Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Dramaturgy Before We Wake: Emma London @ Edfringe 2016

Tremolo Theatre presents
Five-star theatre show, The Hours Before We Wake, by fast up-and-coming company Tremolo Theatre are excited to be making their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.
The Hours Before We Wake, a quick witted, lo-fi, sci-fi black comedy is set to a mesmerising, original sound track. 

The show is all about dreaming, technology and not letting anyone inside your head. The story follows hapless Ian, who lives in a dystopian world where technology allows people to control their dreams and upload them to DreamShare for all to see. By day, at work, he is so insignificant that the face recognition software doesn't know who he is. 

At night he dreams of being a hero, but it isn't until he bumps into the outcast Bea and is suddenly plunged into a world of conspiracy that his hero credentials (& baking skills) are severely tested.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

We wanted to explore the concept of lucid dreaming, so we started the devising process with the idea of a pill that could be taken to allow you to control your dreams. We quickly realised the main limitation on stories about dreaming is that it’s an entirely solitary experience. 

To overcome this we invented DreamShare, a technological interface where dreams can be uploaded and shared, inspired by YouTube and other social media. This allowed our characters to share their dreams with each other and became the basis of the world from which the story evolved.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

We have the pleasure of living in Bristol which is a thriving hub of creative people with a vibrant theatre scene, so we had a lot of talent to choose from. After studying drama at university I took part in the Made In Bristol training scheme at the Bristol Old Vic, and during that year I met even more theatre makers I wanted to collaborate with. 

A small group of us came together to set up Tremolo Theatre and invited an array of people with a mix of disciplines to a Research and Development week at the Bristol Old Vic. There were writers, actors, singers, illustrators and movement specialists who all contributed to the idea. Eventually we found the best way to tell our story was using three actors and an on stage musician.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Personally, I grew up in a family of theatre people. My father, Mark Drewry, and my grandfather, Peter Copley, were both actors. My step father, Stephen Mallatratt, a writer and my mother and grandmother were both stage managers. Therefore it’s no surprise that I had an interest in the theatre. I also played piano in a number of jazz ensembles and loved improvising and jamming with other musicians. 

I knew these two interests were related, but it wasn’t until I saw companies like Kneehigh and directors like Sally Cookson combine music and theatre, that I wanted to do the same. The Bristol Old Vic Young Company taught me to devise through a process that was collaborative and inclusive, which reminded me of jamming with a bunch of musicians. That's how I became interested in making performances in this way.

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

Yes and no. Yes, because we started with the concept of lucid dreaming and then fleshed out the world and the characters in rehearsals. But no, it wasn’t typical because we usually have a skeleton of a story before we get into the rehearsal room. This time we started entirely from scratch in terms of the narrative.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Three main things. Firstly, we hope the audience enjoys it and finds it entertaining and funny. It is a comedy after all. Secondly, we want people to reflect on their own relationship with technology. And thirdly, we want people to use their own imagination guided by our sound design to help create the world.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Firstly, we had a fun time making the show, which is usually a good indicator of how the audience will react. We’ve also kept some bits quite fluid and improvised, which gives a fresh and spontaneous feel to every performance. Secondly, we want to immerse the audience in the world from the start, so we introduce this dystopian future as simply and quickly as possible. 

This means the audience have time to reflect on their own relationship to technology throughout the show. Thirdly, we decided to use a simple set and muted tones for the costumes to allow the audience the freedom to use their own imagination to conjure the complex world in their heads.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

We are a group of theatre makers who are interested in devised theatre, but we do not want to be restricted within any particular genre. We borrow ideas and approaches from everyone and everything.

Jack Drewry, director of Tremolo Theatre, a new Bristol company said: "This is an exciting time for the company as we bring The Hours Before We Wake to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time. The show is an ensemble piece that uses original music, an intricate sound design and a minimal set to create a sharply observed dystopian world, full of humour, pathos and a glimpse of the future."
"Being invited to appear at Underbelly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time with our debut show as a newly formed theatre company is a real accolade and is pretty much our dream come true!" he added.

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