Friday, 19 June 2015

Who'd Win in a Fight out of A Poet and a Multi-Media Company? At the Fringe

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you a square go spectacular: artists come and artists go, but no-one will forget tonight's prize fight. In the Red Corner, we have internationally multi award winning poet Dominic Berry. 

He's come a long way to give us the world premiere of his new show, Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob. Show what you've got, Mr Berry.

Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob is a hilarious but deeply moving spoken word show about what happens when you turn to video games to solve the problems you have in the real world. 

Berry examines failure, escapism, and how extremely hot Blanka from Street Fighter 2 is through poetry, comedy and music. The show is scored by Martin (part of PenUltimate, and who previously toured poetry gangster scrabble play A Night on the Tiles) and the dramaturg is Matt Panesh (whose own shows have won him Best Poet, San Francisco Fringe, Best In Venue, Indianapolis Fringe, Best in Venue, London Fringe, Producer’s Pick, London Fringe).

Bonus points for having a dramaturg. Plus he's got a gangster scrabble master in his corner. 

Dominic says, “This show is about me being an effeminate, gay, vegan, generally lefty guy trying to exist in the raging, testosterone world of aggression that is online gaming. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s horrified by high profile attacks like gamergate, but who still really loves Mortal Kombat. I want to explore that, and also make a load of jokes about Minecraft and Candy Crush.”

In the Blue Corner, transferring directly from the London West End’s Above the Arts, it's The Remnants! a two-part feast of multimedia delight, featuring film, dance, poetry and storytelling, all underscored by original music from Nashville.

Hang on. I didn't make this very fair. There's loads of these Shrapnel Theatre people, plus they are doing two shows. 

The Remnants: As Thyself — Sin, sanctity and self are consumed in this post-dramatic tour of loss, life and love. A heart-wrenching confessional by the enigmatic A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 and 4. An internationally acclaimed success, As Thyself was written when van Tricht was only 18, and has been performed in England and the USA. It is part one of The Remnants.

The Remnants: Threadbare
— Poetry, film and storytelling relate the chronologically jumbled, dysfunctional love story of two hearts that have finished colliding, underscored by original music. Threadbare is the second half of The Remnants.

The shows are directed by Rosa Crompton, who has directed multiple shows in London and is part of the Woman @ RADA group, and are written by Isla van Tricht, the Artistic Director of Shrapnel, who will soon complete her Masters in Text and Performance at RADA. Film content comes from London-based company Faktem Films, and is produced by award-winning film producer Sofi Berenger (The Suitcase).

Well, Dominic Berry is doing a kids' show, too... but I tend not to write about those... 

I messed this contest up... I guess Berry wins the poetry bit... Shrapnel the other genres. Sorry.

About The Artists

Dominic Berry is an internationally award winning performance poet, actor and workshop facilitator. He works with children and adults.

His awards include winning New York’s infamous Nuyorican Poetry Cafe Slam, winning Manchester Literature Festival’s Superheroes of Slam and, as of January 2015, five Arts Council England Grants for the Arts awards to tour his theatrical verse across the UK.

Dominic has performed his poetry on BBC’s Greg and Celia’s Festivals Highlights (a showcase of the best of 2014′s Edinburgh Fringe), Channel 4′s My Daughter The Teenage Nudist and Channel 4 News. In his children’s poet ‘Dommy B’ persona he has performed on CBeebies’ Rhyme Rocket.

Dominic’s play about the modern mental health system Wizard (2012, funded by Oxford University, Arts on Prescription, Contact and GftA) toured the UK under the direction of PenUltimate’s Martin ‘Visceral’ Stannage. Dominic and Martin are working together on Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob

Shrapnel was launched in January 2015, and is committed to making reckless, eviscerating theatre. Its first production was the 25th Anniversary of Jim Cartwright’s Two, starring Emmerdale duo Jamie Shelton and Chelsea Halfpenny. Shortly afterwards, they began a series of monthly New Musical Nights at the Arts Theatre, celebrating brand new musical theatre and presenting it to an industry audience, with a panel discussion each time.

Rosa is a recent University of York graduate. Whilst at York she directed Threadbare (co-direct with Isla van Tricht), Oleanna, The Garden and Stars in the Morning Sky in the Drama Society’s studio The Drama Barn as well as a production of As You Like It in the university grounds as part of the summer Shakespeare festival. Also while at York, Rosa worked as assistant director to the artistic director Damian Cruden at the York Theatre Royal on a production of Blithe Spirit.

Since graduating Rosa has worked with Islington Community Theatre during a workshop at the National Theatre Studio – specifically with helping with the education of the young people in the show. Also, Rosa is involved with a group called Women @ RADA which is looking to promote gender equality in theatre. She recently directed new-writing piece Smokers at the Scene of a Crime with Micklegate Theatre Company at the Hen and Chickens.

Isla van Tricht is a playwright and theatre director currently undertaking the MA in Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She is interested in creating and devising new and thought-provoking theatre, and is especially interested in post-dramatic, immersive and experimental theatre forms, writing about raw topics which explore human identity, relationships, despair and hope. She enjoys multimedia theatre, incorporating film, the internet and interactivity into performance in a variety of ways. Isla’s aim is to create plays that leave the audience buzzing with debate and discussion of the ideas explored in performance - she wants audiences to feel challenged and to search themselves, and believes the best way to do that is to put something raw and open on stage for the audience to open up to.

Faktem Films is a dynamic, creative and innovative independent film production company based in London. It is run by artistic directors Piers Foley and David S Fineberg and executive director Sofi Berenger. They create high quality digital content for companies, brands and individuals including commercials, trailers, promos, showreels, music videos and documentaries, as well as working on their own creative projects. Foley, Fineberg and Berenger have their own independent companies and projects also, working across a series of related industries including photography, film, the not-for-profit sector and theatre production.

Paul Virides is a freelance theatre producer, executive producer of Shrapnel Theatre and assistant producer for Hartshorn - Hook Productions. Recent credits for Shrapnel include Two and the monthly New Musicals Night (Above the Arts) and general management of Vampire Cabaret (Assembly, Edinburgh 2015), and freelance work includes The Mikvah Project (workshop, Chickenshad/The Yard), Songs For a New World (C venues, 2012) and As You Like It and Scarberia for TakeOver Festival 2012 (York Theatre Royal).

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