Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Ruby and the Dramaturgy: Elizabeth Godber @ Edfringe 2016

Ruby and the Vinyl 
by John Godber and 
daughter Elizabeth Godber 
heading to Edinburgh

Ruby and the Vinyl, a new pop-up acoustic musical set in a Hull thrift shop will open at Underbelly’s White Belly Venue on 3rd August. 

Written by Olivier Award and double BAFTA winner John Godber, and emerging talent, BFI film academy screenwriter and winner of Best Play award at the Ovation theatre awards, Elizabeth Godber, the production will run nightly at the Cowgate venue until 28th August. 

Producer and co-writer Elizabeth is a final year student in Creative Writing and English at Hull University and is going on to study M.A. Writing for Performance and Publication at The University of Leeds. 

 What was the inspiration for this performance?
The piece is a musical, and a comedy, about two students who come together over a shared appreciation of TV box sets, but a lot of the ideas central around loneliness at university, and a desperation to find someone like yourself. 

Things like Netflix and Amazon Prime have changed the social landscape of University, with people just sitting in their rooms for hours on end watching episode after episode.  

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
We auditioned all of Hull University’s first year drama students for our two leads, and the actors we got, Grace and Jake, really stood out as they are both musicians as well as actors. They can both play guitar and have great voices, so it just made the whole process of learning the songs much quicker.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I have grown up in a theatre family, with both my parents being writers, director and actors. I think if I hadn’t become interested in making performance then it would have been weird. I know a lot of people say things like ‘I was in a school production…etc…’ but it really wasn’t like that for me, when you want to write and direct you have to do stuff on your own and learn yourself, there’s no other way to do it.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes, I think so. Although I have never worked with a musician before, so that was very exciting, and Ruby Macintosh who has written all of the music for the show is fantastic, she's a LIPA graduate and BBC Introducing Artist. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I am hoping that the audience will experience joy and happiness with the performance, although it covers certain issues, it isn’t a depressing piece. It’s a musical, its feel-good, but it also raises awareness about problems many students face.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
People from 8 to 82 had to be able to appreciate it. Just because it’s about young people doesn’t mean older people can’t come, and just because it features retro-inspired music doesn’t mean younger people won’t enjoy it. It’s a balance.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

As the show has to deal with so many box sets and TV show references, it is seriously meta, and this is reflected in the music as well as the dialogue. Everything is very knowing, and there are nods towards classic musicals, contemporary musicals and American box set dramas within the show.

The show features original songs, written and performed by Yorkshire based retro pop siren Ruby Macintosh, a BA first-class honours LIPA graduate who studied song-writing under Paul McCartney at the world renowned arts institution. 

Ruby's self titled debut album is currently on release, and she is a listed BBC Introducing Artist. She is joined by two Hull University drama first years; East Yorkshire girl Grace Christiansen (whose album Three Corners is currently available on iTunes) and musician and singer Jake Marsden from Halifax, in a tale of love, communication problems, second-hand clothes, retro, vinyl and box sets.

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