Monday, 15 June 2015

Braw Dramaturgy: Jeffrey Mayhew and Susan Wilson @ Edfringe 2015

Based entirely on written and oral first-hand accounts and detailed research into the period in and around 1959 (the pivotal year for the show) A Cinema in South Georgia not only looks at the darker more contentious side of the whaling industry but is also a celebration of four men, who, at differing points in their lives, in different ways and with differing attitudes and outcomes risked their lives amongst the ice floes.

'A stunning performance from a wonderful cast. The realism of whaling days in the South Atlantic was truly brought to life in this most remarkable production. Gritty, humorous, at times poignantly sad, yet also heart-lifting and thought provoking. A magnificent script matched by acting of the highest quality. I defy anyone not to be moved to tears by the final scene.' - Peter Aitchison: Director of Media and PR, University of Glasgow author of Children of the Sea.

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Jeffrey Mayhew and Susan Wilson
For me this was a discussion with the co-author, Susan, in which she outlined the very personal project she had envisaged of writing a play about some of the last of the whaling men to go “down the ice” from Eyemouth.

Why bring your work to the Edinburgh Fringe?
Having toured (six shows) the area of Scotland from which the characters had come and seen the response of local people to local history it seemed only appropriate. And the sailing was made from Leith with Salvesen being based there.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Clearly there are issues – this is, after all, about whaling, but these are addressed head on. The core of the play however looks at what drove these men at this time (late 1950s) to take this perilous step.

The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
I think that the driving force of Yiddish theatreSingen, Lachen, Weinen pretty well sums up where I want to be.

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?
The writer creators – the ones who wrote it, acted it, stuck it on a cart and got out and did it – Shakespeare, Brecht, Moliere, Lorca… I am with Susan on Burns – almost my number one author – pity he didn’t write plays!

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?
The idea has to have resonance and importance and then for me the characters take over. Clearly this is a collaborative show and has involved a long process of discussion and research.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Vital. Written for them, about them, with them always uppermost in mind. I would hope that they would come away with an insight into the lives played before them.

Braw Buoys is a company of actors (Euan McIver, Frazer Smiles, Jonathan Coombes, Mark Vevers) from in and around Eyemouth, each of whom bring a range of community and professional experience to this project and give it its special flavour and authenticity.

The Pleasance Courtyard (Beside) : Venue 33
1pm (1hr)
5th, 6th, 7th August
Show Dates
8th – 16th August & 18th -30th August
Ticket Price
£6 (Previews) other tickets between £9 - £12
Box Office
0131 556 6550

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