Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Older Brother's Dramaturgy: Richard Thieriot @ Edfringe 2017

Edinburgh Fringe C venues; C Chambers Street 2-4 Aug, Preview Performances 17:30 - 18:20 £9.50 (£7.50) 5-6, 12-13, 19-20 26-27 Aug 17:30 - 18:20 £11.50 (full price) £9.50 (concession) £7.50 (under 18) 7-11, 14th, 16-18, 21, 23-25, 28 Aug 17:30 - 18:20 £10.50 (full price) £8.50 (concession) £6.50 (under 18)
Siblings of all shapes and sizes, rejoice: The Older Brothers’ Almanac has made it to the Edin- burgh Festival Fringe! This darkly comic and occasionally poignant guide brings you everything you ever wanted to know about the brutal adventures of Brotherhood. Featuring classic techniques and time-honoured rituals such as The Headlock, The Dead Leg and Psychological Torture.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I am the youngest of four brothers. My childhood was defined by brutal camaraderie. We spent our time doing things that would make any adult cringe. To me, my brothers alternated between Heroes and Torturers. The Older Brothers’ Almanac is my attempt to bring people into the world of my youth (though the storyline is fictional) and show them how such deep love and adoration can coincide with cruel humour and violence.

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

Absolutely. Performance, comedy especially, is the antithesis to social media where the discussion of ideas has become subordinate to our curated, online personas. Laughter, as a spontaneous response, reveals what we really feel about things. 

We find ourselves laughing out loud about something we might have been condemning on Facebook moments before. And we, and the people sitting next to us who gave that post a thumbs up, have to deal with that new complexity. I have been incredibly lucky to work with Bruce Norris on this script, whom I consider the current master of this kind of comedy.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Again, it all goes back to being the youngest of four brothers. To be seen, in that boisterous household, required making a spectacle of myself. Lulls in the dinner table conversation were my moments to shine. Now, as a professional theatre artist, my audiences feel like family- I want to make them feel comfortable, make them laugh and then get my revenge for all of the crappy things they did to me growing up.

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

Though I've been working loosely on this material for years, I approached this play with the Edinburgh Fringe specifically in mind. I focused on keeping it short, adding lots of humour (and a touch of pathos), and making it fun for dedicated theatre fans as well people who just wandered in for the free beer. Most importantly, I knew that we wouldn't have major sets or lights to work with so
we worked on our stage vocabulary in tandem with the script. The staging has informed the story in this process more than any piece I've ever worked on.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This play is going to be our most fun yet.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I want audiences to laugh a lot and then leave and call their brothers and sisters to tell them they love them.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

We are offering free beer to any siblings (of legal age or older) who attend the show together. Hopefully this will attract siblings and people who enjoy scamming small theatre companies out of free beer: precisely who we want in our audiences.

Brought to you by the New York based Thieriot Productions and Something for the Weekend, this is an Edinburgh Festival Fringe world premiere put together by a team comprising Broadway actors, directors and writers, a Tony and Pulitzer award winner. They bring not only great theatrical experience to this production, but the personal scars of brotherhood.

The Producers are also offering Free Beer to any siblings over 18 who attend the show together in the hopes of assuaging those old wounds that will most certainly be torn open during this production (it’s for everyone’s safety).

Taking on the role of the older brother - although a younger brother in real life - is Broadway actor, and writer of this 45 minute comedy, Richard Thieriot, who has appeared both on and Off Broadway in productions including the 2012 Tony Award Winner, Clybourne Park. His writing has been produced in NYC by Ars Nova and All For One Theatricals.

The show’s younger brother - although an older brother in real life - is Zach Evenson, whose recent credits includes the Peace Corps.

Director Wes Grantom is artistic director of the New York company, Crowded Outlet, and his re- cent credits include Lone Star Spirits, The Cloud (both New York Times Critics’ Pick) and Eager to Lose at Ars Nova. Finally, Bruce Norris, the show’s script advisor, won the Tony Award for Best Play, the Olivier Award for Best New Play, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Clybourne Park. He is currently under commission from numerous theatres in the UK and the US.

This journey through the rites of passage of brotherhood will tickle the funny bone and touch the heart. Bring your siblings, drink a beer, and remember the good old days. Only children also welcome.

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