Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Goggles Dramaturgy: Josie Dale-Jones @ Edfringe 2016

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​
Aug 3-15, 17-29 2.00pm

Gemma and Josie had pet fish, Sunny and Boo. But now they are dead. Goggles is an attempt to give them the happy ending they deserved. As they remember watching their fish live harmoniously in a bowl, Gemma and Josie wonder if they love each other as much as Sunny and Boo had loved each other. They wonder if they love each other equally. A quirky comedy about two people trying to stay afloat. Winner of EntertainmentWise's Best Hidden Gem Award 2014. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The coverage of mental illness in the media got Gemma and I thinking about what it takes to be happy. We thought about what we needed from each other to make each other happy. Then our own hopes and fears started developing - the fear of not finding ‘love’ while our friends do. Can friendship be enough? (We hope it can.) And are people, whoever they are, born to be together? Then loneliness came into it, and even more strongly, the fear of being alone. That being said, we always want to make people laugh - we think its important to keep laughing. The ‘fish thing’ just sort of happened. By that, we mean that we found a metaphor with them and they became a really useful device for talking about the relationship. Also, fish are pretty cool and weirdly like humans in their unhappy symptoms…

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Gemma and I met at university - we went to UEA, so did Lucy (our lighting designer and technician). We all got on and liked watching and making theatre, and being a bit silly. We thought we’d make a good team. 
We wanted to develop our practice whilst making Goggles and so we asked Caroline Horton to join our team as a mentor. We liked her work and she inspired us. She said yes and we got to work!

We have met some incredibly supportive people whilst creating Goggles. If it wasn’t for them we might* have given up a while a go… They are all part of the team too.

*Might being a key word here. We really are both passionate and committed to this piece and everything is can be.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I don’t think I can pin point how… it just happened and there isn’t anything else I think I would be interested in spending my time doing. I was surrounded by performers and theatre-markers from a very early age - maybe that's how. 
Before going to university, I think I had only really encountered devised/fringey shows. I wanted to do that. I started making work at Sixth Form College and at a youth theatre and loved it - maybe that's how. 

I like the process. I like the feeling you get at the end of the process when you have a show. I like having a product I really feel like I was part of making.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
I don’t think I can say we have a typical way of making shows yet, but this show did use a basic mix of writing and improvisation. Having said this, we have done more writing then ever before. Writing and then playing with that writing, rather than making scenes through improvisation. That has felt very different to how we have made work in the past.

Part of the making of Goggles was performing the piece at several stages of its development (we did almost 10 work in progress performances!). It was just Gemma and I in a room and so the audience and their feedback post-show became a collective director type voice. It really helped us to expand our thinking in making the piece. This is different to how we have made work in the past too.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We hope they will have fun. We hope they will relate to the piece. We hope they will recognise their own relationships in it.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
For the fun, we have spent a lot of time being silly - searching for comic potential. We’d ask, “what’s funny about this situation?”.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
There is, I think, a tradition of people fooling around in/with theatre. There are plenty of companies and shows who have done/are doing this. It’s hard to name it, but, I think it’s part of a tradition that is interested in what comic performances can offer audiences that more ‘traditional’ theatre doesn’t. Whatever that is!

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