Sunday 10 July 2016

Foiled Dramaturgy: Beth Granville @ Edfringe 2016

Ruby Rouge Hair Salon, 2 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9HX Friday 5th – Monday 29th August 2016 (not 11th, 18th, 25th), 19:00

We can't have clients coming in here, trampling all over my concentration, looking messy about the place.

Staged in an actual working hair salon on Clerk Street (never before used as a Fringe venue), Foiled invites you to immerse yourself in the secret world of styling while Sabrina and her team attempt to perform mission impossible, hair-wise. 

'Bleach for the Stars’ specialises in celebrity dip dyes and off-kilter karaoke but today its doors are closed (again) so that manageress and chief style engineer Sabrina can get busy nominating herself for the prestigious Clipadvisor Salon of the Year award.

When bald out-of-work actor Richie arrives for a career-saving hair-do, over-talented
Alex Brenner (Credit)
and under- employed assistant stylist Tanisha must convince Sabrina that you simply can't buy success. 

Except, of course, when you can.

With a unique blend of big hair, satirical comedy, sing-along show tunes and beyond-the-grave psychic interventions, Foiled is the feel-good theatrical answer to the lamentably unasked question: ‘Something for the weekend, Prime Minister?’.

She has contributed comedy material for BBC
Page | 2
Wales Radio and live London based sketch show Sketchageddon. Last year she took her comedy sketch show Flick and Julie: Pop Up Penny Pinchers on a small UK tour and up to the Edinburgh Festival.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I have spent many hours of my life in hair salons; they are wonderfully theatrical places, full of mirrors, glamour, entertaining characters (stylists and clients) and always alive with varying topics of conversation.  

A hair salon is the one place I go where I always seem to leave with a story so when, in 2011, I was invited to write a site specific short play for Dirty Protest Theatre company and I was given the hairdressers as my venue I was thrilled! The short play I started out with has evolved and taken many different forms since then.  My writing partner David Charles came on as co-writer a couple of years ago and the hour long comedy play we now have is the one we're ready to show the world! 

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

When we had written the new script and had the idea of staging Foiled in a hair salon at the Edinburgh Fringe, we began approaching people that we had either worked with previously, or knew them and their work and had wanted to work with. We are incredibly lucky to have gathered a fabulous team of theatre professionals to work on Foiled, some of us met through a brilliant free writing group that meets in London Bridge every other week called London Comedy Writers and some of us through creating work for The People's Assembly. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I guess it was when I used to stage my own performances of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes in the living room when I was 8.  I love putting on a show as much now as I did then but now I write my own work instead of plagiarising Dahl.

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

The writing of the play was the same process as I would normally undertake but with a lot more time sat in hair dressing salons making notes!  

We’re in rehearsals at the moment and I think the process will be unlike any other I've undertaken before. We are taking the show to three different hair salons so our director Tom O'Brien and our designer Libby Todd have a real challenge on their hands, having to create a performance that can be moved to three very different spaces. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Well, every show will be unique and I hope that the audience will feel a buzz and excitement about being part of such an immersive piece of theatre.  Although audience participation isn't a part of the show, we hope they will enjoy getting a glimpse into the world of a hair salon without having to imagine they are in one! I also hope they'll laugh lots! 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We have put a lot of thought into the audience experience, especially the seating in the salons. We have decided that it will maximise the audience enjoyment and experience if they are placed all around the salon instead of in one designated area; one audience members loss will be another's gain in terms of view and everyone will have a slightly different experience/perspective. All of the mirrors, styling chairs and products being used during the show together with the characters working around them should help the audience feel as though they are part of the character's world, Bleach for the Stars, Hair Salon.  

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Foiled is a comedy play and I feel the tradition of the play follows the work that has inspired and influenced my writing and performance over the years. I aspire to follow the tradition of Alan Ayckbourne's plays, many of which I adore. 

The way he writes social plays that are hilarious and character driven while making a political comment is something we are trying to do with Foiled. My writing is hugely influenced by the British sitcoms I love - everything from Fawlty Towers and Monty Python to The Office, Alan Partridge, Getting On, Twenty Twelve, everything Rik Mayall ever did ... there are simply too many to list. While being influenced and inspired by many great writers and performers, I guess we hope to create our own tradition, something like, sitcom for the stage (hair salon)! 

Writer Beth Granville comments, Over the years I’ve sat in hairdressers’ chairs for what would probably amount to months of my life. In those chairs (part-time confessionals) I have laughed, cried and
shared some of my darkest secrets. With more mirrors than a fun house and sharp objects in such perilous proximity to people’s heads, the stakes are always high. Love or hate a trip to the hairdressers, everyone who’s been to one has a story and I’m excited to tell mine.
Beth Granville and David Charles have been writing comedy together since 2012 with such well- known online viral pieces as the Daily Mail £1 Migrant Solidarity Tour under their belts. Granville has contributed comedy material for BBC Wales Radio and has appeared in Gavin & Stacey and Stella.

Box Office Free with donations at the end

Ages 14+
Director Tom O’Brien Writers Beth Granville, David Charles Cast Beth Granville, Stephanie Siadatan, Dominic Morgan

David Charles has been a full-time writer since 2010, and has written comedy with Beth Granville since 2012. Their writing includes comedy sketches for live performance and several comedy videos for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, as well as viral online pieces such as the Daily Mail £1 Migrant Solidarity Tour, and TV and radio sitcom pilots with regular rehearsed readings at London Comedy Writers. Aside from his comedy writing with Beth, David has published two books of travel writing and two books of political analysis in partnership with Elevate, an international festival of arts and political discourse in Graz, Austria. David’s latest book ‘You Are What You Don’t’ will be published in autumn 2016.

Beth Granville is a Cardiff born writer and actress with a penchant for comedy. Some of her acting credits include Gavin & Stacey and Stella, plus BBC Radio Wales sitcom Scot Of The Antarctic. Beth has developed her co-written sitcom The Sicilians at BBC Wales and had a short play produced by Dirty Protest Theatre Company. 

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