Thursday, 1 June 2017

Ugly Dramaturgy: Tamar Broadbent @ Edfringe 2017

Tamar Broadbent: Get Ugly
Underbelly Med Quad (Clover), Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2017 (not 14th), 17:30
Did you know that when you go through a break-up you become 25% uglier? Newly single and living in a trendy part of town, Tamar is nervous about leaving the house. How do you become a strong, independent women when your confidence deserts you and you’re too busy dodging hipsters, envying gym girls and just trying to keep your body hair under control?

Fresh from a five-star sell-out run in 2016 and a Best Comedy Award-nominated tour in Australia earlier this year, Tamar returns with Get Ugly, a musical comedy about re-discovering your awesome-ness and embracing life without a filter.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

My sister told me you become 25% uglier when you go through a break up. Then I moved to the trendy part of town and started feeling uncharacteristically nervous about leaving the house. Then I wrote a song about being caught with too much pubic hair, and it felt weird and wonderful enough that there might be something in it. 

I wrote more songs about anxious, awkward moments of newly single life, and there was a lot of fun in it - eventually I had enough for a whole show.

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

Absolutely. I love shows that make you think, feel, and want to talk about them after you’ve left the room. When the audience leave my show, I imagine some of them will be discussing whether or not it was a good idea to let women leave the house after all, if they were just going to go and sing about vaginas.  

How did you become interested in making performance?

When I was a child I really wanted to be on Blue Peter, so my friend and I rehearsed, performed and filmed ourselves doing the witches scene from Macbeth in the local woods and sent it in to their producers. 

We were awarded Blue Peter Badges, possibly because it was good, more likely because it was terrifying and they thought we might curse them, but since then I’ve always loved performing and creating. Nowadays I write my own songs and jokes, and most of my material would not be appropriate for Blue Peter, but I’m still that small entertainer at heart who wants to sing, say things loudly and make people smile.

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

I use caffeine or alcohol to entice me to the piano and then sit there until words and melodies start happening. Sometimes there’s a quarter-life crisis in the middle, or I start composing texts to people I haven’t seen since school saying we should definitely catch up, like, today! but eventually songs get made.  

You have to develop comedy shows in front of audiences, so I’ll write a first draft, preview it, change what was awful and keep the bits that didn’t make people leave, and then keep writing and re-writing until I’m happy with it and everything has been funny at least three times.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I like creating comedy that tells a story and has a heart; has some fun but non-offensive audience interaction; includes pop / rock / dance-inspired comedy songs and feels like a rock concert but with more talking; that makes the audience laugh, groove along and leave the room on a high. I hope this show does just that.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Mainly, I want them to laugh and have a great time. But, I also like to explore and poke fun at all the most mortifying bits of life, that everyone goes through but no one likes to admit to themselves or anyone else that they do. Life always looks perfect on the surface of a social media page, but who knows what we’re all freaking out about underneath? I like to show the audience that if they’ve ever had mini-meltdowns, they are absolutely not the only ones.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I was going to hold up an actual mirror, but that felt crude. So instead I write songs that hopefully make people be like, ‘oh my God, I’ve totally put up a profile picture and then deleted it because it only got 3 likes and I was devastated too!’ I think there’s themes in the show of heartbreak, self-confidence and the quest for independence that everyone can relate to, whether they’re male or female, seventeen or seventy, and I can’t wait to share them.

Best known for her hilarious, catchy songs about single life in your twenties, Tamar’s take on female self-confidence has to be seen. With stories about weird Tinder dates and STD checks, as well as sticking up for the people you care about, Get Ugly guarantees to be an electric musical experience. With an upbeat, celebratory message about strength and independence, Tamar’s audiences always leave the room on a high!
Tamar comments, This show is about learning how to value yourself again after someone has made you feel like nothing. I've been to Australia and back with it and the audience response has been overwhelming. We've all been through heartbreaks, and Get Ugly celebrates how sometimes you have to get 25% uglier to realise you are 100% awesome.
Get Ugly was hidden away on the Free Fringe in 2016 but now Jimmy Jewell brings it into the bright lights at Underbelly for the Edinburgh Fringe.

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