Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Burning Dramaturgy: Miro Kokenov @ Edfringe 2017

In conjunction with Bulgarian Cultural Institute
  Actor Miro Kokenov in
Laughing Horse @ The Mockingbird (Venue 441)
4 – 26 August (Except Mondays) Time 18:30 (65 mins) 
The Burning Gadulka is a contemporary Bulgarian monodrama.  
Bulgarian actor Miro Kokenov makes his Edinburgh Fringe debut as he takes audiences on a tragicomedy journey of doubt, sarcasm and the wonders of nature in his solo performance steeped in Bulgarian folklore. 

Venue: Laughing Horse @ The Mockingbird (Venue 441)
Add: 72-74 Newington Rd, Edinburgh EH9 1QN
Date: 4 - 26 August (except Monday)
Time: 18:30 (65 minutes) 
Box Office: 0131 466 2041

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The provocation I found after reading The Burning Gadulka was the inspiration for me to work on the performance.  I found many similarities between the character in the play (the gadulka player) and myself.  
The gadulka player was dealing with the same problems I was running up against when I read the play.  For me analysing and discussing his issues was like having undergone a self-evaluating test. This was very challenging and reliving at the same time.
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
I believe that a performance should be all about discussion of ideas.  One should approach the process of making a performance bearing this in mind.  
You need to think of the social aspect of the performance, the issues, your point of view of those issues and how you present them to the audience.  The audience does not like to be told what they should understand from the performance (discussion), like in real life no one likes to be told what to do and what to believe in.  The discussion should be offered to the audience, not forced.
How did you become interested in making performance?
While reading The Burning Gadulka for the first I experienced something that had never happened to me before.  I could guess what would be the next line of the character and most of the times my guess was right.  
I thought ‘If I was to write something it would be exactly this’.  I felt that the character are very close to my own perceptions and problems which gave me an urge to work on this play.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
This show is about the life of a musician from a
Bulgarian orchestra and his relationship with his instrument (gadulka).  When you portray a character of a musician, the audience would expect to see the skills of the musician with that particular instrument so I had to learn how to play gadulka.  
In a performance with other actors you mainly build relationships with them in this case I had to create the relationship with an inanimate object, give it personality and make it the main character so to speak in the performance. 
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Three of my last four shows were solo performances so I would say ‘Yes’.  However, for The Burning Gadulka I worked with a director (Milena Aneva).  The experience was very challenging and provocative for me and really pushed my limits which made me discover new aspects in my acting.  So I would say The Burning Gadulka is quite different than my other productions.
What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The performance is a mix of funny and serious aspects of the gadulka player’s life, it swings between comedy and tragedy.  I want the audience to understand the complex world of the character and associate with the issues in the performance.  I hope the audience will find provocations in the show which will lead to that public discussion we mentioned earlier.
What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
First of all in order to deliver a valuable experience for the audience your performance should be intriguing (This isn’t the goal, it is a requirement). Then you need to make sure the performance reflects our environment, the world we live in.  In order to achieve this we worked persistently on the tempo, the rhythm and the amplitudes in the performance which created a specific dynamic of the show.  Then we present our point of view about the issues in the performance.  Now we wait to see if the audience will ‘participate’ in the performance, whether or not they will find something that would provoke them.

Written by award-winning Bulgarian writer Rayko Baychev, the play which has been translated into English for the first time, delves into love, loss, conflict and self-belief will resonate with anyone searching for answers.

Following a series of performance failures at music festivals, a Bulgarian musician faces a midlife crisis as his lifelong love affair with his instrument - the Gadulka, comes to a crashing end more or less at the same time as the sudden arrival of a mysterious girl?

Will his crippling shyness and his crisis of confidence destroy any relationship before it can begin? Has he lost his power over the musical instrument, or has the instrument lost its power over him? Where do the pandas come into the dilemma?
The performance is inspired by Bulgarian culture and reveals to the audience the characteristics of Bulgarian folklore, traditional dances, and costumes.

ABOUT Miro Kokenov
Miro Kokenov’s previous acting experience includes playing Proteus in Two Gentlemen of VeronaThe Gronholm Method as Frank and in Karol as the Doctor.  Miro Kokenov has written and performed Perfect Failure, 2015, 1+1=3, 2014 and Last Say, 2013.  He has appeared in leading roles in short films, corporate films and commercials.
The Burning Gadulka was created in collaboration with The Bulgarian Cultural Institute, London.

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