Tuesday, 12 July 2016

xx dramaturgy: Poltergeist Theatre @ Edfringe 2016

 Paradise in The Vault (Venue 29) ​ 18:55 Aug 6-13, 15-20, 22-28

‘You make me feel like numbers.’ Two friends talk politics over the carcass of a dead dog. A couple find love in the park while their children fight in the sandpit. Pagans gather at dusk in the park for a strange ritual... An exploration into the mathematics of character creation: the actors' parts and the scenes are randomised by an algorithm at the start of every performance. There are over 36 trillion variations: the kiss kiss calculus. You'll never see the same play twice. A new piece of experimental theatre by Jack Bradfield.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
xx, or "kiss kiss”, is a production of almost infinite possibilities. Five actors perform ten scenes on the subject of love, randomised every night according to an algorithm. We were interested in the mathmatics of love, wanting to explore the configurations of character and chance. xx came about in collaboration with a Mathmatics student: could we create play that was at once chaotic, improvised, but with a strong, formal story and through-line? xx is the result of that experiment.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?As students at the University of Oxford, we launched a call for actors through the university channels. Our skeleton production team is made of five friends who have all worked together before.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Ever since I got a bad part in my school play in year 4. TERRIBLE. I suppose that motivated me to always seek to create good, meaningful theatre. And also to sympathise with the underdog characters who take centre stage in my writing and productions.

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

Far from it. The piece is constructed out of fifteen fixed points - ten scenes and five monologues - but the parts in each scene, and who speaks which monologue, will be different every night. We've had to take a far more fluid approach to rehearsals, looking at a scene or monologue a day, and swapping actors in and out of different roles. We're also looking at physical theatre techniques, and very keen on building a tangible complicity between cast members.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

The key to this show is the ideas of the 'genuine'. Our characters recount bizarre stories, and admit to strange truths, but we want the audience to feel like these characters mean it; mean it intensely.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?Physical commitment is key. The play is not naturalistic, and we intend to build stories out of a very minimal set (with no props). Tension and intensity is something we are working very hard on.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?We're drawing from lots of schools, in particular trying to marry Lecoq-style storytelling with the Alt-Lit movement of the last few years, but at the same time we are trying to invent a tradition. A show driven by live mathematics. We have a scripted play that can be performed over 36 trillion ways, and we hope mathematics and theatre will continue to be melded creatively in the future.

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