Monday, 6 June 2016

Crisis Dramaturgy: Katie Brennan @ Edfringe 2016

Jimmy Jewell and Stephen McGill
Katie Brennan’s Quarter-Life Crisis
Underbelly George Square (The Wee Coo), Edinburgh, EH8 9LD Wednesday 3rd – Monday 29th August 2016 (not 15th), 22:50
Are you crippled by student debt? Working an unpaid internship? Trying to find Prince Charming on Tinder and spending the majority of your time watching Netflix? Welcome to the life of a modern day twentysomething!
Join actress and blogger Katie Brennan for a new show, packed with music, comedy and cabaret all about living that Quarter-Life Crisis. From facebook to flatshares, weddings to woeful bank accounts, career conundrums to chronically crap sex, come and raise a big glass of gin to all those twentysomethings struggling to find their place in the world.

What was the inspiration for this performance? 

Well, they say 'write what you know' and what I knew at the time was all about how frustrating and confusing life can be in your twenties - financial instability, lack of job satisfaction (despite having shiny, hard-earned degrees from redbrick universities), being unable to move on Facebook for engagement and pregnancy announcements, living in flat shares, etc. 

And the more I voiced my twentysomething woes to my friends, the more I realised just how many of us felt the same way.  So, I figured I'd make a show as it was something so many people could relate to!

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Joe Atkins, my musical director, and I first worked together ten years ago when he was the MD for a drama course I did during my gap year, Year Out Drama Company.  I am extraordinarily lucky to have him on board. The new songs and material he has written for the show are just hysterical and I'm so excited for people to hear them!

How did you become interested in making performance?

I got bored of auditioning for stuff and people saying no. It's amazing how hitting dead ends can make you hustle sometimes!

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

When Joe and I work together, we tend to smash through a few bottles of pink fizz and end up clutching our sides in giggles as we put together a show and that process has resulted in some of my favourite songs and mashups to perform. Only after a copious amount of booze would we think that writing a medley that incorporates 30 90s classics would be a good idea!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

The whole point of writing this show was to give a big, warm, musical hug to anyone experiencing any tinge of a quarter-life crisis. We cover so much in the show, from online dating, to mental health issues,  from weddings, to dreaming of owning a house (haha current housing market) that I hope people will watch it and just go 'YES THAT IS ME! THAT IS MY LIFE!' The best way to overcome heartache is to talk about it and to laugh at it. And I hope that will happen to our audience when they watch the show.  

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

To make every minute of the show completely relatable. To have laughter at the forefront of everything we're doing. I want my audience to watch the show and think, 'I'd love to have a gin with her.' 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

It's comedy, and it's cabaret. We sing great songs and we make people laugh. And doing that helps me make sense of my own 'Quarter-Life Crisis'. 

The Quarter-Life Crisis is a new phenomenon but one that Brennan is certainly not alone in feeling. It’s about being brave in these difficult times, carrying on, being proud of who you are and celebrating what you have achieved in your twenties.

Brennan comments, I wrote the show (alongside my wonderful MD Joseph Atkins) because I was in a real twentysomething slump. My career was going nowhere, I was skint, single and felt like everyone was achieving life goals whilst I was just treading water. Through writing this show, I learned that no one really knows what they’re doing - even those who LOOK like they’ve got these glossy, pulled-together, social media perfect lives. Those feelings of uncertainty, of feeling like you’re supposed to have achieved certain things by a certain point, like you’re a failure who is never going to make anything of yourself and be a grown-up - those feelings are so REAL.

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