Wednesday, 10 June 2015

There is no comedy without an audience - just an insane man talking to empty chairs. Lewis Schaffer is Dramaturgical until Famous

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

Lewis Schaffer: This is what I do. I am a comic. I gig. This is a gig - or a series of gigs and that is what I do.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
It isn't "work". It doesn't exist until it is performed. 

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
My face stretched when I read this. If I knew, I wouldn't do it. I hope they laugh and think I am funny. I hope they think and feel something all tingly. I hope at one point they think that they have made a mistake by coming in to see me. 

The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
I can't. I had a student follow me for two years and wrote a sociology paper about how women in my audiences acted noting their micro-interactions. Her final paper - she got a First in Sociology at Goldsmiths. She understands this stuff. She's a genius. Full on. You are asking a tiger why he has stripes.

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 part of the Jewish Tradition. Another student wrote a paper about me, saying my act was Shakespearian.I would think that my work is like Tommy Cooper, after he died on stage.  

The student got a First Hons at University of Portsmouth. He is a genius, 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 say something. It gets a laugh or another weird response. I try to say it again. The longer bits get put into my shows immediately. I try to remember the shorter bits, the one liners, and put it together with other one liners to make a longer bit. There was film made about me:  by a film student, which shows how the art is made, if it is art.

I don't usually collaborate as I don't like to share credit and I don't remember what others say, usually. I also don't trust that a joke another comic comes up with is orginal.

That said, recently I have had some smart young people around me who've helped me with the jokes, including though I am loath to give anyone credit. Okay, I suck the lifeblood of young people to make my stuff funnier (or even funny).

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
There is no comedy without an audience - just an insane man talking to empty chairs.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you? 
At least these were only a few questions. That Maria from Jongleurs sent me 48 questions for her PHD thing and I told her to fuck off. 

Well, I asked for £100 which is the same thing. She never gave me work at Jongleurs and she sold the company for millions so to hell with her.

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