Sunday, 9 August 2015

Remnants of Dramaturgy: Isla van Tricht @ Edfringe 2015

The Remnants: As Thyself — Sin, sanctity and self are consumed in this post-dramatic tour of loss, life and love. A heart-wrenching confessional by the enigmatic A, B, C, 1, 2, 3 and 4. An internationally acclaimed success, As Thyself was written when van Tricht was only 18, and has been performed in England and the USA. It is part one of The Remnants.

The Remnants: Threadbare — Poetry, film and storytelling relate the chronologically jumbled, dysfunctional love story of two hearts that have finished colliding, underscored by original music. Threadbare is the second half of The Remnants.

The shows are directed by Rosa Crompton, who has directed multiple shows in London and is part of the Woman @ RADA group, and are written by Isla van Tricht, the Artistic Director of Shrapnel, who will soon complete her Masters in Text and Performance at RADA. Film content comes from London-based company Faktem Films, and is produced by award-winning film producer Sofi Berenger (The Suitcase).

The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Isla van Tricht: The production started from the script - well two scripts to be precise - written as separate plays a couple of years apart. We then realised, upon re-reading, that the two plays had a lot to say to each other, to compliment and expand ideas in each and we knew that an audience would enjoy finding these connections in the same way we did, as well as enjoying each as complete wholes. 

As so they became a double bill and then the importance of the creative cohesion of all the production elements came into focus. From the beginning we wanted the multimedia aspect of the double bill - an idea which spread from Threadbare, in which there is scripted film segments, into As Thyself surprisingly organically - to blend not only across both plays but also with all the other elements of the production: original music, art installation design, and choreography. The process of the production has always been a collaborative one from the beginning, which has been complex but exciting and effective.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a great space to showcase new work to an audience who are hungry for it and excited about it. We wanted that environment for the professional début of these shows to be a fruitful and flourishing experience

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Each are surprising in different ways: As Thyself is a rollercoaster of emotion and thought which takes the audience on a very unique and intimate journey; Threadbare subverts the audiences expectations through its non-chronological scene play and inclusion of the audience as it weaves the filmic love story at the centre of the play. Both address, include and bring the audience along with them, making them very much part of the onstage experience - which is particularly effective in the intimate spaces which we have been working in.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
The multifaceted collaborative process of these productions has made dramaturgical work important to draw all the elements together with each other, and the text, to make a cohesive whole. We have not had an official dramaturg but at different times Paul, myself and Rosa (the director) have taken on that role.

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?
In my writing I have been influenced by the work of Martin Crimp particularly in As Thyself - mostly his post-dramatic plays Attempts on Her Life and Fewer Emergencies. I was also influenced by the scholarship of Hans-Thies Lehmann on post-dramatic theatre. 

Threadbare is also strongly influenced by film, by three films in particular to be exact: 500 Days of Summer, High Fidelity and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I loved the way these films told their respective stories and wanted to implement some of these styles in a live stage performance both in the text and its performance and production.

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?
(I think this has mostly been covered above)

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience is part of the collaborative process of creating meaning in the work, absolutely - I actually address that in both plays. One of the most exciting things, for me, about theatre is that in the liveness of it and the shared space of the live experience so many different meanings can be found by performers, all those involved in the production and especially by those watching and that those choices and ideas of different meanings can all be equally valid in that unique moment of live shared experience.

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