Friday, 8 July 2016

Dramaturgy Oldschool: Emmet Kirwan @ Edfringe 2016

A new play by Emmet Kirwan Pleasance Courtyard

This Award winning dark comedy is about brothers, Dublin and dance music. The cast are Emmet Kirwan and Ian Lloyd Anderson. Together they play 17 characters.  

It is directed by Phillip McMahon with lighting by Sarah Jane Shiels and sound by Ivan Birthistle. The playtext was published by Bloomsbury Methuen in January 2016.  Dublin Oldschool is presented by Project Arts Dublin in association with Soho Theatre.

Wed 3 Aug - Sun 28 Aug 1.00pm (ex 10, 15 & 22 Aug)  

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I wanted to write about a subculture of dance music in Dublin and something that touched on contemporary issues, much of Irish theatre is about the cannon, new productions of old plays. I wanted to write a contemporary Dublin play from a working class perspective.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

I had known the director and Dramaturge of the play Phillip McMahon since we were in Dublin Youth Theatre as teenagers, Phillip is a playwright and director who’d i’d worked with there and in our adult life in Ireland’s national theatre The Abbey for his
musical Alice in Funderland, his company This is pop baby is known for celebrating youth, club and queer culture through their work and Phillip was of an age and similar experience to myself so i thought his theatrical sensibility would be a perfect fit, also as a playwright he was well able to edit out what wasn’t needed. 

I had worked with The actor Ian Lloyd Anderson for a number of years and had written the part specifically  for him. We shared a dressing room in the Abbey for a production of Major Barbara it was a long run and i had mentioned the next thing we do together would be something new, set in Ireland contemporary and vibrant. An energetic an antidote if you will, to slogging through an unedited Shaw play every night. 

The Play came from an Initiative called ‘Show in a bag’ run by Tiger Dublin fringe, Irish Theatre Institute and Fishable the new play company to enable and give support to actors to write their own work. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

Again working as an actor in Ireland for years, many of the disciplines i had learned about in college were rarely utilised in plays from the cannon of older Irish works and many modern plays were exercises in filmic style realism and naturalism, table and two chairs type of work. I wanted to play with form and acting style, so i wrote the opening scenes in Hip hop inspired verse to newly composed beats, and much of the story telling elements in the play are spoken word.  

Constrained financially, i had to employ story telling monologues to tell the more fantastical elements of he story that had multi characters. Since the nineties in Ireland, many of these monologue type narratives were told in the Irish storyteller tradition, in the past tense and with an actor standing statically in a pool of light. 

I wanted to do the opposite and tell the story in the present tense and employ Meyerhold’s externalisation technique and have a brash over the top comedic physical style that externalised actions and emotions with big gestures, doing something overtly theatrical in Meyerhold’s tradition of the actor as athlete . And then Juxtapose this with a more traditional  realism in the duologue scenes between the brothers.

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

It was new piece so there was a lot more collaboration in the staging of it than i’d usually experience in a rehearsal room between all three of us and the styles of acting and directing we brought. I wrote the piece and then tried out the scenes with Ian and the director Philly, and then would edit out the pieces that were slowing the piece down with Phillip’s help

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

A spoken word, hip hop, comedy gig, mixed with a family drama . A kind of headrush that lets you experience a rave in the moment, that actors on stage are experiencing it. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

The director Phillip wanted to keep the aesthetic of a Hip Hop or Comedy gig. So the stage is bare and populated by only two microphones and two large speakers to give the audience the impression they where out on a night out or in an underground club and not coming see a play.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Possibly plays in the recent Irish cannon of writers that are from a traditionally working class perspective and narrative, hopefully mixed with newer music and pop culture aesthetic and influences . 

Join wannabe DJ Jason on a chemically enhanced trip through the streets of Dublin, moving from one misguided misadventure to another. 

Somewhere between the DJs, drug busts and hilltop raves, he stumbles across a familiar face from the past: his brother Daniel.  

Daniel is an educated, homeless addict. They haven't spoken in years but, over a lost weekend, they reconnect and reminisce over tunes, trips and their city. Dark comedy, family drama and spoken word odyssey, Dublin Oldschool snaps, crackles, raps and rhymes. Two brothers living on the edge, but how long can this buzz last?

Emmet Kirwan is best known for writing and starring in the Irish TV cult comedy series 'Sarah and Steve'. He was in 'Juno & the Paycock' at the Gate earlier this year, and films include 'Pursuit' with Brendan Gleeson and the Award winning '71' with Jack O'Connell.

Ian Lloyd Anderson was Dean in the long running TV series Love/Hate,  He is Jack Clitheroe in the Abbey Theatre production  of 'The Plough and the Stars' which will tour the US in the autumn.

Director Phillip McMahon is half of pop culture outfit THISISPOPBABY and has directed Panti:High Heels In Low Places Traverse Theatre August 8 - 20.

Dublin Oldschool has played 2 sell out seasons at Project Arts Dublin,  plus at the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival and  in Cork.  

Ian Lloyd Anderson & Emmet Kirwan were joint winners, Best Performer Award, Tiger Dublin Fringe 2014.

Beside- Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33). 60 Pleasance. Edinburgh EH8 9TJ. Box Office 0131 556 6550. Wed Aug 3- Sun Aug 28. 1.00pm. (ex 10, 15 & 22 Aug)    Tickets: £6 from 3 Aug until 5 Aug, £8-10 from 6 Aug until 28 Aug. Running Time 60 minutes. Age 14 +

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