Thursday, 9 July 2015

The House of Dramaturgy: Johnny McKnight @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
I began with things coming together - first of all Robert asked me to collaborate with BoP - we both agreed that we wanted to do something that put disability on stage as opposed to not mentioned. I’d always had an idea I wanted to do something about on-line ap/hook up dating as its become so huge (and I also knew that I didn't want to do another Little Johnny show). Thirdly I’d met Amy when she was a student and on placement with NTS (she came in and watched rehearsals of Wicker Man). I thought she was really funny and beautiful but wondered if she’s ever get cast as sexy… All those things sort of came together when I sat down to write…

Wendy Hoose hits the Assembly Rooms, Ballroom (Venue 20) 17-30 Aug
Time 3.30pm : Tickets £15/£13  : Box office 0844 693 3008 

Getting your leg over has never been so hard!

The creative forces of Birds of Paradise & Random Accomplice are back by popular demand with the frank and hilarious sex comedy - Wendy Hoose

After two sell out tours in 2014, this ‘gorgeous, cheeky and outspoken’ (Scotsman) production is back and taking on the Fringe!

The acclaimed smash hit comedy follows the story of Laura and Jake. Who just want sex. Late Friday night drunken sex. Nothing more. No strings attached. But getting your leg over is sometimes more difficult than you think. Containing strong language and scenes of a sexual nature, Wendy Hooseis the story of two twenty year olds searching for love in all the wrong places! Especially when those places involve the fickle and flirty world of dating apps.

Wendy Hoose, directed by Robert Softley Gale and Johnny McKnight, joins Jake (James Young – The Incredible Adventures of See Thru Sam, Slick, Outlander) on his quest for some late night fun with Laura (Amy Conahan – Skeleton Wumman, Let’s Talk About Sex) via a mobile phone dating app. All is going well thanks to some sexting, but things take a twist when it comes down to the nitty gritty, and the course of true love, or in this case sex, does not run smoothly.

Johnny McKnight, Co-artistic Director, Random Accomplice added: “We wanted to make a comedy about the nightmare that is dating today. Trying to negotiate dating and drinking on a Friday night is hard enough - throw a Tindr or Grindr into the mix and there's potential for a story that you're going to share for months to come. Wendy Hoose is one possible story.”

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Honestly, we love the show and its always a joy to do it. Also I’d love for it to have a further life again, we really feel we've made something different and unique and funny with a brilliant creative team. It should find an audience as wide as possible.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Laugh. that’s the priority. and also think - what are we really looking for on those aps? Is it love but we’re distracted by sex. 

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
That’s quite a difficult question. I guess I'm in a lucky position because a lot of the time I direct my own writing so there’s a constant flow of writer/dramaturg/director. I'm really easy about being fluid between those roles - happy to cut stuff when I know it doesn't work on stage - happy to rewrite stuff when I dont like it in the room. I guess I dramaturg myself a lot...

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 think I'm influenced by soooo much popular culture - from panto/vaudeville to live art confessional theatre. I think I'm really aware of the audience and I create most things with them in mind. Sometimes I find it difficult to find a genre that I fit - mainly because I don't know if I sit comfortably anywhere in life in general.

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?
don't actually have a fixed process - it always starts with terror and then moves forward - sometimes it can grow from an image (See Thru Sam was absolutely built in visuals alongside me testing out various pieces of script). Our most successful processes have seemed to be when we work closely with the a writer - then spend a week in development with actors reading (and the writer furiously redrafting) as we try to find as simple and clean a way to tell the story. Collaboration is always the key - as it should be.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?

I think the audience is THE reason the work is on the stage. I know some people think you have to not look or think about the audience but I come at work from a very different place. I constantly think about how I want the audience to feel, to react, whether the story is told in an interesting and clear way, whether I am deliberately confusing or alienating the audience (and why I am). 

 I always feel I've worked on a successful piece when the audience want to be in the world that’s been created on stage. That’s the aim.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
Not really - though there’s a bigger discussion/conversation about WHAT is dramaturgy. I've heard and seen people use it in so many different contexts that I genuinely still ask what it is. It still feels, to me, to be a sort of job that’s up there in the ether. I dont know if I could clearly define it because I think so many different theatre makers have a different definition for it. 

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