Thursday, 7 July 2016

Incredible Dramaturgy: Camilla Whitehill @ Edfringe 2016

Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly), 56 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1EG
Thursday 4th – Sunday 28th August 2016 (not 16th), 16:40

I am not the kind of man that has to go to a singles night. I refuse to let what’s happened to me turn me into one of those men.
Adam is single. He doesn’t like it. He misses Holly. He deserves Holly. Doesn’t he? 

Mr Incredible is a brutal new play about modern love and old-fashioned entitlement from the award-winning writer/director team behind Edinburgh Fringe 2015 sell-out show Where Do Little Birds Go?.

Camilla Whitehill’s second play is a stark exploration of control, anger, and the lengths we go to stay in one place. Mr Incredible is the study of one man who is forced, through circumstance, to self-reflect.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Mr Incredible is inspired by everyone’s ex-boyfriend, by my obsession with unreliable narrators and also by the actor, Alistair Donegan.  In a good way.  I wanted to write something about male entitlement and how damaging it can be for everyone.  I also wanted to veer away from writing “monsters” and talk more about the reality of entitlement and consent.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Sarah Meadows (the director), Rosalyn Newbery (producer), and Justin Nardella and Catherine Morgan (designers) all worked on my first play, Where Do Little Birds Go?.  And they’re all geniuses.  Our composer Benedict Taylor also contributed to WDLBG and is involved in a much more exciting way this time around.  And our lighting designer Jamie Platt has worked with Rosalyn before. Basically, we just got a lot of great people together. And the play was written especially for Alistair, the actor, so he better be good at it.
How did you become interested in making performance?

I’ve loved theatre since I saw Oliver! aged 6.  I trained as an actor originally, then moved over to writing when I realised I didn’t really like acting.  I’d always been obsessed with words and play texts, so I think I’d just mistaken what I actually wanted to do for acting. I started writing about 4 years ago and haven’t really looked back.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

Yeah, I think so.  I like to write quickly and alone, then share what I’ve done with whoever I’m working with.  We did a few preview shows earlier in the year which really informed the final draft.  I don’t have any set rituals or methods - I generally just start writing and see what happens.  I’m a big believer in getting a first draft out quickly, then going back to fix things that don’t work or don’t make sense. This is my second monologue play so I felt comfortable with the format.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they connect with the story, I hope they feel a little blindsided, and that they come out with something to talk about.  I’m not steering the audience to think or feel anything in particular; I’m just presenting them with a scenario.  I don’t like plays that feel preachy or too “neat”.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I just wrote the best story I could. I just wrote something I thought was important. I’m not very into strategies.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Not really. It’s not something I really think about. I’m a huge theatre fan and I suppose I’m informed by all the plays I’ve ever seen, but that’s about it. 

Longsight Theatre makes award-winning, intimate theatre with a focus on new writing. Camilla Whitehill is currently one of 12 writers on the Channel 4 4Screenwriting programme, and part of the 2016 Bush Theatre Emerging Writers’ Group.

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