Monday, 27 June 2016

Pond Dramaturgy: Teddy Lamb and Holly Norrington @ Edfringe 2016

Underbelly, Cowgate, 66 Cowgate, EH1 1JX (Venue 61)
4-14, 16-28 August 2016, 13.20

Pond Wife is a radical mash-up of magic and 90s music, where mermaids and pop stars collide. In an ocean where girl power is queen, join Holly&Ted as they take you on an adventure that is funny, feminist and fabulous!

Inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson story The Little Mermaid and the pop divas of the 90s and 00s, Pond Wife is a “joyfully ingenious” (The Stage) satirical swipe at traditional fairytales, jam packed with cultural references, strong female role models and a healthy dose of glitter.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Our inspiration comes from a variety of different sources, initially we wanted to create a strong female character in a fairytale and so we set ourselves the challenge of making a mermaid who sacrifices her voice for a man she's never met into a feminist icon.

We started workshopping the show in a room above Holly's garage, where her dad stored all her old CDs, so the music we had in the rehearsal room was Steps, Britney, TLC etc, and eventually they made their way into the fabric of the show too.  

We also see a hell of a lot of performance work, from Contemporary Theatre, to Pop Concerts and Cabaret/Drag (Ted recently Dramaturged for Alfie Ordinary on his award winning debut show). Pond Wife uses elements and techniques from all these genres.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
We have been making work together for nearly 6 years now, following training at Playbox Theatre and then Dartington College of the Arts. For the first 2 years following graduation we attempted to create and produce and tour totally on our own, but alongside
day jobs to stay afloat it was... exhausting. But through facebook & twitter shout outs, friends connected us with the incredible spreadsheet master Laura Elmes who came on board as our producer.   

How did you become interested in making performance?
We have both been interested in creating theatre for as long as we can remember. We both attended Playbox Youth Theatre in Warwickshire, which just made us want to never leave the world of theatre, everything was so magical and being on the stage under lights in a costume telling a fantastic story was just the most exiting thing when you are 8! As we grew and developed more political work, we're careful to ensure we never lose that sense of wonder and magic.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
As this is our debut show as a company, we're constantly developing and refining our process. We seem to start off with a very research and text heavy few months, before we throw all of that away, and see what bits stuck in our brain and what bits can become beautiful. For this show we had to watch a hell of a lot of Britney and experimented with so much lip syncing - and choreography, which was certainly unexpected!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
First of all, we hope that the audience want to come on this journey with us, our style is very casual and chatty, there's a level of trust we give the audience that they're not stupid, and they've paid money and given up their time for us - so we owe them a good time. But we also hope that it makes them think about the fabric of fairytales, both classical and modern day - and the representation of women within them.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
In order for the audience to get on board with us, and understand the subtext and subtleties of this (pretty madcap) adventure we're taking them on, they need to trust us and feel like they know us. By using the music of our childhood we ensure that they're feeling nostalgic and comfortable with us. 

We talk about how we first fell in love with music, and that's a pretty universal experience. Once they’re on our team, we plunge them deep underwater, and welcome them into our magical MerWorld!

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
I think its clear from our inspirations that we're not defined by one specific genre, we use elements of Cabaret, Contemporary Theatre, Story Telling and more to create something a little bit unexpected. 

As a freelance director Teddy Lamb has created work in both the UK and the US, working with companies such as Culturcated Theatre Company, Santa Monica Playhouse, and Riff Raff Theatre. Most recently he has been working with Cabaret artists, such as Alfie Ordinary and Mary Beth Morossa. 

As a performer Holly Norrington has worked on devised performances with Under Construction Theatre and has worked extensively with Playbox Theatre as a workshop facilitator.

Producer Laura Elmes graduated from King’s College London in 2015, where she studied philosophy. She is producer for Holly&Ted and Sandbox Theatre, as well as having several productions under development through her own company, Laura Elmes Productions Ltd. 

Most recently, Laura produced the critically acclaimed The Ascension of Mrs Leech at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Laura also works in the West End as a production assistant for Runaway Entertainment.

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