Sunday, 13 August 2017

Rosalind Dramaturgy: James Cousins @ Edfringe 2017

R O S A L I N D | James Cousins Company
Summerhall venue 26

Dates: 8-26 Aug (4-6 Aug Previews) No performances Mon 14 and Mon 21 Aug

Time: 16:30

Duration: 65 mins

Age: 12+ / 0131 560 1581

Tickets: £13 / £11 concessions (£11/£9 preview)

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Rosalind from Shakespeare’s As You Like It became the main protagonist and vehicle through which we explored societies in which many people still can’t be truly who they want to be, be that because of their gender, race or sexuality. We created the show in Seoul and the culture there became a big inspiration as well.

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

Absolutely. We’ve toured this show in the UK as well as Korea and Indonesia and everywhere we’ve been really rich discussion has emerged after the show. Interestingly the focus of the discussions has shifted depending on country – in Korea it opened up dialogue about gender equality, in Indonesia LGBTQ rights and here in the UK gender fluidity has been the overriding imprint left on audiences.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have always been a choreographer at heart, before I was even a dancer. Since childhood I’ve loved bringing people together, collecting and structuring ideas and presenting them to audiences. Over time I have begun to realise the privilege of my position to present ideas in performance to audiences and I feel a responsibility to use that platform to say something meaningful; that can spark both discussion and imaginations.

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

The show was made very much in collaboration with the performers and other collaborators: lighting designer, dramaturg, poet, composer and costume designer. My producer and I went on two research trips to Seoul to try to get to know the culture and society there in order for the show to be able to take influence from there.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

I think the show is a development of all I have done so far. Each production gets a slightly different flavour due to the dancers and team who come on board but the over style continues to grow from the companies previous works as well as work I create on other companies.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

For those who know As You Like It, I hope people will experience Rosalind in way they’ve never encountered her before. For those who don’t I hope people can reflect on their own social and gender stereotypes. We’ve tried not to impose our perspective on the audience but just place the images on stage and let them witness how their mind reacts when seeing people of different genders doing the same thing. I also hope people will be left in awe of our incredible international cast!

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I worked very closely with my dramaturg, Hejin Jang, and producer Francesca Moseley, to ensure that a balanced as possible view was presented on stage. The structure remained in flux for a long time, with us dramatically shifting sections around to try to balance getting the social message across as well as subtly hinting at the As You Like It narrative.

About James Cousins Company
James has risen quickly as one of the UK’s newest choreographic talents since being selected by Matthew Bourne as the first recipient of the inaugural New Adventures Choreographer Award in 2012. He set up James Cousins Company in 2014 with producer Francesca Moseley. Following a successful run at the British Council Edinburgh Showcase in 2013, the company have toured their double bill Within Her Eyes and Without Stars to six countries in South East Asia, South America and the UK and where it was seen by over 8,000 people. The company are were commissioned by the British Council as part of Shakespeare Lives to create a new full length work in collaboration with dance artists and costume designers in South Korea. ROSALIND was created and premiered in Seoul before going on a tour of cities in Indonesia.

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