just a public discussion of ideas but a way of sharing something of what it means to be human. To make a connection that helps to remind us that in lots of ways - we are in it together. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have been interested in  making performance for as long as I can remember. Since I was 6 and I started first casting my 4 year old brother in plays I had written for my Mum and her friends to watch. I like to think I have gotten a little better at some parts of the creative process since then but my reason for making is still the same. I love people and telling stories. I love sharing these stories with others and having conversations as a result. That's it really.

In 2000 I went to the RCS (then RSAMD) to study Contemporary Theatre Practice and I joined a community in Glasgow that made sense to me and felt exciting and progressive. It was there met my collaborator Tashi Gore and we formed Glas(s) Performance. Everything since then has been a practice made out of our shared love of people and stories.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

We always work within a devising process where we collaborate with the performers involved to explore the personal stories and moments that will help us unlock the universal themes of the work.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

So much of the work we make as Glas(s) Performance is about love and about what we mean to each other as human beings. This means that we often have to tread the careful path of not simply creating a chocolate box image of how things are. We have to try find ways to explore the complexity and the challenge of relationships – to examine the context that led to things being the way they are – to try and touch on the joy and the pain of things in equal but careful measure in our larger attempt to look at what is most human in all of us.

OLD BOY is no different. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

A sense of connection to those men and boys on stage and an appreciation of their stories and the ideas and experiences they are sharing. 

To recognise something of their own lives and the relationships and social histories that have/do impact them.

To reflect on the nature of male familial love and legacy and the larger ideas of masculinity and what is passed down between generations of men from the west of Scotland.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We thought about who goes to the theatre and who doesn't and why. We tried to make connections with new people and have a new set of conversations we hadn't had before. 

We have been quite active in making relationships with older communities in Easterhouse and providing access points for people from across the community to be able to come and see the show. That feels important to us.