Sunday, 9 August 2015

More Dramaturgical Acts: Joe Wredden @ Edfringe 2015

Acts of Redemption
6th - 30th Aug 2015, 3.20pm

An uptown girl waits in a pub for a man who's shirt she's ruined; a man teaches his son to stand up to bullies; a woman can't let go of her ailing father; a man finds the courage to admit who he really is; a drunk man bares his soulin the street, and a woman wins the lottery. 

How would you explain the relevance of - or otherwise- of dramaturgy within your work?
Joe Wredden: As an actor it can sometimes get in the way. I have a tendency to over-think as a performer and like to research, think and test ideas for a character or piece. I know excellent actors who work very much on instinct and a feeling from the text. For them thinking about the overall story or the arc or the different sub-textual ideas in the script can be distraction from the "experience" of their character. After all, a character does not know they are in a story unless the piece breaks the fourth wall.

As a writer or director it can be invaluable to be able to bring an understanding of the cultural relevance of your choices. Having a clear understanding of form, structure, reference and technique can help solve problems in the piece/production. Knowing something of the history of storytelling gives one access to a myriad of approaches and techniques that have been used before. It gives you the opportunity to "steal from the best" or see how what you are doing is genuinely fresh.

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?
Star Wars. Seriously. I had seen it 12 times in the cinema by the time I was eight. This is before VHS, let alone DVD or streaming. It was a movie you waited for at Christmas on TV. That is where I fell in love with story and spectacle. Theatre for me was watching my parents on stage when I was very young. Dad was part of Unicorn children’s theatre and I still remember the first time I saw him be someone else, then go back stage and see him take the make-up off and return to being Dad. I was lucky enough to grow up in London around a lot of theatre and seeing Shakespeare in the Regents Park open air theatre was a wonderful grounding in theatrical effects. 

A particular production of Midsummer Nights Dream blew my tiny little mind. At Drama school I was mainly taught a Stanislavsky tradition.....yes the Method. It's really all about carrying an existing life on and off the stage: where are you coming from? Where are you going? What do you want/need? Rooting the character in their truth is essential to make them feel alive. I mix and match my approach depending on the task at hand, so I wouldn't see myself as part of any one particular tradition. 

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?
 It depends on the context. I start with the text. Good words make everything easier. When the script is good the important thing is to "get it on it's feet", make discoveries through hearing the words out loud and let the meanings and implications hit you as you say it again and again. When devising or working across disciplines (dance/movement) it is important to try things. Talking about ideas is great but you have got to "show" to see if it works then discuss it afterwards.
What do you feel the role is the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Everything. You cannot aim to please an audience. You have to work to something that feels true, honest or beguiling. Without an audience performance becomes ritual. Sure you can sing for yourself or speak a poem or monologue for yourself, but then you are the only one who can be moved/changed by it. 

Once it is performed in front of an audience it becomes a shared experience and the piece will change depending on the energy from the crowd.
Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how Dramaturgy works for you?
Perhaps a definition. It can vary from country to country and form to form.

Unrestricted View:
Acts of Redemption

Underbelly: Cowgate
15.20 (16.20)
6-30 Aug

Previews 6, 7 Aug
8, 9, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 24-27 Aug
£9.50 / £8.50
10, 11 Aug
£10.50 / £9.50 (2-4-1)
14-16, 21-23, 28-30 Aug
£10.50 / £9.50 
No show 18 Aug

0844 545 8252

Unrestricted View present a series of funny, bittersweet and deeply moving monologues about loss, self-discovery, loneliness and not being able to get in to your house. Written by New York Times editor Ken Jaworowski. Directed by James Wren.

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