Friday, 14 July 2017

Dramaturgy Away: Nightingale Productions @ Edfringe 2017

Nightingale Productions presents

by Alexandra Simonet & Lizzie Grace
Directed by Casey Jay Andrews & Laura Trundle

Inline images 1

Venue: C Venues – C Royale (venue 6, 22 George Street)

Venue box office: 0845 260 1234 /

Fringe box office: 0131 226 0000 /

Dates: 2nd – 20th August 2017

Performance: 18:00 daily

Crib, check. Nappies, check. Weird, breast-pump thing, check. Losing mind, check. Mum on speed-dial, quickest route to hospital mapped. Phoebe discovers she’s pregnant again after a miscarriage and wants to talk. 

You’re invited into the bedroom of a girl in her mid-twenties frantically trying to figure out what it means to be a woman, to be an adult, to just be a functioning human. An honest conversation about the unspoken problems we’re not allowed to show we’re struggling with. A story about big decisions, bad advice, and making it up as you go along. Fresh, frank new solo-show about starting again.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
For a long time I have wanted to write a play about a woman that has experienced a miscarriage. But, just like many play ideas, I never got round to it.  I think I was a bit scared because the subject matter is so important that I wanted to give myself time and represent it truthfully. However this just manifested in me putting it off! It wasn’t until myself and Alexandra were chatting earlier this year about both our mothers’ experiences with miscarriage and that she had also wanted to write something similar that we thought let’s do this. 

We realised whilst chatting how many other people we knew that had miscarried as well but how little information there is online. We also realised that a lot of people blame themselves and we wanted to show our solidarity with these women and help them understand they are not to blame. So we applied for C venues and after that there was no backing out. I am so glad that we did that because now we will actually get to tell the story we have been wanting to tell for a long time.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Absolutely. In today’s world, so many ideas and debates happen on social media, where you can hide behind your laptop or mobile phone. Live performance gets people away from that. They have to gather together, share a space and have a mutual experience.  People wouldn't feel motivated or intimidated or moved or anything while watching a performance if it wasn't the perfect platform to discuss ideas. 

Our aim with Carried Away is to open up the conversation about issues surrounding miscarriage and we feel the way for us to succeed in this is to have an intimate space, where we can sometimes break the fourth wall to show empathy and support. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
We have both spent the last few years working with Patch of Blue Theatre, where we devise all our shows. We have always been actors but that was where it became apparent to us that we loved creating theatre, from the first pen to page to the last performance. 

Last year we devised ‘We Live By The Sea’, which was all about the life on an autistic teenage girl. We were very passionate about spreading awareness about autism and we ended up getting to tell that story all around the world. Not only were we doing what we loved but it felt important and we want to continue making more theatre like this.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
We started off with a lot of research. We spoke to people that experienced miscarriage, read blogs and listened to stories from a lot of very inspiring women. From doing this, we were then able to decide on the story we wanted for our character Phoebe. 

The topic of miscarriage is so often over looked that we have tried to be as honest as possible in order to truthfully represent the women that have experience losing a baby. One particular thing we were inspired by was how light hearted these women were when they felt heavy and we have tried to mix this into the show. The thing about miscarriage is that, it doesn't make you any less of a woman. Those who have gone through it don't suddenly stop having to go to work, or have arguments with friends or want a social life. We had to remember that, and that's why there's so much of us in it. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
This is Nightingale’s debut show, so this is the beginning of us curating our own style. But for us as individual performers I would say this is very different to our previous work. 

Firstly because it is a solo show. I can safely say this is very daunting for us both but also extremely exciting. There is no one else to bounce off of, no one else to help you out if you get stuck. This is also a first for us when it comes to writing. With Patch Of Blue we are a part of the devising process, improvising ideas and trying things out, and then the script is made off the back of that. 

With ‘Carried Away’ we sat in front of our laptops with a blank page and just started writing. However, we have definitely tackled tricky subjects in our previous work and we are definitely not shying away from that here. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We hope that the audience will get an insight into what it is like to have a miscarriage and how it can hugely impact a person’s mental health. The repercussions don’t just last until the end of the recovery time but continue into that person’s future life. 

It can’t just be solved by having another baby. However we also want people that have experienced miscarriage to leave feeling like they aren’t alone. Fear can become a massive part of your state of mind when you have a miscarriage and it is easy to lose any feeling of hopefulness for your future. We want to remind people to be hopeful.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
Well, we wanted to be truthful, there's high points and low points at all times during life, it's the same with pregnancy. We hope to take the audience on a particular journey with our character phoebe, through her day to day and her little quirks and eccentricities. 

We hope the audience can relate to Phoebe as much as we do.

Carried Away
came into existence because earlier this year Alexandra Simonet and Lizzie Grace discovered that both of their mothers had gone through multiple miscarriages. They had to know more, they had to open the conversation about this taboo topic. Through research and development they came across many inspiring stories from other women who had lost babies. They were astounded by how little conversation there is in today’s society about the topic, particularly because in the UK 1 in 6 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Determined to get the conversation going and to let women who have miscarried know they are not alone, Alexandra and Lizzie decided to write Carried Away.

Alexandra and Lizzie met whilst training at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and both went on to work with Patch of Blue Theatre Company. Whilst devising and writing ‘We Live By The Sea’ with Patch of Blue, they met director Casey Jay Andrews, founding member of Lion House Theatre and HookHitch Theatre. ‘We Live By The Sea’ enjoyed a sell out run at The 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, received a transfer to the Soho Playhouse in New York and picked up three awards at the 2017 Adelaide Fringe, including the Grahame F. Smith Peace Foundation Award for promoting human rights through theatre. Casey Jay Andrews and Laura Trundle are joint artistic directors of HookHitch Theatre, whose previous work has won the 48 Hour Film Project Audience Award, and has been nominated for the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund, The Scottish Daily Mail Award, Ideastap Underbelly Award, NSDF Award and Musical Theatre Network Awards. Casey Jay Andrews is an alumnus of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society’s Emerging Producer’s Development Programme.

Writers: Alexandra Simonet & Lizzie Grace

Directors: Casey Jay Andrews & Laura Trundle

Cast: This solo show will be performed by
Lizzie Grace on the nights of: 2nd,4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th.

Alexandra Simonet on the nights of: 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 19th.

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