Thursday, 20 July 2017

Dramageddon: Simon Jay @ Edfringe 2016 and Edfringe 2017

Sweet Venues (venue 18), Grassmarket 

Aug 4-15, 17-22, 24-28  

1.05pm (1 hr) £8.50, 6.50 cons.

580,963 people signed a petition to ban Donald J. Trump from entering the UK. Yet he’s here at the Edinburgh Fringe in all his horrifying glory. Immerse yourself in Trump’s vision of the world before he blows it to
kingdom come. 

Witness the way he works an audience up into a fervour, ask him all the burning questions and see what a world would be like if The Donald was president. From five-star writer and performer Simon Jay, this absurdist satire of the next US President is as demented, hysterical and disturbed as the man himself.

Trumpageddon has been produced by Jaybird Productions who specialise in innovative theatre and comedy. Showing their worth, Trumpageddon is the only Edinburgh Fringe show about Donald Trump that is at the 2016 Fringe Festival!!!

The shows writer and performer Simon Jay hopes Trumpageddon will highlight the contemporary state of global politics and to make it accessible to people who are fascinated by how someone like Trump could become the Republican Presidential Nominee but don't want to trudge through endless, dull rhetoric by commentators. Also as happy Capitalists you'll all leave with a Trumpageddon goodie-bag!

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The rich history of those who have satirised notable public figures. Whether it's contemporary lambasting of Kim-Jong Un in Team America or Charlie Chaplin's thinly veiled Hitler in The Great Dictator, making fun of powerful and often horrifying figures, is a healthy way of understanding tyranny and imparting valuable information. It's also very inspiring to think of all the writers and performers in history who by simply satirising their leaders, risked life and limb for risking to do so, this is my small, relatively safe contribution to that. 

Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

It's the ONLY space for a real public discussion of ideas. It's the immediacy of it, the ephemera of it, you're communicating the idea, there in the moment. for such an up-to-the-minute issue such as Donald Trump's candidacy for President, you're taking part in a global conversation which is essentially 'HOW IS THIS MAN GETTING SO CLOSE TO LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD?' with satire you can skew that conversation to in some way make sense of it. 

Both the performer and audience are trying to make sense of the situation we find ourselves in together, and looking for some kind of consensus. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I've been performing since I was 8 years old, twenty years later I am still at it. It came easy to me to stand in front of my peer-group and make them laugh. The whole element of collective creativity really excited me as a child and still does to this day, to see your friends and loved ones exercise their creative muscles, especially if they are shy or not used to anything related to performance, it's a fascinating way of expressing yourself, it seems more authentic to me, I don't know why, but there you are. 

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

No, I have no typical process, as much as I'd like one. I start out with the best intentions. I was researching the 2016 show during the 2015 Fringe! You write whole drafts about one idea, and then chuck it out just to follow some non-starter down a rabbit hole. Then time starts running out and you have to commit to something. I do a lot of improvising mixed with structured set-pieces. 

My background is in screenwriting, so I feel you have to have a strong set-up, conflict and resolution to a story, a real structure, even when it feels I am splattering chaos everywhere. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they'll let their hair down and have a laugh, 'get involved' with the immersive qualities it has and ultimately think about the reality behind the clown I'm portraying. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I went for all the tried and tested music-hall methods of entertainment mixed with a lot of highbrow rhetoric, that's my style really, the marriage of high-brow and low-brow. Like witnessing Nietzsche pondering the infinite complexities of the universe and then letting out a long audible fart. 

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