Friday, 4 August 2017

Screaming Dramaturgy: Léa Richard @ Edfringe 2017

Upper Church at Summerhall, Summerhall Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1PL

The Greek myth of Medea provides inspiration for the new work by the company Découpage Collective, which will be performed at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Fringe

The international company Découpage Collective will perform its new ambitious, visceral and intimate show “Screaming Body” at Summerhall, from the 4th to the 14th of August.

Screaming Body is the second play written by promising new playwright Léa Richard. Following the success of 2016’s tour of the original play “Lost Game”, Découpage Collective continues to explore new writing, relationships and live music with this new piece.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Screaming Body was initially inspired by the
Greek myth of Medea. We wanted to translate Euripides’s story not only by adapting the words to a contemporary audience but also by changing the situation in which the characters find themselves and in the way we were giving shape to the new text. We were interested in questioning how a character associated with villainy can be brought into a more sympathetic light. 

Recently, we were also really inspired by the way in which “Things I know to be true” by Andrew Bovell manages to weave poetics together with real life situations, dialogues and characters. This type of work inspires the way I utilize metaphors in my work, not only within the language but as a main concept to drive the text itself. For example, deconstructing a singular character into multiple beings who together try to articulate the complexity of the human condition.

Finally, we decided to work with music from the first rehearsal and have this element become fully integrated as part of the story – almost in a cinematographic use of it. This constantly feeds and inspires the creation of the performance.

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

We hope it is, or that at least it suggests ideas and themes for the public to discuss in the aftermath of the performance. We aren’t looking to politicise ourselves or the story of Medea. We don’t want to force opinions on others. Rather, we are looking to challenge pre-existing ideas. Maybe the theatre isn’t always the space for a discussion, but it certainly remains the gateway for ideas to be shared and expressed, a prompt for further discussion to occur.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Everyone in the company has had different reasons to want to make theatre, to be on stage and to create but we all met at Rose Bruford College on the European Theatre Arts course. We learnt to make theatre together and we found different ways to tell stories that we want to tell. We became interested in moving away from the classical way of staging a play: one actor for one character representing the actions in a chronological order. We wanted to explore the ways of translating a story from the intimate experience of one of the protagonist to a more multifaceted approach.

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

At the heart of making this show was the principle of collaboration whilst maintaining a strong ownership of our individual skills. There’s an interdisciplinary approach found in the written text and the composed score which shares a dialogue throughout. We didn’t want anything to be completely fixed and that’s why Marie-Laure (the director) encouraged the performers to always react to one another and allow each performance to continually grow and evolve.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes. Last year, I (Léa Richard) wrote Lost Game, the story of a prisoner embodied by four different actors in order to translate all the facets of his personality. This is what Découpage Collective aims to do as a company: deconstruct a character in order to give a more complete and complex picture of their being. 

However, Screaming Body takes this a step further, exploring this more deeply with the use of the music, which offers yet another insight into the character’s frame of mind.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

We hope they will be moved, engaged, invested in this story. We want them to be impassioned. Even if they disagree with Georgia (the main and only character on stage), if they are enraged, it would show we had succeeded to translating Euripides’ story in more ways than just literally adapting the words. 

We want to challenge the audience’s assumptions that the character of Medea, viewed through the lens of Georgia, must remain an unsympathetic villain.

Screaming Body” deconstructs a singular character into multiple beings who together try to articulate the complexity of the human condition. Two female performers portray the character of Georgia, inspired by Euripides’ Medea, separated by timeline. The interaction of these two embodiments of the character reveals the moral and emotional degradation of a rational woman who is twisted into the devastated and vengeful Georgia that commits homicide and infanticide. 

The performance deals with Past Georgia and Present Georgia meeting to expose Georgia’s story to the audience through visual storytelling and the contemporary writing of Léa Richard.

On stage also is the composer and musician Holly Khan, musically capturing the third facet of Georgia. She uses a loop pedal, a Viola and a Kalimba in order to musically translate on stage Georgia’s subconscious while giving a strong atmosphere to the play.

Through the eyes and heart of one of theatre’s most infamous wronged women, we explore the emotional, marital and social betrayals of a young woman placed under the mythological microscope.

Screaming Body was first performed at Theatre Utopia and at The Space Theatre.

About the company

Découpage Collective was established in 2015 with their first production Lost Game, also written by company founder Léa Richard. Lost Game had a successful tour in Summer 2016, performing in the Dreams Before Dawn Festival in Paris, in the fantastic venue of Summerhall at the Edinburgh Fringe and in the Garage International space at the Avignon Festival. All performative, directorial and composing members of the company were trained at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance through European Theatre Arts, a course that centres itself on the importance of the ensemble. European Theatre Arts trains their performers through the methodologies of a vast variety of European Practitioners who specialise in physical and devised theatre.

Lost Game tells the story of a prisoner, embodied by four actors, who longs for the woman he loves to come to him and their abusive relationship is unfolded. Screaming Body aspires to develop the use of visual thread work of stories to the subconscious of a character that they began with Lost Game in order to materialize a stronger illustration of the mind of Georgia to the audience.

Découpage Collective also has a research Strand, “Découpage Lab”, led by Oscar Zito, providing workshops in Europe and America. To learn more about this, visit:

”The faceted aspect of a doubtful personality, personified by an harmonious duo”

Venue and Tickets:

/ Box Office: 0131 560 1580
Summerhall is located at Summerhall Pl, Edinburgh EH9 1PL
WALKING : Just a short walk from The Royal Mile, Waverley Train Station and the Edinburgh Bus Station.
BUS : Lothian Bus Routes 3, 5, 7, 8, 29, 31, 47, 49 (to/from South Clerk Street) and 42, 67 (to/from our front entrance).
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