Thursday, 22 June 2017

Cosmic Dramaturgy: Jackie Hagan @ Edfringe 2017

Graeae Theatre Company and the Royal Exchange, Manchester present 
Cosmic Scallies 

Written by Jackie Hagan | Directed by Amit Sharma | Performed by an inclusive cast
Tech Cube, 5 - 26 August 2017, 18:30 (19:50), all shows have creative captioning and audio description

This incisive two-hander from the celebrated director and company of 2015 Fringe hit The Solid Life of Sugar Water is informed by writer Jackie Hagan’s first-hand knowledge of life as a disabled person and growing up in the forgotten-town of Skelmersdale, Lancashire. 

Cosmic Scallies is a sharp and funny portrait of class, friendship, dependency and dancing on the off-beat. Set in ‘Skem’, a working-class north-west town brimming with under investment, this timely, refreshing and original debut doesn’t shy away from ‘owt’, boldly navigating a world where poverty and benefits are commonplace.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Im from a town where pitta bread and books are posh. I know we arent scum of the earth or Benefits Street, but were also not saints, were not Daniel Blake. In Cosmic Scalliesyou live a day with Shaun and Dent but their world is populated by Dufflecoat Dave, Shit Elvis, Aggy from the Baggy and all the people who are in your life on a council estate. Were dodgy, funny, difficult people.

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

Peoples faces are going stale from looking at screens, we take in a lot of information in a day; when we take the time out to go into a room, turn off the phone,  breathe full lunged and experience, together something that engages your empathy and emotions as well as your mind, yes, of course, its important.
How did you become interested in making performance? 

My  parents were from Liverpool and all scousers are storytellers because on the docks the men would compete to tell the best tale while they waited for the boats to come in. My parents were
excellent liars. They took me to the set of Brookside as a kid and I recently found out that they had in fact just taken me to a cul de sac.

Now I tell storybook lies full of truth, itd feel weird not to.

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

The show is set in Skelmersdale (Skem) which is where I am from. It was built in the 60s and was meant to be a Utopia Town, its now studied on the GCSE Geography syllabus as a failed social experiment. I took the creative team who made the show to Skem, I thought it was an excellent idea but as we drove round my estate I realised I had set up a working class safari.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

No. I usually perform solo shows - I am a performance poet, stand up comedian and general on-stage gritty oddball. I had my leg lopped off 4 years ago and toured a show about it called Some People Have Too many Legs, my stump is shaped strange, you know the blonde one out of Birds of a Feather? It looks just like her gob, so I drew eyes on it and invented stumpuppetry.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Youll will feel as if they are sat in the flat with Shaun and Dent, faced with difficult decisions and  fray bentos pies. I hope you will love them and feel like you shouldnt.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

As well as being a show about poverty its a show about disability. Both I and Graeae Theatre who are co-producing the show insist that accessibility is at the core of the production. As such there is creative captioning and  an exciting take on audio-visual description in every show,

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