Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Fledgling Dramaturgy: Callum Cameron @ Edfringe 2016

Fledgling Theatre presents 
They Built It. No One Came. 
World premiere

Neither of us were very charismatic. That was a problem. 
Eight years ago Tobias and Alexander came together to form a spiritualistic commune based on their shared values of a peaceful and harmonious community. They are still awaiting their first members. 

The story is inspired by a New York Times article written by Penelope Green.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I found the original article that this story is based on in late 2015 whilst working at the New York Times. At the time my job was looking into the rights to NYT articles that were being syndicated to different media companies around the world and I stumbled across this story.

There was something instantly theatrical about the tragicomic world that these two characters had created and their on-going perseverance when constantly confronted with their own failures. We had been wanting to develop a clown piece for a while and this story seemed tailor-made for it.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Chris, Patrick and I founded Fledgling whilst training together at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I met Ben Maier, our musician, through working on a show he wrote a few years back, and knew that he was already going to the Free Fringe with his own musical comedy act, Frankie Valium. Betsy Dallas (producer) and Lucy Wray (director) came on board through recommendations and working on different projects together.

Lucy directed a show called Goodstock by Lost Watch Theatre which did really well at last year’s fringe. A mutual friend saw that show and recommended her as a good fit for our project.  

How did you become interested in making performance?

Through watching it. As a company we’ve all been influenced by various devising companies that sprang up in the ‘80s and early ‘90s like Complicite, Told By an Idiot and Kneehigh, and were brought together whilst training by a mutual desire to make our own work.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

They Built It. No One Came. was actually rather different, usually our work is born out of a more physical devising process where we develop a narrative from movement led exercises with a much larger ensemble. With this piece we decided to scale down the size of the cast and we already had source material from the original story that we could use to improvise and develop our characters with.

The main constant within all of our work has been having a live musician in the rehearsal room to accompany us during the devising process.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Hopefully they will be able to empathise with some of the themes that the piece is concerned with such as the feeling of being an outsider, how we struggle to communicate in modern society and persevering with a hope or dream regardless of what society may think of it. More than anything we hope that the audience enjoy the tragicomedy of this rather peculiar relationship.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

From the outset we were always conscious of the fact that we were trying to make a play about two thoroughly uncharismatic characters and how we could translate that into something that was still theatrical and performative.

We therefore made the decision to keep the piece quite light from a technical point of view and use direct address in order to develop a rapport between the protagonists of the piece and the audience. We’ve also used quite stylized movement sequences and musical comedy interludes to play up any deficiencies in the charisma department.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Our work as a company usually has a much grander and ensemble element to it. This is the first show I have written with the company and I would say it is a departure from our usual style of work. I think in terms of tradition it toes the line of live performance, theatre and comedy more than anything.  Ultimately it is a play about our ongoing relationship with failure and how we learn to navigate our lives through that.

Fledgling Theatre Company is an international theatre company based in both London and Sydney, formed by Callum Cameron, Christopher Neels, Chris Huntley-Turner and Patrick Holt in 2013, all of whom graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Ben Maier, award-winning writer and composer, joins the ensemble for his first Fledgling Theatre show. 

The company is known for creating raw and visceral theatre that explores all facets of the human condition, with physicality playing the crucial part in every show. 

Fledgling Theatre’s previous shows include Modern Jesus (2014) focusing on the aftermath of a burst of aggression of a young Sainsbury’s employee and Jericho Creek (2015), a tale of religious fanaticism in colonial Australia inspired by the works of Nick Cave. 

Notes to editors:
They Built It. No One Came.
by Fledgling Theatre
website / Twitter /Jericho Creek trailer 1 / trailer 2
Previews 3rd/4th August at 3pm
Performances 5th-29th August at 3pm
Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Two
Suitable for all ages. 

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