Monday, 5 June 2017

The Dunning-Kruger Dramaturgy: Stoph Demetriou @ Edfringe 2017

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Free Sisters Staff Room/Wee Room


3-27 August

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Well the show is about people who are too stupid to realise that they're stupid. That's the Dunning-Kruger Effect in a nutshell, and I feel like we're constantly surrounded by that. I saw an article that said expertise was dead because we live in an age of opinion, where people don't have any time for people who know better - they can't see the difference between their opinion and an expert's opinion, and that got me thinking... maybe we're actually ALL really stupid, and we're ALL too stupid to notice. But what do I know?

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
I think a live performance can be a great way of getting people involved in more complex or involved ideas; you're there in a room with the audience and the performer so the audience really have to get on board, as opposed to a quick YouTube or Facebook video which has to get everything across as quickly as possible. 

With a performance there's time to let things evolve, for the audience to digest what is happening, and it can be a lot more real and visceral. As we saw with Richard Gadd's "Monkey See, Monkey Do", which I was honoured to be a part of, performance can touch a lot of people and generate discussion, and I think that will probably always be the case.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I think I was about 8 when my older sister got a copy of Eddie Izzard's Glorious on VHS. I watched it over and over and over until I knew every single line, every pause and movement of the show, and in the playground I'd stand on a bench and perform it to whoever listened. 

It was quite a while before I thought of actually saying something I'd written, to be honest. I wasn't that bright as a kid.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
What I like to do is cover my wall in vague post-it notes and then hate myself when I realise I don't remember what any of them mean.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Yeah I think so. Everything I've done up until this point has been very story and plot driven. I was in a sketch group for a few years, but I never liked the format of "here's a sketch... right now here's another" until the time was up. I wanted to make something that kind of stood as one piece - our last show was an hour long sketch show with I think three sketches, and the rest was about the story. 

Everything has been very multimedia heavy as I come from a music and video background, so expect a lot of that!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Well the show is set up kind of like a lecture, so I hope people will at times get quite drawn into that side of it and think they're learning something (maybe they will, I can't guarantee that). 

But also the show is kind of about me as this hapless character trying to put on a show and educate people, but kind of a bit out of my depth, so I hope people find that side of it funny (it is supposed to be a comedy show after all) and recognise a bit of themselves in it.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
I watched a lot of YouTube "explainer" videos. They vary massively from insightful and interesting to insanely lacking in self-awareness. They're pretty brilliant. I've taken quite a lot from that...

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