Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Noob's Dramaturgy: Dominic Berry @ Edfringe 2015

Internationally multi award winning poet Dominic Berry presents the world premiere of his new show, Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob

Multi award winning poet Dominic Berry (BBC3, Channel 4, CBeebies) returns to the Edinburgh fringe with Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob, a new show about love, loss, and being rubbish at video games.

Up Your Game: The Downfall of a Noob is a hilarious but deeply moving spoken word show about what happens when you turn to video games to solve the problems you have in the real world. 

Berry examines failure, escapism, and how extremely hot Blanka from Street Fighter 2 is through poetry, comedy and music.

The show is scored by Martin (part of PenUltimate, and who previously toured poetry gangster scrabble play A Night on the Tiles) and the dramaturg is Matt Panesh (whose own shows have won him Best Poet, San Francisco Fringe, Best In Venue, Indianapolis Fringe, Best in Venue, London Fringe, Producer’s
Pick, London Fringe).

Aug 8-9, 11-16, 18-23, 25-29
Cabaret Voltaire (Venue 338) ​

This show is part of the PBH Free Fringe

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
I started out years and years ago writing poems for adults, most of which were super serious and the kind of poem if you had a beard you would need to stroke it whilst listening to it. then a couple of years ago i started writing more and more for kids. Hardly any kids have beards. I now have created and toured a few different solo family poetry theatre shows, but I want to re-engage with adult audiences. So, that's what this is. This is a poetry theatre show for adults. Loads of sex, swearing and intricate multisylabic rhyming schemes. That's what gets you laid these days.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Wanting to hear more work with multisylabic rhyming structures. Seriously, going to Edinburgh is the best education. Last year i saw 71 shows in three and a half weeks; most of them spoken word shows. The spoken word theatre section gets bigger every year and the talent is phenomenal. It is humbling and inspiring. So deeply inspiring.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I think I take my trousers off at one point. i mean, i do in the current version, my dramaturg (Matt Panesh, a stunning poet in his own right) might stop me doing that. I have excellent legs. But hopefully better iambic pentameters. The show is a mix of silly and serious. I've not said yet its about video gaming, have I? It's about video gaming. it's quite daft. It's got amazing music made by Martin 'Visceral' Stannage, a comedy hip-hop fella based in Manchester. His soundtrack elevates the humour to something totally different - his sounds are so original and weird. The show's about the perils of gaming, online trolls, internet addiction - that kinda thing. And i take off my trousers. I think.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
He tells me the bits that are rubbish. And them we get rid of those bits and put in better bits. he is like an editor and director combined, but involved from the earliest stages of inception. Makes the funny bits funnier and the deep bits deeper.

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?
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer meets Epic Rap Battles of History

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 show Matt, the dramaturg, bits I've created, and he cries in desperation whilst tearing out his hair and violently shaking his head. Then I go away and write something better. We go and watch stuff together. Other people's shows. I cannot emphaisize enough the significance of learning from others - I don't mean plagiarism - I mean immersing yourself in this exceptional world and seeing how that sparks your brain into making the communication of what you want to say more engaging and clear. Showing drafts to other people in the same field beyind the dramaturg can be a valuable insight into how what you're trying to say is actually coming across. Zach Roddis is an ace poet who is also ace at critiquing.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
I would love it if they laughed at the funny bits. I would love it if they were dazzled by lust when I removed my trousers. I've gone on about taking off my trousers loads, i really hope Matt lets me keep that bit in. Joking aside, I try to connect on loads of levels, humorously, intellectually, artistically, emotionally - its a story of one guy's descent into the darker realms of gaming and what happens next - something loadsa folk can personally relate to or at least know of someone who has experienced the more menacing side of the power of modern gaming. It's about having a big heart. I hope my audience leave with their hearts feeling a little bigger. In a romantic metaphorical way, not a proper medical condition way which might actually kill them. I don't want that.

Dominic says, “This show is about me being an effeminate, gay, vegan, generally lefty guy trying to exist in the raging, testosterone world of aggression that is online gaming. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s horrified by high profile attacks like gamergate, but who still really loves Mortal Kombat. I want to explore that, and also make a load of jokes about minecraft and candy crush.”

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