Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Fabric of Dramaturgy: Abi Zakarian @ Edfringe 2016

A powerful new play by Abi Zakarian exposing the shifting roles and expectations of women in today’s society asking how, if ever, they can be fulfilled.

Performed by Nancy Sullivan

On tour 22 June – 22 July 2016 I Edinburgh Festival Underbelly 4 – 28 August

Leah has lost her friends, family and dignity. Forced to move for a third time following a harrowing court case, she is sorting through all the stuff that has accumulated in her spare room: clothes she doesn't wear, books she doesn't read, things she doesn't need anymore. 

Leah relives painful events in her past as she desperately tries to unpick just where it all went wrong and who is really to blame. FABRIC is a hard-hitting play that deals with the aftermath of a rape.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Tom, Nancy and I were interested in producing a piece that reflected on the inherent inequality of women in our society and what those inequalities result in; how they shape society and attitudes. 

We spent a lot of time coming up with exercises to test Nancy in
everyday life so she could gather information about how she was treated in certain situations, or to behave in a certain way and see how people reacted.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Tom and Nancy had worked together before (Tom directed Nancy in Fastest Clock... by Philip Ridley) and they wanted to work together on a one woman show. They approached me through my agent, and after an initial meeting with Tom where it was clear we had many similar ideas and inspirations I joined the team as writer.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I worked for many years as a picture editor for several newspapers; one project I worked on was a book about the Iraq war in 2003; which was compiled as the conflict was ongoing. I had to edit the raw images as they came in – it was so disturbing that at the end of each day I thought I would go blind. 

I was struck by this idea of psychosomatic blindness (which I later learnt afflicted many soldiers returning from the trenches after WWI) and decided to write something about it. This became my first produced play A Thousand Yards.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
It was a different route from a normal commission in that the project came with a director and actor attached but the opportunity to collaborate was great – being able to observe Nancy and her mannerisms allowed me to create the character of Leah in a different way.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Personally I hope the audience will respond to the challenging subject matter in a way that allows them to question previously held notions. The subject matter is not easy to tackle and it may provoke extreme reactions. But this is good if it forces us to confront and discuss it.

Nancy Sullivan (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Les Miserables) stars as Leah in this premiere production directed by Tom O’Brien.

Full tour dates are: 22 – 25 June, EM Forster Theatre, Tonbridge; 2 July, Theatre Royal, Margate; 5 July Old Fire Station, Oxford; 6 – 7 July, Mercury Theatre, Colchester; 8 – 9 July, The Cryer, Carshalton; 11 – 14 July, New Wimbledon Studio, London; 20 July, The Hawth, Crawley; and 21 – 22 July, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury and Iron Belly, Edinburgh 11.55am 6 – 28 August.

This brand new play was developed by TREMers and is supported by Arts Council England.

Creative team

Directed by Tom O'Brien

Set & Costume Design by Alyson Cummins

Sound Design by Max Pappenheim

Lighting Design by Zia Holly

Recommended for age 15+

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