Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Degrees Of Dramaturgy: Lizzy Skrzypiec @ Edfringe 2016

Move over, Miss Marple!

In comedy smash ‘Murder, She Didn’t Write’, YOU become the author and watch your very own Agatha Christie­ inspired masterpiece unfold on stage. In ​“one of the funniest evenings you’ll have in some time” (Ed Fringe Review), this ​BBC Radio 2 recommended show allows you, the audience, to unleash your literary prowess and create a hilarious improvised murder mystery. Our fantastic cast use your title suggestions and evidence ideas to create a never before seen, ​unscripted murder mystery, which promises to dazzle, enthral, and delight. One lucky audience member even gets to secretly choose the murderer and victim!

Will you work out whodunnit in time?

Company - Degrees Of Error

Show – Murder, She Didn't Write

Participant – Lizzy Skrzypiec (Lady Violet)

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Well, Degrees Of Error as a company have always loved long-form

Narrative Improv. We knew we wanted to create something that was funny, dramatic, and extremely colourful.

So it seemed like the obvious choice to pick (Murder-Mystery), a genre more hammy than Christopher Biggins' bacon baguette.

Also as many of us came from a comedy background, we've died on stage many times in the early days, so now it's nice we get an applause break to do it.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Honestly? Most of us started out as friends.

We were a core group with a love for Improv and silliness. As Murder, She Didn't Write grew in terms of scale, playing bigger stages and needing more characters, we found the show we wanted to make had outgrown us!

For the first time, we auditioned (fantastic) new recruits, who now make up half of the cast. We're still friends, the gang just got bigger. Every new face has made us step up our game, because they're all professional Actor/ Improvisers, and it's been more of a symbiosis of mutual absorption.

Kind of like two amoebas, we engorged each other... wait hang on a minute, what was the question?

How did you become interested in making performance?

I make performance all the time. I'm sure the others do too, even when no one is watching; singing in our cars, pretending you're presenting a cooking show when you're whipping up a stir-fry for one.

We'll never make incredible sporting feats, beautiful architecture, or millions on the stock market, so what else can we do but make performance?

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

Typical for making an improv show, yes. Step 1 - Get good at Improv, Step 2 - Learn your Genre, Step 3 - Find a way to stage it.

Step 2 might be easy if all you've gotta do is watch some movies, but I tell you, people do not like it when you try and watch them commit murder. Not at all!

Murder-Mystery itself was a challenge, because compared to something like Westerns or Period Drama, it's a very self-aware genre. Every author, from Christie to Conan Doyle, loved to insert meta-jokes and arch 'looks to camera' in their work.

Our solution was to have the show run by 'The Detective', a narrator/prosecutor character who relates the story of each crime to the audience, then tries to solve it.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I genuinely want the audience to play along.

I cannot stress this point enough, WE ARE IMPROVISING EVERYTHING.

We want them to experience a murder mystery happening right in the moment. We are spinning motives, evidence and alibis as we think of them on stage, when we aren't on stage we are watching the stage to make sure we don't miss a single thing.

We want the audience to feel that excitement and play along with us by guessing 'whodunnit?!'.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Wouldn't it be the coolest thing if we get Angela Lansbury to be the detective?

It would make the most incredible audience experience. The minute she returns any of my calls, I swear to God she'll be in the show.

For now, that strategy is on the back-burner.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Yep, the fine literary tradition of Murder-Mystery. Only this Murder-Mystery, one lucky member of the audience decides who lives and who dies.

We take this immensely personally and have a tally we keep each Edinburgh fringe. Steve Clements (Mr. Blue) and Tom Bridges (Mr Orange) got to be the Murderer 5 times each last fringe, the lucky sods!

Degrees of Error is a Bristol ­based Theatre Company, formed in 2010, and have been performing together ever since. Collectively, Degrees of Error represent ​“some of the finest improvisers in the country, their tight ­knit team possessing not just a talent for impromptu humour, but also charismatic convincing acting chops that bring their characters and the period to life. ”​­ ​Daniel Roberts & Chris Turner (Racing Minds).

Fringe experts, they have been awarded Edinburgh's ​‘Fringe Sell­out’ award FOUR years running, and consistently receive five star reviews, garnering such praise as “​by FAR the best improv show that I have seen” (Inter:Mission).

This success has lead them to play their largest venue yet in 2016, to debut their place as a company whose “commitment to excellence means they deserve their opportunity to showcase their talents.” ­ Adam Meggido (Showstoppers)

Think improv equals Clive Anderson and some very questionable 90s fashion choices? Think again! Come spend an evening as a sleuth, and help uncover the sinister motives and evidence of this fabulous ‘whodunnit?’ live show. 

Whether you take your lead from Columbo or Marple, Holmes or Poirot, the cast of ‘Murder, She Didn’t Write’ promise to sweep you up in ​“unrestrained bursts of enjoyment” (Bristol Theatre Review)​, and leave you in unbridled fits of laughter!‘Murder, She Didn’t Write’ ​is currently touring comedy and literature festivals throughout the U.K., and will be at the Edinburgh Fringe from​ 3­29 August,​ in C (+3) at C venues, Chambers St.

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