Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Ingo's Dramaturgy: Ditto @ Edfringe 2017

Ingo's War
Ditto Theatre Company
Award-Winning Physical Theatre Company make their Edinburgh Debut

Dynamic physical theatre ensemble, Ditto Theatre Company, make their Edinburgh debut at The Pleasance this summer, with their award-winning family show, Ingo’s War

Using their unique style, an amalgamation of storytelling, puppetry and movement, combining history with imaginative new writing from the company, Ditto Theatre Company tell this heart-warming, war-time tale of bravery, hope and finding courage where you thought you had none.

Ditto Theatre Company welcomes you to share a thrilling visual, storytelling experience at Jack Dome, Pleasance Dome from the 2nd August - 20th August (excluding 14th) at 10.40am daily. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The story of Ingo’s War was inspired by a number of children’s stories about the Second World War that the cast were familiar and grew up with. 

We wanted to tell a story to children about the difficulties of War and of course how bravery and courage can come in all forms, shapes and sizes, as demonstrated in the story through the various people Ingo meets and also, within himself. Although a fictitious story, we like to believe that there lies truth within it, that being brave in day to day life and swallowing those terrifying, stomach churning fears will only open the gates to something more glorious. 

We were also inspired by our love of history and puppetry and the idea of combining these two styles with our physical theatre training.

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

We think that theatre can be the most powerful tool for bringing ideas to the public eye. Instead of just reading words or facts on a page, by watching theatre we have such a cathartic experience and come away from it having felt something. 

Theatre allows us to consider things with fresh eyes and can show us a point of view we had never considered before. 

For example, in Ingo's War, everything is seen through the eyes of a dog. We see the war from his canine point of view, something that we have never seen in theatre before. So yes, we definitely feel like performance is not just for enjoyment and entertainment, but is also a great vehicle for the discussion of issues and ideas.

How did you become interested in making performance?

The six of us trained together at East 15 Acting School, studying BA Physical Theatre. During our time there we were exposed to a variety of physical disciplines that included puppetry, movement and devising as an ensemble. 

We realised that we worked extremely well as an ensemble and after three years of training together, were definitely not ready to give this up! Even though we share the same training, each one of us have our own different set of skills that we bring to Ditto, yet are all passionate about telling stories that will educate and inspire audiences.

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

We like to go into the rehearsal room and work practically, creating scenes and images which inspire us and make us feel excited. We had the idea for the story from the beginning and made sure that we thoroughly researched the time period and history of the Second World War before starting the rehearsal process. 

We worked through the show in sections, creating chapters of the tale until we had the entire show, then eliminating anything which was weak or did not serve the story - We kept creating and changing and tweaking sections until we were entirely happy. 

The creation of the puppet for Ingo was also a process and has been something that changes and develops over time as we troubleshoot any problems we have with him and think of ways to make him better. Mainly, keep having fun and inspiring each other on a daily basis!

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is our first official show we have created as a company, however it is very much in keeping with the style that we developed during our training. We enjoy using minimal props, creating our own original soundtracks and making our set and puppets ourselves. In the past four years of acting together, we have always worked as an ensemble and this is something that is key to the piece and to how we perform together as a company. 

The six of us were part of creating a show during training called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and this family-friendly show definitely inspired the style of the work we have done on Ingo's War.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
The show is aimed towards a family audience, with a lower age limit of 5+. The reason for this is due to the more sensitive War imagery that may upset younger audience members. For children, we hope that they leave our show with more knowledge about this historical period, as well as taking away with them that courage can be found in all of us and that it comes in many forms. For adults, they will enjoy the sophistication of the movement, language and original score.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

The message of the show - Finding courage within yourself - has been integrated into the show smoothly and subtly, as we did not want the show's message to make it cliché or cheesy or for the audience to feel patronised. 

We were very aware of creating the show in a way that both adults and children can enjoy and come away from having had an enjoyable and educational experience. For the first few shows, we distributed audience feedback sheets and based upon the comments on these, we tweaked the show until we and the audience were satisfied.

Winners of Brighton Fringe’s The Reviews Hub ‘Beyond The Fringe' Award, Ditto Theatre Company tell you a story like no other. Ingo’s War is the tale of one timid little dog and his journey through the Second World War. 

Ingo was a very nervous dog. He was always afraid of the dark, loud noises and did not like making new friends. Owned and cherished by a young girl living in the city of London, life for Ingo is as easy as pie. Yet, as war looms once more and the Blitz becomes a very immediate danger, the girl and her dog are evacuated to the country. 

But when Ingo is left on the train, he is suddenly plunged into an adventure which tips his steady world upside down. Join Ditto Theatre Company as they take you on a journey through battle fields and war hospitals, out of war torn London and on an adventure nobody could have seen coming. Follow Ingo as he is lost and found and lost again, wonders what it means to be brave and discovers courage he never knew he had.

East 15 Physical Theatre graduates, Ditto Theatre Company, who have worked and trained together for the past four years, were finalists for this year’s Les Enfants Terribles Award and have gained a mentorship award from Tangled Feet Theatre Company, funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. 

Having performed the show at Camden’s Etcetera Theatre and The Warren at Brighton Fringe in May, Ditto are excited for the future of Ingo’s War and their time at Edinburgh Fringe.

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