Sunday, 10 July 2016

F'ing Dramaturgy: Pinched! @ Edfringe 2016

Pinched! Theatre Company:
The F Words
Devised by Kirsten McPake, Holly Wedgwood and the cast.

Greenside @ Nicolson Square [Venue 209]
15th-20th August. 11:10pm (50 Mins)
  22nd – 27th August. 4:10pm (50 Mins)
£8.00 (£6.50)


The F Words is a performance that celebrates everything that it means to be a woman in Scotland in 2016. The show centres around six actors and their own stories and opinions on being female today. The media has been full of stories documenting the rise of feminism and the negative clashes which often come with this controversial topic - we wanted to bring back the positive aspects of being a woman today. 

From the rise of the selfie to the distress of the period and what is really means when a woman says ‘fine’, we bring the attention to what we are as female in 2016. Through wit, music, poetry and movement these six women try to understand what they are and celebrate everything female. This show was created with an entirely female cast and crew, all of whom are establishing actors, directors and theatre makers wanting to make their mark in the industry.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
In its simplest form the inspiration for this show was ourselves (not as egotistical as it sounds, we promise). We wanted to devise about something we knew, understood and wanted to share. So, we focused on the basics of our bodies - our gender. 

However, as we began to workshop, write and devise we realised that nothing is simple and we really are all very confused about what it actually means to be female in 2016.  So, we wrote to share our confusions, that we are sure are shared by everyone else. 

There's also been a media storm around the idea of Feminism, usually with the negative connotations which in turn has made it uncomfortable to be proud of being a women. We decided that we wanted to bring back the positive of being proud to be female.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Myself and Holly Wedgwood (co-creator) are really, really old friends who studied drama together in high school and then again at college. We came up with the idea casually one night and that started the ball rolling. 

We got together a group of actors who were at the same stage of their careers as us. We are all students or recent graduates who are trying to establish ourselves and gain experience in the industry. By mere coincidence,  a lot of us studied at PASS at Edinburgh College over a few different years.  We also decided to create an entirely female, not only cast but creative team - with a female stage manager and technician. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
I've loved theatre for a very long time but after studying acting for a year I realised that that bit wasn't really for me, although I did learn some amazing things on that course it set me on the path to directing and writing instead. 

I am currently studying Theatre Studies at Glasgow University and am very interested in making performance from scratch in many different ways using different techniques. There is something incredibly exciting about seeing all the ideas come together to make a solid performance.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
We devised our show as a cast, which isn't completely typical but is becoming incredibly popular and many companies now use it. Devising the show made it extremely personal for all of us, but particularly for the cast. 

They have had the main control over shaping the stories they want to tell and how they tell them. We created a lot of script which has been thrown out or replaced with something better and our show is constantly changing in rehearsal. We have also been able to write the show to go with the skills of the cast, such as music, movement, dance etc. We first met in March with a basic idea that me and Holly had come up with; the words, fat, fake, feminine, female, flawless, fearless, future, fine. And now we have an extremely personal and completed show.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We have been slightly worried that our title and show description makes it sound like it is a show only for women - it really isn't. Maybe, there are a few wee inside jokes that only women will understand but the majority of the show really is for everyone. It is a show about these particular women sharing what their life is and how they think their gender affects it. It's not a massive, angry, feminist rant. We really are hoping that people will be open to come and see what our show's all about, because we are sure they'll enjoy it once they see it. We know that male or female, young or old, you will be able to relate to some of the observations, obsessions and fears of these twenty-something year old women. But, when it boils down to it we hope they come in for 50 minutes and are entertained and enjoy themselves listening to our stories. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Our show is built to create a really fast moving, upbeat performance which holds the audiences' attention. It is created using kind of sketches or skits (we use these words incredibly loosely). 

Each section on one of the F Words could stand alone as a very short piece of theatre. Together the link but there is not an overarching traditional narrative. The show is constantly changing to keep all the themes and stories fresh and interesting for the audience. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Hmm, this is a difficult thing to judge about your own work. Well obviously because of they way The F Words was made we easily would fall into the contemporary theatre tradition of devising theatre but within that we have elements from so many other traditions. We are mostly students or recent graduates so as we learn about different traditions we let that influence our work in some way. 

We have elements of physical theatre, writing techniques particularly related to Scottish theatre and the customs which come along with it, along with some elements of farce. We are a bit of a mix of everything.

Pinched! Theatre Company is a small emerging company based between West Lothian and Edinburgh, and is made up of students and recent graduates. They were formed in late 2014 and are extremely excited to return to the Fringe after a successful debut performance last year.

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