Monday, 3 July 2017

The 30 Year Old Dramaturgy: Kevin James Doyle @ Edfringe 2017

(No) Sex and the City – New York Revelations  
New York comedian Kevin James Doyle is coming to the 70th Edinburgh Fringe Festival with a show all about sex – or the complete lack of it.

Raised as a clean-living young Christian he knew that sex had to be saved for marriage. But then, God forbid, he hit 30, his engagement broke up and he was still a virgin.

 Laughing Horse at Southside Social (Venue 264)

 August 3-14 and 16-27
Time: 23:15

Guidance: 18+
Tickets: Free non ticketed

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The inspiration for this particular show was anxiety. The anxiety of doing 8 minute sets of comedy sets when I had 60 minutes of stories that were closer to me and more what I have wanted to talk about than a two minute joke. Having been a performer for 16 years or so now, it's rare to feel like you have to get something out artistically.

 Usually I go from project to project hoping something bigger or comes along, but I have never felt that intense urge to work on material like I have this show. Maybe it is getting older and more serious about my career and my "art" but I just got so anxious about the thought of not doing the show that is in my head that I had to do it to calm that anxiety.  

It is called The 30 Year Old Virgin and it is very personal, about growing up in a conservative home, getting engaged young, breaking off my engagement, being a virgin as an adult and how I ended up there. So it makes sense that I had to get this stuff out because its about my formative years in my home growing up, the biggest heartbreak I have ever experienced and feeling weird about my life choices as an adult as life didn't play out like I expected. 

If you hold that stuff in its going to be very
difficult, if you talk about it it has the potential to be more compelling than any new joke about food or how annoying people can be at concerts or how public transportation sucks.

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

Yes. The shared experience of live performance has the potential to bring people together like nothing else. The internet and social media are deceptive because they give us the opportunity to interact with anyone about anything which has been revolutionary but proven to have the drawbacks of shallowness or bring out our lack of empathy. The is no better conversation than over a beer or a coffee after a play, a film, a concert or a comedy show. 

I read TV recaps and I comment on people social media and use my own but seeing a performance, then having a beer after and talking about it with a friend, or stranger for that matter is much more fulfilling and memorable and beneficial. It doesn't make the other bad its just different. Filet mignon is better than McDonalds. 

Cognac from 1875 is better than Jameson. A bespoke suit is better than Men's Warehouse. A swiss watch is better than a timex. Belgian chocolate is better than Sour Patch Kids. 

And if anyone disagrees with these comparisons I would prefer to discuss it in person over a beer after a performance than online.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I was always enjoyed making my family and friends laugh. My parents suffered through years of me on the basketball team sitting the bench. In 8th grade my mom suggested I audition for the school play, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, I did and was cast as Charlie Brown. I found an outlet for getting attention and making people laugh that was not disruptive and annoying. 

After that I kept pushing towards more forms of creativity, going to school for theater, performing stand up in New York, writing sketches, writing short films, storytelling and hosting events. Anything I could find to get the energy out of me that desires to have people pay attention to me and when is not curbed I become very obnoxious. When I am performing I am slightly less obnoxious.

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

The only one that is true across the board for any show is "doing it" rather than talking about "doing it." If you want to write a script for a show you have to write it, not talk about writing it. Or in the case of the show I am working on now, I had to book a show and get on stage and talk for 60 minutes in front of people. 

I spent a lot of time writing in a notebook and at a certain point I found that I was avoiding getting on stage to perform the show because their was safety in the notebook. I think the approach for any show though is make it, then refine it, then refine it more, then refine it more and then at a certain point it will be as ready as its going to get. 

For this show I spent 5 years gather and developing stories through years of stand up, a few months collecting all that stuff in a notebook, 2 hours putting it all in order on a one page document, then performed it for the first time. Now I will refine it all by performing over and over again until its "done."

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This is very different from anything I personally have ever done. My first few years in New York I acted in plays and musicals. Then I wrote an off broadway sketch show, then I did stand up which is mostly 10 minute sets. 

This differs because it is my show, it's 60 minutes and all the the stories are in an arch of beginning, middle and end. I have lots of material that does not fit into this show cause it doesn't serve the story, so I care much more about the arch of the story and making that as funny as it can be, than having my funniest joke ever in there if it doesn't serve the story.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope the audience will laugh, cringe and remember the times they felt the same way. One thing I am very excited about in this performance is that it deals with growing up, heartbreak, pain, anxiety and things that everyone knows and has experienced. 

The specifics of the story are mine but the themes its covers are universal. I have seen a lot of comedy that is the performer vs. the audience and I love the comedians that can make that entertaining and compelling. I never felt comfortable doing that and I would much rather connect with the audience through bringing them into my life and experiences. 

I have tried to do it in certain shows before, reading from my childhood journals, telling short stories about growing up but never on this large of a scale, this vulnerable and this long of a story. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I have put together a number of shows at people homes. It felt right to do this show in a living room with 25 people drinking wine, rather than at a bar. 

I am doing both of those, but even the shows I have done at bars I have set the room up to have the audience closer and the lights up a little more, so that its not the performer isolated in the lights and the audience watching. 

The first time I performed the show which was very very scary for me was in a friends living room with people on the floor and on couches, I could look them in the eyes, no spotlight. For some reason this felt much less scary than being in the dark. 

I think instinctively I knew that people need to know that I see them and I am sharing something with them, not talking at them. I think it has also forced me to not hide, kind of like facing the fear rather than getting through it by not seeing it for what it is. 

Doyle’s The 30 Year Old Virgin world premieres as part of the Free Fringe and is a funny, vibrant, honest and vulnerable set of revelations about his upbringing and the subsequent rollercoaster ride of horniness and climactic hilarity.
“There I was, aged 30 and had never had sex – so what was I going to do? There was nothing for it but to dive right in to a whole new world where I was a total innocent, fumbling in search of experience,” says Doyle, “But can you imagine what it’s like to date a girl at that age and reveal that you’ve never had sex?”
Doyle is known for his delightfully entertaining storytelling, full of painfully funny home truths and personal revelations. There was, for example, the moment when as a hormone-fuelled teenager heading off for school his mother confronted him with a lotion bottle from the bathroom shouting “Kevin, this stuff’s expensive, stop it!”
An Edinburgh Fringe first timer he has an extensive track record in the USA. Doyle’s successful long running Off-Broadway comedy, How to Be a New Yorker had over 400 performances in Times Square.
He also hosts Great Timesthe popular New York stand up show which is a testing ground for new material from comedians like Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, Ilana Glazer – writers from Saturday Night Live, TheLate Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Doyle brings many years of comedy experience and bucket loads of finely honed material with him across the Atlantic. He’s also dogged by lingering parental disappointment that such a promising young man should have ended up as a comedian.
“As it’s a premier I’ve got no reviews to share with people so I told my parents about the show to see what they thought,” says Doyle, “My mum’s response was ‘Are you sure you want to talk about this stuff on stage?’ and Dad weighed in with ‘You don't have to swear to be funny, I hope your show is clean comedy’. Encouragement means everything.”

No comments :

Post a Comment