Friday, 14 July 2017

Beadledoom Dramaturgy: Familia de la Noche @ Edfringe 2017

As part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, 
Supported by Greenwich Theatre and produced by Familia de la Noche
BEADLEDOM: alpha and BEADLEDOM: Omega (clown)

Familia de la Noche return with two shows

BEADLEDOM: alpha and BEADLEDOM: Omega (Clown)

performed on alternate days at Underelly Cowgate (Iron Belly) from 4 – 27 August at 2.50pm.  Using their trademark style of clowning, music and puppetry the company looks at life and death. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?
The inspiration for Beadledom came from three different directions. 
The first was the idea of inspiration itself. What inspires people to make decisions in their lives and how are those decisions coloured by what is around us. What holds us back from reaching where we want to be and what stops us from making connections.  Secondly, we wanted to work with two of our favourite performers, Dott Cotton and Edward Cartwright and to shape the performance around their particular skills. 

Thirdly we wanted to look as some big questions about life and death and our attitudes and beliefs towards them. But rather than approaching abstract ideas in an abstract way we wanted to form narratives around them, making them personal rather than simply intellectual.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
I think it’s one of the best. Our approach is to put our ideas out there, allow people to absorb them and form their own opinion. For us it’s non-confrontational and open and allows people time to feel and digest before discussing, which is an opportunity you don’t always get. We never think what we are doing is “right”, we are not trying to impress an opinion on anyone. It’s an offer and we want to know what people think in response.

How did you become interested in
making performance?
 When I was about 14 I watched a show. It was a mixture of dance, circus, straight acting, crazy design with mud and water everywhere. It was epic and bonkers but made total sense and I thought to myself – I want to do that. A few years of acting down the line and I saw another show. It had dance and circus and a field of Christmas trees and I thought to myself – I want to make that, just watching wasn’t quite enough. For me performance has always been about telling stories in the most inventive and engaging way – I love watching but I love making even more.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
For us the story will always be the most important thing. It’s what we do best. Once we had our basic concept we moved straight on to finding our characters and working out ways for them to navigate and explore that concept. We made our lives a bit more difficult than usual as both the Beadledoms are one person shows and both are plays without words. This means we examined really carefully what we mean by character. The music, set, projections and audience are all characters in the pieces which gives a really inclusive feel to the performance. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
These shows draw together of lots of things we’ve learnt from making our previous shows. They are strongly character and narrative led and we are using shadow puppetry and projection, so they definitely look and feel like a Familia show. We’re also pushing ourselves this year, making two shows that jigsaw together, affect each other but which can also stand alone is a big challenge. Take away the words and they are even more so. We are really excited about them. They show how the company has evolved and the direction we are heading.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

 We want the audience to be a part of the journey that our characters are taking – They are one of the characters in the room (although if you live in dread of audience participation don’t worry, no one gets picked on!) and they play a different role in each of the shows. We want them to be swept through an hour, laugh, cry, be on the edge of their seats, come out of the theatre, have a coffee, think about what they saw and then realise that nobody spoke.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Once we had realised that the audience was a character in the shows our strategies centred around making them feel like they were in a role. At the same time we didn’t want that to feel forced or make anyone feel uncomfortable. We looked at way of gently involving them and suggesting the position they are in without taking away the fact that they are watching a show. We want the experience to enjoyable and fun.

Set in Beadledom, an infinite office block and the headquarters of the Universe, Familia have created a pair of shows – α (alpha) and (omega) – that look at what makes humans tick; what is the difference between a brilliant flash of life and a dull flicker? 

The Beadledoms are twins, but not identical. They are designed to be viewed individually but also jigsaw together to make a giant, glorious, messy, sad, happy, beautiful story; Beadledom α alpha: follows the story of Max (Ed Cartwright; Les Enfants Terribles, The Celestial Ape, Vaults Festival and ITV; Sherlock Holmes) a Beadledom administrator on α-shift as he toils away populating the universe with life - until a catastrophic cosmos malfunction leaves Max facing the biggest system reset of all time. Beadledom Ω omega: follows the story of Deborah (Dott Cotton - Les Enfants Terribles/London Hippodrome), a Beadledom administrator on Ω-shift as she slogs away removing life from the universe. But she is obsessed with life, she longs to create one. Maybe today is her lucky day.

‘What it would be like to stroll through the inside of Tim Burton's and Terry Gilliam's minds’

Familia de la Noche is an award-winning theatre company creating shows that are funny, affecting, charming and raucously entertaining. The company won the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award in 2015 for creating “consistently outstanding work”. In 2017 they became supported artists at Greenwich Theatre and were part of 2016 ACW Wales in Edinburgh showcase.

LISTINGS INFORMATION: α (alpha) will be performed from 4-26 August at Underbelly Cowgate, 2.50pm. Dates 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26.
LISTINGS INFORMATION: Ω (omega) will be performed from 3-27 August at Underbelly Cowgate, 2.50pm. Dates 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27. 
Both shows are at Iron Belly and Tickets from £7.30

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