Friday, 23 June 2017

X- The Dramaturgy: Robert S J Lucas @ Edfringe 2017


WORLD PREMIERE OF                                                                                                          X THE MUSICAL                                                             
                        Music, lyrics and book by

Robert S J  Lucas         

Directed by Robert S J Lucas.                                                                                 

Fri th Aug (preview), 7th,


16th, 17th, 22nd 23rd                                                                                   Time:  22.05   

                                                                                             SpaceTriplex (Fringe venue 38)     
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What was the inspiration for this performance?
It’s been such a full on year politically that I didn’t really need to reach very far for inspiration for the plot. With the tragic murder of Jo Cox, the rise of populism, the very decisive referendum on Brexit and the widespread globally perceived terrorist threat it seemed that if I was ever going to write a political thriller it would be here and now.

When I outlined the original story I intended the show to have a more futuristic, apocalyptic backdrop but as I started putting the show together it became clear that to really resonate with a broad audience I needed to make it as contemporary as possible but without attributing the story to any particular people or events that were unfolding (mainly because they were all so changeable!).

The music came directly out of the way the narrative was coming together and so a more angry, rock/indie sound emerged which I personally think suits the piece very well. It’s difficult to explore politics, press, radicalisation, populism and relationships all together but I think we’ve managed to create something very poignant and special for this year’s Fringe Festival.

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

I suppose the real question is whether public discussion is performance in itself. We see politicians discussing a variety of things which really matter to the world, but it’s all performance. They stand in front of cameras and vast crowds monologuing, they give us plot twists and surprises and they even fall neatly into the good guy and bad guy categories for us. It’s writing without a writer.

I’d say that any performance is a space to explore, explain, educate, persuade and articulate our points so absolutely it’s essential to the running of a functioning, free society.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I studied drama and theatre technology at school so I’ve always had an interest in theatre and more precisely the theatrical experience. I love being an audience member, especially at musical theatre, but I’ve always been one to pick apart what I see and wonder whether I could do the same (or in some cases better!).

I used to write short plays and songs when I was studying and, although I went through a spell of thinking I wanted to be a Psychologist and then a spell of working in The City, the arts always stayed with me as a hobby and a pastime. Over the years I developed my own production company but I’d moved more into screen media. I moved up to Edinburgh two years ago and I made a decision to dust off my keyboard and get to work. It’s a decision I’m very pleased I made.

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

My approach for this and the other shows I have on at this years Fringe Festival was always to include the cast and creative team in as much of the shape of the work as possible. After all my music, lyrics and book wouldn’t be anything without the actors inhabiting the characters and bring it alive. I started off with a rough draft of the script (which I always format as a screenplay because the ideas come to me as though they are on a screen film before they are a stage production).

After I have the bare bones of the show I go through it from beginning to end, scene by scene, rolling out the flesh of the idea until the show becomes more than just a load of notes on a page. The music is written in conjunction with the script as, for me, it’s as much a part of it as the words. I guess many people work in teams to create musical theatre but I think I’m too much of a control freak to do that. I enjoy sitting in my flat, drinking wine and making the ridiculous people and events in my mind become a reality. For me, that’s writing.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
The three musicals I have on this year are incredibly different in tone. X is the most ‘grown up’ of the three being more based in our political climate, however I’d say that each of the shows has a lengthy essay of purpose behind them to give the shows more bite and less fluff.

Don’t get me wrong, we all love a frivolous show, but my style is definitely shiny with a sharp edge. You’re drawn in but you’ll probably cut yourself. That’s my hope anyway.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

With my musical X, the first thing I hope the audience will experience is enjoyment! No one can sit through a musical they aren’t enjoying let alone take anything away from it. Despite my work having a jagged undertone I've done my best to give the audience a fun journey. Yes, the topics can be a little hard hitting but it’s framed in humour, love, friendships, hope and a catchy score. Life (and art) is balance.

X The Musical receives its world premiere at SpaceTriplex (Venue 38). It has been written, composed and directed by London born, Edinburgh-based Robert S J Lucas.

In the not-so distant-future and one world government dominates all, continuously changing its politicians to ensure the global population remain constantly entertained. When Mia, one of the latest batch of politicians, offers popular new set off ideas, she rapidly gains public and media support that threatens the established order. Before long, she discovers that not everyone supports her vision of a fairer world, but can they convince the electorate? 

In our current turbulent political climate, (inspired by Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and the murder of politician Jo Cox) X The Musical is a timely warning of a possible tomorrow, a darkly entertaining show is set to make you think about who’s shaping our world view and how.

The cast includes: Mark Kydd, Alex Booth, Alex Card, Rio Brady, Robbie Lytollis, Bob Bowden, Danielle Robertson, Ashleigh More and Liliana Fonseca.

X The Musical is produced by Disclosure Group who are also previewing two other original musicals written and composed by Robert S J Lucas: Porn and Suicide The Musical.

Music & Lyrics, a unique concert featuring musical highlights from all three shows, takes place on Aug 26th at the same venue.

Ticket prices: 5th Aug preview: £6 (concessions £5) All other performances: £11 (£9)

Venue: SpaceTriplex (venue 38) The Prince Philip Building, 19 Hill Place, Edinburgh EH8 9DP

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