Sunday, 12 July 2015

Mistaking Dramaturgy: Nick Myles @ Edfringe 2015

Hidden Bell Productions presents
Mistaken: A Quartet of Plays for One Actor

Written and directed by Nick Myles
Performed by William McGeough

Writer/director Nick Myles gives a theatrical spin to his own experiences, and William McGeough excels as four tragi-comic lost souls.

"A tour de force!" Rikki Beadle-Blair

From accidentally dating a transsexual to coping with suicidal thoughts, Myles takes his own life as a starting point then creates stories in which reality is re-imagined and pushed to dramatic extremes.

"Wonderfully judged... witty and provocative... McGeough deftly guides us through four unique but equally gripping monologues" Everything Theatre

Mistaken is four acutely observed slices of contemporary theatre exploring sexuality, gender, and modern relationships. From the murky waters of male bonding to small town homophobia, and with secrets ranging from the daily torment of depression to the shadowy borders of sexual consent, Mistaken is a challenging, funny, but above all truthful look at how easy it is for ordinary people to go off the rails.

"McGeough gives a polished performance, a frantic energy running through his words"
Views from the Gods

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object? 
Nick Myles: Our show is a collection of four 15-minute monologues. It started when I worked with actor William McGeough on short play "Details". We had a fertile working relationship and the play went down extremely well so we decided to put it together with three other scripts to make a full-length show.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh? 
To show it to audiences away from London and to try to attract some press and industry attention. Also I haven't done it before and it felt like a rite of passage I needed to go through.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of

your production? 
They can expect to be intimately engaged - that's the beauty of monologues, particularly when performed by this calibre of actor. They'll witness four very different characters tell their stories, and be challenged to think about issues including consent, friendship, sexuality, gender and mental health. They can also expect to laugh - it's both insightful and entertaining.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work? 
For the purpose of this questionnaire I'm defining dramaturgy as external input during the development process. This is something that I always use, through writers groups, reading services, Scratch events and consultation with writers/directors/producers I know personally.

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 don't see my writing as continuing any particular tradition, but the work that I admire displays the same passion and truthfulness which I try to achieve: from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf to Earthquakes in London. Because I specialise in one-person plays I've been compared to Bennett, "only not as patronising".

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? 
An original idea grows from something that sparks my interest, that I sense has dramatic potential, and that moves me. I do a lot of thinking, self-questioning and research before I start writing. When I have a decent draft I take it to a writers group to hear it read aloud and to get feedback for the next draft. 

Next comes the rehearsal process during which I stop being the writer and become a director working with actors to explore and nuance the piece, before typically taking it to Scratch events to see it on its feet and get audience feedback.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
I'm not sure this is something that concerns me until the play is over, at which point it becomes detached from me and in a sense belongs to the audience. My work is generally - though not always - received in the way I intended, but audience members' subjective perceptions will of course vary. Because it deals with contentious issues, "Details" always provokes a fascinating range of audience reactions and opinion, and it's interesting to talk to people about how they relate differently to each of the four plays that comprise Mistaken.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you? 
Maybe something about what happens when dramaturgy seems to be in conflict with the writer's goals? How do I know when dramaturgy might be leading me away from what I want to achieve?

In Friends Like Steve, Lee is delighted to bump into an old friend, but their reunion causes him to radically reassess their relationship. In Mud: The Urban Adventures of a Country Boy, proud Yorkshireman Edgar finds himself in filthy, polluted London, and reveals his alarming reasons for heading south. Details is about why Peter ended up going on an unusual date, and how it went disturbingly wrong. Natasha is The Angel of Tomorrow: a suicidal lifestyle guru with no business dispensing advice.
The plays that comprise Mistaken are united by a theme of human fallibility, and William McGeough gives a powerhouse performance in each of four distinctly differentiated roles. Firmly rooted in universal themes, Mistaken also explores aspects of the LGBT experience not commonly featured in mainstream drama or sex-orientated gay theatre.
Since 2010, Hidden Bell Productions have staged numerous shows around the London fringe circuit at venues including Lost Theatre, The Space, Cockpit Theatre and the Brockley Jack.
Venue: C Nova (Venue 145) India Buildings, Victoria Street, EH1 2EX
Tickets: £9.50-£11.50 (£7.50-£9.50 concs)
Dates: 5-31 August (not 18)
Time: 20:45 (1hr 5min)
Guidance: Strong language and sexual content (12+)
Box Office: 0845 260 1234 (C Venues) 0131 226 0000 (Edfringe)

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