Friday, 26 June 2015

Volcanic Dramaturgy: Paul Davies @Edfringe 2015

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Paul Davies: This production was inspired by a number of things. I will list them in no particular order:
(a) The possibility of filling an empty building with 3 tons of coal.
(b) The discovery of a very short, surreal story written by a miner in 1947.
(c) The anniversary of the miners’ strike
(d) The sense that work (or art) as action is disappearing from our lives.
(e) The Belgian artist, Gwendoline Robin.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?We have been bringing work to Edinburgh since 1988 when we performed at the Gateway Centre which was a building owned/managed by Jimmy Boyle. We have come approximately 13 times to the Fringe during this time. We come to connect to the world and the theatre community more generally.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production? 
The audience see and stand upon a lot of coal. There will be fire and power tools. It will be cold, loud and occasionally funny. They will hear fragments of stories from four characters – Betty Rae Watkins, Joseph Herman, Dai Alexander and David Martin. 

Some of these stories will be in English, some in Welsh and some in Spanish. I hope that the audience will be intrigued to think about what they are seeing and ask what kind of theatre is this? And what kind of story is this Welsh company telling ? 

 I hope that they think about how a country’s past is contested and that our memories of how we live and what was done (by whom and to whom) are the very stuff of what it is to be human. Finally I hope they think “God that was good. I’d like to have been part of that!”

As far the relevance of this goes: it depends what we mean by it. If it means thinking, critical or humanistic or just of the occasional sort then clearly we can all subscribe to it. 

If it means structuring a piece of work so that the narrative or purposes of the authors are more clear I guess we can subscribe to this too. Of course dramaturgy is often in place to protect a script from the director. 

We don’t really need this in the UK as the playwright is in a relatively powerful position. Power is relative and so too perhaps is the thinking of the dramaturg.

Influences and Traditions
Volcano were heavily bound up with physical interpretations of texts. Artaud for beginners, politics too. Particularly connected to the work of Nigel Charnock who directed a number of our early classic black box shows. 

Punk and politics. We have also performed a number of shows in spaces outside of theatres. Especially as we have a building ourselves. 

We don’t really see ourselves as vectors or carriers of any particular tradition or way of making theatre. Dissenters, outsiders, marginal proponents of lumber!

Most processes stick with the particularity of the text or theme(s) that one is seeking to articulate. Having said that of late – risk is at the centre of the process. 

How can we as actors demonstrate that this counts – that this is live and happening now. It is good to do what you cannot do. The other part of the process that is important is to surprise the audience and yourself. 

Finally keep some things secret – why you do this or refer to that; some things are best not said- we can at best hint at them, even to ourselves they might remain unknown.

Without the audience we are just talking to ourselves. Art and theatre articulate an increasingly private, arcane language. This does in fact happen. 

The converse is also true, art and theatre can just burble on not saying very much distinctive or challenging at all. To prevent these twin threats from really taking hold, we need the audience. The audience confers meaning upon a theatre piece. Without an audience we are depressed and dying.

Is Dramaturgy the bastard cousin of Jurgen Habermas ? Is it, in other words, a part of the project of rationality and knowledge that Habermas and co have been so painstakingly documenting or is dramaturgy better understood as a set of discrete, ill-formed, accidental, almost poetic codes?

I know where I stand, do you?

No comments :

Post a Comment