Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Lunatic Dramaturgy: Amy Burke and Geri Allen @ Edfringe

However, nothing goes to plan, and everything spirals into chaos and calamity. The show takes on a life of its own, and the result is an unforgettable evening (though perhaps not exactly the elegant one the girls dreamed of).

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
We began with an idea: we wanted to find a way to marry the medium of a jazz cabaret with the style of farce. We try to toe the line between the ridiculous and the glamorous, and we wanted to bring that to the show.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is unlike anything in the's such a melting pot of people creating all manner of work, plus people looking to bring that work to an even wider audience. It's the best way we can think of to get our work in front of the widest audience possible.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
We hope that they hear great music and that they laugh a lot. Our goal is for everyone who comes to our show to have a ridiculously fun hour. We also hope that they leave feeling clever, and that the show did not pander to them in any way. We always like feeling clever when we're in the theatre, so we imagine others do as well.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Creating a cabaret farce is a funny proposition: of course, in a traditional cabaret, the show is very scripted, but the idea is for it to feel improvised and in-the-moment. The best cabaret artists are like stand-up comedians in that they have their script, but they also know how to work a crowd and deal with whatever the situation throws at them in the moment. 

In a farce, often much of the comedy comes from things going wrong and the actors not necessarily being able to cope with that--in the world of the play. But because cabaret lacks a fourth wall to begin with, we have to create a world where the cabaret artists aren't able to cope with chaos at all, to allow farce to bloom. This means we have to pay close attention to shaping the show, which to me is the dramaturgy, and therefore I would say it's essential to the show working in the way we want it to.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
We are very much inspired by farce--the particular play that we refer to constantly in discussing the style of the show is Noises Off.
As far as cabaret and performance goes, we are very inspired by RuPaul's approach to the work of 'show business', and we fully embrace his mantra of 'you're born naked: the rest is drag' when it comes to the creation of our cabaret personas.

Musically, we owe a debt to Scott Bradlee and the Post Modern Jukebox, because what he does with translating modern pop music into different historical styles is just phenomenal. He's an absolute genius.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
We talk CONSTANTLY. Both of us have to hold down other jobs, both of the 'day job' variety as well as other performance work, so we don't get to spend as much time physically in each other's presence writing as we would like. Our solution to that is to essentially live on messenger apps on our phones, pinging ideas back and forth about what we want to do with the show.

Our ideas come primarily from our own lives and experiences, both in shows that we have done under the 'Bebe+Luna' banner, as well as other plays and performances we've done. Our approach is intensely collaborative, and we couldn't be doing this without each other.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?

We can't do ANYTHING without the audience; cabaret by its very nature is dependant on the audience. Of course, not every person in every audience will understand or like what we are doing, but that's okay...but without an audience, we are nothing.

'Bebe+Luna Present' was conceived after two actor/singer/musicians, Amy Burke & Geri Allen, had a cheeky dalliance in the world of burlesque. Seduced by the shameless juxtaposing of glamour with comedy, and the reckless spirit of 'YES YOU CAN!', these two women emerged forever changed. 

They took their favourite elements of burlesque and threw them in a blender with a traditional cabaret, and something exciting emerged: The Cabaret Farce. Part jazz cabaret, part play-goes-wrong, The Cabaret Farce toes the line between the glamorous and the ridiculous.**Venue
Momentum Studio @ St Stephens (Venue 166)
5-30 August 2015
22:00 (1hr) Tickets
5&6 August £5; then Mon-Fri £9.50, Sat/Sun £10.50

**Despite the burlesque roots, there are no nipples (tassled or otherwise) in this show.

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