Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Ugly Dramaturgy:Tamar Broadbent @ Edfringe 2016

Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly 
Laughing Horse @ Espionage (Venue 185), 4th - 16th &18th - 28th August.

Hey internet trolls, Instagram addicts and below the line commenters - there’s more to being young and female than being hot, thin and not having any pubic hair.

Tamar Broadbent presents a show with stories and songs about self worth in the age of the selfie, and asks; why are we so terrified of the word ugly?

Following the success of All by My Selfie in Edinburgh, Adelaide and Lithuania, award-winning comedy-songwriter Tamar Broadbent returns with Get Ugly, a glorious musical comedy about over-sharing and embracing life without a filter. When your waxer is your therapist and your princess complex has led to feelings of failure, don’t get lost in a world of social media-induced lifestyle envy - fight back, and Get Ugly.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

A while ago I lied to someone and said I couldn't have sex because I was 'out of action', when actually it was because I had so much pubic hair that I thought it would give him nightmares. Around the same time my best friend told me she had decided to delete her Facebook profile, because she posted a selfie and only seven people liked it, and she 'couldn't handle the humiliation'. 

And I was like, *sigh*, isn't it so completely ridiculous how much time we spend worrying about such stupid things when we're all going to be dead one day? And so was birthed 'Get Ugly', my new musical comedy show about letting go of looking good, and embracing life without a filter.  

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

I write alone. But if 'the team' is everyone who has contributed to the show.. I guess, I found some trendy people to inspire my first song in cafes around the East London area. 

Attended the gym to observe people who manage to look attractive even in tracksuit bottoms, and did a bit of field work as a new-ish singleton in the modern, superficial dating world, encountering some quirky characters and finding myself in some extraordinary situations that have proved essential to the narrative of my show. So thank you to all those 'fictional (*cough, legal reasons*) characters who inspired this musical story. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

When I was 12 my friend and I made a video of us doing the Romeo and Juliet death scene and sent it to Blue Peter to try and get on the show and become famous actresses. They sent it back. With a badge. For us to share. Possibly because they felt sorry for us. But I took this to mean I was the next big thing. I ditched that friend for a solo career, and as a tween tried to be a pop star. 

I wrote a song called 'Mr Untouchable' about wanting to touch a man, which worried my parents a lot, but I was just copying what Britney Spears said. 

I grew up and found my own voice as a writer and performer, and then discovered that on the comedy circuit I could do my two favourite things at once - sing big and make people laugh - so now I just do that really. As well as sometimes touch men.   

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

It has been typical in that I locked myself in my room for days until songs started happening. My housemates occasionally hear me  laugh and then assume I've written something that (at least I think) is funny. 

For this show, I have also done some research into the effects of social media on our mental well-being (10% reading essays, 90% just going on Facebook). I have been previewing the show since February, at Dave's Leicester Fest, Brighton Fringe, and am performing it at various venues in London and elsewhere to get it in ship-shape for the Edinburgh fringe.  

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Comfortable seats. With supportive backs. Decent air flow and easy access to the bar. (Also epic songs, witty lyrics and powerful melodies, intermingled in a hilarious and heartfelt story) - but mainly just a really nice sit down. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I did consider popping up to Edinburgh to actually test the chairs, but then I spent all my time writing songs. 

I've mixed big backing tracks with intimate singer-storyteller moments on the piano, monologue-style stand-up with playful audience participation; there's something for everyone and I would really love for everyone to come and be a part of this ridiculous musical journey with me, that raises an eyebrow at the superficiality of modern, social-media infused life and says, who actually gives a poo? Let's just have fun and be silly. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Musically, I would say that I have drawn from the ancient doctrines of Avril Lavigne, and been inspired by the spirituality of South Park. I have many unconventional influences, but I have my own distinct sound. I believe I have created an exciting and original musical comedy, a story illustrated with songs that I am very proud of and love performing, and I cannot wait to share it with Edinburgh audiences.

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