Friday, 29 July 2016

The Murderer Dramaturgy: Clown Funeral @Edfringe 2016

ZOO Southside (Venue 82) ​
Aug 5-29 6.00pm

‘I have a murderer in my house. It’s all perfectly fine.’ 

In a world where citizens rehabilitate criminals, the Carer and the Murderer go for coffee and play badminton. Clown Funeral’s new adaptation of Luke Kennard’s darkly comic poem tells the story of their unusual relationship, questions how easily we can forgive someone and asks to what extent our obsessions can consume us.
the murderer-fringe-dramaturgy databaseUsing an electrifying style that blends surreal humour, subtle physical theatre and Noir-inspired scenes, Clown Funeral vividly bring the bizarre world of the poem to life. With a rolling cast portraying the characters of the Carer, the Murderer and Everyone Else, this unconventional three-hander poses difficult questions about morality, preconceptions and care in a uniquely offbeat voice.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Luke Kennard’s amazing poem! It’s such a brilliant, weird read and Luke was so kind in letting us turn it into a show.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
It’s pretty much the same team as Clown Funeral’s Fringe show from 2015, Mr Poe’s Legendarium, albeit in a slightly different setup. This time, there are three characters rather than six. However, we have a rolling cast so you’ll get lots of different match-ups, which should be fun. And we’ve brought a tech manager and composer on-board, which is very exciting.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We’re a pretty young theatre company so I think for most of us it was doing plays at secondary school and sixth form. Then of course university was a very formative period: especially important for us because we all met, started creating theatre together and decided to form a company!

 Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes: it was all about the characters first, which is very typical of the way we work. We’re interested in finding the relatable weirdness of characters and pushing it slightly out of the realm of naturalism, then throwing these characters into fun scenarios. This time we were working from the poem rather than devising everything from scratch, though.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We hope they’ll laugh and then go, ‘God, I’ve been in situations just like that’. Even though the situations in the show involve a carer helping a murderer readjust to life on the outside, and the bizarrely comic things that follow.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Drawing from what we know to paint the characters as complex people, not just thumbnail sketches. And returning to the source material, because we really want the show to reflect the tone and themes of Luke’s poem.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Devising companies like Kill the Beast and Little Bulb Theatre are inspirations, especially because they’re creating work that is similarly comic and grotesque. But we wouldn’t necessarily say we’re working in a tradition: we’re just creating theatre that interests us in a style that seems appropriate.

Clown Funeral Theatre Company is based in the West Midlands. Combining storytelling, physical theatre and clowning, they are committed to devising darkly comic shows from unusual stimuli. They have performed a number of shows as a collective at Warwick University (the birthplace of companies such as Curious Directive, FellSwoop Theatre and Barrel Organ), and this is their second time performing at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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