Friday, 2 September 2016

The Dramaturgy of Democracy: Michael Emans Touring Scotland

by Michael Frayn

Democracy by Michael Frayn is a gripping spy thriller, based on a true story, from the writer of the West End Smash Noises Off.

West Germany, 1969. Charismatic Willy Brandt has been elected Chancellor. However, his own political party are starting to plot against him. 

As his enemies tighten the noose around his neck -and the threat of an East German spy in his own office is discovered - Brandt believes the only man he can truly trust is Gunter Guillaume, his devoted personal assistant. But in the world of political intrigue,espionage and betrayal, who can you trust?

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The play is one that I have always wanted to tackle as it has echoes of the great Shakespearean power plays that i love  . It is also extremely precedent in a world that is becoming increasingly politicised and where we have a political landscape that is increasingly changing and challenging .

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

The assembling of your collaborators whether that is in the casting or the selection of other members of your creative  team is crucial and one that I spend a lot of time on.

Casting  is about finding the best and most right people for the parts as well as taking into account that the plays tour and you also need people who can work well as a team .

The "team" also have to buy into your vision  and have to be prepared to follow you .

Does theatre still have a place in the public discussion of ideas - in what ways does this work feed that discussion?

Absolutely --the feedback we receive at post show discussions tell us that theatre is the ideal forum for discussion .

Our work is there to entertain but by entertain we mean to stimulate, challenge and provoke ---the feedback at the show and after the shows tell us we do that 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have always wanted to direct plays and to create theatre from a very young age -- inspired by the great touring companies that I saw a youth 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
The process in this project is still evolving  but I am finding it invigorating and challenging 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

That they will fall in love with the play , in the same way I did .

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

How will they engage with the play and what "baggage" or previous experience that  they will bring to the play .

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Not really --- on the page Hamlet is Shakespeare's play  and but once you bring it to life its your Hamlet ---you shape your tradition yourself !!

Fresh from an acclaimed West End run in Gypsy movie actor Tom Hodgkins (Red 2 and Hanna) leads the cast as Willy Brandt with Brookside and RSC actor Neil Caple as Gunter. 

Completing the 10 strong cast is Colin McCredie (Taggart), Sean Scanlan (River City), Michael Moreland (Under
the Skin and 16 Years of Alcohol), Jack Lord (Crime and Punishment), Alan Steele (Bard in the Botanics), Jim Kitson (Globe Theatre), Steven Scott Fitzgerald (Shang-a–Lang) and Stewart Porter (River City, Shetland and The Sash).

Michael Emans
Set and Costume Design
Richard Evans

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