Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Til Dramaturgy Us Do Part: Tina Sederholm @ Edfringe 2016

 Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156) ​
Aug 6-14, 16-21, 23-28 12:30

Is money a fiction? What’s the difference between the notes in your pocket and the ones from a Monopoly board? A humorous exploration of debt through poetry, personal stories and actual research, as award-winning poet Tina Sederholm gets real about money. 
What was the inspiration for this performance?
About five years ago, I realised I had a skewed relationship with money, and was stuck in a getting into debt/paying it off/falling back into debt cycle. I wanted money but found it embarrassing to ask for payment, and also felt money was somehow ‘dirty’. I knew I wasted money by spending on things I didn’t want or need, or sometimes just to keep the peace (large group birthday dinners, anyone?) but didn’t seem to be able to stop. I got curious about the addictive and compulsive nature of debt, and how, irrespective of their jobs, some people seem to find it easy to make money, while others don’t. 

I also was fascinated by the fact that although the UK is the 6th richest nation in the world, Government and personal debt are at an all-time high. I wanted to answer the question, is it ever possible to be truly debt-free?

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

I write my own shows, so I only had to book in a meeting or two with myself to get started. When I had a workable script, I got together with actor/director and long time mentor, Rachel Mae Brady, and we worked up the staging, and she helped identify the over arching themes, so I could hone the script more. I also trade script feedback with fellow performer and novelist, Lucy Ayrton, and my husband, Neil Spokes, designed the set and the sound score.

How did you become interested in making performance?
Originally I was a poet, but felt there was something lacking when it came to readings. Then I saw a poetry slam, and knew I had found my method of combining writing and performance. 

After winning several slams, and doing short sets at performance poetry nights, I went up to Edinburgh and saw full length spoken word shows by people like Richard Marsh, Rob Auton and Luke Wright, and knew that’s what I wanted to do.  I trained with Rachel, so that I could add more theatrical elements and acting skills to my performance, and gradually began writing shows.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes, typical that I get obsessed by an idea, begin researching and writing the show, convinced it is going to pan out one way, only for there to be a dramatic left turn where the show takes over and re-invents itself. I dance between writing, then inhabiting parts of the show,brainstorming the staging, and then re-writing, so the whole thing is a slightly chaotic, organic process. As this is my third full length show, I was less panicky when it all changed about 3 months ago, and instead of having a meltdown, I could say to myself, ‘Ah. So we are at the ‘all seems lost’ stage of the process,’ and just go off and make a cup of tea.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
At the most, I hope to blow apart their assumptions about money, and at the least, I hope by revealing my vulnerabilities around money and debt, they will experience some compassion for their own financial situation.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
I’ve been doing a lot of improv and some clowning training this year so that I would feel more courageous with involving the audience more with the show. At various points I ask them questions and expect answers, and even have a few members up on stage to help me act out parts of the show. There is a lot of information as well as personal stories and poetry, so I tend to shift from scene to scene quite quickly, to keep the pace up, and also to prevent the show getting didactic. I have ended up presenting a scenario, leaving a question hanging or partly answered, before moving on rapidly, so the audience can provide their own answers, rather than being told what to think.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
No - unless there is a tradition of making it up as you go along.

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