Rose Bruford @ Upper Church, Summerhall
Aug 5-15 2.00pm
A devised play that uses spoken word poetry to explore the nature of contemporary public transport. The London Underground handles over four million passengers per day. Half the population of our multicultural capital scurry beneath the city to travel together. Each carriage is inhabited by cross sections of society. Combinations of class, race and opinion meet in a space in which you can barely whisper. A chorus of nine will become hundreds of passengers from all walks of life. They will create the tones, mechanisms and inhabitants of the tube as they journey through the veins of the city.
How did you go about gathering the team for it?
Ryan Duncan and Ian Horgan founded the company during their acting training at Rose Bruford. A drama school like Rose Bruford, brimming with eager and talented students (both technical and performative) is an abundant resource for assembling a cast and creative team. The entire company of LINES are either recent graduates or current students from Rose Bruford. We held open auditions ahead of the schools Symposium festival this year, finding a diverse ensemble from the several performance courses. Our Stage Managers, Lighting and Sound Designers as well as Scenic Artists are people we have worked with in previous Rose Bruford productions.
How did you become interested in making performance?
Whilst training as Actors, \Ian & Ryan cultivated their respective desires to direct and write.
Whilst studying Meisner and Stanislavsky during 1st year, Ryan became interested in the transferable nature of such techniques, helping actors to discover a performance. The actors therefore become a resource for creating material, rather than having to squeeze themselves into previously established roles.
Ian had dabbled in writing poetry (particularly lyrics) even before Rose Bruford. When working with the ideas that Ryan had found with the ensemble, Ian became fascinated in turning authentic, bold and organic material into subtle poetry the was complementary to the scene, rather than overbearing.
We feel that the best shows are those that authentically investigate the human condition, whilst daring to be extraordinary in terms of form.
Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Since our first piece of new writing last year, we have been attempting to combine poetic text with the social concerns of our time, moving towards a deftness where instead of the audience being bombarded with lyricism, they are instead provided with a musical undercurrent that compliments the subject matter.
This project is a development of our previous practise, we have been bolder with the form and more open to what our ensemble are offering. Two shows cannot really illustrate whether our process is typical, but we are definitely refining our aforementioned ideas.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The play refers to the inhabitance of the underground as ‘tunnel visioned’, which is true in any large crowd. We hope our play will give people an insight into the humanity hidden in the crowded London Underground.
We want to expose the audience up to the world around them and question their initial perceptions. To delight, or despair in them by highlighting things they overlook everyday.
The piece is very eclectic and episodic which we feel gives it mass appeal, but we would urge anyone who enjoys a multi-faceted performance, who wants to be both entertained and challenged to come along.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
The show begins by presenting the otherwise voiceless passengers of the underground and their tunnel visioned nature. We then shift perceptions of the audience by using direct address. The soliloquies of this section allow the audience to enter the inner thoughts of our characters. This theatrical form gives the audience in intimate insight into our characters motives and conflicts.
The events and characters of the show are all based on real life underground experiences of the cast. This authenticity counter-balances the heightened poetic form.
Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Tradition of naturalistic theatre combined with a contemporary form of spoken word theatre but we have combined the two to create scenes which are driven by the rhythm of the poetry.
Similar to the political awareness that the actor musicianship movement was born of, Iwebelieve that this marriage of spoken word and the theatrical form could be an up-and-coming subculture of its own.