Friday, 28 July 2017

Lost in Dramaturgy: Marion Geoffray @ Edfringe 2017

by Théâtre Sans Accents
4 - 28 August, 16:00 
Institut français d’Écosse – Venue 134

A bilingual play directed by Edinburgh-based French actor Marion Geoffray on expat life and multiculturalism

PREMIERE at the Institut francais d’Ecosse’s Vive le Fringe! 

Vive le Fringe! is presenting a new piece of theatre devised by Marion Geoffray (Théâtre Sans Accents) based on her own experience as a French expat living and working in Scotland. Lost in Translation, A Bilingual Journey is a multilingual show incorporating French, English, Occitan and Gaelic, which will take audiences on a disorienting European journey.

In her new play, Lost in Translation: A Billingual Journey, Marion Geoffray depicts bilingualism as an inner process and a personal journey across language and culture, from her native South of France to her new home, Edinburgh. Her experience is similar to that of many expats currently living in Scotland, questioning what it means to speak different languages and how each of them carries its own cultural mindset.

Performer and Concept Marion Geoffray
Director Marcus Bezley
Scenography Lucile Pages  
Graphic Designer Thomas Durham 
Gaelic Consultant Ann Paterson
Photographer Ludovic Farine 

Show Title Lost in Translation:  A Bilingual
Company Théâtre Sans Accents
Category Theatre
Age: Universal
Date August 4- 28 August 2017 
(not 7, 14, 15 & 22) – 16:00  
Running time: 60 minutes
Tickets £8 (£6) 
Box Office 0131 225 53 66 or  

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Lost in Translation: A Bilingual Journey is the result of my own personal and professional experience as a bilingual artist and individual living in the UK. It's mostly based on real events relating my own journey through languages and British culture up until now, residing in Scotland. I was also interested in demystifying language learning and the emotional and cognitive process of being lost in translation.
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
I don't see any better place! A performance is a very sensory and intimate experience despite the format and convention attached to it. Regardless if it's good or not, a performance will stay with you and shape the way you see the world around you. I like the fact that it's a gathering, a communion and a debate all at once. I wish though it would be more accessible and fair to all, that it wouldn't be so neglected in the education curriculum and that there would be more space for discussion post shows to enable this public discussion of ideas.
How did you become interested in making performance?
From an early age, I was always interested in making stories, getting dressed up and the idea of living a thousand lives. As I grew older, I started to get involved in a local theatre group and then it became obvious that I needed to make this passion a career. It's only when I moved to the UK at the age of 20 and started training as an actress that I drew the parallel between the acting performance and the social performance that is speaking a foreign language on a daily basis. 

From that point, the two became intricately intertwined and making performance just became part of my identity. I often tell participants in my workshops that you don't dress, move, sound or even see the world the same way when you live abroad. It is something that is quite puzzling and that makes me want to explore it further.
Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
The show was co-devised with the director, Marcus Bazley. I find devising a more organic way to approach stage work. As a non-native English speaker, it is very important for me to surround myself with both natives and non-natives to get a good grasp of the language and the culture. Marcus is English and fluent in French, I am French and fluent in English. 

Because other languages were involved in the story-making, I struggled at first with the idea to write a script and pinning ideas down. Instead, we locked ourselves in a rehearsal space for a week, made mood boards, tried ideas out straight onto the stage and just bounced off each other. We adopted a chronological approach from my childhood until now and just let ourselves share anecdotes and travel. It was draining but very fulfilling. 
In the end, we had all those blocks of life and it was just a matter of assembling them. We were very much inspired also by our (bad) school experiences of language learning with audio guides/lessons and the fact that the language we were taught had nothing to do with the real language that was spoken in the country.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
This is Theatre Sans Accents' first production, we created the company in January 2016 with exactly this aim: producing exciting and original pieces of theatre by bilingual artists accessible for everyone. It completes and implements what we do the rest of the year with our outreach programme and workshops. 
We hope that many more productions will be created after this one. Lost in Translation... is a good example of what we do and what we are and due to the nature of the show, and will keep changing and evolving as we go along.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I hope that they will get lost in translation at some points and then find themselves again. The show despite being my own personal journey is very relatable. 

So far, audience members said they could relate to it and identify with the character even though they didn't necessarily understand at first the language spoken, it's more about a sensory and emotional experience. I also hope they will feel part of this journey rather than just a spectator. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
We wanted the show to be as interactive and participative as possible without turning into a lecture or a workshop. So improvisation and using audience on stage quickly became a central point of the show, we thought of it as a dialogue focusing on different ways to communicate with each other. That's why the performance in itself is a bit of a hybrid, borrowing from various theatrical genres because we wanted it to reflect the fast moving nature of language and human interactions.

From her childhood in Languedoc speaking Occitan (Romance language spoken in Southern France) to the challenge of learning Gaelic, Marion progressively finds her voice until she reaches the shores of Old Albion, where myths and fantasies meet reality. Along the way, she gets to grips with clichés and stereotypes which make up both French and British popular culture.

In addition to performing her show, Marion’s company Théâtre Sans Accents will organise theatre workshops to explore languages as a dynamic and adaptable form. It will also provide an opportunity for audiences to meet the artist and learn more about her acting techniques.
The workshops will be held from 18.00 to 19.30 on 11, 18 and 25 August in the Vive le Fringe! Bistrot (Venue 134 – 13, Randolph Crescent EH3 7TT).

Founded in 1946, the Institut français
d’Ecosse is the Scottish outpost of the French Embassy in the United Kingdom. It is part of the worldwide ‘Institut français’ network designed to support and promote French and local culture by encouraging cross-cultural exchange and presenting the best of French culture. The Institut français d’Écosse’s activities include French courses, talks, live music and theatre performances, film screenings, library collections, kids activities and festivals.

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Theatre Sans Accents (TSA) is an emerging and ambitious theatre company which creates exciting and original pieces of theatre beyond cultural and language boundaries. 

Our societies nowadays are more cosmopolitan than ever and, rich of this diversity, they create new identities and languages that are worth expressing and exploring. Theatre as a method of language learning is a relatively recent discipline that academics have been researching for the past thirty years. TSA believes that both the creative and linguistic process can be mutually beneficial to the actor and the individual and provide fast and effective results.

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