Saturday, 25 June 2016

Scary Dramaturgy: Rhiannon Faith @ Edfringe 2016

Rhiannon Faith (UK) present
Art/Dance/Theatre with attitude, a big heart and a smutty mouth

Based on real life experiences, Scary Shit is all about friendship, being a woman and allowing yourself to ask for help.

Scary Shit is a humorous, tender, imaginative treatment of fears, phobias and (female) friendship. Fringe first timer Rhiannon Faith and partner in grime Maddy Morgan’s journey from Scary Shit to recovery and healing is a witty and poignant live art performance told via a series of vignettes using dance, poetry, theatre, comedy and above all fun. 

The pair decided to undertake cognitive behavioural therapy to alleviate their personal paranoia’s of telephone conversations, fertility problems, failure, career vs motherhood issues and smear tests to imagine a future without fear. 

Having tackled these issues and more, with TV psychologist Joy Griffiths (ITV This Morning), they divulge their experiences to bare all and share all with the audience. To demystify the therapy process, to support the call to bring mental health issues to the fore and to acknowledge the grim reality of many women’s real life experiences.

What was the inspiration for Scary Shit?

You will be happy to know it was not a hangover poo.  No Scary Shit all began because of my fear of talking on the telephone to people I don’t know.  I was trying to get my work booked by programmers and venues but every time I would try to call them I would nearly have an anxiety attack. I’m 32 and thought, come on you need to sort this out.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

The show was made in collaboration with Maddy Morgan and Joy Griffiths.  My mother-in-law Joy is a psychotherapist and I asked her if she could give me therapy to get over my fear.  I’m very lucky in that we have a cool mother/daughter-in-law relationship, so she said yes.  Maddy who is also in the show is my mate, and super lush dancer, and I asked her if she had any fears that she would like to work through, turned out she had a fear and anxiety around fertility.  We attended therapy with Joy, filmed the sessions and used the footage and the experience as material in the show.

How did you first become interested in making performance?

I’m a complete attention seeker, so it was an obvious career path.  I was shown work by Pina Bausch, Tim Etchells, Franko B at college when I was 16, which had a massive impact on the style of work I liked, something just clicked.  I’ve been learning how to make-work since then, and finally feel ready to put something out there. I thought why not do it at the biggest arts festival in the world. Fuck, Scary Shit.

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

I have made work before that’s a lot more dance heavy, that I usually choreograph, and am not in.  I missed performing though, so I’ve performed in my last couple of shows.  My work is always autobiographical, process led, dance theatre with a smutty mouth.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

It started with an perfectly wanky romanticism ‘what would happen if everyone in the world could live without fear, how could that change the world?’  

But the work became more about friendship, being a woman and learning to ask for help.  The audience will experience myself and Maddy unraveling, falling apart and helping each other find ways to talk about Scary Shit, so that everybody feels ok talking about Scary Shit. It’s an outrageous, funny, difficult ride, and it’s real.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We had therapy.  We watched Thelma and Louise a lot.  We discovered over 500 phobias.  We looked at how humans experience fear both psychologically & physiologically. We consulted with a neuroscientist. We made poems with rude words in.  We made dance.  

We made something universally relevant so that the audience can make a connection with our story.  We made loads of mistakes.  We fixed them.  We got emosh.  We got audience feedback from our previews and made changes.  We finished the show.  We brought it to Edinburgh. 

Do you see your work falling within any particular tradition?

I call it DIY dance theatre.  I’m not sure if that’s very traditional, but we use lots of different genres of performance all scrambled together, and it some how works.  The work is for everyone (well 16+ there’s a lot of fannies and f**king language) I’m a dance artist that uses text and comedy in my work but we have as much as a theatre audience as we do a dance audience, which I really like.  Well any audience is nice, right! Especially in Edinburgh!

An emotionally, sometimes potty mouthed show from two sharp minds featuring a bold brave and moving take on womanhood. You’ll laugh, you may cry, you’ll certainly pay attention as the seemingly mismatched pair display a touching affinity – you’ll even learn what arachibutyrophobia is!  Funny, kooky, quirky and outrageous, this really is the shit!

Rhiannon Faith the company make autobiographical shows exposing the sweet, fragile and devastating aspects of human relationships. Previous work includes ‘The Date’ which had its London premier at BAC in 2015 and toured the same year. Rhiannon Faith the individual is a fast rising choreographer, artist and performance maker. She’s also a regular performer at Scottee’s FRAFF.

Maddy Morgan is a former hip-hop dancer who went on to graduate from Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Leeds with a first. She has worked with Rhiannon Faith as a dancer, creative collaborator and rehearsal director since 2010.

Scary Shit by Rhiannon Faith
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker 2 (Venue 23)   
Time:   13.45 (60 mins) 
Dates:  3-29 Aug (not 10, 15, 22)
Tickets: £6.50 - £10 (previews 3-5 Aug £6)     

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