Wednesday, 29 July 2015

This Much Dramaturgy: John Fitzpatrick @ Edfringe 2015

MOVING DUST presents
This Much [or An Act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage] 
Zoo, The Monkey House, 
7 – 31 Aug 7.45 – 8.55pm

Trapped in the dregs of the world’s worst wedding disco, three men risk everything in a performance questioning how we define relationships, and how relationships define us. 
As the effects of the legalisation of gay marriage continue to ripple through society, This Much takes on the big issues of marriage as an institution, what it is to be a man in 2015, and whether equal marriage has brought equality. 

Is marriage simply an anachronistic hangover from the past, ill-suited to the new relationships and identities that we now inhabit? John Fitzpatrick’s explosive play, written by as part of the Royal Court Writers’ Programme, is a performance about how we define relationships through objects, clothes, traditions and other people.

The Fringe 

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
My starting point, as writer, was the question ‘how do I write images for the stage?’ I think the script had a lot of other ideas feeding into it in terms of what I wanted to see and the level of subtlety of interaction that was important to me but that question was a main starting point.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
We felt that we had a piece that’s exciting in both form and content. We’d always planned to tour and then possibly come to London but we felt in terms of finding an audience that would be open to our ideas and hopefully become advocates for the play, there’s no place like Edinburgh.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Non-sexualised nudity, wedding disco chaos, big laughs, big tears, big sighs and hopefully more big laughs and perhaps even a few big thoughts & big feels.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
I think because I’m trying to write images that are undercut by text and the dialogue works in a way that the subtext becomes almost obvious to all and then there’s a deeper sub- subtext we rely heavily on shaping the drama in the space and in the proximity of the actors bodies. We have the problem where the drama of a scene might lie in a small facial expression and we have to try and fill a room with this small drama. I’ve always thought of this play as a sculpture that won’t be complete until the audience are in the space. 

We also use a lot of ideas from film in terms of framing for the inner life of a certain character at a certain moment, but because we’re working in 360 space we have to use physical objects, physicality and sensory influences to create this framing.

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?
Not to sound too much like a Le Tigre song but... Pina Bausch, Naomi Wallace, John Osborne, Christopher Shinn, Grotowski, Checkoff, Judith Butler, Leo Butler, Aaron Johnson, Internet Trolls, Jonny Woo, John Waters, Ikea, Langston Hughes, Caitlyn Jenner, anyone who starts a revolution using clothes, The Wachowskis, Four Non-Blondes, The Pet Shop Boys, Le Tigre, David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Laura Ashley, Vanessa Ewan, Poems, Poets, Ginger Nut Biscuits, Disco, Amanda Leer, Jane Austen... the list goes on but you get the general idea.

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?
With this piece it started with collecting all my memories of growing up and then using that text as a sort of plaster cast which I filled with scenes and then removed the casing. What’s left is a text which, though rough in form, is quite a concentrated expression of my instincts. Moving forward from that we did a lot of R&D work with actors and a load of props to build a dramaturgy to help us shape the piece in a space. Hopefully the creative team and eventually the audience, picks up and carries forward the initial instinct and makes it their own.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
I think we’re always trying to feel what the appropriate role for the audience is in the room. If we’re playing on stage then what role are we expecting them to play? I think it’s going to be different for each piece but for this show we’re discovering a mode that’s quite subtle. There’s no fourth wall but then we’re definitely not trying to interact with the audience. I suppose we’re trying to include them without putting the spotlight on them.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?

I think Dramaturgy seems to have taken on different meanings for different people. I guess we’re appropriating what we think it is for our process as best we can.

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