Monday, 29 June 2015

Pan-Dramaturgy: Emma Lynne Harley @ Edfringe 2015

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

Emma Lynne HarleyThe idea really began when I was with the writer, Lois Robertson, who I had worked with on a previous project for our final third year performance before graduation, or in my case, progressing to the Honours stage of our degree. 

Our performance, which I directed, and she wrote in and acted in, was met with massive praise from our colleagues and tutors. The group spoke of taking the production to the Fringe, although the idea soon petered out with the majority of the group. 

So Lois and I decided to produce something new together, beginning with discussing what we considered to be our strongest attributes from the previous production. We were very focused on the idea of black comedy being our central genre, as well as a stark and unafraid examination of human nature, the good, the bad and the ugly. Lois came back to me with an original script she had written, and things went from there.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?Lois and I have both attended/are attending Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, and although neither of us are local, being from Glasgow and Fife respectively, we had been drawn to Edinburgh by its cultural scene. 

As drama students and graduates with the Edinburgh Fringe on our doorstep, taking our show to the Fringe to share our work with the most artistically diverse artists and audiences in the world is too good an opportunity to refuse. We are passionate about the issues dark humour can raise, socially and politically, and we feel that the largest arts festival in the world is an excellent place to continue these social and political discussions.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The audience, we hope, should above all expect to be challenged in some way in their preconceptions of the world around them, their conceptions of normality, and their ideas of what it means to be human. Through black humour we confront issues which are often considered taboo in today's society and invite the audience to look at things in a slightly different way. 

The audience should expect to laugh and then question why they are laughing. They should expect to be disgusted and upset. They should expect not to know how to react emotionally at some points of the drama and to want to discuss, or at least think about, the play and its content.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
The term dramaturgy is so massive, it is difficult to condense into a term small enough to discuss in terms of relevance. As young practitioners and students, of course dramaturgy is relevant to us as it is the bulk of what we learn and then put to use as normal practice. 

Dramaturgy automatically is relevant to our work, because it is part of our history and experience, but it is not always an entirely conscious thing.

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?
I am very inspired by the In-Yer-Face style in that the writing of the works of that genre, scenarios are often so grim that they can be hilarious. Sometimes you can be in such a position of pain that the pain is no longer felt, and all you can do is laugh. Sometimes something is so blatantly wrong, disgusting, or bizarre that all you can do is laugh. I am inspired in my process by the work of Theatre Workshop and their collaborative processes, and by many other concepts, artists and genres that I unconsciously utilise.

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?
In terms of the directing process, I begin with a rough image in my head, formed partially by the story and life of the script, and then the dimensions the actors bring to the roles. From then on, there isn't a formula as such. It is more a series of testing, trying, and experimenting until you find something worthwhile pursuing and developing. 

I am a fan of work-shopping character and scenarios before even beginning to work with the text. As a director, I think that collaboration is the key to any piece of theatre. Without the voices of everyone involved, you end up with a flat piece of theatre with no sense of diversity that cannot possibly represent a true reflection of life. Life is not flat and one-sided, and neither should be theatre.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The collaborators involved in the process of making the work obviously all have their own personal meanings, but in any work of art, the audience's experience and own personal meanings are what is important - we make work for audiences to see. Audience members are all different, so naturally, the meanings they create for themselves will differ, and hopefully spark discussion among them. That is what we aim to do.

No comments :

Post a Comment