Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dramaturgy on the Pole: Amy Bellwood @ Edfringe 2015

Delhi Belly,

Underbelly Cowgate 
Box Office: 0844 545 8252
6th to 30th August, 12am 

(No show on the 17th)

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Amy Bellwood: We began with an idea. We were sat around having a girly night at mine. Anais had basically visualised a

moment/image where three women would be sitting on poles drinking cups of tea and gossiping. It was essentially a moment that was natural, but also included stylised movement. 

So the whole piece really stemmed from the idea of using Pole Dancing poles as a staging tool. 'A scaffold' said Lyndal. And bringing it more into the theatrical world and utilising poles more as a theatrical tool.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?

Where else can you pile thousands of pounds into a show with the hope that it might work without being called mentalists?

We probably wouldn't have done it in London (even though we said we would if our applications were rejected).

Also you have a ready audience, waiting and wanting to see something new. So why not take advantage of that?

Also the Underbelly is perfect for us and our show, so to be represented by them and to be under their umbrella is great. So said Rhianna.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Golly, well we're not mind readers. Any response is a good response...actually no...scratch that. Erm...

So we can only hope that they listen, watch and hear and somewhat respond to what they've seen in some way.

Hopefully their pre-existing opinions that may exist about Pole Dancing will have changed slightly.

Hopefully they'll see that it's a women's right to safely and joyfully express her sexuality, and that this shouldn't be judged.

Hopefully they will start thinking about Pole Dancing as an extension of Physical Theatre and the use of Poles as a valid theatrical medium, just as trapeze/silks and corde lisse is.

Hopefully they will hear about some of the pitfalls that this dance genre still has and how it is still prevented from being fully accepted by wider society, by people who abuse and control its use.

Hopefully this won't re-confirm existing negative views but instead allow people to see how they have been conditioned to think the things that they do.

Obviously you can see that we are very hopeful : )

But really we just want them to enjoy the hour they spend with us and hear from the amazing women that we have been so honoured to interview. They can have whatever options they wish.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
I think without being aware it has had a relevance. To be honest I can't think of a way in which it isn't relevant. I think it's almost impossible.

As it is a verbatim script it basically wrote itself. So there was no real influence on our part in the lines themselves. However we did choose the questions to ask during the interview process. So already we were suggesting at a structure and hinting at what the narrative would be without completely realising it. So there was certainly shaping that was already going on before the edits were made.

In terms of editing the interviews. We knew the journey that we wanted to take the audience on. I think we scribbled a wiggly line on a bit of paper that looked a little like a cardiogram. So then it was up to me to find the structure within the existing text to honour that, to make it flow somehow (or not depending on our intention for each moment) and to make it actable and to create a story. Sometimes this was easy, sometimes a bit of shoe-horning was involved.

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?
God. I'm not sure. Again as three individuals we have different backgrounds. So we each bring different fragrances to the blend :)

I think our influences more have come from the people that we have worked with previously and companies that we have seen perform and liked, rather than a specific artist or genre.

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?
We don't, but this is what our process emerged as whist doing it...
So we started with the interviews, which developed into a script and then from that came the physicality/movement and choreography.

There was a moment where we were trying to give the writing and choreography equal weight, but it wasn't quite working. Also as we had gotten such rich dialogue from the various women that we interviewed it seemed a shame not to give this the weight that it deserved.

We had about three drafts of the script then a lot of tweaks following this.

We had Choreography created by Lyndal for three specific moments in the piece and then the movement dialogue arose organically as we began blocking the piece. There is such an abundance of pole dance vocabulary that we could call upon for specific moments that this was really quite easy and took care of itself.

I think there is always collaboration, especially when there isn't a director. I think it's necessary.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
I guess towards the end of the process, when you actually perform and receive critique, the role of the audience is important in deciding the meaning of your work. As essentially they decide what the meaning of your piece is. If the general consensus is that your piece is about A, you can hardly go, no you're all wrong, it's about B. You've obviously done your job wrong.

But at the start when we were creating the show I don't think that the audience played much of a role.

That sounds really bad doesn't it?

I think because we knew that our opinions were shared by others and that the message that we wanted to convey was one that wanted to be heard. And that was enough. This was reinforced initially by our interviewees and the content that they delivered.

I also think that as it's a verbatim play the Audience naturally takes a back seat in making the meaning of the piece. As it is accounts rather than traditional storyline the audience’s role relaxes somewhat I think. It becomes more about absorbing and digesting as oppose to finding a meaning. Because maybe there isn’t one.

POLE is a verbatim physical theatre show that uses three poles and three female performers to re-tell the stories of 5 different women, who are related to pole dance in one way or another. From a stripper and a dance/fitness instructor, to a banker and an undercover sex trafficking worker.

The characters give an undiluted spectrum of opinions and take you on a journey of social preconceptions, sexism, seduction, violence, empowerment and hope. The aim of the show is to reflect and bring to the stage the many still prevalent taboos that society has towards pole dancing and women’s rights to safely and joyfully express their sexuality.

Pole intends to raise questions, how would you feel if your wife practiced pole dance? Your boss? Your daughter?
While exploring pole dancing in all of its lights and shades, this piece really aims to promote and acknowledge Pole Dancing as an art form and as a valid and acceptable medium for theatre.

POLE’s Ideal Market is a mix of both female and male audience members from 16 to 70 years old. The show has strong language and touches on the world of sex trafficking, in what we hope is an educational approach within a dramatic context.

POLE supports Eaves Charity, a London based organisation that helps women who are victims of sex trafficking.

No comments :

Post a Comment