Sunday, 28 June 2015

Bumping Dramaturgy: Buckle Up @ Edfringe 2015

Andrew Hollingworth is the writer and one of the actors in Bump

The Fringe

GKV: What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Andrew Hollingworth: The inspiration for Bump came from a few different sources. I started with an idea where two characters speak their hidden thoughts to the audience throughout dialogue they have with one other. 

Then I began writing a sketch about a guy and a girl who 'Bump' (in cars). He was really angry about it and she's really apologetic. I thought about what hidden thoughts they could have that would be funny and relevant to scene. 

 Midway through this sketch I allowed the characters to realise that they were attracted to the other and had them tell the audience in unison. From then on I decided to enhance the style of overlapping dialogue until the entire scene was like a tennis match of internal and external thoughts.

Over the next couple of years I became really interested in physics, particularly theories to do with entangled particles. This basically states that two particles can become connected and influence each other. Even if they are millions of miles apart they seem to be able to communicate and behave as one. I thought this would be a nice metaphor for my characters Eliana and Ian: when two people collide can their lives become entangled? Suddenly I was able to turn my sketch into a story.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
The main reason for Buckle Up Theatre is that we want people to see our work. As a company our main goal is to make theatre that entertains people and where's better to entertain people with a fringe show than at the largest fringe festival in the world.

It would be fair to say that as a new company with young actors and writers we are also looking for exposure. To network with producers, press, directors is crucial to the development of Buckle Up Theatre as we wish to tour our shows after Edinburgh.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of
your production?

Bump is incredibly fast paced. Not only in its overlapping dialogue but also physically...let's just say that the actors are sweating after two minutes. The audience will also be taken by surprise on more than one occasion. The plot itself is full of twists and turns and the emotional journey the characters take is shared with the audience.

On the whole, I think people will enjoy seeing something that is unique in its style; something that encourages the audience to become a part of the characters' lives rather than just observers.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
The actual words on the page for Bump are extremely complicated. The script is filled with lines spoken at the same time, overlapping single words, asides spoken to the audience, dialogue overlapping with asides and not forgetting plenty of movement and simultaneous actions. When writing the play I have had to be very consistent in my formatting to make sure it can be understood when read. 

The nature of Bump means that there isn't much room to interpret lines in your own way as an actor. It relies so much on timing that the whole play becomes like a dance. If, for example, you spoke one line too quickly, it could mean that an overlap in dialogue is missed. Much like in a dance where if one person takes a step to quickly you could step on your partner's foot.

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?
A huge part of the play are the asides, breaking the fourth wall to talk directly with the audience. This of course is an ancient theatre technique and was popular with Shakespeare and restoration comedies.

As with the physical side of Bump, the piece is probably best described as modern clowning. With many scenes in Bump, the characters share the same space but are in completely separate places. An example of this is where the two characters are watching TV. 

It has been staged to look as though they are watching each other. The sound coming from the television then becomes relevant to what they are doing. For example, the character Ian drops his phone and Eliana's TV says "It's a fumble!" This is similar to techniques used by Jacques Tati in his film Playtime.

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?
I always start with a script and then workshop it. Our theatre company has a very collaborative process. The three of us who run it are all acting graduates and so it is easy for us to read scripts and hear them out loud. This of course leads to a realisation if a scene is working or not. Ideas are thrown about and then I'll go back and rewrite.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience are a part of the characters. Their role is to be the force that entangles them. In plenty of theatre, audiences side with characters. One person might think 'He's right' and 'she's wrong' another may think the opposite. 

In Bump the audience are put on both sides as they hear both characters' hidden thoughts. Although they may disagree with what a character does, they have been a part of the decision made by them.

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