Monday, 3 August 2015

Sinister Dramaturgy/ Tales from a Dramaturgy: it's The Creative Martyrs @ Edfringe 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, we are the Creative Martyrs; ukulele plucking, kazoo humming, cello strumming, storytelling, singing and dancing vaudevillian cabaret duo. Let us manipulate, corrupt, exploit and violate; hold your hand as your debauchery surrenders to fascism...again. All presented for your pleasure in a dark, jovial aesthetic. Ever eager to provoke and if necessary entertain, squeezing that awkward laugh that you know you really shouldn't utter. '...experimentation, intelligence and sheer fun' ★★★★ (Sunday Herald) Satire, surrealism and song. Tales of love, life and art in a time of oppression. Do join us... Note: Implicit material and satirical suggestions.

The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
 (They talk as one voice...)When Tales from a Cabaret was first
created in 2010 it was in response to a number of ideas and concepts that we had been exploring for a while. We have been performing cabaret and theatre since 1883 and we felt certain social and political trends we have experienced in the past could be seen in current times. We drew upon some of the stories and moments we have witnessed in our past to build our narrative.

An Hour long Sinister Wink was first created in 2012. Unlike Tales it was a much less narrative production, rather an opportunity to draw together a number of skits, sets and songs that had been developed and honed in short, regular cabaret appearances and also incorporated a number of ideas left over from Tales from a Cabaret.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Being Glasgow based, Edinburgh is not far at all and its lure is strong. We have a tale to tell (and sing) and there is an Audience in Edinburgh willing to listen.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
As with all Creative Martyr performances we hope we can conceal a handful of salient points within an entertaining and involving experience. We hope that we can establish a space in which an audience can interact and create and contribute so the final performance is a collaborative experience involving everyone sharing that moment.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
We have played and picked up many methods, practice and approaches to our work in our 132 years in performance. The relevance… and importance of dramaturgy in our work is a continuum of learning and a commitment to constant play.

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?

The 1920s Wiemar aesthetic is an overreaching inspiration to our work, although that in itself is an extremely broad church. The various historical schools of Cabaret; Commedia, Music Hall, Variety, Vaudeville all have a great influence and in turn their influences; slapstick, clowning, mime, song, satire and surrealism to mention but a few all play a part.

In addition we draw upon myriad theatre practitioners and writers from Beckett and Brecht to Artaud, Le Coq and Grotowski.

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?

The initial process is one of gathering, this is not specific to a particular production, The Creative Martyrs endeavour to observe and experience all that is about them. They try to analyse what has past and predict a variety of futures. This gathering is then used to inform a more specific shape and eventually a production. For every show made there is another two or more shows worth of material created which will be drawn upon for future performance or left dormant in the creative psyche in case it is required one day.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience is key, the audience is the only thing required to make a show. The audience are our complicit victims and our collaborative performers. Interaction is a vital aspect of even the most theatrical of Martyrs performance but the audience are not there to be picked upon rather they are there to create with, to experience a moment with.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
Does dramaturgy need to be a specific process or conscious activity? When asked to deconstruct our approaches and process we become aware of the dramaturgy implicit in our creating but generally consider it a process of gathering and a process of assimilating that takes place constantly and as much unconsciously as consciously.

Note: With the exception of Q1 all the answers are relevant to all Creative Martyrs performance, be it a short cabaret slot, compere duties, walkabout theatre or a full cabaret theatre production.

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