Thursday, 10 November 2016

STUD Dramaturgy: Eilidh MacAskill @ Buzzcut

Wednesday 16 November - 
Sh!t Theatre: Letters to Windsor House 

Buzzcut: Double Thrills continues to deliver a heavy dose of live art, experimentation, current and provocative work this Autumn (Nov – Dec) with performers from across the UK (and beyond) married with Glasgow and Scotland based artists.

STUD is an exploration of Eilidh’s female
credit Julia Bauer
masculinity, as she takes on a range of stereotypical persona in a funny, searching exploration of gender and sexuality. Dr. Freud himself makes an appearance alongside a macho cowboy, a hysterical woman with anger issues, a patriarchal DIY expert, and the famous talking horse, Mr. Ed. Experimenting with a range of traditional masculine and feminine tropes, she opens up an exploration of gender and sexuality and with that the frustration and pain that binary ideas of male and female bring up.
How did you become interested in making performance?
I started going to a youth drama group when I was around 12 and was inspired by this large group of different kinds of people putting in a lot of time, money and effort to create one event that was basically a celebration of communal creative pretending. I still like that about performance - a hopeful absurdity that can somehow be quite meaningful. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I wanted to make a solo show inspired by my own autobiography, but not directly ‘about’ me. I worked with drag fabulist Dickie Beau, exploring patriarchal and masculine archetypes through drag and at the same time read something about Freud’s theories on Penis Envy and female sexuality. So all that fed into the piece while I thought about being a masculine lesbian who used to be a little girl who wanted to be a boy.
credit Julia Bauer

Is theatre still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
I think it can be. I’m not sure what ‘public’ means anymore. Particularly in these times I’m very aware of how we can feel very connected to the rest of the world through the internet and then suddenly realise that we’ve only been communicating with a small handful of people who agree with us. 

I think in the theatre and in live performance contexts, at least you can look each other in the eye. That feels like it counts for something. But it needs to be a space where people can discuss, digest, recuperate, be inspired and then go out into the real world and make stuff happen.

Was there any particular approach to the making of the show, and does this reflect your 'usual' approach’?
I take on a lot of different personae in this piece - with different accents - and it’s only me on stage, whereas in other work I’m often just being myself or collaborating with others. But I guess it still has a similar sense of humour compared with other work.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope they have a good laugh and enjoy the show. But I also hope it gives them a way to think about the construction of gender and particularly masculinity. Also there’s a way into thinking about restrictive ideas around sexuality. I think at this time (post-US-election) it might be quite a difficult watch as it includes a strutting, loud, abrasive, American-accented character shouting about how they think things should be done. That might feel a bit close to the bone.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
It’s mostly the humour that lets them in. It jumps between different characters (whilst always clearly being me performing) and doesn’t make easy narrative sense. But moment to moment it’s quite easy to get what’s happening. It’s definitely a sit down and watch kind of show, rather than being interactive, but I hope it draws the audience in.

credit Julia Bauer

Eilidh MacAskill is a live artist based in Glasgow and creates performances and projects that sit somewhere between theatre, live art and visual art inspired by nature and how we human animals live in the world. She creates unique work for children and for adults in non-theatre sites and public spaces and is Artistic Director of Fish & Game and also works as a freelance performer with other artists. 

STUD - Eilidh MacAskill from Eilidh MacAskill on Vimeo.

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