Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Down the Dramaturgy Hole: Cat Loud @ Edfringe 2017

A sultry, surreal cabaret with live music
SpaceTriplex (Veue 38)
Aug 4-25 (not 14), 22:20 (50 mins) £8/9

A night of live music hosted by Cat Loud
SpaceTriplex (Veue 38)
Aug 14 & 26, 22:20 (50 mins) £8/9

Originally from the Hebridean island of Mull, Cat Loud is now navigating the labyrinth of London, and she’s definitely not in Kansas anymore.
Her second solo cabaret show, Cat Loud’s WAYWARD follows the seemingly wholesome Scottish lass as she searches for her next big adventure. 

A chance encounter with a white
rabbit, a playground of subversive mythical figures, a sip of Mother’s Ruin and Cat’s life takes a turn for the wicked in this politically-charged quest for empowerment and community. Full of madcap storytelling and sultry, lounge-singer jazz, will Cat’s adventures lead her to modern day enlightenment or just take her further down the rabbit hole?

Following the trail blazed by the likes of Camille O’Sullivan, Bette Midler and Lady Rizo, Cat Loud’s blend of storytelling and song is a mix of entertainment and poignancy. 

She puts her soulful and humorous stamp on an unlikely collection of contemporary and classic songs, straddling the genres of blues, folk, jazz and pop from her favourite wayward artists who capture the spirit of sexual rebellion, hard-won self-awareness, and, above all, freedom.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I’ve moved city a lot in the past five years, and I’m still very much trying to make sense of the balance between wanderlust and stability. From using blues music, classic fairytales and Angela Carter’s short stories as original sources of inspiration, it has developed to explore current
affairs and my responses to music I’m listening to that I feel reflects my own experiences of personal and political calamity.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Without a doubt live performance facilitates discussion, but I do wish there was more opportunity for performers to enter into discussion with audiences as well as with fellow performers. Discussion is hugely important for audiences and performers. 

People are naturally going to make work that aligns with their views, so sometimes I think we become entrenched in our echo chambers, preaching to our carefully-curated cross-section of society with perhaps little resistance or challenge to what we’re saying. 

I don’t think I’m a controversial or shocking performer, and I don’t think I need to be, but I will say what I think if I feel it’s relevant and necessary.  Anyone with a Twitter feed and access to the news does the same. Maybe that's where the conversations take place.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I think performance is a primal compulsion, and though I doubt myself all the time, I’ve performed forever and I don’t know who I would be if I stopped.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
The show came from a narrative I had loosely
mapped out in my head last summer, and I knew I wanted to start with blues music, but it’s become a chicken/egg piece; I’m not sure if the story or the song choices came first. 

It continues to evolve around topics I want to address and songs I want to sing, and each choice informs the overall shape and direction the show ends up taking.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?In short, yes. I feel I’m really starting to nail this chat + choons™ formula.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The show touches on politics and The Millennial Experience, but it is ultimately a piece of escapism with what I believe to be a cracking soundtrack. So I hope audiences come to enjoy themselves and I hope I deliver what they came for.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Feedback from the show last Fringe and performances of it since have been mixed, with some reviewers wishing there was more music and less chat, which is something I’m not willing to accept and take into consideration when I’m writing. I do work hard to make the piece balanced, and I don’t include anything that I feel is simply there to fill time. 

I consider the tropes of cabaret, of torch singing, and of solo performance, but I am discerning about what tropes I choose to add to the show and what tropes I choose to ignore. There is a selfish element to it, but if I’m compromising and not having fun when I perform, the show won’t be fun to watch. And no one wants that, do they?

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