Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Tricknological Dramaturgy: B Dolan @ Edfringe 2017

Sage Francis & B Dolan present


The Show That Promises To Fix Your Life In One Hour
**SNAPCHAT (BDolanSFR) or INSTAGRAM (BDolanSFR) message for a free Physic Reading**

6:35pm 4th -27th August @New Town Theatre

Following their award winning and smash success 2016 Fringe debut show ‘Strange Speech/Famous Development’, Sage Francis & B.Dolan are back to bring us ‘TRICKNOLOGY’. 

In this hour-long demonstration of patented spoken word, freestyle techniques, motivational daredevils, freestyle psychic readings the legendary Epic Beard Men expose the diabolical trickery
of slam poets, battle rappers, improv comics, sh*t mentalists, self-help gurus, li(f)e coaches, faith healers and reality TV presidents. This is what ‘The Secret’ would be if it actually worked. And if it was funny. 

'Think it, see it, feel it, know it, smell it, stop it!' 

It's time to violently open your chakras and get your squad goals realigned by these two monsters of the stage.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

Many people report feeling as if they’ve shifted into a simulation or an ‘alternate universe' in the past year.  It’s almost as if we are living in some kind of worst-case-scenario timeline where Prince, David Bowie and Charlie Murphy have died, democracy is being hacked, social media is collecting detailed analytics about us while basic facts are in hotly contested dispute, and our global fate is being manipulated daily via Reality TV production tactics.  

This performance was conceived to investigate why and how that shift could possibly have happened.  We approached this as two writers who wanted to investigate and monetize your ability to hack those glitches in the human mind, and talk about how charlatans, demagogues, slam poets, and even we as rappers rely on things like “Confirmation Bias” and bait-and-switch to manipulate a captive audience.  

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

I think it may be more important now than ever, for many reasons.  Everything about our modern life encourages us to consume media and sound off about it on our timelines in isolation.  Just being together in a physical space and experiencing the same thing can feel like an inherently political act, even if the subject-matter isn’t.   

The ability to look at each other and talk about ideas with no screens in between feels very vital to me.  Shows have a new feeling this year, and people have a different look in their eye when you talk to them.  That look lets me know people need to be here. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

I don’t ever remember making a conscious choice to be a performer.  For as long as I can remember, I was commanding people’s attention.  Even when I had no idea what to do with it.  So I tried a lot of things.  Sage Francis and I have both performed in a lot of ways.  

We met as spoken word artists, work together as rappers, have both performed with or without a DJ or a band... in a thousand different settings and crowd-sizes.  With crowds who sometimes don't speak our language.    At this year’s Fringe I’ll be attempting, for the first time, to perform as a cold-reading psychic.  It’s been a continual process of developing through those different modes and shows and fleshing out who I am / can be onstage over the years I think.   So my continuing interest and passion comes from pursuing and developing that always.    

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

With this show, Sage Francis & I started by assembling scraps of ideas we were inspired or struck by.  Documentaries, books, Youtube videos, instrumentals, and ideas we wanted to riff on.  We’re in constant contact throughout the year due to our music work, so for awhile we were just passing ideas back and forth and adding them to a google doc. 

Then at a certain point we started drawing connections between modes of performance and ideas to perform, and making an outline.  Bits of writing started to come together and sections started to get fleshed out and attached to musical ideas.   
We are going to be leaving a hopefully manageable amount of room in the show for improvisation however, and I expect the show to be ‘written’ live in some sense.  

I think Francis also is planning on bringing some of the interactions together as we go and trying different things, as our aim is to give the show a "Self-Help Seminar" feel and flow.  In a few sections I’ve written a couple different variations on the ’script' that I can move about within, or tailor to an audience member I’m talking to…  I expect both of us to experiment with deliveries and beats like a stand-up comedian would, throughout.  

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Not at all.  Haha.  Not at fucking all.  Which I think we’re both excited about.   The usual for both of us is an hour long rap show with bits of spoken word mixed in, or performing time-trusted songs and pieces that people know and like on record.  

We will incorporate some of that this go around, but we’re both also attempting to do a lot of new and experimental material.  

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Anything short of a psychotic break is fine.  Transcendent moments and spontaneous emotional release may occur.  During the show we will aim to provide moments of hope, despair, anxiety, bewilderment, confusion and delight.  

We will paint a dark picture with bright colors.  We intend to act like we are absolutely positive this shit is going to change your life, and if it doesn’t then we can’t be held responsible and it’s on YOU.  We send the positive energy out into the universe, collect our guarantee, and go back to our awesome lives.  I can't jumpstart your battery if you're not gonna put the clamp on the lead, you dig?

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

As mentioned, we mined a couple modes of performance that have been dominating our attention lately in regard to the state of the world.  First, we watched Donald Trump perform at his stump speeches for a year.  We watched Tony Robbins and Deepak Chopra documentaries and perceived their modes of performance and performative personal narratives.  

We also consulted both of our own back catalogues for some themes and performances that could be repurposed or brought into the show.  From there Francis went nuts procuring costumes and props.  I started giving freestyle psychic rap readings to fans one at a time via Snapchat to try and figure out how that part of the show could go.  

I also researched cold-reading and received a number of psychic readings. With other parts of the show that are more like monologues, songs or poems it’s been a more traditional memorization / rehearsal process.  

So it’s been a very unusual prep process, which is still underway heading into our first show.  


SAGE FRANCIS and B. DOLAN are two internationally renowned hip-hop lyricists & spoken word poets. Born and raised in Rhode Island, the duo share over 30 years collective touring history. 

Both dynamos - respectively touted for their lyricism, activism, humour & performance art - are represented in the UK by Scroobius Pip’s Speech Development label.

Each moved to New York City in search of the art-form, stumbled into the spoken word scene & developed a knack for razor sharp lyricism & stagecraft. Sage became an internet hit & received wide media critique in 2001 for his powerful, post 9/11 song Makeshift Patriot & later formed Strange Famous Records.

Dolan has been releasing records on SFR since 2008. The performer enjoyed wide-spread attention for his activism in addressing homophobia in Hip-Hop and notably for his video single/campaign Film The Police which Russell Brand learns about in a highly entertaining episode of The Trews

In 2016, Dolan launched the ‘Make Racists Afraid Again’ hat campaign to counter-act not just President Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ merchandise line but to express solidarity with those opposing racism, homophobia and fascism worldwide. Make Racists Afraid went viral. It was adopted by protests far and wide, from Germany to USA. It even found it’s way onto USA Open golfer Andrew Johnston’s wardrobe. 

A Synergy Concerts & One Inch Badge presentation
@SynergyConcerts / @OneInchBadge / @BDolanSFR / @SageFrancis / @New_TownTheatre / @TheStandComedyClub

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