Friday, 8 July 2016

Spill Your Dramaturgy Here: Sophie Lakely @ Edfringe 2016

Spill Your Guts Here
… A love letter to the lost art of falling totally and utterly apart…
Premiering at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

Spill Your Guts Here is a comic, one woman play examining the changing nature of how social media impacts on our mental health and how we break up in the digital age. Becks is pushing 30 and unable or unwilling to move on from her past relationship. 

She whiles away her time obsessing on social media, drinking and plotting ways to win him back. But will she succeed? Spill Your Guts Here is an examination of one woman’s race to the bottom both on and offline.

Spill Your Guts Here will be showing at The SpaceUK Jury’s Inn (V260) between the 5th- 27th of August (excluding Sundays) at 11.25am.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
To be honest, the idea began from personal circumstance. I had a god awful break up and completely struggled to move on from it. I’ve frequently used writing as a way to try and get my own feelings a little more organised and doing so in this case seemed like a natural idea. There was definitely a notion that if I turned it all into a one woman play and took it to Edinburgh this might offer some sort of overarching solution! 

Whilst I was writing it I began to think more and more about the nature of how we break up when we’re often so surrounded by the ability to access or monitor our old lives online. I felt really ashamed of the fact I wasn’t magically better or moved on and it got me to thinking about how much we admire that. It’s seen as very undignified to not “be OK” or to still pine after something
that’s gone and it just made me think “Why is that?”.

Then I got more and more to thinking about how so much these days- if you look at things like social media- we always put out these better versions of ourselves. People aren’t just OK; they’re great and they’re going to show you they are in a triple-filtered photo they’ve casually spent 25 minutes taking. I wanted to write about someone who wasn’t and to show that there’s something to admire or enjoy in that!

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
The team came about quite easily. There’s three of us: myself acting and writing and then being co-directed by Olivia Meguer and Jackie Fisher. We all work together in a bar as a day job, were already friends and had done other acting projects together. I think if you’re doing something this personal it can really work to work with people you know. I showed the first draft to both of them and then it sort of went from there.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I’ve dabbled in writing creatively on and off for many years. This is the first play I’ve written but I definitely plan on writing more and creating more work from scratch!

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
It was definitely more collaborative and hands on than anything I’d ever done before. Acting something you’ve written was more challenging than I was expecting but I think together we’ve all taken an idea and developed it into something that audiences will enjoy.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope they find it funny! And I hope that they can enjoy an honest and open account of what it’s like to really screw up and want something back.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Quite a bit of the play is performed as direct address to the audience so obviously ensuring that was done in a way that was engaging but also kept the action moving. We’ve used audio and sound to create a contrast to this. It was also important- as always with comedy- to maintain a balance between things that are more overtly funny with more down beat or sadder parts of the story. To keep a good contrast.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
Whilst it is based and inspired by personal and true events it is very much theatre. It’s a story and largely fiction! A one person show rather than story telling. 

Social media sold us a promise that we were only ever a few clicks away from our friends and our loved ones. That we can now access others 24/7. But what about when our real life relationships and our online ones don’t match up? According to research our interaction with Facebook when we break up from a romantic relationship increases by an average of 225%. That’s a whole lot of time spent looking at our exes and making out that “we’re just fine thank you”. But are we? In an age where we can spend hours altering filters on our photographs to ensure we look together and moved one, what’s happened to finding the space to be sad and (God forbid it) maybe a bit of a mess?

We all know that social media has become a part of most people’s daily lives, how frequently we use it and how often it has become our main form of communication. But when we’re constantly surrounded by manicured images and posts of others’ perfect lives what effect does that have on our less socially acceptable emotions? Loneliness, shame and rejection are all perfectly common human emotions but we’re unlikely to be sharing those online. And if we’re not sharing them, then where are they going?

“True love doesn’t end with polished finger nails and a pristine profile picture on Facebook; it ends face down on a toilet seat at 4 in the morning with a pristine sense of self loathing.” - (Spill Your Guts Here, 2016)

“Spill Your Guts Here” is written and performed by Sophie Lakely (The Rose Bankside, Theatre 503) and co- directed by Jackie Fisher (Theatre503 and Sheffield Theatres) and Olivia Meguer (Lodestar Theatre Company, “Wake” short film).

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