Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Life and Times of Dramaturgy: Natalie Rawel@ Edfringe 2016

What was the inspiration for this performance?
We were interested in exploring how the human mind works, looking to creatively portray escapism in a very anxious character. However we wanted to avoid the troupe of a character talking about their own problems. 

Working on Lionel gave us a chance to take our own experiences and knowledge and feed it into a process that gave us total freedom to explore the type of surreal and unusual ideas that we naturally leaned towards. With each character comes a new vocal or physical challenge. Creating a performance that is visually, textually and aesthetically exciting has been our goal.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
 The fortunate thing about our team is that we were already friends at university (meeting on a Theatre & Performance course) and had worked together in various combinations, but this was the first time all of us came together on a project. 

The group began with four but soon auditioned a fifth cast member, interviewed and found a producer and re-invited the man who had been orchestrating our tech from day one.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We’ve all had previous experience working on shows and were all actively involved in extra-curricular theatre whilst at university, both performing and writing. Getting to work together as a group meant that we could make performances that we were passionate about, developing our own style and voice. 

As soon as we started, we naturally fell into a process of working that was quite often distracted but ultimately effective in creating work that all of us were proud of.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
 We wanted our performance to combine all the different things we were interested in and all the different writing styles we like to use. By our own admission we have quite a short attention span and this probably plays a large part in informing our performance! 

The crux of our method seems to revolve around communicating the narrative and themes through a series of isolated, madcap ideas. 

Not only does this hopefully keep the audience entertained but also keeps us on our toes! I think we enjoy constantly trying to surprise an audience and giving them an experience which is both imaginative and satisfying.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
 Plain and simple, we want the audience to enjoy themselves, have a good evening’s entertainment and to reflect on some of the issues raised with an open-minded attitude. 

First and foremost I think we very much see ourselves as story tellers. We enjoy the basics of narrative and characters but are always looking at different ways of exploring and presenting them.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Throughout our exhibition performances of this piece we have monitored our audience reactions and taken their feedback and have relied on them to make the performance the right balance of comedy, pathos and wit. 

We’re careful not to be too precious with anything, if we feel something drags or doesn’t land then we typically cut or alter it. It’s very much about flow and consistency.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
I think we are all the result of the styles and tastes we’ve been exposed to. We may not be 100% aware of what is influencing us, but that’s what adds to the dynamism of our collective. 

Even if it’s not always intentional, we do consistently return to comedic conventions and humour as it is a huge part of how we convey a situation. As a blanket rule we tend to try and keep things imaginative, and if that means cherry picking from a variety of styles then we’re happy to work like that. 

Our frameworks are often broad with scope for anything to happen. However, within this working method we always take measures to ensure the material is relevant to the story and palatable for the audience.

5th-13th August
19:40 (55 minutes)
Lime Studio
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX

The Company
Jordan Larkin (Boss/Ensemble)
Robin Leitch (Ritchie/Ensemble)
Joshua Ling (Lionel)
Leanne Stenson (Emily/Ensemble)
Natalie Rawel (Producer)

Collaborators for The Life and Times of Lionel
Liam Ashmore (Technical)
Tom Claxton (Cast)
Matthew Harrup (Technical)
Simon Mitchell (Poster/Logo Design)

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