Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Common Dramaturgy: Elliot Douglas @ Edfringe 2017

Find love and heartbreak in a hotel room at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Duchess Theatre with Mermaids Performing Arts Fund presents
Debuting at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a newly devised theatre piece about the failed romance between an MP and his rent-boy, and the consequences they must face for acting upon their desires.

Show Listing Information
Venue: theSpace @ North Bridge (V36)
Tickets: £8 (£6), special 2 for 1 deal on the 7th and 8th of August
Preview: 4-5th August 2017        
Dates: 7-19th August 2017 (not on the 13th)
Time: 17.10 (50 minutes)
Price: £8 (£6), special 2 for 1 deal on the 7th and 8th of August

What was the inspiration for this performance?

This performance was inspired by the current political situation in the UK. Concerning the relationship between an MP and his rent-boy, the idea is to look at the current divide in the UK political scene between the generations and between the political elite and ordinary people.

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

I think performance is one of the best spaces for the public discussion of ideas. We're experiencing huge cuts in the funding of the arts at the moment in this country but we're also seeing a whole lot of new performances that are getting people really involved in what is going on in the world. 

It's amazing  and so important that the same year that Donald Trump became President a show like Hamilton can become the most popular show on Broadway; people are protesting in their own little way by going to experiencing performance.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I always loved acting but writing and producing is relatively new to me. I think seeing how theatre is made from the other side is really interesting when you love watching it too. I love the possibilities that theatre gives to transport an audience anywhere.

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

We are workshopping the production a little at the moment; I believe that theatre is a collaborative medium and that the say of every voice in the room is equally worthwhile.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is the first time that we've worked together with this exact group of people: but I like to think that I've taken the best of every other production I've been involved in. As a writer, the show is definitely a lot more personal to me than anything else I've been involved in.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

The most important thing to me is that the audience go away and have a conversation about what they have seen and the issues that have been raised. Nothing is worse than a silent audience or an audience who have no opinion about what they have seen.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We are aiming to shock and interest people in equal amount through the fast-paced dialogue and unique staging.

Commons begins at the very end: when love is lost, families are destroyed, and individual lives are forever altered by the actions of two lonely men, Marcus and Sam. The story unfolds within one claustrophobic hotel room and moves in reverse chronology, taking the audience through the highs and lows of Marcus and Sam’s relationship, probing deep into the emotional and psychological workings of both men. 

Humorous yet heartbreaking, this unique play offers its audience both the scandalous gossip and serious political discourse that one looks for in a modern political drama.

Author and producer Elliot Douglas began writing Commons shortly after the Brexit referendum: “The idea was to encapsulate the growing divide and sense of dissatisfaction between generations, those of different political beliefs and members of different social classes in a story that is both ubiquitous and yet specific… Despite the uniqueness of their relationship and circumstances, the intent is that we can all relate to the figures of Marcus and Sam and reflect on the status of UK politics in 2017.”

Duchess Theatre is comprised of current university students, and receives its funding from the University of St. Andrews’s Performing Arts Fund. This is the Fringe debut for well-received writer, Elliot Douglas, and acclaimed director Louis Catliff. 

The show features an innovative set and lighting design from Golden Seashell winner Amy Seaman, whose work was featured in the award-nominated Delay Detach in 2016. Sarah Chamberlain is also returning to the Fringe after a role in the well-reviewed ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore last year.

Box Office: 0131 226 0000

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