Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Follow Dramaturgy: Silent Faces @ Edfringe 2017

Silent Faces
Follow Suit
The Edinburgh Fringe 2017
Pleasance Courtyard, Upstairs
2nd - 28th  August (not 9th, 14th, 15th, 21st)

12.45pm (1hr)         
An integrated company of political fools take on corporate responsibility using clowning and uproarious physical comedy set to classical music. Silent Faces’ debut production gives a darkly comic take on the chaotic world of high finance.

Witness these business people crawl up the walls of their office in search of inspiration for the distraction. Their absurd office routine grows ever more ridiculous as four office clowns attempt to ignore the elephant in the room – their boss filling their stationary cupboard with dead bodies. As their total profit rises to the tune of In the Hall of the Mountain King, so does the office body count…

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Follow Suit was originally inspired by the horrific events of January 2015, when gunmen attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. These events in Paris sparked much debate about the nature of satire, and whether it invites violence. 

We were also intrigued by the setting of an office, a place of order and routine, being struck by such chaos and disorder.

As time went on, we became naturally distanced from the idea of terror attacks, and instead began to focus on the questionable morals of certain big businesses, and how the decisions made at the top filter down to the employees of such companies.
While we were determined to address these challenging questions, we were also determined to create a show that was primarily entertaining.

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

Yes, we think that the nature of theatre – a group of people in a shared space having a shared experience – is the perfect platform for discussion. It is a great place to ask questions and encourage audiences to have their own individual responses, whether the topic of discussion is of minor or major importance. If the performance remains entertaining, whether comic, visual, narrative, poetic, weird, wonderful or any other form of interesting, it will continue being a great space for discussion of all and any ideas.

How did you become interested in making performance?

As a company, Silent Faces were drawn together through a love of comedy and clown, and desire to make work that uses laughter to tackle the ‘big’ issues. While we have all worked in various areas of performance and the arts, the main aim of Silent Faces is to bravely tackle challenging topics using humour and ridiculousness.

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

The main techniques we used when making and rehearsing Follow Suit are playfulness and ensemble. In rehearsal we mix ensemble improvisation with strict choreography, and most importantly, make sure to include our audience in the action. Our best rehearsals are when we have audience in the room to play with, as they always bring something new to the performance.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Follow Suit is our debut show, but we are just beginning development on our next piece of work, which will be made up of the same unique combination of fierce message and absolute silliness.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

While we hope the message of the piece encourages a response from audiences about the moral responsibilities of big businesses, our overall hope is that the audience enjoy themselves. Follow Suit, above anything else, is silly and funny, and we hope to entertain as much as we challenge. 

Welcome to a workplace where ominous authoritarian lightbulbs seemingly dictate your work ethic and profit surges are announced by a voice on high. As four office clowns attempt to find greater and greater distractions from their predicament, Silent Faces discover what very real skeletons could be hiding in the stationery cupboards of some of our largest corporations.
A madcap frenzy of physical comedy with political bite. It’s business... but not as usual.
Silent Faces is an integrated company of disabled and non-disabled performers. We pride ourselves on making work that explores the unique possibilities of that arise from working with disabled and non-disabled performers, and challenge the assumption that such work is limited in its potential. We are particularly passionate about current ongoing debates surrounding “invisible” disabilities, including long-term mental health conditions.

Silent Faces were Awarded the 2016 iF bursary. The iF bursary is supported by Stopgap Dance Company, The Point and Disability Arts Online and is part of the larger 3-year Reach project, awarded Strategic Touring funding by Arts Council England. The Strategic Touring Partnership is led by Stopgap Dance Company and supported by partners Attenborough Arts, The Point and Zinc Arts. Its aim is to raise the profile of integrated work.
Follow Suit was nominated for Best Young Production at Brighton Fringe 2016.

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