Saturday, 11 July 2015

A Tribute to Dramaturgy: TheatreState @ Edfringe 2015

TheatreState presents:

Tribute Acts

A show about false memories, father figures and the failure of the left wing

In the wake of Labour’s defeat in the General Election, Cheryl and Tess looked to their fathers. Both dads are active socialists; they are vocal about equality and fighting for a better life for all. But both men have struggled with how to be a father to young women. After years of absence and miscommunication, Cheryl and Tess decided to ask them everything. And film it.

In Tribute Acts Cheryl and Tess dream of simpler times when their Dads were in charge and politicians were like rock-stars. Deciding to make a tribute act, they attempt to resurrect their forgotten heroes. But when faced with videos of their fathers, their music doesn’t match up. Tribute Acts asks whether our remembered pasts are, in fact, a fiction.

Assembly Roxy Downstairs (Venue 139)
6 - 30 Aug (not 19)
14.50 (60mins)
£10, £8 (Previews 6, 7 Aug £6)

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?Tess Seddon and Cheryl Gallagher :We began by imagining what would be the worst thing to do – make a show with our Dads.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
We want to suffer even more. Not really. We want to get our work seen. The Fringe is a chance to put ourselves out there in a big way.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I think it feels a little shocking as it’s about our personal relationships with our dads alongside looking at the failure of the left wing. 
The whole show is inspired by tribute acts and trying to resurrect heroes that never existed in the way you thought they did. 

Feedback so far has been that it’s very moving and also everyone instantly starts thinking about their own dads and what they would have said in an interview about them.

The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Oh lordy. Dramaturgy is all we’ve got. We start with so many different ideas and themes and trying to unpick why they are relevant and how to bring them out in our performance is majorly important.

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?
We’re inspired by loads of different artists from different practices, Ant and Dec, Jeremy Deller, Gob Squad, Music videos, Stanley Kubrick, The Wooster Group, each project uses different references but so far Ant and Dec is probably the one we return to the most.

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?
It begins with 100 ideas, develops into no ideas and ends with about five ideas rolled into one. 

TheatreState is two people, Cheryl and Tess but we work a lot with our sound designer, Jon McLeod and on this project we’ve been lucky enough to work with legend lighting designer Lee Curran and the brilliant video designer Letty Fox. Their brains are crucial to us making something coherent, alienating and beautiful.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?The audience is the key. We talk a lot about how hyped we want the audience to be at different times. We like playing with their expectations so they go on a little rollercoaster ride and familiar things can become unfamiliar. We want our shows to be as good as downing a jagerbomb.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
I don’t know. Perhaps the best way to understand would be to come and watch us bang our heads against a wall, eat chips and scribble on paper until we decide to just do the obvious (which is never obvious).

Inspired by science fiction films and old dreams of the future that never happened. Cheryl and Tess drift alone in space, their fathers’ messages beaming through to the stage like garbled holograms from another time.

‘A wicked, morbid satire on stereotypes’ Three Weeks ****

Tribute Acts is a darkly comic, strikingly honest show. At its heart is frank video footage of Tess and Cheryl’s fathers talking about their daughters and their lives, their feelings and views. The performers interact with their on screen fathers in an attempt to close the void. Wicked and fun yet simultaneously thoughtful, tragic and poignant.

'Gallacher and Seddon have a compelling dynamic, and an effortless way of inviting in their audience.'
Catherine Love (On Fanny Hill Project v2.0)

Evoking their 90’s childhoods and political and cultural father figures, Tribute Acts will strike a chord with anyone who has mixed emotions about their parents and concerns that their world will become our own.

‘a mashed-up, artfully muddled pink cocktail of a provocation.' Exeunt (On Fanny Hill Project v2.0)

TheatreState co-directors are Tess Seddon and Cheryl Gallacher. They make shows that celebrate the weird and alienating aspects of 21st century life. Each show is its own world, with its own rules. 'We put our own experiences into bumper cars and then invite the audience to press GO.'

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