Saturday, 8 July 2017

Manful Dramaturgy: Josh Glanc @ Edfringe 2017

Josh Glanc: manfül

Wee Room, Gilded Balloon
9.30PM, 2-28 Aug
Weekdays £9 (£8), Weekends £11 (£10), Previews £5​​  

Fresh from two huge c​​​omedy​ ​a​ward wins, being labelled one of Australia’s ‘most exciting emerging talents’ (The Age), and completely selling out his Melbourne Comedy Festival season, Josh Glanc lands in Edinburgh for his eagerly anticipated Fringe debut.

Gaulier-trained Josh Glanc introduces us to his comic grotesque: Dicky Rosenthal – the once dweeby, now hyper-masculine, image-conscious ‘American beefcake’– who is in town flogging a new life-changing supplement: manfül. 

But the 90s dance-music infused product launch slowly descends into something completely strange and utterly surreal, as Dicky’s masculine insecurities and cultural hang-ups make their inevitable way to the surface. 

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I was ​interested in the idea of creating a show that used the relationship already in place between the performer, the audience and the space to tell the story. I didn’t want the show to take place at a specific ​imaginary ​location like a beach or a park, because that would mean that we would all have to pretend that we were ​there. 

I wanted the show to be set in a place where it would make sense that I was on stage in a room and an audience w​ere​​ watching me – like a seminar or product launch. 
Of course, it’s bullshit. It’s a theatre comedy show and we are all pretending it’s a seminar or product launch, but I really liked the idea of playing with the world already in place. 

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

Performance is still a good space for that. It is one of the best spaces for that. My show can be incredibly interactive and often during these interactions we can learn about how the audience is taking or reacting to the themes of the show.  

How did you become interested in making performance?

​I've always been making performance. There is footage of me as a three year-old performing for my entire extended family. Then somewhere I forgot how much it means to me and worked as a lawyer for a while, but I'm back now training to make theatre. I recently trained in Australia with John Bolton who learnt under Jacques Lecoq and is an established theatre maker in Australia and New Zealand  and my current approach to making performance is probably most influenced by this training.    ​

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

​I find two things really help me. One is writing a lot about how i feel about a particular topic so I know what I want to say in the show or at least how I feel about a topic. This show is very much about masculinity and my own masculine insecurities and writing a lot about those issues helped give the show a focus and also my writing formed a lot of the text for the show. 

The second thing is improvising and having fun and pursuing images and music that interest me. Pursuing an interest is a really excellent place to start. I also really enjoy "playing" on stage and in rehearsals and a lot of playing can help you develop the show.    

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

​Not at all. My first solo show was a sketch show. Despite some reoccurring characters it was essentially a series of random sketches.  I loved the comedy, but longed to create something more than sketch – a show with a beginning, middle and an end – something that would take the audience on a deeper journey into another world, and that other world wouldn’t change after 5 minutes, but would be something that we’d all have to inhabit together for the entire time.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

​I hope a range of emotions. I want the audience to have fun but I also want the audience to feel sad and reflect on their own identity and their own gender insecurities. ​

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

​Making a show that is personal and is about my story allows others to be able to find their own story in it. The show is very personal and means something to me and I think then an audience is able to be affected in deeper ways than if it wasn't personal.  ​


This subversive critique of performed masculinity is hilariously absurd, exaggeratedly stupid, and blisteringly raw – manfül presents a sustained look at the battle to ‘fit in’ when, underneath it all, you simply don’t.

Manfül has garnered a slew of awards and critical praise in Josh’s native Australia, and has just completed a total sell-out season at Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Winner of Best Comedy Award at Perth Fringe World 2017, Winner of Best Comedy Weekly Award at Adelaide Fringe 2017 and nominated for Overall Best Comedy Award, Manfül’s Edinburgh debut is absolutely not to be missed.

Wee Room, Gilded Balloon
9.30PM, 2-28 Aug
Weekdays £9 (£8), Weekends £11 (£10), Previews £5
​Tickets: ​

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