Friday, 24 June 2016

The Other Dramaturgy: Gaël Le Cornec @ Edfringe

New play by Gael Le Cornec at the Edinburgh Fringe
5 – 28 August 2016

A coming-of-age adventure-thriller about a refugee child, The Other is premiering this August at the Fringe, as part of the Institut français’ Vive Le Fringe! programme.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The seed idea came about 3 years ago after I  spent 5 hours talking by chance to a girl, who had once stayed at Yarl's wood immigration removal centre in London. She told me her whole experience there and how  'immigrants' were treated. Then the refugee crisis started and I got more and more interested in the subject of immigration and the reason why refugees were fleeing their countries. I then found out many of them were children...  

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
I had worked on a shorter version of THE OTHER with director Ben Samuels last year and performed it at the Southbank Centre as part of Poetry International. We worked really well together so I invited him to direct the final version. 

Then Angie Peña Arenas joined as a 'young creative associate' from Islington Community Theatre. I invited the sound and set designers, Xavier Velastin and Irina Shengelia, who I met when they were artists-in-residence in the programme I run at CASA and finally, I had worked with Pablo Fernandez Baz, the light designer before. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
As a kid, my dad would always read poems and stories at dinner table. One day he was reading Antigone, he needed someone to be Antigone, while he read Creon. That moment was a turning point for me, I felt more alive than ever.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
This process was very different than the previous ones. Before, I'd always come to the rehearsal room with a strong idea of what the play would be and a finalised text version of it. Didn't happen this time, I had a structure and bits of text, a lot of it was developed in the rehearsal room. This is a solo made with many. The style is also completely different than my previous solos, it's the first time I'm exploring shadows and mixing so many theatrical languages.  

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
 A unique play. Love it or hate it, but honestly, I don't think you will have seen anything like it. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
 I wanted to write a universal story. A story that would touch people and bring them together because I want to see more understanding in the world. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
I realised just before this process how much I was indirectly influenced by a western theatre tradition of  white male dramaturgy. With The Other I'm breaking away from that. 

Not censoring my deepest instincts and not necessarily following "dramaturgical rules".  The funny thing is that, after a preview, I had someone lecturing me about the rules of time and location and even saying that I should take inspiration from Shakespeare. I was bemused, so I smiled and I carried on doing the things that I believe in.

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