Monday, 17 August 2015

Morro and Jasp do Dramaturgy: Puberty @ Edfringe 2015

Morro and Jasp do Puberty. 

Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Aug 5 - 31 (not 17). 20:00 (60 mins)

A hilarious look at the best period of your life. Canada’s “crowned queens of clown”, sisters Morro and Jasp are at that age where the hormones are always flaring, the telephone keeps ringing, and the punk rock can never... be too loud. 

As Morro attempts to hide from feminine hygiene products, Jasp longs for womanhood and the boy of her dreams. This smash hit explores the trials and tribulations of growing up. Canadian Comedy Award winners. 

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
We had been creating shows with our characters for two years and while in rehearsal for one of our kids shows, the idea just came up: what if Morro and Jasp did a show about puberty? The idea of these two clowns experiencing puberty made us laugh and got us really excited. Immediately all of our personal stories about puberty came to the surface and began to fuel the idea for the show. 

We knew right away that it couldn’t be a kids show, but a no holds barred exploration of that anxiety-wrought time in our lives. 

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
People we knew who had been to the festival had been telling us for years that we should come. After 9 years of performing at Canadian Fringe festivals, it felt like the right time. Our work tends to be quite well-received at home and we were fascinated to see how it would translate to international audiences. We are interested in touring our shows to different places internationally, and there is no better place to meet presenters than Edinburgh.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The responses we get from the show are varied - many women tell us that they were just like one of us when they were that age (and they often strongly relate to either being like Morro or like Jasp). 

And men often say they understand women better after the show,
but it also reminds them of that difficult and strange time in their lives - the particulars of the events are different but the feelings are very similar. It is exaggerated, of course, because it is clown, but everything that happens in the show is based on events that happened in our lives. We go through a rollercoaster of emotions during the show, so the audience goes on that with us. And they laugh, because they get to laugh at our pain and the distant memory of their own. A little bit of healing we hope.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of
dramaturgy within your work?
Dramaturgy is essential to our work in every step of our creation process and we even carry it through to our performance. There are three of us in our company - Heather and Amy are the performers and writers and Byron is the director and dramaturg. The three of us decide together what show we will next create and we create it all together. Sometimes Heather and Amy will do writing on their own but it always comes back to the group. We often improvise as our characters to create our shows, and Byron will pick out different ideas to guide us to explore, or ask our characters to expand on an idea, or encourage us to shape something differently. So he is directing action in improv while dramaturging the ideas of the script. Once a show is up and running, the conversation continues, and we continue to tweak our show based on the experience we have performing it and the reactions that the audience has to it.

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?
Byron was inspired to explore clown because of Canadian clown legends, Mump and Smoot. They are known as clowns of horror, which is not what we do, but we studied in the same tradition of “Canadian Clowning” as developed and taught by Richard Pochinko, so the principles of relationship and certain fundamentals of clown are similar. Heather and Amy have since seen and been inspired by their work and John Turner (who plays Smoot), has worked with us on a number of our shows. Other than those huge influences, we are inspired by bits and pieces of other teachers (including Philippe Gaulier, Francine Cote, Pete Jarvis), clowns, performers, creators and comedians and each of us like different traditions, so when we bring our respective interests to the table, they smash together to create something unique to us.

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?
We always start with an idea or theme for our characters to explore. Some of our starting points have been puberty, sexual awakening, food, work, tragedy - and then we start to brainstorm what those ideas mean to each of us and what our own experiences of them are. We look at how Morro and Jasp might explore or see these ideas, which is interesting to do after ten years of playing the same characters. We usually come up with a series of ideas or moments within the theme that we want to explore and we will write about it and improvise through it as our characters. 

And then we often get stuck and bang our heads against the wall until we figure out how to mirror the idea with what we are going through in our own lives at that particular time and then it usually feels like a light-bulb moment. Then we doubt ourselves some more until we first show it to an audience and we realise that it’s alive. But it’s hard to know exactly what we’ve made until we put it in front of an audience because our work is so interactive.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
Because of our style of clown, the audience is our constant
confidante. It is important to us that the story stands on its own as a piece of theatre and we spend a lot of time playing just the three of us and trying to make each other laugh, but the audience is what brings everything to life. We also cast members of the audience in the show, and we painstakingly sort every detail surrounding that interaction to make sure the audience participant feels safe and taken care of. 

In some of our shows, Morro and Jasp are actually putting on a play for the audience, but they are always there and acknowledged and very important to us. The dynamic of an audience changes so much each day which completely changes the show. Sometimes people enjoy seeing our show multiple times because one never knows what will happen when one gives the audience such a big role.

Morro and Jasp:
Morro and Jasp Do Puberty

Gilded Balloon – Teviot: the Turret
20:00 (21:00)
5-31 Aug

Previews 5-7 Aug
10, 11 Aug
£10.00 / £9.00 (2-4-1)
14-16, 21- 23, 28-30 Aug
£10.00 / £9.00
8, 9, 12, 13, 18-20, 24-27, 31 Aug
£9.00 / £8.00
No show 17 Aug

0131 622 6555

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