Thursday, 25 June 2015

The ABC of Dramaturgy (Renny Krupinski @ Edfringe 2015)

Renny Krupinski, writer of The Alphabet Girl...

The Fringe:

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a

script or an object?
My wife was asked to perform at a new writing monologue night. I said I’d write something for her and then had an idea that was based on the theme of New Year’s resolutions. The monologue went well and that inspired me to write the full length play.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
I’ve been to Edinburgh three times before and always successfully. The last time I won a Fringe First with Bare, was nominated by The Stage as Best Actor and won a Dark Chat Best Director award. Kaitlin Howard (The Alphabet Girl) was also nominated as Dark Chat Best Actress. Since 2010, The SpaceUK have been asking me to return. I didn’t want to until I had something I felt was good enough.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I’d like the audience to be intrigued, shocked and engaged with the writing. I’d like them to be blown away by Kaitlin Howard’s performance. However...what they actually feel and think is entirely up to them.

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Any script for the theatre must be theatrical and create an experience specific to the time and the moment between the audience and the performer(s). This has to be different from any televisual, radio or film script. 

Any “drama” is always a heightened reality...even what is taken as “reality” to make it work on stage. The language is particularly important insomuch as how one character speaks as opposed to another. The choice of words is crucial.
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 believe in intelligent audiences that need to be guided through the world you create. I seem to write something different every time I feel I have to write something. 

Berkoff is undoubtedly an influence, although he may be horrified, surprised and/or flattered. I love his work. He has never seen mine.

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 have found that unless I know what’s going to happen in the final moment of the play, there’s almost no point in me starting to write it. As long as I’m aiming towards my goal I can veer off in any direction because I’ll always be trying to steer myself back to my purpose thereby creating an urgency to achieve my goal...and actually I can overtake my initial goal and find a new one, but by that time I know exactly where I am going with it. 

It’s always exciting when a character takes me by surprise in what they say or do and sometimes they even make me cry. That’s when I know I’ve hit something right for me. Again, what the audience thinks or feels can be something completely different...however, I always hope they feel what I want them to.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
No one writes a play to not be performed, at least I don’t think they do. Therefore the audience is an integral part of the process. An uninitiated, unconnected observer. If the play works they will have a cathartic experience. Emotions, memories, inner thoughts will be stirred. They may laugh, they may cry, they may vocalise if they are so moved. 

Sitting politely, having an average non-committed time is no use to them, the performer or writer. It should make their day and most definitely give them something to talk about. There is no play without the audience, only a safe vocalisation of words. 

There is a danger to live theatre. Everyone knows it. The performer is frightened of them, the audience is frightened of the performer. It is the performer’s job to let them know it’s okay to react and in doing so the audience let’s the performer know it’s okay to take risks and a wonderful symbiosis occurs that is unique to that particular time and place and only for those present to experience. I hope The Alphabet Girl delivers.

5. Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
Vindictive critiques are not worth the paper they are written on or the airwaves they are broadcast over and should be ignored however hard that might be...but, no writer should be frightened of a critique that is constructive, albeit not the greatest pass time for a writer to read. 

Irrespective of what the writer feels the audience should get from the play, if they do not it’s a valid point to state this. It’s not the fault of the audience (critic). It’s so easy for a writer to miss something obvious or for something not to work in the performance and therefore they must be capable of putting a big black line through their favourite speech, their favourite joke or indeed rewriting any part that isn’t right. 

Often I’ll have a niggling feeling something’s wrong but hope it’ll be alright in the end...whereas it would save so much time if I acknowledged straight away the fact that a particular bit wasn’t good, got rid of it and made myself write something better. It happens all the time writing for TV as one is asked to shorten, lengthen or just plain change it...and to deliver, one has to. Usually it’s much better for it.

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