Sunday, 29 July 2018

In Pursuit of Dramaturgy: The Apex @ Edfringe 2018

What was the inspiration for this performance?
It came from a few different places. One was my fascination with the Isles of Scilly and how geographically different they are to the rest of the British Isles, wanting to explore a mystical side to what happens there. Another was my love of all things fantasy, how I've always wanted to bring realms of the mystical into the real world, in particular with Andromeda the folklore of mermaids. How untapped they are in terms of their agenda and what their history is.

Finally the big one for me was WWI. My research began at the beginning of 2017 when visiting the Imperial War Museum in London, meeting with chief historians in WWI studies and understanding the horrors that the soldiers went through, not just on the front line, but within themselves, as is the case with Edward. With 2018 being the 100 year anniversary of the armistice of WWI, this story feels somewhat current despite the era it's set within.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
I think it’s quite possibly one of the only potentially safe spaces left to have a public discussion of ideas! The idea of holding the mirror up to society is such a powerful image to me that I feel goes hand-in-hand with performance, whether it be a play, musical, dance piece etc. It’s created to make an audience not just question society but also themselves within society and their own role. I normally go to the theatre on my own, sad I know, and I always find that there’s nothing more interesting than when leaving a show and listening in on what people thought of the piece, even more so when two people think to completely different things.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I’ve always been a very ‘hands on’ approach kind of person, especially from a young age and definitely when I was in school. I simply can’t sit behind a desk or watch a demonstration, I have to be very much involved on a physical level.
When I was finishing my final years at secondary school I used to pop up to London on my own and go to watch theatre, in particular to the Royal Court, what I believe to be the home of the most exciting, engaging and thought provoking new writing and performance.
That building inspired me deeply and even does so today, in particular with writing plays, hopefully one day my name will appear on those red neon lights…

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
I’m a meticulous planner. People who know me know that my day-to-day activities have to be structured and thought out, even if it’s a lazy day at home with nothing on the agenda, I’ll still make an effort to prepare the day!
The same goes with the making of a show. When it came to writing In Pursuit of Andromeda I had a story layout, scene/act map, character arc line and research notes galore, I could never write anything cold, there are some who can and I’m in awe of them, but for me it’s all about the preparation down to the very last detail.
As the Polish bar manager said to me at a cocktail bar I used to work at “Fail to prepare then prepare to fail.”

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
This is the first production that I have ever put on, as well as my first written piece! I’m sure lessons and regularity will become clearer once we have finished our time up in Edinburgh, but hopefully this has a life after so maybe anything I learnt that needs working on can be cleared up then…

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope that the audience experiences something new, exciting and breathtaking. In Pursuit of Andromeda is an enchanting little play, littered with beautiful music from our composer Harry Sever and stunning movement from our movement director Micaela Miranda, where after many years of the world tearing itself apart in the most horrific of circumstances, the real world and the fantasy world meet one another to try and put just a little piece of it back together again.
I’ve written the lyrics for all of the songs too so if I get to hear any of them from audience members around the streets or pubs then that’ll be a nice added bonus!


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