Monday, 16 May 2016

KABAKUNST Dramaturgy: The Creative Martyrs @ Southside Fringe

Collaborative Kabarett with The Creative Martyrs, the itinerant musicians known as The Acquiescent Orchestra and the sublime performance talents of Calum MacAskill, Tom Harlow, Kim Khaos and John Celestus.

Plucked from the streets the audience have been detained in Govanhill Baths Temporary Administration Centre. They wait...  Amid the audience are a number of performers. A captive audience? Performers? Time? Well, it would be remiss not to take the opportunity for a little sing-song, a dance and some Kabarett!
Warmongering, surveillance and censorship: classic Creative Martyrs’ songs are given a whole new treatment with The Acquiescent Orchestra. Kabarett performance, dance, burlesque, sideshow and song are interwoven with The Martyrs narrative to create a unique theatrical experience.

With KABAKUNST The Martyrs turn their back on their usual intimate cabaret to work collaboratively in a large scale, site responsive Kabarett. KABAKUNST was first performed at the Hidden Doors Festival in Edinburgh in 2015 and has now been adapted to inhabit the atmospheric main pool space at Govanhill Baths.

“When The Martyrs sing of the joys of war profiteering, they are at once threatening and jolly.” The Skinny

Regular performers in Glasgow and Edinburgh and at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2008 and nominated for the Time Out & Soho Theatre (TO&ST) Award for Cabaret in 2012, The Creative Martyrs present their unique brand of satirical Kabarett in both short guest sets and full theatrical pieces (Tales from a Cabaret, An Hour Long Sinister Wink, After the Apocalypse, Cabapocalypsaret, and their interactive children's show, FEZ!).  The Martyrs can be found playing in bars, clubs, theatres, yurts, festivals… and now swimming pools.

Venue: Govanhill Baths, 99 Calder Street, Glasgow
Time: 9:30pm (90mins - no interval)
Dates: Thu 19th & Fr 20th May 2016
Tickets: £10

Box Office:

What was the inspiration for this performance?

This performance, as with all of our work, is a combination of many different inspirations, as stock characters (characters? The Martyrs are real, we tell you...) the process is continuous, the inspiration and influences are conceptual, thematic, aesthetic and wide ranging. 

We have long wished to do a large-scale cabaret piece involving
other cabaret performers: other musicians and cabaret characters, burlesque dancers and side-show performers, and to place the show in a narrative context. (Our original plan was to perform the show in The Arches... ) 

Last year we fulfilled this wish when we performed KABAKUNST in Edinburgh at the Hidden Doors festival in a derelict industrial building. The space allowed us to create an atmosphere in which the audience were people surreptitiously attending a show by performers no longer allowed to play in normal venues, a secret place where people could temporarily escape oppression and laugh at those in power.

This year's show is a development from that performance. Also, we were inspired by the chance to perform in Govanhill Baths, an iconic building and another non-theatre 'found' space.

How did you go about gathering the team for it, especially the young comedian?

Over the years of performing in Cabaret nights and events we have established close relationships with our fellow cabaret artistes - the Cabaratti if you will - particularly in Glasgow where The Creative Martyrs currently reside. Hidden Doors festival in Edinburgh last year gave us the opportunity to devise and perform KABAKUNST and we asked various performers if they would like to be involved, thus the cast was formed. 

As for the young Comedian, we do not know him and wish he would leave us alone. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

The Creative Martyrs have been performing since 1883. We found ourselves on a stage - perhaps we were pushed on, perhaps we strided on purposefully, maybe we mistook it for a bar...
Since then we have been interested in making performance -  in order to sing songs, tell tales, satirise and reflect.  

We have been inspired by many of the cabaret acts we have met over the years and continue to hone our own act.

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

We create shows through a combination of writing, devising, improvisation and material generated during live performing, so in this way KABAKUNST was typical, but in an other sense not, because of the involvement and input of the other performers.

We have written the show and directed people to do certain things at certain times but also the other performers were free to interpret aspects of the production according to their perspective - musicians have come up with their own accompaniment to the songs; the dancers have created their own routines and the film-makers their own material in response to our music, concepts and ideas.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

An immersive cabaret experience - the feeling of actually being in the situation we present - of the baths being a temporary detention centre in an increasingly oppressive society but then finding themselves entertained by cabaret artistes who happen to be present...

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

From the moment the audience arrive they are made to feel they have been detained - various administrative duties are performed. The fact the audience will be in a disused swimming pool adds to this atmosphere. The audience also will not be seated in the usual way - adding to a discombobulating experience.

And we the performers will be interacting with and among the audience. And in time satirising the very situation we have theatrically created.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

We are particularly inspired by 1930s Weimar Republic cabaret but continue to develop our own take on cabaret, our own... schtick.

Are there any other questions that might help me to understand the meaning of dramaturgy for you in your work?

We are very interested in performing in and responding to different spaces - whether theatres, bars, fields, water-less swimming pools or abandoned warehouses - and shaping our performances and shows according to the particular space, and particular audience. 

We do not believe for example an abandoned warehouse should be then turned into a theatre - rather we prefer to perform in the space as it is (with some lights and technical aspects to enhance the show but in sympathy with the space).  

Thank you, and good night, for now...

Gustav and Jakob
The Creative Martyrs

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