Monday, 11 July 2016

Dramaturgy in the Faslane: Jenna Watt @ Edfringe 2016

Jenna Watt in association with Showroom present:
Summerhall - Edinburgh Fringe 2016

A new solo performance from “One of Scotland’s most interesting performers and theatre makers” (Daily Record) at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, or Faslane, situated 40 miles outside Glasgow, is home to the UK's nuclear missile program: Trident. 

With family having worked in Faslane all her life, and with friends protesting at the gates, Jenna Watt (How You Gonna Live Your Dash, Flâneurs) explores what happens when the personal and political collide. 

Drawing upon interviews with individuals at the front line of the nuclear debate and featuring an immersive sound design by Kim Moore (Blow Off, Tiger Tale) Jenna navigates her own journey through the politics, protests and peace camps. 

A deeply personal yet meticulously researched take on the nuclear debate, delving into not only the global politics of Trident, but also the personal struggle of taking a stance on this most divisive of issues. Rejecting a didactic approach, Faslane invites audience members to question their own thoughts on the issue, and to interrogate just what a nuclear deterrent really means.

Faslane represents the culmination of years of research including multiple trips to the naval base, interviews with current and former MOD staff and activists as well as forays into the world of activism by Jenna herself.

3rd (preview), 5-28th August 2016 (not 15th) at 7.15pm 
Summerhall – Red Lecture Theatre
Tickets from £8    

What was the inspiration for this performance?

In the lead up to the Scottish Referendum the issue of Trident was being used as a political linchpin for both campaigns, I became aware that I was desperately uninformed about this issue despite my family have worked in Faslane my whole life. I felt torn between what I wanted for my family and what I thought I wanted for my country, so I started asking questions and attempted to find out what people at the frontline of the nuclear debate really feel.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

We have a really small team, Callum Smith, producer, and Louise Stephens, dramaturg, have worked with me on previous productions and I'd been in conversation with them about Faslane during it's research. At the beginning of the process for Faslane, I knew I didn't want to use the aesthetic of nuclear war, so it felt natural to turn to sound design. A producer friend of mine suggested I speak to Kim Moore. Kim and I had never worked together, so we met and talked about the show and Kim immediately became a hugely important part of the show. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

If I'm honest, I used to watch the TV show Playdays when I was a kid, and I loved the Tent Stop. In the Tent Stop episodes they'd create lo-fi performances and I couldn't get enough of it, it felt really special with the presenters acting out a story 'live', I was hooked. Sadly, the PlayBus would usually stop at the Patch stop, or the bloody Why Bird stop, I had no time for that Why bird.

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

Absolutely, my research always involves talking to people, and then discovering how to best represent those people and their stories on stage. I guess what is different with Faslane is that this piece is obviously very political. 
credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope audiences will feel challenged both politically and personally.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I'm presenting a perspective that will be, at times, difficult for people with polarised views on the debate to swallow.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Nope, but I'm sure plenty of other people do.

Jenna Watt is an award winning Scottish theatre maker and has been working professionally in Scottish Theatre for 10 years. Her recent production How You Gonna Live Your Dash undertook a Scottish tour in January/February 2016. In 2012 she won a Scotsman Fringe First for Flâneurs, which went on to tour the UK. 

Jenna is currently working as an assistant director with Magnetic North and Rob Drummond through the FST Assistant Director 

Kim Moore (Sound Designer) is a composer who records and produces for theatre, dance, film and visual arts. She is currently composing and performing with Barrowland Ballet, Tom Dale and Rick Holland, Julia Taudevin Blow Off with live musicians from Tuff Love, and with her own project WOLF. 

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