Sunday, 30 July 2017

Interviewing Dramaturgy: Nick Card @ Edfringe 2017

The Interview
Newbury Dramatic Society
3.05pm 7-12 August 2017, theSpaceUK @ Surgeons’ Hall, Venue 53, Nicholson St. Edinburgh EH8 9DW.
What’s the worst interview you’ve ever had?

The play tells the story of
corrupt businessman who thinks he’s found the perfect job; all he needs to do is to get through the interview, and hope that his deceitful & unscrupulous past doesn’t catch up with him. It’s a dark and intense drama full of unexpected twists & turns.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

There were a few things that inspired The Interview.  The initial idea came to me several years ago when I attended a job interview.  Whilst I was waiting to be called in it occurred to me that potentially you are in a very vulnerable position; you are in an alien environment talking to strangers who you desperately want to impress.  

I then contemplated how awful it would be if the interviewer(s) was to suddenly turn on you and subject you to something traumatic...

That idea lay dormant for a few years but then shortly after moving into my new flat I had a major problem with my heating and whilst shivering in my bed on a cold winter night I remembered it again.  I was in an extremely bad mood and in the following few days I vented my anger by writing a short story about a corrupt businessman who is subjected to a harrowing interview; this businessman basically became the target for my wrath.   

The short story was very well received and it went onto to become a play.

The very intense style of the production was largely influenced by the film  'Phone Booth' and the TV drama '24'.  Whereas the narrative, which includes a number of twists and turns, was at least partly inspired by 'Sleuth' - I've watched both the play and the film and it did make quite an impression on me.

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

Absolutely.  When a performance is done well and the audience suspends their disbelief then it can be an excellent way to bring up issues and potentially give understanding to different viewpoints and experiences.   

How did you become interested in making performance?

Through my media education at college and university.  Although it never became my career I have always devoted a lot of time to creative projects since then.

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

It is a traditional rehearsal process of blocking out moves and then acting out sequences in a room.  The room is actually the lounge/diner of my flat and using gaffer tape we lay out the dimensions (or virtually) of the stage so that we can accommodate the space we will have in Edinburgh which is very small. 

I try to strike a balance between giving the actors the freedom to express themselves and explore their ideas but at the same time keeping them on track with the story and characters; structure without a straitjacket. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes and no.  It does fit with my usual productions in as much that it is a small cast who get very emotional.  However,  the overall narrative is a departure from my previous plays as it involves a lot more twists and a totally unpredictable ending.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

An emotional rollercoaster ride where they are genuinely surprised and shocked: we hope it will provide plenty of food for thought. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

From the point of view of the writing/production process, we tried to provide just enough information to set up the twists of the play without giving the game away too early.  From the marketing side we've been careful not to give spoilers: for the promotional images we instructed our photographer to keep certain props out of the frame...   

The Interview” premiered at
Newbury’s AceSpace 2016 and was a critical and commercial success. For Edinburgh, it has been revised and updated, with even more surprises.

This is the first time that local theatre group Newbury Dramatic Society has taken a production to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Written and directed by West Berkshire based playwright Nick Card, the Interview features an amateur cast, led by American actor Stephen Holcomb, all making their Edinburgh Fringe debuts.
Supported by funding from Greenham Trust.

  • Nick Card is an established author, poet and playwright based in Newbury, Berkshire. He took his play "A Grave Reunion" to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012.
  • Producer Paul Strickland and writer/director Nick Card are available for interviews.
  • Newbury Dramatic Society was established in 1962 and aims to provide opportunities for people in the West Berkshire area to participate in the development and performance of drama to a high standard. Performances are staged both in established venues and within the community.
  • Greenham Trust aims to support and promote any charitable purpose for the benefit of the inhabitants of West Berkshire and the neighbouring wards of North Hampshire. 

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