Wednesday, 10 August 2016

My Name is Gideon: Songs, Space Travel and Dramaturgy: Gideon Irving @ Edfringe 2016

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Aug 10-16, 18-29 1.00pm

Fusing songs, stories, and underwater levitation! Gideon Irving creates a tapestry of the unexpected with a voice the New Yorker describes as 'unique and unclassifiable, just like the guy himself'. Using banjo, bouzouki, waterphone, shruti box, mbira, scacciapensieri, wineglass and more, his show has been forged in over 500 living room performances around the world. After traveling home-to-home on bicycle and rollerblades, this home-show troubadour invites you into his Fringe living room.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I wanted to make something that was continuously surprising. I wanted  a show where I never did the same kind of bit twice, where the instrument and tone constantly and acrobatically shifts through out. A show that is full of depth and fun and music and stupid and joy and sadness and guts and chocolate.  

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
It's a family affair. My friend Ewen from New Mexico came on as our imagineer, my friend Steve from Utah joined as a lighting designer / stage manager and we've assembled a killer crew of helpers and word spreaders, many of whom have hosted me and my show in their home. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
I grew up in NYC going to the theater and being surrounded by artists, musicians, freaks, eccentrics, heretics, acrobats, wizards, drag queens, actors, balladeers and spoon salesman. It was written in the cards. I never had a choice! 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Yes it was a typical process for me. Just took 6 years and an unbearable amount of agony, time, money, self annihilation and glee. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Euphoria and or orgasm. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
It's always been incredibly important to me that people don't know too much. Surprise in all its forms and entanglements  is a central part of the show and what I enjoy as an audience member. The challenge then lies in drawing people in to the unknown. When we are constantly checking reviews and stars and finding the best of the thing we are after to make sure we aren't going to the wrong place it takes a lot to get folks in a room for something they know very little about. This is why we feature a fish, blender, action figure and floating duck in our poster for our show that is rooted in music. 

Playing in peoples homes, pushes you directly up against your audience. It's an ideal workshop space. There is no mystery as to what is working and what is not. Playing in living rooms you are not blinded by a follow spot. You can see everyones face. Every night you know what makes them feel and what puts them to sleep. This is the smithy of fun and feeling that has allowed me to craft this show over the last 6 years and understand what can work. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?
I am of the troubadour tradition, the bard, the minstrel, the jongleur. Sometimes people think playing in homes is a new thing. While it might be on the rise in popularity it's just about the oldest thing there is. Humming in a cave by the fire or pounding a banjo by the couch it's the same thing. My tradition is old old old I just use the internet to help me organize it. 

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