Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Chicken Dramaturgy: Fredrik Lundqvist @ Edfringe 2016

The Chicken Trial

In 2008, controversial artist Makode Linde became the centre of a media storm after being convicted and later acquitted of animal cruelty after bringing a hat full of live, painted chickens to an animal-themed event at a nightclub in Stockholm. 

As he performed his magician act, someone called the police and the chickens were taken into custody. Award-winning journalist Johanna Koljonen, who covered the trial, delves into the ethics and absurdities of the trial. 

Fredrik Lundqvist - (Director) – The Chicken Trial

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The primary inspiration for me as director was, in this case, that I was asked by Finnish Swedish Teater Viirus, to direct this intriguing and very well written script. Shortly afterwards I met with Johanna Koljonen, the dramatist, and we talked about the theme and also about her concept of the "documentary fantasy". 

 Much of the text is a transcription of an actual trial that took place in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010. This fascinated me. I immediately started trying to find out which parts were transcriptions, and which were made up. To me the whole notion of reality surpassing fiction reaches a whole other level in this script, as well as the metathetrical features which are present on many levels. 

There are the metadramtical ideas of the script, that I liked and decided to develop even further when we rehearsed the show. But there is also the metatheatrical quality of the trial situation itself, where everyone involved, despite lacking knowledge and recollection of the incident, are attempting to recreate events that took place more than two years earlier.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
For the Fringe Festival the show will be put together a second time, and in a sense, almost from scratch. I’m bringing with me the concept and idea of the original show of course. I’m also bringing the scenography and sound design, which proved to be essential elements form wise when creating the show in Finland. The cast for this version of the show however, is entirely Scottish. And I’m also bringing in a Swedish collaborator that I’ve worked with for several shows in different constellations, who is doing choreography and movement for this second version of the show.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
In essence, I expect the process will be very much like the way I usually work. I will start from the ideas that emerge from the actors and the artistic team throughout the process. On the other hand, it is the first time that I remake a show with a different cast and a different team, so that aspect of the work will be new to me.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
In making the show I am striving to give the audience a sense of complicity. I want them to feel as though they are actually in the court room. 

At the same time, the play is an invitation into the fictional memory of the main character, the artist Makode Linde, a fantasy about what the events of the trial might be like from his point of view. A trial in itself is like a collection of stories, where people try to put together the logic of scattered memories from quite long ago.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
The purpose of the court is to review the authenticity of these stories. There is something about the fleetingness of facts, and the impossibility of absolute truth, that I would like to convey. My main strategy to achieving this, is to try and avoid the usual fairy tale stereotypes of good and evil, and focus on the idea that most people are right about something, and wrong about most things.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

I would describe myself as being a very theatrical director. Sometimes I refer to my work as ultra theatrical, as I am always trying to make theatre as much theatre as it can possibly be, exploring the media, focusing on things that cannot be done on film or on television. 

Theatre as a form, is dependant on the willingness of the audience to take part in the fantasy. This makes all theatre experiences collaborative to an extent, which is what I think is theatre's most prominent feature.

No comments :

Post a Comment