Wednesday, 25 July 2018

More Dramatury: Alison Skilbeck @ Edfringe 2018

ARE THERE MORE OF YOU?Written and Performed By Alison Skilbeck
Directed by Jeremy Stockwell

August 1 – 27
11.10 (70 mins)

If you lay yourself open, people will jump in with both feet, won’t they?

Claire, Sophia, Sara and Sam.  Four women, linked by a shared postcode, each moving through transitions in their lives.  Four women in search of happiness.  Four women on the verge of a nervous breakthrough.  Claire, always the loyal and dutiful wife, has been abandoned by her husband on the eve of his retirement.  Sophia loves opera.  She juggles her time between her big project of opening an Italian trattoria with singing, the daytime job of running a café and the stresses and strains of caring for her sick mother.  

Sara is a spirit weaver, sorting out people’s lives, untangling the threads and putting them back together but what about the twists and knots in her own life?  And then there’s Sam, a tough no-nonsense business-woman who through the course of an evening and with the help of a few drinks, reveals a more fragile vulnerability and the need of a friend.

In turns touching scary, funny, warm and embracing, Are There More of You? tells the often untold stories of women of a certain age.  Women going through personal transitions, adapting to new circumstances, in search of love and happiness and discovering new things about themselves and the world around them.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
I wanted to write monologues for me, as an older actress. I started to write, and my four characters started to connect: hence ARE THERE MORE OF YOU? - four wildly different ladies linked only by a postcode.
Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
Yes indeed; though I think it works best when indirect, e.g CRUCIBLE for the McCarthy witch hunts. But times change, and STUFF HAPPENS was remarkable, also many plays recently about refugees.  When  I have Q and As after my shows, people are eager to engage. Theatre makes us see ourselves. But to be realistic, political plays rarely reach other than the converted.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have been an actress, a performer, all my life; if by this you mean creating my own work by writing it, the negative reason is because there were increasingly fewer parts for women, and women of my age! On the positive side, many people had encouraged me to write, so I sat down and did it. People read and heard the script, and my director , Jeremy Stockwell ( KEN,  and A SOCK FULL OF CUSTARD Ed Fringe 2018) helped me get it on, oringinally some years ago. And audiences responded.

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

No. It's a while since I did write it, but - I wrote it, re-wrote it, honed and shaped it with my director who helped me find the different voices and bodies of the characters; we decided to have minimum set, costume, lx and sound ; to celebrate acting and the power of story - two planks and a passion - speaking directly to an audience.
Does the show fit with your usual productions?
In that they involve me alone on a stage - yes.  My two subsequent shows are different only in this:

- MRS ROOSEVELT FLIES TO LONDON ( Edinburgh 2016) About a real, much admired person. I wrote after extensive research; there is more set and costume; a soundscape, and a lot of lighting.

-THE POWER BEHIND THE CRONE ( Edinburgh 2017) is me plus Shakespeare! it is ultra-simple - no lx or sound - I play a very enthusiastic lecturer, Prof Artemis Turret, playing and talking about 7 older women in Shakespeare. Once again serious, but funny; like Shakespeare himself!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they will have fun; laugh, cry, see themselves and people they know, and think about older women, their resilience and infinite variety. And I hope they'll be struck by what live theatre can do - how you can turn on a sixpence to become 'other'.

Alison Skilbeck returns to The Edinburgh Fringe following her 5 star shows Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London, 2016, and The Power Behind The Crone, 2017.  Her enormously varied stage career has taken her to the West End and all over the UK and Europe, and to the USA with Shakespeare: early on she created roles in six Ayckbourn premieres at Scarborough.  Alison's television work includes Sherlock Homes, The Beiderbecke Affair, Miss Marple, Head Over Heels, Doctor Who, Soldier Soldier, Midsomer Murders, and Call The Midwife. Amongst her radio roles is Polly Perks in The Archers, until the character was killed off! Two recent projects have been Wimpole Street, the award winning web series, and the pod cast sitcom seriesWooden Overcoats. Alison has directed extensively thoughout her career, notably Shakespeare at RADA, where she has been an Associate Teacher for over 20 years. Alison also directs A Substitute For Life by Simon Brett, starring Tim Hardy, which also runs at Assembly throughout August.

Jeremy Stockwell has directed, written, and devised new work in the U.K. for, among others, the National and BAC. His current touring productions are; Angelos & BarryThe New Power Generation (tour & West End run), Pemberton & Hague's Theatre Circus and The Very Perry Show, with Kate Perry (tour and New York run).  He directs extensively in theatres all over Europe. Also in Edinburgh this August, as an actor, Jeremy is playing Ken Campbell, in Terry Johnson's KEN, and Spike Milligan in A Sockful of Custard, which he co-wrote with Chris Larner, both at The Pleasance Courtyard. Jeremy has been a member of the RADA teaching and directing faculty for over twenty years. He is also Performance Coach for the BBC; his series include: How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, Faking ItThe Speaker, and Strictly Come Dancing.
Edinburgh Fringe


Written and Performed By
Alison Skilbeck

Jeremy Stockwell

August 2 – 27

11.10 (70 mins)

0131 623 3030 

August 2 to 3
£6 (previews)

August 4, 5, 8, 9, 14 - 16, 20 -23 & 27 

August 6, 7, 10 -12, 17 – 19, 24 – 26

£12.50 (£10.50)
Day off  August 13

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