Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Dramaturgy of Anxiety: Scratchworks @ Edfringe 2016

Scratchworks Theatre Company with Arts Council England and the Bike Shed Theatre:


3 - 29 August, 3pm, 
10Dome at Pleasance Dome 

Following a critically acclaimed UK tour, NSDF award winners, Scratchworks Theatre Company are proud to announce their Edinburgh debut with Nel this Summer.

Meet Nel: a foley artist. She brings films to life through sound. In her world, epic fight scenes are a symphony of snapping celery and cracking rhubarb. Nel is good at this stuff – it's the rest of her life that's a disaster. She needs help and maybe a change of shoes. Nel is a touching, warm-hearted tale using live onstage foley, physical comedy and vocal harmony to stunning effect in a story that explores friendship, social anxiety and what it means to be an introvert.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Nel was largely inspired by our own experiences with introversion
and social anxiety. We wanted to create an introverted protagonist that everyone could relate to and foley became the perfect metaphor for her struggles. We were drawn to the idea of someone who makes sound for a living, while unable to make themselves heard. It’s also an intensely fascinating, little known world, much like that of an introvert.

We kicked off the devising process surrounded by as many everyday objects as we could fit into a ford fiesta. These provided inspiration for the live sound effects and became the building blocks of Nel's world.

Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Undoubtedly. The rich and honest discussions that Nel has sparked have been the single most rewarding part of this experience. 

Generally society is more biased to wards the extrovert, hollywood movies in particular. We wanted to challenge the traditional stories surrounding introverted characters and embrace the quieter side of life.

Many people from our audiences have approached us after shows, eager to tell us how they've personally identify with the themes of the play and to reveal their own experiences with introversion and anxiety.

How did you become interested in making performance?
We were all lucky enough to have been taught by some unconventional and inspirational teachers from a very young age. However, it was at the University of Exeter where all found our love for theatre making and each other!

We all had a shared desire to work collaboratively, a process which
we find incredibly exciting and challenging. 

There’s something particularly valuable about presenting an idea that you thought was complete, only to have it challenged and expanded in ways you didn’t think possible. Once filtered through three other people your ideas transform into something better than you could have managed on your own. Nel was one such transformation.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Our typical devising process is always playful, extremely physical and constantly evolving. Each project demands very different ways of exploring the subject matter. For Nel we had the world of foley in which to begin playing which provided us with a strong aesthetic and a wealth of material.

It’s just the four of us in a room and we don’t have a director so we always try to bring the audience into our process early on, inviting people in or working toward scratch nights. This brings us face to face with our audience from very early on and is at the heart of how we shape our work. 

We find this incredibly freeing as rehearsal periods can become insular and cerebral. This part of the process keeps us moving forward and the audience’s reaction always opens up new creative directions.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The ability to hear life in a new way and a mad desire to go home, open their cupboards and bang/shake/rattle anything they can find.

We want our audiences to feel less inhibited when talking about their own anxiety or at the very least, better able to empathise with those who do experience those things. There’s also the realisation that introverts are not just broken extroverts and that culturally we need to redress the balance. 

Scratchworks Theatre
 has established a strong reputation in the South West for presenting beautiful and original stories through their unique blend of live music, dynamic movement and theatrical trickery. Since forming in 2013, Scratchworks Theatre has sold-out shows at Exeter’s Bike Shed Theatre, Bristol’s Alma Tavern and at Plymouth’s Outpost Festival, gathering a loyal following throughout the region. Now, after their first UK tour, the company prepares for its Edinburgh Debut with their acclaimed show, Nel.

Venue: Pleasance Dome @ 10dome    
Tickets:  £10.00 (£9.00 concs)  
Dates: 3 - 29  Aug  2015  (not 15)         Venue Box Office:  0131 556 6550
Time: 15:00 (ends 16:00)                     

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