Saturday, 24 June 2017

Whale Dramaturgy: Hatch It @ Edfringe 2017

Hatch It Theatre presents

Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar) 2nd - 27th August, 1pm
Previews 2nd - 4th August

Hatch It Theatre presents a new piece of experimental theatre that uses puppetry to expose the absurdity of the space we allow for the female body. 

Whalebone will perform at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017, ahead of transferring to the Pleasance London for HeadFirst Productions' Festival of Sex, Love and Death.

Whalebone is about bodies – who takes up space, how much, and why.
Three puppeteers stand awkwardly in corsets.
A woman decides to take control of her body – by deleting it, piece by piece.

"The only way to escape the History of Styles is not to have a body" 

Reimagining Lolita's lesser-known sister, Nabokov's LauraWhalebone collides puppetry and physical theatre in a world where bodies are painted, tucked, tightened and taught, where shadows are embarrassing and silhouettes become stencils. Whalebone is irreverent feminist theatre, narrated by a talking vagina.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Emma BrandThe inspiration for this performance was Nabokov's unfinished novel, "Laura", in which the protagonist mentally erases their body. We saw in this an amazing opportunity to talk about gender/body politics. Our Laura, fed up with the manipulation and objectification of her body, decides to reclaim control over it by deleting it.

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

Absolutely! Theatre should be a place where the things we think we know are challenged - it should invite us to think, and we should leave the theatre talking about what we have seen. Theatre creates an amazing dialogue between the performers and the audience - their response should guide the show, meaning that no two live experiences are the same.

How did you become interested in making performance?

The three of us met at university, where we were all involved in student drama. Since leaving university, we have explored our individual interests, such as puppetry, clowning, and new writing, and we have realised how rewarding it is to bring these skills together to make really entertaining, stimulating theatre, and we all feel strongly about the role performance can play in shaping ideas about the world. 

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

It's a very democratic process, which is a blessing and a curse. We are constantly testing new ideas against each other, and arriving at a "bit"  through a process that includes a lot of experimentation, and a lot of discussion. It can be frustrating at times, but ultimately we have made a piece of work that has really been pushed to its best conclusion.
Does the show fit with your usual productions?

As a company, we believe in making formally
experimental theatre with a social conscience, so this certainly fits with that agenda. 

We are a very new company , with only one other show under our belt, and that was much more heavily scripted than this one. I'd say we haven't yet settled on a house style, but conceptually we are sticking closely to a particular ethos.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We hope they will have fun during our show, but also come out thinking about this age-old issue in a new way. It's a constant worry of ours that we may be stating the obvious  - no one wants us to quote the "Are you beach body ready?" advert again! 

We therefore hope that we have provided something inventive, and that will feel spontaneous and personal to a new crowd each time.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I think a lot of it is just to do with trying to anticipate how different bits might be interpreted, but realistically, audiences are unpredictable, and that's a good thing. 

There are things that some people will find funny and others disturbing, but we're not trying to force them down either route. We've thought about whether or not to use audience participation, as that can really engage people, but we are in a teeny tiny venue, and feel that the show will be intimate and engaging in its own right.

Company member Emma Brand comments In a society that either ignores women or commodifies them, Whalebone's protagonist is a woman who imagines herself into invisibility simply because she can.  Faced with this paradox, I take pride in being part of Hatch It's thoughtful, funny, versatile approach to a problem that has plagued me for over two decades.

2nd - 27th August 2017 (13:00)
50 minutes
Pleasance Courtyard (Cellar), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ

Tickets available from
Previews £6
Early Week £6/£7
Mid Week £7.50/£8.50
Weekend £8.50/£9
Additional Performances
The Bunker, London - Edinburgh Preview - 17th July 2017 (7pm)
Pleasance Theatre, London - Festival of Sex, Love and Death - 31st October 2017 (Time TBC)

Hatch It Theatre was formed by three graduates of the University of Oxford to create socially conscious, formally experimental theatre - theatre which explores social issues through its relationship to its audience. Recent work includes In The Pink (Courtyard Theatre) - a semi-verbatim show pairing the words of nonagenarians with millennial actresses - and Captain Amazing (Albany Theatre).

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