Monday, 20 June 2016

The Dramaturgy List: David Hendon and Phil Croft @ Edfringe 2016

A riotous new comedy about the price of fame and the cult of celebrity. Jamie wows the nation on Britain's Worst Singer and gains notoriety after swearing on Children in Need.

 Guided by his ruthless agent, Diana, he now has to navigate the trappings of overnight fame. His ego is flattered by all the attention, but the version of himself in the tabloids causes havoc in his relationships with girlfriend Jen and best friend Max. Will Jamie sink or rise to the great heights of Strictly? Starring Samuel Curry (The Apprentice 2015).

DH is David Hendon, the writer and PC is Phil Croft, the director.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
DH: The wish to write about something contemporary and relatively new: the way modern celebrities are formed by the perfect storm of reality TV and social media, but also to look at the real people behind the media portrayals. It's a human story told in a comic way.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
DH: The first step was securing Samuel Curry's involvement. He is an actor but also appeared on The Apprentice on the BBC, which meant he had first hand experience of reality TV. Once he agreed to be in the play it made it easier for the script to gain attention.

PC: Our process then turned to building a company that best suited Sam’s casting. We initially set up and audition process of actors who we had seen or been recommended, and then used an open casting for the other parts. I am always looking for actors who make bold, creative choices and are prepared to take risks. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
PC: Creating theatre has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my parents ran a small community theatre company in Plymouth which proudly put on work that pushed its village hall home to the absolute limit of design and audience experience. 

I eventually went on to study theatre at Plymouth University which focused a lot of attention on devising and creating work. During this time and for a few years after I was creating, designing and directing many plays and musicals with my own company at Sterts Theatre in Cornwall, before finally moving to London to study an MA in directing. 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
PC: My process of making a performance is generally a collaborative and creative one. I spend a lot of time studying the text alone before hand to try and understand the absolute root of
what the writer is aiming for, but once I am in the rehearsal room the process is quite practical and physical. 

I make decisions through trying things out rather than discussing them. I will play around with ideas until we create something that is clear, coherent and hopefully entertaining for the audience. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
DH: On a fundamental level, it's a comedy so we hope audiences will find it funny and be entertained by it. It may also make people think about our modern culture and how we relate to it.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
PC: I don’t feel that my work sits within any particular tradition, in that my experience as an actor, director and theatre maker is extremely varied. The one constant thing I carry through all my work is a sense of representation for the audience. 

It is always them who I am thinking of when crafting a piece, be that a musical, play (old or new), a festival, or a piece of performance art. It is vital for me that whatever the genre, the piece holds clarity for the audience. 

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