Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Dramaturgy After Liverpool: Blind Elephant @ Edfringe 2017

blind elephant presents a theatrical double bill:


By James Saunders

In GAMES, a group of actors are trying to put on a play about the Vietnam War, specifically the My Lai Massacre. GAMES questions the reasons for theatre and the responsibility of theatre makers and theatre goers. What better place to question and challenge theatre than the Edinburgh Festival Fringe! 

We hope to provoke discussion throughout the Fringe. In GAMES, the audience become a part of the performance, and the lines between acting and reality are blurred. Not only does Games ask unique, serious questions, but it also teases the audience and leaves plenty of room for laughter;

"Theatre turns us all into idiots" James Saunders, GAMES

AFTER LIVERPOOL is based on 'Knots', the work of Scottish Psychiatrist, and 70s cultural icon R.D. Laing. With nothing but four actors, a bench and an apple, blind elephant strip communication down to its core; two people having a conversation. 

Communication is so often associated with technology, but what about just choosing the right words and being honest face-to-face with the person you love? A coin toss before the performance will allocate roles between two gender blind couples.


Venue: The Bunker Theatre, SE1 1RU

Date: Friday 21st July

Time: 8.30pm (1h)

Box Office: 0207 234 0468


Venue: Underbelly, Med Quad, Buttercup (Venue 302)                                 

Dates: 2-28th Aug 2017 (not 15th)                
Time: 11.55am (1h)

What was the inspiration for this performance?

We wanted a play that giggled at itself and the audience. We were inspired by the writing of James Saunders, a somewhat unknown Playwright prevalent in the 60s and 70s. Did you know Saunders  inspired the famous Tom Stoppard?

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

Yes. That's the point of the theatre, and the point of these plays. We want to provoke a reaction from the audience, there's no rule that says they have to sit there quietly! In fact, during the performance the actors invite the audience to have a live discussion about the events of the play.  Theatre usually involves a beer or two afterwards, and you should have plenty to talk about. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

The four members of blind elephant met at drama school and we decided to make our own luck. We like how in theatre, the audience become an integral part of each night. We like to make our plays that are all about the audience.

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

We work completely as a company, there's no director, no producer, we produce it and we direct it as a team. This can sometimes be a time consuming process, but in the end we have a more rounded show, where ideas have been scrutinised and justified. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes, it's absurd, funny and thought provoking - which is what we've done best. Our two productions this year are perhaps more tender than our previous work, dealing with subjects we often avoid in everyday conversation. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We hope their minds will be blown apart. We want them to cry, we want them to laugh, we want them to leave the theatre exhilarated. Saunders’ plays poke a bit of fun at theatre makers and theatre goers, so we hope everyone at the fringe will leave with a smile on their face. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Our rehearsals are based in the audience experience, what will, or what can they take from each scene? What are they aware of before entering the theatre? In ‘After Liverpool’ we have a coin flip to decide parts and as the title suggests, ‘Games’ plays games with the audience. There are a few twists and turns, so we don't want to give too much away about the audience experience. 

For their third Edinburgh season, young theatre company blind elephant are tackling two back to back revivals by the genre-defying playwright James Saunders.

Although Saunders enjoyed West End success with 'Bodies' in 1977 and in 1963 won Evening Standard's Most Promising Playwright Award for his absurd comedy 'Next Time I'll Sing To You' (starring Michael Caine) to many, his name and his work remain unknown.  

On why they have decided to tackle Saunders’ oft forgotten work, blind elephant says, ‘We are reviving two of Saunders plays because they break the rules of traditional theatre. They were ahead of their time and deserve to be seen by today's audience.’
blind elephant have established themselves at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with ENDGAME by Samuel Beckett in 2014 and an original play, bright ideas, in 2015.

We now return with two daring revivals in the hope of getting the name James Saunders on everyone's lips. 

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