Monday, 5 June 2017

What Dramaturgy Would Cathy do?: Chris Aronsten @ Edfringe 2017

New solo play from Australia about a hopeless junkie who claims to be an actress preparing for a film role

Edinburgh Fringe 2017C primo (theatre) venue 41 19 Hill Street, Edinburgh EH2 3JP
3-28 Aug (not 14) at 14:55 (0hr30) Tickets £7.50-£9.50 / concessions £5.50-£7.50 Recommended 14+

New writing from award-winning playwright and screenwriter Chris Aronsten

Bravura monologue written and
directed by Chris Aronsten What would Cathy do? comes to EdFringe 2017 from Australia and features film and television actress Skye Wansey in the title role. Inspired by a true life encounter, this new work about reality and delusions will leave its audiences wondering where the truth really lies. 

Is Cathy a hopeless junkie …..or brilliant actor?

The first the audience sees of Cathy is when a dishevelled woman of 50 bursts onto the stage and directs a torrent of abuse at a security guard who's just thrown her out of a supermarket for stealing. 

She looks and sounds for all the world like a drug addict in the final stages of a slow decline. But then she explains to the audience: she's neither a thief nor a junkie; she's deeply immersed in the character she is creating for an up-coming feature film. 

But as she grows progressively more desperate, who’s to tell if she’s simply committed to method acting, or irretrievably lost inside the character she says she will portray?

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I was on my way to the supermarket a few years ago, and a very rough looking woman, who I guess was a drug addict, was being thrown out. After ranting and raving at the security guard for a while, she saw me and, putting on a completely “normal” voice, explained that she wasn’t a junkie, she was an actress preparing for a film role.

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

Yes. When ideas are embodied by complex characters in a drama, they can be examined in a more human way. That is to say in a non-binary, non-idealogical, non-theoretical way. Great theatreforces you to consider another point of view by making you care about a complex character you may not even like.

How did you become interested in making performance?
In the beginning I simply got a buzz from writing dialogue for a character that wasn’t me - but who could express elements of myself.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
I have to fall in love with the idea to be able to survive the arduous process of writing and mounting a show.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Yes, I often write monologues. I’m very enamored of the form.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope the audience will experience a compelling story, full of ambiguity, where they gradually come to understand the humanity of the character.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Trust that I have a good idea, be as brutally honest as I can when I am writing it, and cast the right actor in the role. The rest is out of my hands.

Playwright, director and screenwriter Chris Aronsten describes his new work as ‘Alan Bennett meets Sarah Kane on the inner-city streets of Kings Cross, Sydney.’ He says; ‘I’m very interested in the monologue and the way it can reflect people’s interior lives - sparked in part by seeing Bennett’s Talking Heads in my teenage years.’ It is one of several monologues and ensembles from Australia being staged at the same venue. 

What would Cathy do? will appear at C Primo, Venue 41 between 3 and 28 August (not 14) at 14h55. It will appear at United Solo, the world’s largest solo theatre festival in November 2017 and Chris hopes to tour further in 2018.

Chris won Best Screenplay Award for his short film Call Waiting at the British Short Film Festival. His full-length play Human Resources was shortlisted for Australia's Premier Literary Award and the Philip Parson's Young Playwright's Award in 2006.

Festival Listings information:   At C Primo (Venue 41) 3 - 28 August (not 14), 14h55.  30 mins.  Recommended 14+. Tickets £7.50-£9.50/Concessions £5.50-£7.50. Contact the Box Office Company website; , Twitter: @chrisaronsten, Facebook:

Cathy’s just been thrown out of the supermarket for stealing, but she’s not a junkie, and she’ll kill any cunt who says she is. Because she’s an actress, OK? Rehearsing for a film role. Living the life of her character. Taking notes, making observations – and when the cameras start rolling, she’s going to give the performance of a lifetime. Just as long as she’s still around.
Written and directed by: Chris Aronsten
Music by: Chris Aronsten
Produced by: Chris Aronsten
Stills by Kathy Luu

Playwright and director Chris Aronsten is also a screenwriter who won the Best Screenplay Award for his short film Call Waiting at the British Short Film Festival. His TV credits for Australian television include Going Home, David Tench Tonight and Comedy Inc.- The Late Shift. His full length play Human Resources was shortlisted for Australia's Premier's Literary Award and the Philip Parson's Young Playwright's Award in 2006. His play The Lunch Hour was produced at Sydney's Darlinghurst Theatre in 2012. What Would Cathy Do?, originally part of the three monologue play Malice Toward None, was staged at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2012. Chris also spent two years writing a satirical column for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Skye Wansey has played key supporting roles in many Australian films and miniseries including The Silence, Rake, Chopper, Blue Murder and Academy Award winning director Jane Campion's TV series Top of the Lake in the role of “Grishina” alongside Elizabeth Moss and Holly Hunter. Her stage work includes Fences for Urban Stage Projects. This year Skye will portray “Cathy” at the One Festival and United Solo festivals in New York.

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