Monday 29 June 2015

The Fiction of Dramaturgy: Glen Neath @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe
GKV: What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object? 
Glen Neath: For me, the original impetus came from the way people responded to our last show Ring. I was interested in the distinction between what the audience thought was real and what wasn’t, and how we could play with that uncertainty.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production? 
I hope the audience see everything, including other members of the audience who will be inhabiting the collective dream with them.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Glen NeathThe narrative of the piece is very much dictated by how it will be experienced, so for example, we thought about locations that might be interesting sonically; likewise what props would be best when thinking about an unsighted audience? 

It was written with this in mind, and not to necessarily ‘tell a story’. Having said that there is a sort of story, but it follows, we hope, a sort of dream logic, whereby it makes sense whilst it is being experienced and yet is less certain, or more slippery, when it is over. I enjoy that feeling in myself of reaching for something that I do not fully understand - I do not like certainty, which is usually disappointing.

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 enjoy things that challenge the form - of how a story is told. So I am more joyful of how a writer might have got me to a certain place and less interested in what is happening to the characters in the story.

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 feel the pieces are collaborations more than they are anything else. I see myself as the writer / co-director and David (Rosenberg) as the director / co-writer.

We start by discussing broadly what we want to explore with the piece. I then go away and write around the ideas we have come up with. If there is any research that might be useful I do it at this stage. I check in with David regularly and we discuss the script and what works and what doesn’t work.

This goes on (and on) until we have a finished script, becoming more and more intense as we near the recording dates. David by now is picking on individual words. If David wants to chip in with any text this would be where he does that.

We then record the script, scene by scene, with Max (Ringham) offering advice on what would work best.

A further edit then takes place as we construct the final recording. We edit out lines that don’t work (where we can) and with Fiction, we re-recorded tiny bits that required minimal actors. This though is hard to do and generally we have to make the piece from what we have managed to record - this requires quite a huge amount of pre-emptive guess work - what do we need to do to make sure we have what we need? 

This is also why both pieces have been recorded twice - as a lot is learnt from the initial recordings. A re-write necessitates a full re-record! 

Max composes any music/sound during this and he then polishes the final thing and adds any sound effects we discuss and decide upon (as a triumvirate). 

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
In both Fiction and Ring I think that the audience complete the piece. They feel very open ended to me. Because each audience member is the central character the responses to the pieces are more varied than usual, and are located at both extremes of the spectrum as well as everywhere in between - some people are panic-stricken, others find them relaxing; some are able to fully give up to what is happening, others aren’t. So it feels like there are as many different versions of the show as there are audience members.

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