Friday, 12 May 2017

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Dramaturgy: Adrian Berry @ Edfringe 2017

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads

Pleasance Courtyard (Forth), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ

Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2017, 13:55

Following a highly successful London run and acclaimed UK tour, From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads comes to Edinburgh - a celebration of David Bowie, one of the greatest musical figures of all time.

Martin, a young man who lives in a small Northamptonshire village, struggles with mental health issues. When he receives an unexpected gift on his 18th birthday, he goes to London following his obsession with Bowie where he is propelled on a surreal and thrilling journey. 

He performs on the stage where Ziggy Stardust was born, finds himself in Bowie's bedroom and is led on a treasure trail to discover the truth about himself and his family. What follows will change his life forever...

What was the inspiration for this performance?
A mixture of adolescent experience, musical fascination and a desire to tell a story to the world.  As a teenager growing up I would escape into a world of fantasy and fascination to escape the constraints of my domestic and school situation, so this is in some ways a form of autobiography, but not to be taken literally. Plus I wasn't a Bowie fan as a teenager.

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

I think it is the most potent, but it does not have to be live, or purely theatrical.  Film, sound and
vision are equally strong vehicles to provoke debate and discourse. It's what happens after the performance that interests me, the stuff we never get to find out, although social media is breaking down these barriers, for better or worse.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Theatrically, a visit to Derby Playhouse to see Paines Plough adapt Emile Zola's Germinal, aged 16.  As a kid, I would go to panto once a year, so seeing one of my favourite adolescent books brought to like almost filmically on stage was very thrilling indeed. 

It inspired me to explore more and consider a career in performance, but initially as a critic and writer. I suppose I have come full circle now.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Yes. Honesty, pure and simple. No artifice, nothing for 'effect' - and a desire to listen to my actor and collaborator Alex - not being dictatorial although still maintaining the need for a clear aesthetic vision.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I don't write and direct too much anymore but I have moved away from conventional theatrical forms into much more of a focus and influence that is about exploring magic realism. The idea of 'blocking' or 'cues' seems so alien to me now, a solo performance frees one up to go anywhere, any time, and is liberating.

What do you hope that the audience will experience? 

An outpouring of long-latent feelings and emotion. I want to provoke genuine empathy and understanding in the character, to blow away cynicism and to allow people to reflect on and relate to the story. And I want them to learn about mental health problems in young men, about the city of London. And David Bowie.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I didn't. it was purely instinctive and emotive. I never considered anything strategic and never would in terms of making a piece of work. As I said, it's about honesty. The only strategy, if any, was where we would take it - the plan was to tour it as widely as possible to ensure London was not the focus, just the launchpad. And we achieved this over 75 performances.

Director and writer Adrian Berry comments, After 75 performances and sold out shows all over the country, I'm delighted to bring From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads to the Edinburgh Fringe. In 1964, Bowie's first Scottish headline show was at ABC Cinema on Lothian Road and, over the years, he played there many times. He also made his theatrical debut at the Gateway Theatre, Leith Walk, in 1970. He loved Scotland and we can't wait to share our theatrical homage.

With a blistering soundtrack, and nods to Bowie's heroes and influences, From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads is a theatrical road movie, thrillingly evoking Bowie's London. The production features Alex Walton (the lead actor in Suede's Bowie homage 'Night Thoughts' film) and the voice of comedian Rob Newman as Bowie.

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