Saturday, 14 November 2015

Attuned Dramaturgy: Trust You To Kill Me @ Sloans, Glasgow

Attune Theatre present 
Trust You To Kill Me 
Sloans as part of Wee Theatres Glasgow

November 24th multiple performances from 7pm

Hannah works in a job that deals with life and death, literally. Her office allocates resources to those in need and it's her job to decide who gets help and who doesn't. 

Naturally she is getting a little tired of this, but when she gets the case of someone she knows, she has a real fight on her hands.
Trust You To Kill Me is written and directed by Stewart Schiller and created in collaboration with his partner at Attune Theatre Simon Devon. It makes use of Attune's distinctive style of confronting serious issues with a darkly comic tone. 

 Stewart Schiller takes on the Vile generic questioning...

1. Inspiration
The show is inspired by my time working in an office that dealt with PPI complaints. Though we were often dealing with complaints relating to large sums of money you'd never know by the way the way the people doing the cases behaved. 

I found the dissonance between talking to someone about general trivia (i.e. how great was the last episode of Game of Thrones, Parks and Recreation, etc.?) whilst you were deciding whether or not someone should get £15,000 interesting.

Also related to the ins and outs of the job, for fairness, you had to have a process by which every case was judged but that could result someone getting money, or not getting money, for very pedantic reasons. Since this is a common feature of our current corporate culture, it got me wondering what would happen when more Government functions were privatised.

2. The Team
The team are all people I've worked with before. In the cast, I

believe they all bring something interesting to the role unique to them. To me, casting's not about asking an actor to disappear in a role. It's about finding something in that actor that is interesting to bring to the character, which then in turn makes their performance unique. 

There was another version of this play done at an earlier stage in development, with a completely different cast. This version of the show will feel very different because of those changes.

3. The Venue
The Wee Theatres Glasgow night is an interesting night where the audience are presented with three pieces or one depending on their preference. So you could come see our play, or you could some our play, some short films and take in a bit of music all in one night. For me, this makes the experience very cosmopolitan.

The Wee Theatres night takes place in Sloans bar in a variety of spaces. There are no traditional theatres spaces in the venue and no stages. That felt like a good fit for this play, because that means the audience will be very close to the action, which removes the sense of distance you often get in conventional theatre performance. 

Considering the decisions these characters are making, I think that closeness to the characters will really make you feel the weight of their decisions.

4. Is This Typical to our Process?
To some extent, we don't have a 'typical process' as the shows we

tackle are very eclectic. But this show is maybe one of the simplest shows we've put together and one of the challenges for us to embrace that simplicity. 

So that means resisting the urge to over choreographic the movement, or explain too much in the dialogue, and just the simplicity of the concept breathe, use stillness in the performance and let the script have elements which are not fully explored, just hinted at.

5. Audience Experience
I hope the audience think about what the characters are doing and how that effects the people not in the room.

I hope they consider how realistic the concept of an office like the one in the show is. 

And maybe just ask are there answers to the problems the characters face? 

6. Tradition
If I were to pin down to any one tradition. It's drawn a lot of inspiration from writers like Pinter, and Beckett. In the sense, that the plot is quite light, whilst the concepts the characters are dealing with are quite heavy. In the sense, whilst there's not a lot of obvious action, there is still a lot for the actors to get their teeth into.

7. Further Questions
Something that's important for me in my process is the transition from an idea to a script, and then script to performances as a lot of choices and changes can happen in that time. 

One thing I've discovered in the process, that I was discussing with the actors, is when the idea started out, there was a lot more complexity to the idea, which has generally eroded away through development as it just wasn't necessary. 

The core concept, that there is this office that decides whether some people live or others die, which works exactly like a lot of offices in Glasgow's city centre, has been that's very easy for people to engage with and what's refined into this sharper simple show.

Attune Theatre have had work on in various Scottish venues, in particular, Glasgow. They have also taken two productions to London's Lost Theatre, with their production Belief Beyond Hope receiving much acclaim from Times Theatre Critic Jeremy Kingston*, and most recently Life is Shrinking which premièred at the World of Film Festival, which was described as “Overall, a well written piece for all lovers of the dark and twisted” by TV Bomb, and a “dark modern fairy tale gem” by Mumble Theatre.


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