Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Uncaging Dramaturgy: Deborah Dutilh @ Edfringe 2015


Written and Performed by Deborah Dutilh
Directed by Award Winning Actor and Director Debra De Liso

When her late ex-husband visits her in a dream, Deborah wonders if she should be worried or not, never suspecting what the future has in store for her.

Review of Into The Panther’s Cage at The Los Angeles Woman’s Theatre Festival

Deborah Dutilh came on stage with a strong presence and powerful charm that lead the audience through the various steps and stages of her dreams. Her dreams paralleled life a lot and so much so that it was her husband who passed away as a result of brain cancer. Enlightening the audience about her dreams of having issues of there being something wrong inside her own head, she accounts for her dramatization of the brain tumor she was eventually diagnosed with. With her strong presence and charm, she was powerful, whimsical at times and she sprinkled her dramatic presentation with humor which made it all palatable.
Written by Lorenzo Marchessi of The Geek Authority. March 2015

Into The Panther’s Cage
11th -12th August at 10:15 (50 minutes), Paradise Green, The Annexe, Venue 29
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object? 
Deborah Dutilh: I was inspired by an idea, my own true story. My show has also been a great source of healing energy for me.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
The intention of my show is to inspire and give hope to others touched by cancer, particularly brain cancer.  I would like to create awareness about this "orphan cancer" as it is often called, by sharing my story with the world. Not only is Edinburgh a world famous event it is also a triumph for me, performing my story on stage and by so far beating the very bleak odds for survival.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Inspiration, awareness of what brain cancer is, what we are really are living and feeling even though we may look really good at times.They will most definitely experience my humor and how humor can alter any experience and help with healing. They will see that
dreams can predict illness; 
departed souls do come visit us in our dreams with powerful messages; love prevails
how stepping Into The Panther's Cage is what I have lived; facing my biggest fear of cancer with courage, embracing that fear and becoming more empowered thanks to facing and embracing it.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work? 
I wanted to take the audience on a roller coaster ride. balancing the surrealism of my late ex-husband visiting me in a dream, my intuition and dreams confirming what I suspected when he appeared in my dream, with a delicate balancing act of drama and humor to make some of the experience more palatable without falling into self-pity. 

I explored the feelings and intentions of the other characters in my play, but mostly I dug deep into my own feelings and reactions. I always kept in mind the questions and comments people have surrounding my diagnosis, the comments people have made to me and any questions the audience would have. The structure of the play enhances this objective.

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've always been inspired by solo performance, story telling, speaking, the art of the clown, and stand-up comedy. My show brings in a bit of all of that.

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?
The process was evolutionary as more and more ideas and dreams tickled my brain. I often ask for guidance before falling asleep, knowing that my dreams would give me answers.Interestingly, I collaborated with my late ex-husband and Black Panther spirit guide in my dreams. Of course, I have a fabulous director, Debra De Liso, as well! The final version required a lot of fine tuning too 

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
The exchange of energy between me and the audience is phenomenal and indispensable for my performance! I have a fried brain due to radiation and chemo therapy which leads to sometimes forgetting my lines. I own this and invite the audience into my head with humor and quips which make me more authentic and leaves them howling. The character portrayed by an actor is lifeless without a relationship with the audience.

Debra De Liso Critically acclaimed actor and director and LA Women’s Theatre Festival 2014 Rainbow Award recipient, has guided the writing and directed over 300 One-Person Shows in L.A. NYC, and abroad with professionals and at the University of S. California and American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She directed Jay Sefton’s play, which won Best Solo Play L.A. Weekly, Hal Ackerman’s play Prick which won Best Script at the United Solo Festival in NYC. Debra received three California Arts Council grants to bring theatre to women in prison

Into The Panther’s Cage” is a part of Six Women, Five Decades, California Stories, an anthology of the lives of six female friends and theatre artists, age 25 to 69, who create theatre in Los Angeles. Debra De Liso, Walk A Mile Works Artistic Director, has dramaturged and directed these plays inspired by the unique passion and universal thematic clay each of these women so bravely writes about.

What makes a California woman? Undaunted by life’s challenges, six bold, fun and daring women, from five different decades, paint an eclectic landscape of today’s 21st century woman, each one with infectious energy and vision: A Los Angeles stand-up comedian, who brought American tap dance to Africa shares her childhood travels in a van; A Hollywood Horror film star searches for unconditional love within herself as a mother of a bi-polar daughter; When a globe-trotting Californian finds her deceased ex-husband showing up in her dreams- should she worry? Dancing into her 7th decade, can a daughter of the Chinese Cultural Revolution find liberation through tango in the California desert? After three marriages and raising a child with severe disabilities, can a lawyer find recovery from being human and her addiction to belonging? A young Filipina-Californian finds the courage to speak her family’s secrets in order to love herself.

Walk A Mile Works is a theatre-into-film production company based in Los Angeles, dedicated to stories that create compassion. Get ready to be transformed with these inspiring stories! 
Join us for our free preview night Friday, 7th August at 18:45
as we share a sampling of five excerpts from our play anthology.
Venue Paradise Green, The Annexe Box Office 131 510 0022 

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