Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Wisebowm Dramaturgy: Steve Whitely @ Edfringe 2017

Join urban poet Wisebowm as he takes you on a lyrical journey through his struggles with life, love and gluten.

Wisebowm presents the world's
greatest...and only, urban poetry musical: Chronicling his heroic struggles with addiction (to gluten), his attempts to win the heart of middle class beauty Samantha and how mindfulness came to his rescue; it's no surprise that Wisebowm is on his way to becoming an urban poet superstar.

He loves his fans almost as much as he loves himself. The show is written and performed by character comedian Steve Whiteley and directed by Chris Head.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I used to be a Garage MC and wanted to find a way to incorporate my rhyming 'skills in a comedy environment. Enter the creation of urban poet Wisebowm.

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

Most definitely. In my show I perform a moving piece of poetry about my characters addiction to gluten. It's about disseminating what are often controversial topics in an open and artistic environment #glutenfree

How did you become interested in making performance?

I always wanted to be the centre of attention from a young age. And being a child with an ADHD disposition, I needed to burn energy, performing was the most effective way to do this.

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

The show is a comedy rap musical so the approach was kind of separated into five areas:
1. Lyrics. I'd write down ideas that I thought would make funny subject matters for raps/poems. 
2. Music. I worked separately with two fantastically talented music producers Dave Tozer and Kevan Frost on making the tracks. I would think up melodies and have ideas of what I wanted the music to sound like or similar to and then I'd go in the studio and make magic with the guys.
3. Storyline. Once I had the majority of the music I then worked out a storyline for the main character Wisebowm, this was chopped and changed over the past 12 months after trying it out at previews and Brighton Fringe.
4. Characters. After the storyline was laid down I then created other characters for the show, which I recorded the voices for and who appeared throughout.
5. Jokes! These were refined throughout the year, I tried out lots of bits in a stand up comedy environment that I knew worked in 10 minute sets. They're still being worked on as we speak/write in Edinburgh.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Prior to performing in this character I had been making lots of YouTube sketches and comedy rap videos, so taking into a live environment seemed like the next step.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

Laughter, warmth, togetherness and to enjoy the music and Wisebowm's lyrical genius.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

By making it as funny, uplifting and entertaining as is possible whilst matching that with genuinely good music and a character that balances between ridiculous and relatable.

Having released numerous comedy rap videos on his YouTube channel, Steve wanted to find a vehicle to perform his lyrical prowess in a live environment. Enter the creation of urban poet Wisebowm. The show debuted at Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and received a 4 star review from Fringe Guru. Wisebowm has since won the 2017 ‘Comedy Crowd Chorts', been a 2016 finalist of the ‘New Jewish Comedian Of The Year’ competition and 2017 Semi-Finalist of the ‘Musical Comedy Awards’ and ‘Leicester Square Theatre Sketch Off’. 

Steve launched his Youtube channel Offkey Steve in 2014, which was nominated the same year for ‘Best Internet Programme’ at the British Comedy Awards. His sketches and music videos have been featured in publications such as BuzzfeedThe Huffington PostThe Metro and more. Prior to stand-up comedy, Steve trained with Second City, UCB and Hoopla, in addition to performing in numerous live improv troupes.
Venue: Opium, Back Room, 71 Cowgate, EH1 1JW
Tickets: Free Entry
Dates: 5 - 26 Aug 2017 (not 20th)
Time: 13:25 (1 hr)

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