Monday, 29 June 2015

Chippin' away at Dramaturgy: Lee Coffey @ Edfringe 2015

Keating calls the play – which is directed by Karl Shiels - ‘a cross between an urban, Dublin tango and a tag-team wrestling match’. And with its high-energy script packed with sex, drugs and violence, Leper + Chip seems destined to appeal to that rare beast: the younger theatre audience.

Clarke-Stewart agrees: “I think the show speaks to a lot of young people. It shows characters acting-out through boredom, and their need for excitement.”

“People seem shocked that we don’t pass out with the amount of movement required for the show,” says Keating. “Audience members have also commented on the ‘splash zone’ where a few beads of sweat tend to travel on occasion.”

Coffey adds: “I wanted to put on a show that had a pace and performance level that would match any other, that wouldn’t let the audience off easy and would make them hang on every word. It really does knock you for six and doesn't let up, leaving you in its wake.”

Leper + Chip, Assembly Roxy, 6 – 31 August, 3pm

The Fringe
GKV: What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Lee Coffey: I had a rough idea of a couple that just went through one hell of a day, going from worse to worse. Everything getting in their way, preventing them from being together. 

Some people have a “Romeo & Juliet” reference but that was never originally in my mind. The only similarity is that they are two young lovers mixed up in a world of violence, tragedy and death.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is the biggest theatre festival in the world. Many Irish shows have went there and been very successful and we want to follow suit. It’s an exciting and terrifying prospect.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
They will see a giant Pringle eating woman, a tiny man locked in fridge, a leopard coated cougar and a machete wielding maniac all centred around a twisted love story. This production pulls no punches, it moves at one hundred miles an hour and the whole audience come along for the ride. They will laugh and cry in equal measure with every resounding SMACK!

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
When the play had its first reading, there were a few notes given that really got me thinking. One being the lack of a love scene between the two protagonists and the other being a shop and a house juxtaposed for dramatic and comedic purposes. 

The latter came to mind with one simple note. I think dramaturgy is very important as you can be too close to a script and it’s good to get some outside opinions.

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 influence on my work is Dublin. Dublin writers, poets, music, people and everything in between. The nineties are a big influence on me as I mainly write Dublin monologues. 

Writers such as Mark O’Rowe and Conor McPherson are particularly big influences on me. They’re both very different and I like to think that I am too.

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 start with an idea that pops into my head as I go about my day. Over a few days I think it through and then I begin writing it. I don’t ever plot out the end, I just write as I go leaving myself notes at the end of each session as to where I was going at that time. Then when I go back at it again I read over everything up to that point, if the notes hold up, I use them, if not, I move with how I am feeling at that particular moment. 

I hand-write everything, making it easier to reuse previous pages and lines that I have discarded. Then once it is finished, I have a reading with my theatre company and listen to notes and opinions.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience is everything for my plays. Both characters directly address audience members during their pieces. The audience don’t sit idly by; they are as much a part of the play as the two characters themselves. If the audience are with us, it’s a joy to watch.

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