Thursday, 20 July 2017

Dramageddon: Simon Jay @ Edfringe 2016 and Edfringe 2017

Sweet Venues (venue 18), Grassmarket 

Aug 4-15, 17-22, 24-28  

1.05pm (1 hr) £8.50, 6.50 cons.

580,963 people signed a petition to ban Donald J. Trump from entering the UK. Yet he’s here at the Edinburgh Fringe in all his horrifying glory. Immerse yourself in Trump’s vision of the world before he blows it to
kingdom come. 

Witness the way he works an audience up into a fervour, ask him all the burning questions and see what a world would be like if The Donald was president. From five-star writer and performer Simon Jay, this absurdist satire of the next US President is as demented, hysterical and disturbed as the man himself.

Trumpageddon has been produced by Jaybird Productions who specialise in innovative theatre and comedy. Showing their worth, Trumpageddon is the only Edinburgh Fringe show about Donald Trump that is at the 2016 Fringe Festival!!!

The shows writer and performer Simon Jay hopes Trumpageddon will highlight the contemporary state of global politics and to make it accessible to people who are fascinated by how someone like Trump could become the Republican Presidential Nominee but don't want to trudge through endless, dull rhetoric by commentators. Also as happy Capitalists you'll all leave with a Trumpageddon goodie-bag!

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The rich history of those who have satirised notable public figures. Whether it's contemporary lambasting of Kim-Jong Un in Team America or Charlie Chaplin's thinly veiled Hitler in The Great Dictator, making fun of powerful and often horrifying figures, is a healthy way of understanding tyranny and imparting valuable information. It's also very inspiring to think of all the writers and performers in history who by simply satirising their leaders, risked life and limb for risking to do so, this is my small, relatively safe contribution to that. 

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

It's the ONLY space for a real public discussion of ideas. It's the immediacy of it, the ephemera of it, you're communicating the idea, there in the moment. for such an up-to-the-minute issue such as Donald Trump's candidacy for President, you're taking part in a global conversation which is essentially 'HOW IS THIS MAN GETTING SO CLOSE TO LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD?' with satire you can skew that conversation to in some way make sense of it. 

Both the performer and audience are trying to make sense of the situation we find ourselves in together, and looking for some kind of consensus. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I've been performing since I was 8 years old, twenty years later I am still at it. It came easy to me to stand in front of my peer-group and make them laugh. The whole element of collective creativity really excited me as a child and still does to this day, to see your friends and loved ones exercise their creative muscles, especially if they are shy or not used to anything related to performance, it's a fascinating way of expressing yourself, it seems more authentic to me, I don't know why, but there you are. 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

No, I have no typical process, as much as I'd like one. I start out with the best intentions. I was researching the 2016 show during the 2015 Fringe! You write whole drafts about one idea, and then chuck it out just to follow some non-starter down a rabbit hole. Then time starts running out and you have to commit to something. I do a lot of improvising mixed with structured set-pieces. 

My background is in screenwriting, so I feel you have to have a strong set-up, conflict and resolution to a story, a real structure, even when it feels I am splattering chaos everywhere. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they'll let their hair down and have a laugh, 'get involved' with the immersive qualities it has and ultimately think about the reality behind the clown I'm portraying. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I went for all the tried and tested music-hall methods of entertainment mixed with a lot of highbrow rhetoric, that's my style really, the marriage of high-brow and low-brow. Like witnessing Nietzsche pondering the infinite complexities of the universe and then letting out a long audible fart. 

Cockroach Dramaturgy: Anastasiya Sosis @ Edfringe 2017

Sosis Productions presents

@theSpace on the Mile: 4th & 5th August (Preview nights), 7th-12th August, 10:05 am (110mins)

Cockroaches is an original translation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s earlier, uncensored version of “Flight”, translated and directed by Anastasiya Sosis.

Cockroaches is a tragedy set in the last days of the Russian Civil War. Five refugees flee the impending Soviet rule in search of freedom and a better life, only to find poverty and indifference in foreign lands.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

For me personally it was the civil war in Ukraine. When the revolution happened in December 2013, I had no idea that my hometown, Donetsk, would very soon become a war zone. I just thought naively that people are just fighting for democracy. The following year of events, however, exposed me to how much evil can be done when you mindlessly align your actions’ justification to any ideology, without examining what your own intentions are. 

Cockroaches is exactly about that for me, when I read that play, I felt it had said exactly what I thought, but a hundred years ago. It was time to revisit those ideas.

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

It’s a hard question. Over the years theatre has been trying to redefine itself so much, the audiences might not necessarily know how to engage with the idea inside the performance anymore. Still storytelling in all its forms is the oldest and perhaps most sophisticated way of engaging in a search for meaning, and everyone wants meaning in their lives. 

I wouldn’t say that performance is the space for discussion of ideas, because a discussion would require both sides to talk to each other. But I think performance is a good space for publicly asking questions that are personal to each individual watching the performance. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

When I was 16, my father had basically forced me to sit down and watch Amadeus. He told me before that it was about Mozart, and I expected it to be some documentary style story. At the time I wasn’t very engaged with performance, and preferred easily consumable films and stories. 

But when I watched the film I was stunned. It was filled with a profound sense of tragedy and beauty. I felt for the first time that films and theatre can be engaging in a deeply meaningful way, not in a snobby intellectual sense, but in a way that made the world seem like a place of magic and purpose, rather than just boring cold facts. I wanted to contribute to that.

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

As we had to cut a lot of the original play out for time, we decided to adapt a somewhat minimalistic approach in terms of set design. The actors are only using suitcases or chests for furniture, and that actually works well with the idea of being constantly on the run. 

In Russian we have a saying “Sitting on suitcases”, meaning being ready to get up and leave immediately. That’s what the characters of the play are basically fated to do once they abandon their homeland.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Taking into account I studied to be a film director, no, not at all. I haven’t really produced anything after I graduated from film school, however. I felt disillusioned with the process and the industry, and I didn’t feel like I had that much to say. I think in some way this play inspired me to direct again.

What do you hope that the audience will experience? 

Most of all I just hope they enjoy themselves. I hope they laugh during the funny scenes, and sympathise with the protagonists and their tragic fates. I know it’s vague, but I just want people to feel what I feel about the story, which is the sadness for what the characters had to go through, and hope for a better future.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience? 

I made sure my actors know what my vision for the play is, and then I let them bring their own ideas into it. It always turns out better when the process isn’t just what the director imagined and nothing else, because my imagination is about the whole play, and the actors focus on just their character, and somehow, even though they think of things I didn’t, it just fits perfectly and enriches the performance, makes it more alive. 

I make sure I like what I see and that I feel engaged with the characters in each scene. The rest is just decoration, even if it’s thematically important, the actors are the heart of it!

Burdened by the starvation of St. Petersburg and imagining an impending victory of the Pro-Royal army forces, naive and intellectual Sergey Golubkov embarks on a journey to Crimea. He hopes to wait out the conflict and return home, but is instead confronted by the atrocities of war, cruelties created not by ideology but by man. He is thrust into a nightmare, journeying to save a woman he loves: a refugee he met in the lamplight at the train station. 

Matthew Ward (playing General Khludov) trained at Central school of Speech and Drama. He began his acting career in 1987 and has been performing in both Theatre and TV. Matthew’s more recent works include Rob in Reality Chokes at the Edinburgh Festival, Norman in Gifted at the White Bear, Geb in Stairway to Heaven at Blue Elephant as well as tours of the one man play St Nicholas by Conor McPherson, sponsored by the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Charity.

Anna Danshina (playing Serafima) trained at Drama Centre London and graduated in 2016. Her recent theatre credits include: Liza (lead) in ‘Notes From Underground by John Cooper in 2017; Aglaya Epanchin (lead) in ‘The Idiot’ by Dostoevsky in 2017; Anna (lead) in ‘Morphine’ by Bulgakov in 2017, Natalia in Chekhov’s Farces ‘Wife for Sale’ in 2016.

theSpace on the Mile, 80 High St, Edinburgh, EH1 1TH (Space 1): 4 - 12th (not 6th) August, 10:05am (110 mins)

Tickets: £9.00 (£7.00) 4 - 5th August previews; £7.00 (£5.00) 7 – 9th August; £9.00 (£7.00) 10 – 12th August.

God's Dramaturgy: Shotgun @ Edfringe 2017

Triumph of gender-blind casting in reimagining of ‘Godspell’.
Shotgun Theatre presents a new twist on Stephen Schwartz’s hit musical.

Venue: Greenside @ Nicolson Square (V209)
Address: 25 Nicolson Square, EH8 9BX

Previews: 4 - 6 August @ 6.30pm (Duration 2hrs)
Performances: 7 - 19 August (not 13th) @ 6.30pm (Duration 2hrs)

This August Shotgun Theatre are due to bring a gender-blind adaptation of ‘Godspell’ to the Edinburgh Fringe. In a bold move, the student theatre company have opted to cast a female actor to play the title role of Jesus.

Director, Joe Miller, and Assistant Director, Katherine Lea

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Our interpretation of Godspell focuses on the bringing together of a community through song and storytelling. We wanted to create a world that was as vibrant as the characters who inhabit it, letting their individual quirks and personalities shine through. Our set is minimalist in order to let the characters take precedence; filling the space with their dynamism and exuberance. 

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

Yes, definitely! We believe that performance either starts a discussion or contributes to conversations that have happened before. Godspell, although religious in nature, is fundamentally about human connection and experience: through audience addressal and thrust staging, we open up a forum of discussion as to how relationships can develop in a believable and sincere way regardless of background or upbringing. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

We both studied Drama at university and we are frequently captivated by the theatre’s ability to communicate and resonate with its audience. 

The sheer emotive power of the songs in Godspell capture the extremes of human emotion in a way that is accessible to absolutely everyone, regardless of their religion. It is this accessibility, this finding of a common ground that makes performance so powerful, and it is something we have tried to draw on throughout the performance and process. 

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

We have re-envisioned Godspell in a way that deviates from its obvious connections with religion, instead focusing on the notion of community and the way in which religion is just one method of bringing people together.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Shotgun Theatre was initially established to broaden the opportunities available for those interested in musical theatre at the University of Exeter. We seek to create innovative and dynamic productions, and Godspell definitely fits the bill, with its gender-blind casting and creative storytelling. 

Our approach has enabled us to build an ensemble of incredibly talented individuals, prioritising their distinctive qualities over rigid character descriptions in order to create a truly unique and inclusive take on the musical. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We’ve had previous audience members approach us after the show and tell us that they’re now considering religion, but we’re not looking to convert anyone! We hope that the audience will leave our show with a warm heart and an open mindedness; an understanding that no matter what our differences are, we can all be united by song, dance, and good company!  

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Audience experience has been at the forefront of our rehearsal process, and our main strategy consisted of creating a safe environment for these stories come to life. By giving our actors a fairly free rein over their characters, we have ensured that they are fun, likeable, and relatable. 

Considering the current political climate, we believe more than ever that relationships and community are at the heart of everything we do. Our production in particular shows that people from very different backgrounds are capable of coming together and changing their lives for the better.
Not just about faith, ‘Godspell’ is a vibrant and compelling musical about love, hope and finding friendship. Based on the Gospel of Matthew, the popular Broadway hit features chart topping by the composer of ‘Wicked’, Stephen Schwartz.
In a new twist to the popular family favourite, Shotgun have taken a unique approach to casting, completely ignoring the gender of the actors who auditioned. Rather than defining certain roles as ‘male’ or ‘female’, the team focused on creating a tight ensemble of actors regardless of how their roles were traditionally cast. As explained by the Assistant Director, Katherine Lea, “We had some incredible voices audition for us, and it would've been a terrible shame not to cast them simply because they were a certain gender. Instead of restricting ourselves, we decided to cast based on talent and suitability for each individual song.”

The approach to casting is most notable in the lead role of Jesus. Traditionally a male part, Shotgun have cast talented female actor Emily Lafoy to take on the character. This change is not just cosmetic. Originally written to suit a man’s voice, the melodies of the part are brought to the fore by Emily’s higher vocal range, giving the production a truly unique sound. Rosie Peters, the production’s vocal coach, explains “from a musical point of view, it could have been very risky casting a female, but Lafoy's soprano voice more than rose to the challenge. She has now made the role of Jesus completely her own.”

#Instadramaturgy: Catherine Duquette @ Edfringe 2017

Catherine Duquette (USA) presents

Real-time confrontation of real relationships in interactive game-like format from Fringe first timer

Inspired by cynicism. Based on romance. One woman finds herself on the brink of love, lust, fear and hope. The audience are her prospects and decide how her story unfolds.

#Instalove is a joyful, electrifying, and at times, stormy celebration of all the reasons we seek love – from the playful to the pathetic, the pragmatic to the passionate - and how identity is created through relationships. It transposes the quest for love into a live game-like encounter; the audience votes to decide the outcome, so each performance is different.

Performer/writer, Catherine Duquette, presents five different characters. Meet Clare (romantic), Kit (cynical), Cat (sensual), Kate (pragmatic), and Kris (dominant). They compete against each other for the audience’s affections – which will they want to date?

What was the inspiration for #Instalove?

A couple years ago, I was coming out of a long and challenging relationship that forced me to reassess my own patterns, expectations, and fantasies in approach to love; I was also having repeated conversations with friends about their failed search for companionship; and I was witnessing endless contradiction about what we said we wanted versus what were actually getting/doing. 

Meanwhile, most of my friends were participating in online dating. Despite seemingly unlimited options, they weren’t finding what they were seeking. (There’s a direct correlation between infinite choice and misery by the way.) These personal battles, contradictions, and questions about love, both conceptual and existential, unraveled some of the last romantic notions of love that lay threadbare in my mind. 

So I wanted to figure it out: What is this thing called “love”? Why do we do it again and again? And why, despite our “best efforts” are we not getting what we say we want?

To start the project, I went onto OKCupid and Tinder and discovered a pattern among potential mates and competition: four to five types of profiles over and over again selling a specific type of personality. It got me thinking about how I would market myself and why. The process of self-identification was no easy task, and I ended up splintered into five different personas -- the characters that would end up being the dating candidates for #Instalove. 

Then I worked on creating a space that simulated the work of a dating app live onstage, where we would figure out this thing called “love” together.

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

Depends on the performance. Depends on the public. Everyone responds to different platforms/mediums. But I’m definitely a proponent of performance that does something. Most theatre only provides a passive and temporary experience that despite creating awareness about a topic, rarely generates a discussion to actualize change.

#Instalove is specifically designed to create a space for public discussion both on and off stage. It’s not only the participatory nature of the show that encourages this free discussion, but also my use of game design as a dramaturgical approach. The piece starts off playfully, but the audience quickly finds themselves generating questions and challenging each other to step out of unquestioned routines. 

It’s honest and stunning to watch. In Berlin previews of the show, I’ve witnessed romantic couplings between close friends, weeping after the realization of self-sabotage, joyful liberation of anger, and endless discussion.

Further, the deeply personal content of the show inspires anyone I’m interacting with to be honest and vulnerable, which allows the rest of the audience to be honest and vulnerable, until the whole room is reveling in an open discussion about love, relationships, and identity. 

How did you first become interested in making performance?

I always wanted to perform. I was hooked when I took my first dance class at three years old. When I was 21, I started directing and writing in addition to performing, and I developed my own performance methodology for creating work that drew on personal materials. But it was when I moved to Berlin seven years ago, that I discovered interactive/participatory performance. 

Starting out in a new city, I had to create a body of work before I could integrate myself in the scene. Naturally, this work was solo performance, but I loathed solo performance because I found it lonely. I wanted to (inter)act with others on stage, so I turned to the audience! And the rest is history.

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

Yes, I used game design as a dramaturgical approach. This gives the audiences meaningful choices that directly impact the show and allow the audience more personal and emotional investment in what happens on stage. (I also write for video games, and game design – because it is interactive – is at the cutting edge of performance, i.e. the art of doing.)

Does the show fit with the style of your other productions?

Yes, I specialize in interactive theatre: improvisation within a dramaturgical score, audience-performer relations, and encouraging the audience to get up on stage to make meaningful choices. However, I would say that #Instalove is the most participatory production to date – it creates a community in real time depending entirely on what the audience brings to the theatre, and the choices of this community directly impact the show. 

Since #Instalove is about relationships, and as in any relationship, it’s not just about me (the performer), it’s about you and me. It’s about us, so the content demands that it be as participatory as possible. There are even a couple moments where I step aside and let the audience steer the ship – these moments offer some of the most compelling and poignant revelations in the piece.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
A sense of community, an expansion of self, and perhaps even a shift in the way they think about love, relationships, and their approach to these things – that public discussion of ideas we talked about earlier. 

In each series of dates, the audience eliminates their least favourite character. Gradually, Catherine’s characters are revealed to all be personas of the same woman. They share the same stories and previous relationships but emphasise different aspects of their lives and perceive their memories differently, taking distinct lessons from them. As the show progresses, the participatory encounters become ever more intimate, heading to the audience’s ultimate choice.

How will the audience’s personality shape Catherine’s identity? Which of the characters will she become with them? Who will they become with her?

Catherine (who is also a writer and narrative designer for mobile games) will create a smartphone app for audiences to download prior to seeing the show, which will help them interact with, and drive the decision making process.

#Instalove is a trailblazer in interactive performance, as it applies game design as a dramatic tool. This concept allows for fun yet meaningful interactions in which the audience not only decide what happens on stage but also involves them with the emotional consequences of their choices.#Instalove encourages the audience to face their own personas in the game of love, all the while reconciling what it means to choose and how that shapes who we become.

American performer, writer, and theatre maker, Catherine Duquette recently relocated to London after living in Berlin for several years. She specialises in audience-performer relations and improvisation within scripted drama. She creates intimate participatory works that draw on autobiographical materials to share contemporary experiences with active audiences. Curious about expanding notions of performance, Catherine fuses theatre, interactive poetry, scripts, and choice-based narrative for video games. With #Instalove she is exploring game design as a dramaturgical approach to theatre in order to allow audiences more emotional and personal investment in what happens on stage.

Listings information 
Venue: theSpace on North Bridge, Argyll Theatre (Venue 36) 
Time: 20.05 (50 mins)     
Dates: 4-26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20)   
Venue Box Office: 0131 510 2381  
Tickets: £6 - £9

This Really is Dramaturgy: Gracefool @ Edfringe 2017

Venue: Underbelly, Big Belly (Venue 61) 

Dates: 3-27 Aug (not 14)
Time: 15.20 (55 mins) 

Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Theatre WORLD PREMIERE
Gracefool Collective/Underbelly Untapped (UK) present
Outlandish, bold, highly entertaining and slickly choreographed theatre from Fringe first timers

Raucous, provocative and laugh-out-loud funny, Fringe debutants Gracefool Collective deliver a genre-busting show that reveals the downright absurd realities of life as a three-dimensional, high definition, water-drinking, salad-eating, moisturising W.O.M.A.N. in modern society.

What was the inspiration for This Really Is Too Much?

Our very initial inspiration for this piece, or at
least the image which sparked the seeds for our first ideas, came from watching businessmen in suits. On one very long bus journey from Sheffield to London we started observing with interest how these men performed their identities - powerful, rational, masculine - and how their attire was assisting them to play the role. 

It got us to thinking about the metaphor of a power suit, and whether we wore our own identities in the same way. 

So it started as a piece about power suits, and then about clothes, then performance of identity, until it finally morphed into a piece about our own identities as four women, and the pressures and anger we feel about the narrow yet unattainable roles we are supposed to fit ourselves into.

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

This is a question we regularly ask ourselves, and one we feel is incredibly important to keep asking, because we want to make work which challenges and questions, so we are keen to ensure that there is also space for the audience to be involved in this. 

We have an abridged version of This really is too much which we toured earlier in the year with Red Ladder Theatre Company, and we were encouraged to see that often audiences were keen to discuss the ideas with us and each other well beyond the end of the performance, and we sometimes even maintained email dialogues with audience members that were keen to share their thoughts on the work and their personal experience of the issues. 

The experience has reaffirmed that performance can certainly be a good place for public discussion, but we feel it is also important that this is facilitated and supported by the company presenting the work, so that enough space is allowed for the audience to feel that they are being invited into the discussion rather than told what to think.

How did you first become interested in making performance?

All four of us trained as dancers, and in our final year we all focused on choreography, and became particularly interested in inter-disciplinary performance work - that is to say, playing with genre and form. 

We came together as a collective out of a shared interest in breaking away from the traditional contemporary dance mould, and making work which was not restricted to one form. This came about mainly from a frustration with the limitations we felt in dance, and a desire to make work which explored big complicated topics. 

Performance was something that made sense to us as a means to interrogate our own thoughts and feelings on subjects as well as a method of sharing our ideas, provoking discussion and perhaps most importantly giving us a way of laughing at systems of power or oppression in order to undermine the power they hold over us.

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

The most important part of our creative process is that it is collaborative. We devise and choreograph all of our work collectively, which means the process is non-hierarchical - there is no outside director leading the ideas. This means it is also a very slow process, as we are also all performing in the work, and involves a lot of talking. 

However, it is also something which we feel enriches the work and gives it layers of meaning, as we have four heads working instead of just one!

Does the show fit with the style of your other productions?

Although all of our work has taken very different forms (from an interactive auction in a warehouse to a surreal cabaret about Europe) the uniting factor is humour. We like to make work about serious topics that doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

As much as we love making political dance/theatre/physical comedy, we are also aware of its limitations so we like to keep the process lighthearted. There is certainly a Gracefool style emerging - absurd, bold, humorous - but as we are a new company this style is still shifting and moulding, and we like the idea that each piece we make might be very different from the last!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We hope that the audience might feel some recognition of the situations or experiences presented on stage, as our aim is not to point fingers but to shine light on some of the ridiculous scenarios we observe in real life and to challenge how easily we accept these. We sometimes find that putting something onstage out of context is enough to expose its ridiculousness. 

But above all we hope the audience will experience a fun hour of entertainment - whatever that might mean to them!

Slickly choreographed and dripping with feminist charm and anarchic wit, This Really Is Too Much combines dance, dark comedy and theatre. They delve deeply into a world of farcical stereotypes and preposterous power struggles, wrestling with gender, identity and social convention along the way.

After (almost) 100 years of women’s suffrage in Britain how far have we really come since then?

This Really Is Too Much is an outlandish, thought-provoking and wildly entertaining medley of absurd political speeches, talent contests, job interviews and box ticking. Kate Cox, Sofia Edstrand, Rachel Fullegar and Rebecca Holmberg fight themselves, each other and society’s expectations to be individual, political, beautiful, popular and in control.

Gracefool Collective is a four woman strong company of theatre makers formed in 2013. They make post-intellectual-pseudo-spiritual-feminist-comedy-dance-theatre for the modern day. They make it collaboratively, perform it collaboratively and write, design, devise, direct, manage, market, fundraise, budget, tweet, tour book, teach, schmooze, promote and play collaboratively.

This Really Is Too Much has been selected to be part of the second Underbelly Untapped season which supports fantastic new writing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

See a short promotional video here
Listings information
Venue: Underbelly, Big Belly (Venue 61)
Dates:  3-27 Aug (not 14)
Time:    15.20 (55 mins)
Tickets: £9 - £11 (previews 3-4 Aug £6.50)
Venue Box Office: 03333 444 167

Mingalabar Dramaturgy: Struan Logan @ Edfringe 2017

Struan Logan: Mingalabar 

Laughing Horse @ Cabaret Voltaire: 3rd - 27th August: 12pm
Local comedian Struan Logan marks his return to the UK comedy scene with a new 30 minute show, Mingalabar.

Struan has just spent three months living in South East Asia, performing stand-up in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong as well as travelling through Vietnam, Taiwan and his favourite, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and has a grand ol' tale to tell.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I have spent the last 18 months travelling with my partner through Australia, New Zealand and S.E. Asia, this show is about the last three months in South East Asia as we travelled through 7 countries and I performed stand-up in 4 of them. 

The two things that have inspired this show from that are seeing stand-ups from around the world talking about their experiences in their own country's. The second was a set of weekend gigs I did in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I performed to the most diverse crowd I have played to and the amount of fun that gig was.  

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

Of course it is. For stand-up the bigger question is which performances are a good place for public discussion of ideas, if you are doing an Edinburgh Fringe show where you are given the time and breathing space to flesh out those ideas to an audience then absolutely. 

If on the other hand you are performing in an open mic night where they don't trust the acts or a weekend at a comedy club where the punters are drunk and just want gags, ideas are a lot more difficult to get across. It's still possible but very difficult to do as you need some damn strong jokes backing it up. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I don't know when it began specifically but I've always been interested in it. I particularly remember watching Have I Got News For You as a kid and watching Paul Merton and Ian Hislop riffing about politics being a big one. 

I did acting as a kid up was always given minor roles like "Roman Builder 3" and I must have been bad at acting because the guy casting the play was my uncle. 

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

Writing then failing, a lot. I personally learn better by mistakes and thinking, "Don't do that again!" Previews and open mic nights are particularly good for this because people who come to previews are interested in the comedy process and if an idea works in an open mic night you are going to be fine at the fringe. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

With it being stand-up the performance isn't hugely different apart from the delivery is now being done with more confidence. I performed gigs in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand and I was paid for it so I can have some sense that I'm doing something right. 

However this is more ambitious than I am used to as a lot of comedy is from relatable experiences so that doesn't exist when you are talking about being in a country others haven't been to. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

If this persuades a few people who were thinking of going travelling to actually doing it I will be incredibly happy. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Staying in the moment in the audience as much as possible whilst not relying on them as a crutch. Stand-up is both trying not be seem like you are reading a script in your head whilst trying to make it as close to the script as possible. 

If you are also confident with audience interaction it can be easy to riff with them rather than doing material so I have to avoid that in this show and focus on building on the ideas instead. 

His various attempts of understanding the multiple cultures whilst failing not to make an ass of himself, explaining that Scottish privilege is way better than white privilege and how he understood religion better by visiting Buddhist Hell all make for a great first show of the day filled with jokes, anecdotes and the occasional gag about shitting himself. 

Starting comedy in 2012, Struan was picked to participate in The Stand’s Comedy Academy, having lessons from some of the UK’s finest comedians including cult comedians Simon Munnery and Mary Bourke.

In the last 18 months, Struan packed his bags from the UK and took up an Australian visa, where he road-tripped and performed at comedy clubs throughout the the country and performed solo shows at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including being a regular on package shows Argh! A Bonanza of Comedy from the UK and All Around the World: International Comedy Showcase.

In the last week of his visa, Struan performed Bye Melbourne, It’s Been Fun! at Melbourne Fringe to sold-out crowds and critical praise before travelling over to New Zealand to headline clubs across the two islands.

Along with being a comedian, Struan is also a columnist for Melbourne's craft beer magazine Froth, writing articles for the monthly magazine on his outsider point of view and knowledge of craft beer.

Back home, Struan has also been commissioned to write content for Time Out, The Skinny, WOW247, Ferment and more.

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