Thursday, 23 June 2016

Sins Dramaturged: Lance Fuller @ Edfringe 2016

American drama SINS BORNE explores race and relationships in Edinburgh Fringe premiere

Although racial strife has always existed in America it roared out of hiding during the Obama presidency which, as it nears its end, is seeing an even more terrifying possibility for the nation’s future. 

Sins Borne explores on an intimate level a father son relationship and the way in which racial prejudice is taught and harboured, not inherent, and that the complicated lives of struggling families can lead to unintended consequences.

JPL Productions is premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 the new American drama Sins Borne by California playwright Paul Braverman. JPL Productions was formed in order to create and bring this work of utmost relevance, in the waning days of the Obama presidency and amid the spectre of Donald Trump and those who support him, to this year’s festival.

Ever since EJ’s wife died, his only comfort has come in seclusion. Numbed to world events, he’s only vaguely aware of the racial strife raging outside his door. 

That comfort is shattered forever when his son Barry shows up, after many years on the run. Barry bears a gift that promises to redeem EJ, and the racist past he tried to escape, as well as change the world, but instead only shows how easily lies told can become sins borne.
What was the inspiration for this performance?
The presidential election and, more specifically, the winding down of the Obama presidency. Now that his presidency is ending and we’ve had 8 years of the ‘first black president’ we sort of take it for granted. 

I say ‘we’ meaning those who appreciate the man, his intellect, his nuance, how amazing his legacy will be both with and without the addition of being the first African American to hold the office. As part of his presidency it seems that racism has become an even more rife part of American culture. 

The divide between ideologies seems further apart, the consequences of being black in America seem even more pronounced and problematic, if not dangerous. Or perhaps what we’re seeing is what has always been there but it’s now more obvious and on the surface in part because of social media and in part because of what Obama represents to a section of the population.

How did you go about gathering the team for it? 

I, Lance Fuller, am an American based in the UK. I came here to attend the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and get my Masters in Acting. Before I moved here I worked in the San Francisco Bay Area as an actor. 

I worked with John Baldwin as a fellow actor and with Paul Braverman as a playwright. We were all connected by an amazing theatre company called The Pear Avenue Theatre company, affectionately shortened to The Pear. 

We were both friends and colleagues in California and though I haven’t lived there for several years we kept in touch. John was visiting Scotland, where I live, and brought up the notion of bringing a play to the fringe. We enlisted Paul as our playwright, had several discussions, and he wrote the play that we continue to revise.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I’ve been a performer since I was a child taking part in AmDram productions in my home town. It has been a part of my life nearly continuously since. I decided to make it my career back in 2009 and then in 2011 I decided to continue my training in the UK. I could add all sorts of thoughts like “I just feel so alive onstage” but it’s mostly that I love creating and playing out stories, living in a character. I’ve come to love creating pieces in collaboration with others. The Fringe is electric so I’m beyond excited to bring something to it and be a part of it.

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

No this was a new way to make a performance. We discussed our themes, characters, stories over email and Skype. We’ve done read-throughs over Skype and have come up with a play and several revisions. That being said I’ve tried this before, working remotely. 

The most interesting version of it was a weekend experiment in which three theatre companies linked up via Google+. One in London, one in Brooklyn, and one in Oakland California. We devised a piece on one day, rehearsed it the next, then did a live performance that switched and interleaved our groups over video chat to create a unique piece. 

In our modern world you can create pieces, work, chat, see people remotely. In the end, though, we’ll rehearse in person and, of course, perform it live. In the end the live experience is part of what makes this experience so wonderful, interesting, dangerous, fun.

What do you hope that the audience will experience? 

Recognition, understanding. The power of storytelling and live theatre is in allowing the audience to experience a different perspective. In our case the extreme actions people take on behalf of false beliefs are rooted in the complex nature of human relationships.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?Immediacy. The small venues of the fringe make for a more visceral experience rather than the distance of a large auditorium and stage with proscenium. We’re drawing on very public, current events and trends in America which is under the watchful eyes of the world.

Listings Information
Sins Borne: V260 TheSpace @Jury’s Inn - 5-27 Aug (Sundays off) at 19:35 (50 mins)

For further information and press images please visit  Or contact Lance Fuller - 07845 551 308 / / Follow us on twitter: @sinsborne

About the Company
JPL Productions is a transatlantic company comprised of playwright Paul Braverman, actor John Baldwin, both of whom are based in the San Francisco, California area, and Lance Fuller, an American actor trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and living in the U.K. John, Paul, and Lance initially met while working together on productions at the Pear Avenue Theatre in Mountain View, California. They formed JPL to devise and create Sins Borne

DIRECTED BY: Michael-Alan Read
WRITTEN BY: Paul Braverman
CAST: John Baldwin as EJ
Lance Fuller as Barry

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