Friday, 24 July 2015

Detached Dramaturgy: Sarah-Beth Brown @ Edfringe 2015

theSpace on the Mile Venue39, 
80 High Street,
17th - 29th August 2015 (exc. 23rd), 
Mon - Sat 13.05pm. Duration 45 mins

After nearly dying from Meningitis, young actor Tom Moriarty decided to turn his life around. 3 Years later, Tom and fiancee Sarah-Beth Brown are taking their play Detached to the EFF, having overcome a mixture of tragedies and challenges. 

Despite only having just started dating when Tom became sick, Tom and Sarah-Beth stayed together and have had a string of creative successes as well as dealing with post-meningitis symptoms. Detached is more than a play and signifies the direction this young couple has taken in life.

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?Sarah-Beth Brown:The inspiration came from a series of personal revelations between my partner and I. We've both had challenging lives in the last couple of years (what with Tom nearly dying from meningitis and still suffering post symptoms and depression and me losing my brother to cancer) and keeping our relationship, friendships and health happy has been a struggle.

Around seven months ago we started to realise a lot about happiness, what and who made us happy in life and how to be happy. Bad times are gonna happen and the only way to survive is to stay connected to those who bring out the best in you and you in them.

Detached came from our own real experience of feeling detached from our goals, lives and everyone in it and ourselves. So it a long explanation but detached was an idea or realisation that if we don't change the habit of detachment we could soon resolve to a life of misery.

Where does your piece at the fringe fit with your usual work?
Our company BOX Revolution aims to provide gender neutral new writing. Detached is the same. People are people and we are all affected by the same afflictions and hold strength. All of our projects focus on truth and connection. Facing up to the realities that as a society we shy away from, expressing the thoughts and desires we deserve to feel.
What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
They will see in Detached a touching sometimes sweet, sometimes troubling exploration of 3 chances at love. We incorporate live dance, music and drawing (in which the audience can participate too).
We want the audience to think. We want them to question the fear that has been instilled in them that they avoid strangers at all costs. To question where the sense of community has perished to in our communities. 

As for feel. Who are we to say what they should feel but I hope they feel something. I would like to think throughout Detached they feel amused, warmed, uncomfortable, touched, thoughtful, enticed, scared and inspired. So a big ask hahaha Detached is for them, the show is for the audience - its their journey. Lucy's story is just a vessel for the bigger story.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
As in do I feel that art is important within a dramatic piece? Forgive me if I interpret this question wrongly. I think projects whether drama or other performance much serve a purpose. It's core is entertainment but how the audience is entrained, how they process the information displayed for them and how they react can vary and should be undetermined. I think with all creative areas there are practical and logistical ways of creating but also believe that you much have heart in your project for it to work.

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? 

Acting-wise and to a point writing wise too inspiration has been drawn from Practical Aesthetics (Mamet) and Meisner and Stanislavski. More so from a writing point having read a lot of plays and films you learn dramatic structure and character development. aiming for truthful, honest and in the moment representations of conversations and relationships we feel is essential to allow the audience to connect to the characters and the stories.

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?
With Box, Tom and I explore simple ideas. We try not to limit ourselves in anyway hence why we put on an all male show set in a zombie apocalypse last year and then brought it to the fringe with a female cast. Tom is the primary writer and writes all of the work and dialogue. This changed a little this year with myself (Sarah-Beth) writing the short film "Like Happy" and co-writing Detached (albeit more in a script advisory way). There's no point in being overly precious with work. It must be fluid and open to change.

What do you feel the role of the critic is?
Honestly i think critic should give an honest account of theirs and the audiences experience of a show. While they should give their own opinion of what they like/ don't like, there should be a decent amount of critique regarding certain factors such as the writing, dramatic structure and plot, characterisation, entertainment value and audience response. People often confuse "not liking" things with them being "bad". You can be uncomfortable and agitated by a great show and maybe that's what the show intended. 

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?

 the art, craft and technique of creating. Each is to their own. So little now has to do with honest creation and beautiful art but more to do with expensive advertising and 'big names' with no substance. We hold ourselves to a high standard and expect others to do the same. We also aim to tell a story for a reason not just for self-glory. People often in this industry have false intentions and it's always disappointing. BUT when someone is moved by our work it makes it all worthwhile and they always are

The show has given both writers a unique insight into what it takes to give an electric and thoughtful performance and they are keen to express their reasons for creating this particular work.

Sarah-Beth states "We're not putting on Detached to make money. We're not doing it for fame or glory hunting. We're telling a story. For me hearing those words and reading them aloud for the first time made me think. It made me appreciate what I have and forgo and forgive that which I don't. And I hope it can do the same for you. Yes it's all about entertainment but why can't it leave you thinking?"

With personal tragedy being no stranger to both Tom and Sarah-Beth, they both had this to say

“Life is short. So let’s make the most out of it while we can. It is better to try than to spend a life wondering”

In August 2015 Detached will premiere to world audiences aiming to explore and dispute lies that society encourage us to believe about life and relationships. 

Detached brings a fresh, exciting perspective to live theatre because it utilises not only razor sharp dialogue between the characters but also live performances of each artistic expression. 

"We’ve all felt alone, we’ve all wondered what we’re doing wrong. Who can really make us happy in life? We are all one and it's time to start working for each other.”

Stories hold power. In this original new stage drama, Lucy ruthlessly deconstructs three failed relationships to ask the questions that most of us are afraid to ask.

Robyn: The Dancer, Ashen: The Artist and Daithi: The Musician, are three men who have taken pieces of Lucy’s heart. On the surface it seemed as if she had found something in each that could reveal true happiness to her but looking deeper, there were flaws in both parties that led to one inevitable place: self destruction.

Writer Tom Moriarty commented “In our current society, we actively avoid interaction with other human beings. We are glued to whatever screen grabs our attention but that is merely the symptom of a much larger disease. We seem to be losing touch with the very thing that makes us human. Detached attempts to address an issue that is pulling us closer and closer to the brink of something dangerous, an inescapable sense of detachment.”

Dance, art and music are all inexorably entwined with the drama throughout the story and the end result is something that hasn’t been seen live in theatre before, a powerful, honest and beautifully raw look at human connection. A performance that is entirely served for the audience.

Sarah-Beth said “The heart of this story came to life when I suffered a painful personal loss, losing my brother Crawford over a year ago. It forced home the terrible reality that we are not here forever. I am telling this story in honour of my brother, to tell people that life is fleeting and we have to grasp every possible moment to find happiness but more importantly, be brave enough to at least try to change the things we can in life. To try to be happy.”

BOX Revolution are a film and theatre company based in the heart of Glasgow. Formed in 2013 by Sarah-Beth Brown and Tom Moriarty, two professional actors who began their journey training together in an acting studio in the city. Since their beginnings, BOX Revolution have produced HIDDEN (Old Hairdressers), POISONED (2014 Ed. Festival Fringe), WAITING FOR CHANGE (NTS 5 Minute Theatre, Citizens Theatre) and PASSING (2014 Ed. Festival Fringe). All productions were new writing, cast using gender non-specific guidelines and were written by Tom Moriarty and cast using actors that Sarah-Beth and Tom have trained in their time in Glasgow.

Their first film, LIKE HAPPY, was shot early 2015, directed by Tom and written and starring Sarah-Beth. Previous to this short film, Tom and Sarah-Beth produced R Paul Wilson’s (BBC Three’s The Real Hustle) feature film CON MEN which is soon due for release, working alongside Tartan Spartan Films (a production company from Glasgow). Tom starred in the lead role and Sarah-Beth playing a vital role.

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