Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Get Fit With Dramaturgy: Chris Brannick @ Edfringe 2016

Get Fit With Bruce Willis 
Valvona & Crolla (venue 67) 
from August 15th-20th at 11am  additional shows on August 13th (1pm), 14th (5.15pm) and 21st (3pm).

An ageing cabaret singer needs a new act when his Jimmy Somerville impersonation loses its appeal. He has a month to gain the physique of Bruce Willis. Comedy drama featuring the songs of Jimmy Somerville.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
This show basically came from the title. I was given the
opportunity of a venue and space at a good deal (someone else had dropped out) and the show needed a title before I had fully fleshed out the concept - so everything has been driven by those 5 words.

When I was in Turkey recently, several people stopped me to tell me that I looked like Bruce Willis - this has only ever happened once other than in Turkey (and that was in Borneo) - so I thought I could leverage that into the show. 

I also look like Jimmy Somerville (before he grew a beard) - and can sing like him - so I thought I'd use the idea of living your life through someone else's character into the show.

Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
Probably the best - although the fact that not enough people go to theatre most of the time is an issue. The beauty of theatre is that there is time to set out a point of view, and to be allowed to examine pluses and minuses without being hassled into 'winning points' as seems to happen in every other discussion forum. 

There is no need to adhere to one point of view or to see the conversation as representing victory or defeat for your argument, in any way.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I've been a performer since leaving college - I had a maths degree and decided that I wanted to pursue the dream of being a musician. Since then I've added acting and writing (plays) to that, with some success. I flatter myself that I have a charismatic stage presence and I regard that as a skill to be developed and utilised. Is that arrogant or pretentious? I hope not.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
Entertainment. Entertainment. Entertainment. I've been to a lot of shows that are worthy and well put together but ultimately don't engage the audience because they don't entertain. I really very strongly believe that you can entertain without dumbing down.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The show is doing its first preview tomorrow, so it could be that I'll change this answer then... but I want them to care about the characters. I want them to experience the characters as real people with real issues - exaggerated for comic effect, of course - and to find something in their own lives that is touched by this show. And I want them to laugh. A lot. 

Oh, and I'd like them to listen to my Jimmy Somerville impersonation and to not laugh.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Keeping it tight, low budget and low on props. Keep it simple, let the story tell itself. I also wanted to use the skills of my fellow actor, Karen Kirkup, who is a lovely character actor - so I gave her 5 parts to play. 

She has to flirt with herself, have arguments with herself and to cover a huge range from a lunky Yorkshire perve to a devil-in-the-shape-of-a-granny to a real life woman with real life issues.

No comments :

Post a comment