Friday, 3 July 2015

Wooden Dramaturgy: Mo Shapiro @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
I have been a Victoria Wood fan for many years, watching her live shows at the Albert Hall, Northampton and in our home town of Manchester. I take her with me whenever I travel. I don’t have injections at the dentist, I just plug-in and listen to the songs or sketches and laugh. I was thrilled when Victoria gave me permission in 2010 to create a show using her material.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Victoria announced in 2009 that she was giving up live performance and stand-up. This show will ensure that her work is still available to provide her unique comedy and entertainment. I have successfully toured it on a small scale locally and I want to make it available to a much wider audience. Edinburgh is the perfect place to continue that process. A certain synchronicity as Victoria Wood's stand-up started at the fringe.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
A good afternoon out! Many will enjoy familiar material that they have laughed to over the years. Those new to Victoria Wood's work will chortle at her genius for finding the comic in everyday life. Victoria Wood + ME brings alive Wood's best loved characters through the eyes of Gladys Winter, Victoria’s biggest fan. Gladys loses herself in other people's dramas including; Madeleine the hairdresser, Sasharelle sales assistant, 'Kimberley', Pam and Madge, the outrageous aerobics queen. It's an hour of fun with chuckles afterwards.

The Dramaturgy Questions

 How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Not sure I can. The show has evolved through my appreciation of Victoria Wood's excellent writing, observational skills and comic timing.

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?
No surprises there - Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Joyce Grenfell

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?
Writer, Louise Roche, and director, Jack Randle, helped me structure the show. I have performed in a number of premieres of Louise's shows and asked her and Jack if they thought I might be able to perform a show using Victoria Wood's material. They not only agreed, they steered me through obtaining Victoria's permission and helping me with my first tour of village halls in 2010. We picked favourite songs and monologues before creating the narrator, Gladys.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Lots of laughs are all that is required.

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