Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dramaturgical Overshare: Claire Healy @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Claire Healy: I wanted to share with people and have people share their experiences with me to create a feeling of oneness, if that makes sense! We all have moments of fear, joy, moments we wish would never end, the pissed offedness at crappy exes and the need to express our love of potatoes...

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
It’s an artistic paradise! We can share our work with audiences, and
be inspired by everyone elses’ work. It’s also a great place to develop as an artist, not only in being dumbfounded by amazing shows (I know it’s made me better at what I do, just by encountering incredible people) but in doing such a long run, the show is able to grow and bend in ways that isn’t possible in shorter runs that are more spaced out. 

Also Scotland is wonderful. Whiskey aged cider, yes please! 

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I want everyone to be involved in making the show. I HATE audience participation as an audience member (sometimes!) so I try to create more of a feeling of community rather than singling people out to make them feel on the spot! We play. It’s very silly. There are lots of songs. Most of them are also very silly. We eat biscuits, I talk a bit, the audience talks a bit. There is gin. We have a giggle. We play Never Have I Ever and learn weird shit about each other.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
The show is less a narrative, but more about creating an experience. So I guess - in terms of dramaturgical process (if that’s a thing????) it’s about finding the moments that connect each often seemingly random event to create the journey of the show and the feeling of a whole. I sound like a right wanker, don’t I! 

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 come from a background in Musical Theatre (most useless degree ever!), ballet, and formal music training in piano and singing. I’ve always loved a good story song, whether it’s a traditional Irish or English folk song, (Mum was very into those), musical theatre songs often tell a great story, cabaret artists like Eddie Perfect or Tim Minchin, or great singer songwriters like David Bridie, Regina Spektor or Kate Miller-Heidke. (I also memorised the entire album of ‘Monty Python Sings’ as a child and would sing it at my parents constantly.)

I saw Mikelangelo (an amazing cabaret artist from Australia) when I was about 12 year old, and it completely turned my world around. The powerful connection he had with his audience with the immediacy of this performance blew me away.

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?I write down lists of songs I’d like to write. Whether it’s a silly thought, an event that’s happened or something I’ve observed, something in the news… anything that provokes thought and feels interesting. I’ll write a few songs and see what connects them. Then have a look at my existing songs to see if any explore the same feelings or try and write some more new material to explore this feeling from a different angle or make this journey clearer.

I’ll then send first draft recordings to a few trusted friends to see
what they think. Do some tweaking, then I host my annual ‘songs and scones’ event where I play all of the new songs in order for a bunch of mates, and make everyone scones to bribe them to come along and say thank you for putting up with my crappy first drafts! I’ll then berate everyone about what they thought afterwards. It’s all about audience. The work then develops in previews - you can’t create an experience for other people while you’re sitting in a room with a stack of notebooks and a glass of gin. (That just works for the first part...)

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Audience is EVERYTHING. The best part of cabaret is the exchange that takes place. You can’t create a show about sharing without anyone to share with! My show ends with a musical game of Never Have I Ever. Audience members often stay behind at the end of the show and want to tell me more about their lives. One man in Adelaide told me a long story about how he woke up in a paddock and then got shot by a farmer!

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