Sunday, 12 July 2015

Drivel Rights Dramaturgy: Tobias Persson @ Edfinge 2015

Tobias Persson and the Drivel Rights MovementThe Stand Comedy Club
12.20pm 7-30th Aug (not 17th)

From 'Free Mandela!' to free WiFi! From rights for women to everyone has the right to a cool kitchen! The joy of reducing human struggle to soundbites, and world events to hashtags. We’re all part of the drivel rights movement, so let's unite, take to the streets and find the nearest internet cafe. Tobias (multi award-stealing comedian) Persson won't rest until he can rest with all the rest.

Weeks before he turns 40, the father of 6 year old twin girls takes stock on life, on what really matters, and what’s mere drivel. In recent years we increasingly seem to have our priorities all mixed up, Tobias will redress the balance…by telling jokes to strangers every lunchtime for a month!

People used to be outraged at injustice and would fight for important things- votes for women, social and racial equality: i.e ‘civil rights’. Now, we only raise our voices when the WIFI goes down on the plane or someone makes a joke about eggs and you don´t approve of it because your brother died last Easter- i.e ‘drivel rights’. There are nuclear weapons everywhere, (even in Waitrose) we have corruption, pollution, rising oceans, ISIS, Putin invading IKEA and tons of other stuff, but most people seem too indifferent to take to the streets. Unless they want to buy the latest videogame or I phone 17B- in which case they will happily camp outside for days, next to homeless people, saysTobias, “I saw a guy reading ‘1984’ on a Kindle, staring at a screen full of ads. Where do you go from there? I´ll tell you where - Stand 6!”

For Tobias Persson it´s hard to not feel a sense of loss when you see footage of people fighting for important issues- the suffragettes, the march in Washington, students in Paris 1968, etc. “Compared to the hashtag generation- putting up photos of their dogs with captions saying ‘This morning I licked my arse’- it just feels like an insult to history.”

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Tobias Persson: I had written a lot of stuff about the apathetic state of the modern world and then I thought of this silly phrase - The drivel rights movement- and that summed up a lot of what I wanted to say. So I just went along with that.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?Edinburgh is an amazing place and the Fringe offers you everything: hard bloody work, great shows, inspiration, late night breakdowns, whisky, laughter, kilts, too much rain- all the stuff you need to grow as a performer. I think of it as a long boot camp. In the end you will get better and hopefully a bit funnier.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?Expect ME, first of all- I will be there! I hope people laugh their heads off whilst and then run off to change the world. I always write about stuff that gets on my nerves or activate me in some way and then I try to present that idea in the funniest way possible. 

The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
I write and re write all the time and move different sections around until I feel a certain organic flow between the bits. (Pretentious? Moi??) 

A Fringe show has to be more than just old routines stacked together,- at least for me. Having said that, as long as it´s funny people really don´t care what you´re talking about. So it´s all in the head of the performer, really.

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?UK comedy in general has always been the main joy in my life: The Pythons, Fast show, Boosh, The Day today, Armando Ianucci, Blackadder, Izzard, Dylan Moran, Simon Munnery...the list is endless. I have always had fairly silly, animated style of stand up comedy, but I just do what comes naturally. I like ad libbing and acting things out on stage. If that is an influence of any of the above I really cant say.
 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?
Like I said, a silly title can set me off- last year I had "one thing led to a mother" and suddenly thought: "great, I can do a show about my long IVF journey". Often it´s just a deadline, really. That is the secret ingredient in comedy- at least for me. "Book a venue and start writing you lazy clown!" 

I cant afford to sit down and wait for the muse of comedy to appear... I like to write stuff on my own and very often try things on my wife (Freudian?).

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Without them it´s pointless, really. It´s a delicate balance of doing your own- thing regardless of what people think- but still have an ear out for peoples reactions- otherwise it´s just a monologue and not comedy. You really let the audience shape your writing so it´s the classic give and take...

In an era where The Daily Show and The Onion are bringing a truer picture of reality than the ‘real’ news, comedy seems to be the best forum to truly ‘tell it how it is’. Be it gay rights, social inequality, racial inequality, immigration, Europe, Tobias Persson and the Drivel Rights Movement tackle all the big issues of the moment. Not only that, but the show takes the unprecedented move in comedy to publicly defend self-proclaimed saviour of the world, and popular hate figure, U2 frontman Bono.

Tobias Persson has been a professional comedian, TV writer and actor in Sweden since 2002. In 2009 he started playing in the UK, and now regularly plays clubs like Glee, The Stand, Kings Head, etc. The Drivel Rights Movement is his forth Fringe show, following on from Call Me Old Fascist (2010), Sitting on a Cornflake (2011),One Thing Led to a Mother (2014).

Tobias Persson and The Drivel Rights Movement
Stand Comedy Club 6, 34-38 York Place,
12.20pm, 7-30 Aug (not 17)

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