Thursday, 23 June 2016

Electric Dramaturgy: Jimmy Fairhurst @ Edfringe 2016

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Electric Eden
Pleasance @ Electric Circus, 36-39 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August 2016 (not 14th and 23rd), 15:00/17:00
Electric Eden is a brand new site-specific production from award-winning company Not Too Tame (Early Doors). It sees a group of misfits take over a disused building – think raves, glow sticks and UV war paint rather than hippies, hoodies and placards. But, when taking on ‘the man’, their lives are heading for the mother of all hangovers.
Not Too Tame invite you into the immersive world of the unconventional that celebrates what it means to make a stand and find comfort in being a part of a something.
The lack of affordable housing and rent rates is a massive issue. There are 54,000 homeless families at Shelter, 3 million adult children are now living with their parents and 3.5 million homes in England have a concealed housemate (figures from research during R&D). Electric Eden looks at how when people come together they can achieve big things and try to ‘fight’ the system.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The original idea came from the term 'Blood's Thicker Than Water' and whether that still has the same resonance in 2016 where most family units, friendships and bonds are not necessary blood tied. This made us consider the situations where these bonds and brotherhoods were born, set against a backdrop of the civil unrest that sits in this country, and around the world.  This led us onto looking at how we can fight injustices with creativity and celebrate what it means to make a stand, finding comfort in being part of something bigger.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Not Too Tame are a creative ensemble and we looked to our associate artists first – those who had helped create our signature style and our award-winning show Early Doors. We also knew it was important to introduce fresh talent to the group so we contacted some other artists who we had seen through open auditions and other projects earlier in the year.  They had shown themselves to have a great energy, enthusiasm and a strong competency to work under pressure and we felt they excelled in performing in a style that echoed our mission statement.  We used over 20-30 different artists to help R&D this project and all have had an input into shaping it.  We all created it.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Personally, for me, It was watching a production of No more Punch for Judy - a Mark Wheeler play when I was 15. There were no lights and only minimal costume but this company of 5 or 6 created this visceral, powerful and energetic production that completely knocked me for six.  I thought to myself I want to do this and I want people to feel, think and celebrate! I want people to go through something together and be stronger for having been part of it. This is something I still hope we do in every NTT show.

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

Well, we can’t really say anything is yet typical of NTT process as we're still young in terms of theatre companies, but we are exploring what is a Not Too Tame Production. We're finding it.  As we try things in rehearsal, it organically feels 'right' or 'nah, that’s not working for us' and it all stems from if our audience are going to believe it. Our audience are our greatest litmus paper test. I bloody love our audience - they take no Bullsh*t and they'll tell us if they don't like something. Normally there and then! haha. Victoria Wood once said, I love playing the characters, that are all the versions of me, if I didn't do what I do now. That for me is exactly who these characters are that we have created and why I love telling our stories so much. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Our audience will experience something different. What that is exactly will be down to the unique make up of each and every one of them. Our work tends to excite people because they come in to our world not knowing what to expect - So our feedback from Early Doors tells us. 

Our work is immersive and is based on a trinity of being well-crafted, socially relevant and, last but not least, entertaining. So few shows have all three of these - some barely have two! We hope that people see themselves or someone they know in these situations and have an empathy towards the characters and/or their situation and celebrate with us what it means to stand for something and party for everything!

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We took a lot of time exploring who the audience were going to be for this show. Were they a character as one? Were they simply our audience? Were they implicit in what was going on?  I think we came to the right answer. And to find out you're going to have to come along and see. But, let me say this, you won’t be disappointed and you will leave a lot more energised than when you went in! 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

I do actually. I've recently been touring across North America and Canada with our Associate Artists, Slydigs and The Who and there's something magnificent that goes on at The Who gigs that galvanises an audience. It doesn't matter who you are, what colour your skin is or what your background is, if you're human, you're going to get it.  

You're going to want to stand together, sing together and fight together. I think our work is similar to a gig! It’s not polite and twee like a musical – it’s a raucous gig! And afterwards you feel exhausted but you can take on the world - and that tradition will go on forever, because it’s in our life blood!

Director Jimmy Fairhurst comments, Not Too Tame are an ensemble company who are firmly founded on the belief of ‘Theatre for All’. Focusing specifically on creating work that breaks the boundaries of tame polite theatre, we aim to engage those who feel that theatre isn’t a place where they belong. Electric Eden is a new site-specific production that looks at community of misfits who choose their own way in life.
The company’s stated intention is to engage audiences who don’t feel they belong in “tame, polite theatre”, and they do this with great charm and energy (The Telegraph).
Not Too Tame are also bringing Fringe hit Early Doors back to The Jinglin’ Geordie every day at 12:00.
Electric Eden
Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August (not 14th and 23rd)
Monday – Friday, 15:00 (doors open from 14:30) Saturday – Sunday, 17:00 (doors open from 16:30)
Running time 60 minutes
Location Pleasance @ Electric Circus, 36-39 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF


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