Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Poke in The Dramaturgy: Georgie Morrell @ Edfringe 2017

The premier of:
The Morrell High Ground
4th-28th August 2017 I 3pm Underbelly, Med Quad – Daisy I Tickets-£8/10
And the return of:
A Poke in the Eye
4 -28 August I 8.30pm, Laughing Horse Free/Pay What You Want
Georgie's got 99 problems but disability is basically the main one.

Following the 2016 success of A Poke in The Eye at Edinburgh Festival and Soho theatre, half-blind comedian Georgie Morrell will be revisiting her debut show at the Laughing Horse and presenting her new show The Morrell High Ground at Underbelly, Med Quad.

Asking the essential questions: can disability finally bring sexy back? Is the benefit system as doomed as Ken Loach depicts? Are NHS doctors hotter than private ones?
In The Morrell High Ground Georgie takes the audience through her journey, tackling the political and social implications of what it really is to be disabled today.

After a successful 2016 Edinburgh run and a transfer to the Soho theatre, A Poke in the Eye charts Georgie’s experience of how she went blind for a year. We hear a unique account of what it is to face inevitable blindness with her very own brand of humour. Being disabled is her excuse to do exactly what she wants, say what she wants and live her one eyed life as she wants.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
My first show, A Poke in the Eye, was essentially the inspiration for this show, which is also returning to Edinburgh this year. It focused on the year I went blind and tells that story. However I have been disabled all my life, battling to keep what eyesight I have as well as other issues.

This new show, The Morrell High Ground, is everything outside that year. I use my stories regarding my health and disability illustrating the bigger issues surrounding the very uncertain future of the NHS, benefit system and what this means for the disabled. However it will also have endless amounts of silly and weird stories so that it's accessible and fun!

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

Absolutely! We don’t communicate face to face anymore. Everything is through phone, Internet, text or emoji. What happened to good old-fashioned discussion? That’s what live performance does; it allows a direct forum for thoughts and ideas. You have to focus on what is in front of you during a performance without distraction instead of flicking through selfies and becoming distracted.

Having a live performance for purpose of discussion also encourages debate. People can go away and discuss what they saw and this is a great way to educate and encourage us to think out side the norm. Crucial though, it is utterly thrilling to be moved or laugh alongside a group of strangers in one place and bond together. No other art form, I believe, is able to do that.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have always been a performer and started my career by going down the old acting route. However I got fed up of not having my own voice and waiting for work to come to me. I also secretly harbored a desire to become a stand up comedian! I put my frustration together with my ambitions to be a comedian and wrote a show. My interest came from a desire to be heard, have something to say and be funny at the same time. I took a risk and just went for it by writing my full-length show and it was best decision I made!

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

Trial and error. With a stand up show you have to go on instinct, try it out and judge an audiences response. I have to shut myself away and write and then take it to the public. Then I repeat this process until it’s preview time!

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

It fits in beautifully. It is an anecdotal storytelling style I am honing but is also a follow on from my first show. A Poke In The Eye focuses in on one particular event and The Morrell High Ground is lots of events and stories to illustrate a much bigger issue. I am changing my approach slightly by using more props and recordings. I also add a touch of improv - I love the thrill of being on my toes!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope they experience that through personal, true stories they will have a better understand of disability.

If people are not informed and educated how will they know and how can we possibly break down barriers and quash misconceptions. The audience will also be given permission to laugh at some weird and funny stories about disability in order to access sometimes-tough subject matter. This experience is crucial to break tensions that surround the topic of disability.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I will use props to get the audience thinking and feeling like I did in some of the stories. I create a warm and fun atmosphere to break any tensions and get them laughing at me. I am chucking in some improv to break up the storytelling too! I will use voiceover of my parents again because they are my supporting cast and there maybe a few more surprise appearances…

Georgie Morrell
A comedian, writer and improviser, Morrell graduated from Drama Studio London on a Dada scholarship in 2011. She is a regular stand up, improviser with improv team Kanga and the Roo. She is one half of podcast Queens of the Hungle. She is a regular blogger for The New Establishment, Huffington Post and Feminist Times and has had articles published with RNIB, RLSB and Glaucoma Association. She can also be heard on BBC Radio 4 In Touch show and regular on BBC Ouch. She is part of the Soho Young Company.

A Poke in the Eye is being developed into a radio show with Andy Godard and Georgie is working on her first book with literary agents Peter, Dunlop and Fraser.

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