Monday, 15 May 2017

An Assumption of Dramaturgy: Keir MCAllister @ Scottish Storytelling Centre

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I started on the script for this over a year ago with only the intention of writing something that wasn’t comedy led and had a strong female lead. As the year went on and the world changed so drastically - I knew it had to be topical too. 

It feels that we have so many questions to ask of us ourselves right now and I wanted to take one of them and explore it on an intimate level. The whole issue of perspective and alternative facts is at the core of so much at geo-political and multi-cultural level and that it felt right to focus the story on the issue.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

People are incredibly politically and socially engaged at the moment. I think performance is not only a stimulus for public discussion but also a necessary release. It provides a point of reference to either love or hate from and a framework for people to build their thoughts on. We need to be challenged in our ideas, we need to have an opportunity also to defend them and performance channels that healthy expression of opinion. 

Contrary to current trends - I do think people want to have their ideas challenged and certainly the people who go to performances are not just looking to have their own thoughts thrown back at them. People are looking to have their thinking elevated and performance - good or bad - can provide a catalyst for that to happen.

How did you become interested in making performance?

That’s the honest answer. I have a background in stand-up - but you have limited canvas with that and I wanted to tell stories without a punchline. Also stand-up is creatively lonely - I have a real need to work collaboratively with people. There is no greater thrill than seeing a project succeed because of the sum of it’s parts. That for me is the real drive to do it. To create together with people.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Surround yourself with talented, passionate people and then trust them creatively. It can often be difficult for a writer to do that but it’s utterly essential.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Very deliberately not. I have always tried to seek out a different project from the last. This is my first real non-comedy driven play, it’s more emotionally complex and challenging than anything I’ve written before. This performance is also only a rehearsed reading so it’s very much still in development. The focus will be on the script and plot so it’s a real test of my writing. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they will be entertained, anything more than that is a bonus but if it provokes thought and discussion then all the better. I hope it will. I want people to be walking out disagreeing over it. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We wanted to strip the performance right back so that the focus is on the script and the characters. We want the audience to feel almost like their at a live recording of a radio play. There will be someone reading stage instructions but other than that its just the actors and their scripts.  I think it leaves the whole piece really exposed and that as a writer is both chilling and incredibly worthwhile. The further development of this piece will ride on this very naked performance.

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