Tuesday, 30 June 2015

WIN FALL CD 2015

It's competition time at The VileArts!

The assembled gang inside Vile's head (Mr Criticulous, Mad Cyril, Derrida's Ghost, you know the names) have been pushed to one side as Vile tries to give himself another breakdown by creating a dramaturgy database. He reckons he will be doing, single-handedly, more previews than Broadway Baby and The Herald combined. 

There's something wrong with that boy.

Anyway, in order to make his life easier when he gets evicted out of his house, he's running a competition. He's got loads of CDs that he won't be listening to again, and plenty of books that he won't ever get around to reading. They are a right mish-mash, so he is offering them up as competition prize.

Just link these statements to the artists who said them, and you could win one of the following prizes...

First Prize: Five random CDs and 2 Books
Second Prize: Ten random CDS and 4 books
Consolation Prize: He'll take you to see something at the theatre. And give you 20 CDs.
Gareth, yesterday. Sexy, but likely to kill again.


Anyway, put the answers underneath the post, in the comments bit. Or email thevilearts@gmail.com. Whatever you like, really.





The questions:
Who Said:
you can expect to see John in a dress. You can expect a pretty amazing live score played on the accordion by Jo Eagle

The most daunting challenge of making a one-person play is loneliness

Other artists that influenced the production in different ways include PJ Harvey and Marina Abramovic

I have to go back and look up dramaturgy again

I don't see myself within any tradition

Fear, anger, frustration, envy, all these emotions are present in all of us

They will see a giant Pringle eating woman, a tiny man locked in fridge, a leopard coated cougar and a machete wielding maniac all centred around a twisted love story

I steal all my ideas off other people


Out of
Lee Coffey
Kev Sutherland
Butoh Medea
Bob Slayer
The Lonely Poet
Winsome Brown
Tangram Theatre
Annie Ryan


Scientific Dramaturgy: Tangram @ Edfringe 2015



The Fringe: THE ELEMENT IN THE ROOM… by Tangram Theatre Company


What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
The main driving force behind the making of The Element in the Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy about the Death and Life of Marie Curie was to complete our Scientrilogy

Our previous two shows in the series were musical comedies about Charles Darwin in 2009 - entitled The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Survival of (R)Evolutionary Theories in the face of Scientific and Ecclesiastical Objections (Being a Musical Comedy about Charles Darwin 1809-1889) - and Albert Einstein in 2013 - entitled Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking (AERS) - and once we’d finished AERS, we sort of knew that we were going to complete the trilogy at some point. The rule of three is a golden rule for us.

That said, when we made The Origin of Species… there was

absolutely no plan to make another musical comedy science show about anyone else. And yet, everywhere we went on tour, everybody would ask us who we were doing next. And though we resisted for three years, eventually we succumbed and made a show about Einstein...

Why did we choose to make our final show about Marie Curie? Lots of reasons.

Firstly, because she lived a pretty exceptional life full of triumph and tragedy, success and failure, and that’s always great when you’re making a biographical show.

Secondly, she’s one of the great scientists of the past 150 years in a scientific field that has changed the way we live, and her discovery of radioactivity and forces at play in radioactive decay are scientifically very interesting.

Thirdly, she’s a chemist, allowing us to complete the biology/physics/chemistry box set.

And finally, because she’s a woman. Having done two men, we wanted to give voice to a woman scientist… and when you’re making a show… especially the third show in a trilogy, you want new challenges and the challenge of John playing Marie felt like it might be a pretty good challenge for us.

Why bring your work to the Edinburgh Fringe? Because it’s still a great festival to develop work at. You get to perform 24 times in a month, whilst nourishing yourself on work from all over the world. 

Because it’s still a great festival to get theatres and programmers in - and if that goes well, it means reaching even more audiences after the festival. We want The Element in the Room... to tour. The Origin of Species… and AERS have both been performed about 150 times each and going to Edinburgh has been a big part of their success. The dream is to perform all three shows 300 times each. The more audiences we can share work with, the happier we are.

And because it’s still a great festival to get critical feedback at. From audiences, from fellow artists and from reviewers. It all helps the show develop. It all feeds into making the show a better show.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production? Well, our aim is to surprise and entertain and we want to move you too. But the first aim is to give our audience a really good time for an hour. As for what you might expect from The Element in the Room… for example, you can expect to see John in a dress. You can expect a pretty amazing live score played on the accordion by Jo Eagle. You can expect to learn all about Marie and the Radium Girls. You can expect to get caught up in a giant science experiment. You can expect to leave with an understanding of radioactive decay. And you might just come out singing a song about Radium. 

Oh and there’s a bit of silly mime in the show too. 





The Dramaturgy Questions


How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
For us it’s hugely relevant. I would say that both John and myself work as dramaturgs on the play outside of our normal roles of writer and director. And that we take turns at taking on the role of dramaturg, a role that I would describe as making sure the story is being told, and told well in terms of structure, layering, plot etc. 

We spend about a year making each show. It goes through countless drafts. Alright. Not countless drafts but about 30 drafts and we’re still changing bits to The Origin of Species... and AERS that have been touring for years. The writing process and the devising process and the performing process are all equal parts of a dramaturgical process that doesn’t end. 





What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
More than anything we try to respond to the material. By that I mean that the content helps shape the form. That’s to say that the scientists themselves and their big ideas are the biggest inspirations in terms of making the shows. A show about Einstein will have a different feel to a show about Marie because they so different.


Formally, we both trained at Lecoq but I wouldn’t describe the shows as lecoqian. John disagrees. They have their moments, of course - The Element in the Room... and The Origin of Species… both have extended mime sequences and comedy physical theatre routines - but also elements of basic storytelling, comedy songs (Tom Lehrer, Monty Python, Flanders and Swann), stand up comedy and science communication. And on that last point, probably lurking in the shows are amalgamations of the best teachers we ever had, and the brilliant scientists we’ve worked with at The University of Sussex as a peer group.


Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?

We do have a process that has evolved since making our Darwin show. And it’s completely collaborative. We sometimes joke that John writes the plays and I add the bad puns but actually there’s a fully formed collaborative process in place.


It starts by us deciding what, and by extension, who we want to talk about. John came to me wanting to do a show about Charles Darwin. We sort of chose Einstein together. And I suggested Marie Curie.

What happens next is that John goes off and reads every biography under the sun and reads all the science books about whatever big idea each scientist came up with, and I do nothing. I read nothing. I don’t even look up the person on wikipedia.


What happens next is that John and I get together in a room. And I ask John to perform a version of the show for an hour, off the top of his head, without notes. And I listen. And having done no research, my job is to listen out for all the good bits. To be an audience member who knows nothing. Sometimes John will think a particular bit of life story or a particular scientific concept is interesting and I’ll not pick it up. Sometimes he’ll skim over something that I think is amazing and it’ll become a key part of the show. 

The point being - this first run is crucial. The final show may end up having nothing to do with this first improvised stumble through but more often than not, some of the key transitions and ideas will naturally select themselves in John’s brain and my ears and eyes and we have the building blocks for a show.

We then become systematic in our dramaturgical process. We look at the life and the science and cut it up into as small bits as possible. So we’ll cut up Marie’s life into hundreds of episodes. And we’ll cut up the science into hundreds of smaller ideas. And we’ll write the title of every episode on a piece of paper. And then we go through hours and hours of storytelling exercises to explore how everything can fit together. 

To give a couple of examples, we might tell the life story in reverse chronological order with a tidbit of science info between each life episode. Or we might just turn the pieces of paper onto the blank side and John picks them at random and has to make the story coherent. And again, my job is to listen out for the links that work, the mistakes that reveal a truth, those glorious moments of improvisation or problem solving that allow a storyteller to jump back and forth through time and space. The more we play, the clearer what fits where becomes until… we start putting sections together. An example might be, lets go from Einstein talking about the Nazis confiscating his boat to Einstein reminiscing about sailing to talking about waves to talking about wave particle duality… Or doing a whole section on inertial reference frames with audiences walking towards each other at different speeds to “get it on” and ending it with a quip about “speed dating”.


At the same time, we’re also looking for the heart of the story - the thing that makes us connect to the scientist as a human being. You could call it the tragic flaw of each character. You could think of it as the internal conflict each character lived with. Either way, that becomes the glue that holds everything together, and it’s what makes the shows accessible at a human level, and so we probably spend the most time of all charting the theme of the play’s journey.


After that, it’s a constant process of John writing. Me reading. Putting it on its feet. Looking for jokes. Gags. Adding pop references. Improvising. Switching things around. Riffing. Rewriting. Sitting. Getting up. Working things out on our feet. Hundreds of cups of tea. Rereading. Re-trying things. John rewriting. We play lots of games. Especially when dealing with the science bits. I stand in for audience members for all the interactive bits. I send John ideas by email. He sends me edits by email. We text. We meet up. Noting.


Oh yeah, noting is key to our creative process. And I note from day one. And the best thing about giving John notes is that he takes notes really well and not only does he take notes really well, but he’ll also come back with even more. So every note is worth two really. We do constant runs. We do look at small sections in detail - of course we do. But we spend much more time running hour long version of the show.


And all through this process, we’re feeding stuff to our peer review group of scientists and professors at the University of Sussex, asking them to explain when we don’t understand a scientific idea, getting their opinions on the ways we’re trying to communicate those ideas, checking our facts.


Then there’s the whole music side to making the shows. John wrote all the songs and music for The Origin of Species… and co-wrote the music with Jo Eagle for AERS and The Element in the Room… And that goes through a similar process of rewriting and trial and error and messing around, and creating space for glorious mistakes. When I said that we do hour long runs earlier, they always feature the songs.


Essentially, we make about a hundred shows to make one show. We create hours and hours of material. We’ll write whole chunks of the show that never make it into the final show. If the show’s length is 7000 words, John will have a 40,000 word document on his computer with all the out-takes. We’ll create about 10-12 songs and keep about only six etc.



I guess it’s very filmic. You make lots and then create your final cut…

Except the joy of it is that there’s never a final cut and we’re still making changes to The Origin of Species… and AERS years later.



What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
Huge. As I said, I see a key part of my role as the director to be an everyman audience member. But even more so, the audience are at the heart of the writing process because they’re at the heart of our theatremaking. All three shows in the scientrilogy are audience interaction heavy. We’re always looking for ways to get the audience involved. If you involve them in the conflict, then you involve them in the resolution of the conflict. No tangram show has ever had a fourth wall. It’s probably what defines our work as a company and my work as a director. That the experience is as active and activating as possible for the audience. We often have audiences in the rehearsal room. We try the shows out again and again in front of audiences as we make the show.


For The Element in the Room… for example, we worked on it for a couple of weeks, then took it up to Edinburgh Science Festival and showed half an hour of work… which bombed. So we came home, ripped up that version show, pretty much started again and worked on it for two weeks and presented another half hour of work in Lyme Regis at the beautiful Marine Theatre, where we felt we onto something. 

We then worked on it some more and performed three hour long work-in-progress performances at Brighton… And all the time we’re giving out feedback forms asking for structured feedback and sometimes people will draw a smiley face and sometimes they’ll write us an essay.


And then there are the less formal settings like doing bits of the show in a garden to friends and also to a group of under-grad chemists and physicists at the University of Sussex and again to the lighting designer and again to the costume designer. And I watch everybody watch the show and I listen to everyone watching the show and I note the audience as it were. And I listen to them when they come out of the theatre. And I’m sure John would say the same about him being able to pick up from the audience what works, what doesn’t, what they got, where he lost them. He can see them. We generally light the audience too. And all of that info goes into the next draft of the show… And on and on it goes, constantly evolving, constantly shifting. 




THE ELEMENT IN THE ROOM: A RADIOACTIVE MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARIE CURIE
From the acclaimed team behind The Origin of Species... & Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking
'I'm not really Marie Curie, I'm a man named John / I've just shaved really closely and put a dress on.'
Following smash hit musical comedies about Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, multi-award-winning Tangram Theatre Company return to take on ‘queen of radioactivity' Marie Curie. Promising a treat for nerds and newcomers alike, THE ELEMENT IN THE ROOM: A RADIOACTIVE MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARIE CURIE premieres at Edinburgh's Pleasance Courtyard from 5 - 31 August 2015 at 3.30pm.
An adventurous musical-comedy-road-movie, the show follows Curie's real-life journey across the USA to find a single gram of radium to continue her research. Featuring incredible scientific breakthroughs, very silly songs and an audience-participation radioactive decay chain, this is an exuberant celebration of the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, whose work continues to affect our lives today.

THE ELEMENT IN THE ROOM is written and performed by a cross-dressing John Hinton as Marie Curie in yet another shape-shifting tour-de-force performance, alongside Jo Eagle as Curie's husband Pierre. The show is directed by Lecoq-trained Tangram Theatre Company artistic director Daniel Goldman, co-director of Caroline Horton's Olivier Award nominated You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy.

The show completes the company's musical 'Scientrilogy' with all three playing in rep at Pleasance Courtyard, including OffWestEnd Award-winner ALBERT EINSTEIN: RELATIVITIVELY SPEAKING (2013) and THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION OR THE SURVIVAL OF (R)EVOLUTIONARY THEORIES IN THE FACE OF SCIENTIFIC AND ECCLESIASTICAL OBJECTIONS: BEING A MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT CHARLES DARWIN (2009). Joyfully and irreverently exploring seminal figures in biology, physics and now chemistry, they are peer reviewed by University of Sussex professors and have toured to over 20,000 delighted audience members in the UK and internationally.
Praise for Tangram's Scientrilogy shows
★★★★★ ‘A treasure... something close to brilliance’ The Times on Albert Einstein... 'The clearest, funniest explanation of Relativity I know' John Lloyd (QI creator) on Albert Einstein... ★★★★ ‘Bring[s] Darwin to life for 21st Century audiences’ Scotsman on The Origin of Species... 'Science has rarely been so fascinating and never so much fun' Stage on The Origin of Species...

PRODUCTION INFORMATION Tangram Theatre Company presents the world premiere of THE ELEMENT IN THE ROOM: A RADIOACTIVE MUSICAL COMEDY ABOUT THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARIE CURIE Venue Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two) | 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ Dates & times 5th - 31st August (not 11,15,16,18-20,22,23,25-27,29,30 Aug) | 3.30pm | 1hr Tickets £6.50-£10 | 0131 556 6550 | Access All shows are relaxed, 'extra live' performances

Sock Dramaturgy: Kev F Sutherland @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe 

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Kev F Sutherland: Mine is a comedy show, with a double act of two puppets, both performed by me. My starting point was finding, some years ago, I had this comedy act. Then, every year, I write a new script for them. This year, as with most of our shows, has begun with a theme.

This year's theme is crime, hence the name Minging Detectives.

Previously we've done sci-fi (Socks In Space), movies (Socks Go To Hollywood) and horror (Boo Lingerie).


Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
I started bringing a sketch show format (The Sitcom Trials) to Edinburgh in 2001 and found it suited me to perform the show 25 times to capturable audiences. We broke even, and most subsequent years have made money. This is the only place, apart from the Adelaide Festival, where I have found myself able to play that many shows in one place.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
It's a comedy show, so they come to laugh.



The Dramaturgy Questions
 
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?

I have never consciously given thought to dramaturgy, and indeed had to look it up before answering this question. We employ an array of tricks and effects to suspend disbelief and bring the viewer into our world, mostly through costume changes and props. We use no backdrops on stage, the two puppets perform in their own set against the black backdrop behind.


We have another level of suspension of disbelief in that the Socks will refer to the fact that there is a man sat in the chair operating them. Though, we have discovered, some people believe there are two people performing. Still they seem to laugh at lines like "there's a bloke down there with (x prop) on his head".



What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
Comedy double acts inc Abbot and Costello, The National Theatre Of Brent, Reeves and Mortimer, and The Mighty Boosh.


Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
There's no collaboration, though we do parody other peoples' songs, and my wife makes some of the props. I sit and write sketches, the Socks perform some as videos and some only as stage routines. And it is by testing them out in front of an audience that we find what "works". The best of these are then strung together by me.


What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? 
They tell us if we're funny.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
I have to go back and look up dramaturgy again. It's really not a word I've ever used.





Edinburgh Fringe
10.30pm Aug 5 - 30 at The Gilded Ballloon
Twitter @falsettosocks
Facebook ScottishFalsettoSocks
Videos: http://tinyurl.com/Sockvids

Villainous Dramaturgy: David Robinson @ Edfringe 2015




The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

David Robinson: I attended a production called Bomber's Moon starring James Bolam in a small venue of around 40 people- and was struck by the over-whelming effort put in for such a small audience. 

Later on that evening, I flicked through the free newspaper and glanced at the television listings for that night and saw an over-whelming abundance of repeated shows. The comparative disparity between the effort placed into a small theatre production and a national television audience was jarring and sad. 

This inspired me to write a series of songs charting the demise of television and about a cast of characters affecting through the lack of work opportunities in this medium and what the future might hold. 

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?There are few places to perform consistently- there is a certain democracy to an abundance of choice in other productions. The people who attend are paying a big compliment in not opting to see something else. It is important to fulfill that leap of faith they have demonstrated.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?

I hope the audience might consider television as being truly threatened and the cultural reality of a disappearance.


The Dramaturgy Questions
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?

'Where Are The Villains Now' is directly about 2015 and the demise of television.
What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
My music has been influenced by the great acoustic musicians like Leadbelly and Hubert Sumlin.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
My show mixes music, political films and live spoken commentary. I began with a series of concepts relating to television in the present day and gradually spread it across into three clear sections.
What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
Each UK resident in the audience will be liable to pay a licence fee- this show is written directly for those people who might feel under-whelmed with the service they receive and rightly would anticipate a more artistically valid output from the BBC.




Brown Dramaturgy: Winsome Brown @ Edfringe 2015



The Fringe
What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Winsome Brown: It was January, 2014. Brad Rouse, the director, and I were working in my apartment in New York City on another project. He turned to me and: “I think you have a more immediate story to tell. One that will touch many people.” 


“What’s that?” I asked. 

“The story of your mother,” he said. It was like a veil fell from my eyes. 

“I’ll call it This is Mary Brown,” I said. I had the title before a single word of the show was written. Brad had heard me tell stories about Mum and found her both hilarious and very human.


Why bring your work to Edinburgh?I hope that the themes of This is Mary Brown will resonate with the Edinburgh audience. It is about an Irish woman, an emigrant, a woman of great humor and pathos, who raises her family far away from home, in Canada. As she ages, she turns to alcohol to soothe herself. Her family use various tactics to try to persuade her to give up drinking. 

Then, when she has succeeded in kicking the drink, she is sidewinded by lung failure. It’s a cruel turn. But it brings out an incredible amount of love and tenderness—emotional honesty – in all the characters. Everybody goes through the painful death of a loved one. It is a universal theme.

Also, practically, This is Mary Brown is a very simple play. I am the sole performer, there are just a few pieces of furniture and some lights. It travels easily and so is a great play to show in Edinburgh, and hopefully to tour with afterwards. The whole magic of This is Mary Brown is in the air between the stage and the audience.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The show is simple and honest. Audiences in New York both laughed and cried when they saw it. The New York Times called it, “Lovely… honest… touching…. poignant.” I think audiences naturally think of loved ones in their own life – my play takes them inside their own heart.



The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
While the show is on the surface, simple – a personal tale – structurally it is modern and challenging. I worked hard to find a kind of elastic tension between scenes, so that each scene propels the next. The play jumps through time, place, and character. Some scenes are simple audience address. Some scenes have three or more characters on stage, in dialogue with each other. And I’m playing all of them. It is a fairly complex dramaturgy.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
Yes. I have been inspired by other artists who dare to find that just a simple story about real people is enough. Some of these are: Terence Davies in The Long Day Closes, Chekhov in his willingness to write about mundane things like family finances and the stultification of habit, Spalding Gray, who sat before an audience with just a desk and a glass of water and brought us into a world.

Also, I have been inspired and instructed by the gentle and long-form rehearsal process of André Gregory and Wallace Shawn. I was lucky enough to perform in The Master Builder, and see that incredible work up close. Their process of stripping away artifice – even within the confines of art – is something I aspire to in my own work on This is Mary Brown.


Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
I developed this play in a rehearsal space in my own home. Brad Rouse, the director, and I, invited small groups of eight or ten people at a time to come in and see the play. We were all in a small room together, with all the lights on all of us. I could feel how the play worked in the space between me and the audience. 

After each performance, I would talk with the audience – find out if there were moments where they were confused by anything. As I said, the play is structurally complex, but I worked hard to make it feel simple. So my collaborators have been, from day one, the director, and the audience.


What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The most daunting challenge of making a one-person play is loneliness. There’s no other actor to share the ride with on stage. So my partner in the performance is the audience. I have developed this show over the course of a year and a half, showing it to a few people at a time. 

Through this process, I have come to trust the material, trust the audience, and be inspired and moved by the communion that happens between us. It’s a very vulnerable piece. I am putting it all out there – surrendering, if you will. The audience is my partner in that. And the faith that grows between us brings its own reward.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
No, but here’s one more answer! I feel This is Mary Brown takes some of its structure from cinema. In cinema, we now know that we can make jump cuts, sharp turns, show flashbacks, and have it be clear to the viewer what is happening. 

I directed and edited a film called The Violinist, and my work on that project has helped me to trust that even a bold structure can be the foundation for a simple, profound play.



Paradise in The Vault (Venue 29)
13:15
Aug 8-15, 20-21, 24-30
1 hour
Suitability: 16+ (Guideline)
Country: United States
Group: Winsome Brown
Warnings: Adult themes - alcoholism, death.


Protean Dramaturgy: Mary Swan and Paul-Huntley Thomas @ Edfringe 2015

The Fringe


Mary Rose, Artistic Director of Proteus Theatre Company and performer Paul Huntley-Thomas.


What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Answer from Paul Huntley-Thomas, Performer:
I have been fascinated by Byron from an early age and when I was at University we took a show to Geneva and the one thing I had to do was take the boat trip across the Lake to see the Villa Diodati where he stayed with the Shelleys and others. 

A few years ago Mary Swan asked me to play him in a production of Frankenstein in which we told the story of the making of the novel as well as the novel itself and I leapt at the chance. After that production Mary approached me with the idea that we could do more with him and so the idea for the one man show was born.

Answer from Mary Swan, Director:
When Paul and I were first talking about the idea we felt sure that someone must be already touring a similar show, when we realised they weren’t we began to think about the context in which Byron could be interacting with an audience. 

We looked at the great ‘Parkinson’ interviews from the 70’s with fascinating but flawed figures; Richard Burton, Orson Welles, David Niven amongst others; and we wanted that kind of raconteur feeling – a man who had done it all, had it all, regaling you with stories over a drink.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Answer from Paul Huntley-Thomas, Performer:
We had no initial intention of bringing the show to Edinburgh. The time schedule for it was to start rehearsing sometime next year but Proteus was taking 12.10.15 to the venue and in the discussion the venue mentioned that they had a sort of cabaret space that they had an empty slot for, the company thought that it would be the ideal space for an intimate one person show. 

Luckily I had already gone back to my initial research from Frankenstein to prepare for the show in 2016 and it was just then a case of reading a bit quicker!

Answer from Mary Swan, Director:
As Paul says, it was opportunistic following a conversation with the guys at Momentum venues! Having said that, once Paul and I had hit on the idea of actually doing the show in pubs, bars and cabaret spaces, Edinburgh did seem like the perfect place to premiere it. 

This will be my sixth Edinburgh Fringe, I’ve been three times as a performer and now three times as a Director and I have an enormous affection for the Festival and a healthy respect for it as a fickle mistress! The last time we were here was in 2007 with The Elephant Man – another one man piece. For us, this is about discovering the future possibilities for the piece; because Paul and I have devised it, the show is fluid enough to be different every night and to change radically over the course of the run – nowhere else gives you quite that freedom.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Answer from Paul Huntley-Thomas, Performer:
Byron was quite controversial for his time and we have definitely not shied away from that. If you are easily offended then perhaps its not for you. 

We also wanted to get away from the idealised version of a Romantic poet and show him with all his foibles (or as many as you can cram into 50 mins). We decided early on not to be over explanatory about some of the events and people in his life so that hopefully we pique the audiences interest and send them away wanting to find out more about him.

Answer from Mary Swan, Director:
I think I’d like the audience to realise how contemporary Byron’s writing and his politics are. Shelley and Byron’s views on Europe, Liberalism, sexual liberation and the class system still feel radical. I hope the audience come away feeling as if they’ve spent the evening in the company of an electrifying stranger – someone you don’t necessarily trust, or believe to be wholly truthful, but someone who you won’t forget.



The Dramaturgy Questions
All answers from Mary Swan, Director.
How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
In a devising process like this one, I think the dramaturgical process becomes organic, especially where there are two of you working on it. In my process much of the dramaturgy comes from physically interpreting the work. I work in a very physical way – developing the piece with actors from a character driven perspective, therefore the text must always serve the characters. 

The other voice in the room here is, of course, Byron and his writing, and I think that’s where the devising process can become a dramaturgical one, enabling us to navigate the vast amount of source material we had.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
We are all a product of what’s gone before, I guess the clearest influences on me are Robert Lepage, Stanley Kubrick, Mike Leigh, Simon McBurney, Michael Powell and Steven Berkoff. I’m not sure about ‘traditions’, but I do know that imposing rules on yourself as a Director is deathly. 

I don’t want to produce a ‘house style’ – Proteus’ tagline is ‘The Changing Shape of Theatre’ and that’s been an important motto for me over the years – I want to surprise audiences with what we do, and the Directors I love are the ones who do just that.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
My process is entirely collaborative – whether I am working with a writer or devising a piece, I act as an ‘Editor’ for the ideas and possibilities in the rehearsal room. When I devise a show, I will , as mentioned above, start with a physicalisation of the characters and work with those characters in improvisations based around the themes we are working on. 

I will film those and begin to craft a script from the speech rhythms of the characters. The actors are entirely at the centre of this process, shaping and influencing as we go. This also means that all the elements are present from the start and therefore feel rooted in the piece; I often use aerial skills in my work, this approach means that it never feels like an ‘add on’ it’s always an essential tool in the storytelling. When I work with a writer, there is always a period of development with the cast and writer before the drafting process.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience are always the best dramaturgs! I try to build space within the shows I create for actors to respond and play with the audience – either directly or in terms of subtle shifts in performance or emphasis. Audiences will always make you aware of what the piece is actually about and bring into sharp focus the things that may need attention. Children are particularly good at this!














West End Dramaturgy: Paul Ricketts @ Edfringe 2015



The Fringe

GKV: What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Paul Ricketts: This production started the night after the events detailed in the show happened and I started telling somebody else the story. These events took place back in 1992 so that's many years of telling friends and acquaintances the story in pubs, bars and other social situations. 

Of course every time I retold the story I was editing, restructuring and perfecting the narrative and honing the performance. Then five years ago I told the story to an audience for the first time at a Storytelling night in Limehouse, London. It got a tremendous response and I began to contemplate making the story the centre piece of an Edinburgh Fringe show.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?In terms of comedy in the UK, the Edinburgh Fringe is the premier 'trade show' for comics. If you explain to non-comics why comics spend £1000s to go Edinburgh with very little chance of making a profit, they tend to think you're crazy. 

It is crazy, but it's like an end of year comic's exam. You show the industry and the public what you've learnt and you get marked in reviews. Career wise Edinburgh is important in other ways, in that having to produce new material for shows is crucial in keeping you moving forward and just surviving the three plus weeks makes you improve as a performer.


What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
With this production I want the audience to be invested in the narrative and their experience of it. Obviously there's other levels to the show apart from the narrative and the humour. The show's also about London and attitudes to the city, plus it's a storytelling show about storytelling which starts when I first approach people with a flyer hours before the showtime and re-enact the main conceit of the story. So I expect the audience to laugh, be mildly shocked and to be slightly thrown by considering what's true and what's false and hopefully wondering if it matters.



The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?

I think it's highly relevant as demonstrated in how the show developed. Firstly the story developed over many years by it's retelling in social situations. It then changed again when I began to tell it on storytelling shows. I started to bring in other elements that didn't actually happen on the night in question. 

I realised that storytelling didn't have to totally accurate, it's a story, not a police statement. Many elements from different things that have happened to me at different times can be put together to make a story. It’s like an entertaining truth alloy. 

Also with this show I have to be careful I don’t end up being sued, so I’ve changed names to protect the guilty, but I’ve left Tony Blair’s name in! 

Further changes were made when the hour show developed. There were other ideas and things I wanted to say about London that I could incorporate into the show. 

Structurally, I obeyed some conventions used in Edinburgh shows - such as making sure that there was a moment of poignancy around the 30 minute mark. After several previews I had to re-structure how the additional material was melding around the story learning from audience feedback and by watching another contemporary comedian's shows. 

Finally after talking to a friend after my last preview I finally realised what the show was really about and worked out ideas on how to make getting people to see my show be part of the overall story and experience.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
I describe what I'm doing in my show as Comedy Storytelling, which means there's a combination of influences on what I'm doing. I'm a stand-up comic so there's the influence of that tradition, but having said that some of my favourite comics like Richard Pryor or many of my favourite Edinburgh stand-up performers are incredibly anecdotal like Brendon Burns, Wil Hodgson and Paul Sinha - they all have a strong storytelling element. 

But I was always attracted to the idea of storytelling as a performance art, especially after watching Spalding Gray’s Swimming To Cambodia in the late 1980’s. The most obvious difference between stand-up and storytelling is that the latter is much less 'gag' driven. For me it’s more literal as I always sit down to do ‘story-telling’. I sometimes even explain to the audience that by sitting-down I’m giving them a graphic visual representation of how much less gag driven my story-telling will be – I’m literally two feet less interested in chasing laughs. I think that’s needed as I also want them and myself to concentrate on every bizarre twist or poignant turn in the story. 

And there's also a theatrical 'spectacle' approach (lighting changes, projections, subtle sound cues etc) to the show which I'm sure is inspired watching by Spalding Gray. But I leave it up to others to decide if I'm within any sort of tradition.



Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
So far I’ve done autobiographical, identity, political and straight stand-up shows. I like the idea of doing something different each time I do an hour show. I've also like using different processes in developing these shows. From the research I had to do for identity and political shows or the writing and further development of existing routines for stand-up shows. 

Apart from each show starting with an idea there's been a different approach used to develop the ideas. Some have come together at the last minute and others have been planned over a year, while this last one over five years. 

However I do collaborate with others by discussing choices with other performers, technicians, friends and audiences. One consistent approach is the belief that all of these shows will never reach a finalised state and that change can happen during any performance.



The show is a celebration of London - with it's mix of opportunity and unaffordable housing - and it works because it is extraordinary material and entirely true.
Paul says:
“Last year in Edinburgh, every day I had a fantastic time recreating the events of show, using the same little white lie while inviting prospective audience members to join me at the show. I wanted them to surrender to the potential pleasures of the random experience and mirror their attendance of my show with the events that happened in Soho.”
Paul’s previous Edinburgh Fringe shows have been highly rated. In 2009, 'Cutter’s Choice’, a political and personal look at black hairstyles, didn’t get a single Edinburgh Fringe review but went on to tour London schools as well as being performed at The Hen & Chickens Theatre, Theatro Technis, Tristan Bates Theatre in London, Leicester and Brighton Fringe Festivals - winning the FRINGE GURU EDITOR'S CHOICE AWARD 2010. His next Edinburgh show 'Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!' dealt with football and English identity, received the 'Must See' award from THE STAGE, five stars from REMOTEGOAT.CO.UK and four stars from THREE WEEKS. This show was performed at Cambridge University's 'Festival of Ideas' and a revised version did a short run at the Leicester Square Theatre. In 2012, ‘Ironic Infinity’, a straight stand-up show was also very well received, gaining 4 stars from Chortle and Broadway Baby.

GFT

GFT looks forward to the holidays this July and August with Summer Daze, Studio Ghibli Forever, and music festival themed Sound & Vision


This July and August, GFT celebrates the arrival of summer with three seasons which embrace the holiday spirit. The Sound & Vision strand continues with a number of new releases and classics which will provide the soundtrack to your summer, Summer Daze proves that you don’t need to be outdoors to enjoy the warmer months, and Studio Ghibli Forever caters for all the family with a selection of Miyazaki’s classics. Big new releases in July and August include The Legend of Barney ThomsonAmyLove & Mercy, and 45 Years. A number of GFF15 titles also return over the summer, including Still the Water, P’tit QuinquinThe ChoirThe Salt of the Earth,The WondersEdenMarshlandTheeb52 Tuesdays, and The Treatment.

Summertime is festival time for music fans: the sun shines, the days are long and the music is loud. The same is true inside the cinema, as GFT gears up for the summer with the Sound & Vision programme. New releases include Asif Kapadia’s portrait of Amy Winehouse Amy, Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, and The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, which will include a Q&A with director Julien Temple. Martin Scorsese’s tribute to The Band’s final concert, The Last Waltz screens in July, and Rob Reiner’s brilliant directorial debut This Is Spinal Tap and nostalgic coming of age tale Almost Famous both screen on 35mm. Tickets are also now on sale for September’s Roger Waters The Wall, which will be followed by a live satellite Q&A with Roger Waters and Nick Mason.


In August, Summer Daze will feature a programme of films which visit the most summery times in cinema – from an idyllic American town on Amity Island to the lush Provençal countryside. Films include Grease Sing-a-Long, Jaws,The Virgin Suicides, a double bill of Jean de Florette and Manon des sources, and Die Hard with a Vengeance and Do the Right Thing on 35mm.




Although master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki officially retired in 2013, his cinematic legacy will live on forever. To celebrate his enchanting and influential works, Studio Ghibli Forever will include such classics as Spirited Away,Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. To make these wonderful works accessible to audiences of all ages, GFT will screen two versions of the films – one with English dubbing, and the other in Japanese with subtitles.


Presented by LUX Scotland, July’s Crossing the Line is Over Our Dead Bodies, followed by a Q&A with London-based artist Conal McStravick and researchers Ed Webb-Ingall and Laura Guy, who will discuss the contemporary legacy of this material. August’s Crossing the Line includes two separate screenings of films by experimental filmmaker Josephine Decker: her debut feature Butter on the Latch, and Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, which will be followed by a Q&A with Josephine Decker.


Other highlights in July and August include a special preview screening of Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore’s first feature since his Oscar-nominated debut The Secret of Kells, with free tickets available through Eventbrite. The life and work of the late Christopher Lee is commemorated with The Wicker Man: The Final Cut, and in anticipation of Harper Lee’s sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, GFT screens the 1962 Oscar-winning adaptation starring Gregory Peck. 

July brings a new digital restoration of Le Grande Bouffe and, in August, the new digital restoration of Man with a Movie Camera will feature a new score by Alloy Orchestra. Summer late night cult classics include The Mist introduced by comedian Robert Florence, and The Fog, introduced by actor and comedian Greg Hemphill. GFT also celebrates the centenary of Orson Welles with new digital restorations of The Third ManTouch of Evil, as well as the new documentary from Academy Award-winning director Chuck Workman, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles,

GFT continues to develop its equalities programme in July and August, with a number of accessible screenings.July’s Access Film Club is a screening of Adventureland and August’s is The Darjeeling Limited. Both screenings will be followed by a representative from Scottish Autism. July’s Visible Cinema is a captioned screening of Love & Mercy, and August’s is a subtitled screening of Marshland.

Wooden Dramaturgy: Belfast Boy @ Edfringe 2015



The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?
Kat Woods: I was working in a restaurant in Clapham Junction London and I had just written a one woman show called Dirty Flirty Thirty. My colleague Martin Hall had been to every single show when we performed it in London. I had often sat with Martin at the end of a shift and we would swap stories about our past and one night he asked me to write about him -as a joke! 

From there Belfast Boy was born. His story is harrowing yet funny. Never drunkenly give a writer the authorisation to write about your life- it might just happen!


Why bring your work to the Edinburgh Fringe?
I had the play on as a scratch night in London in the February of 2014 and someone suggested that it would be an amazing piece for the Edinburgh Fringe. I had never been before, so I thought what the hell and I decided to produce it myself and take it.


What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
It is a rollercoaster of emotions. You will laugh and cry and cry and laugh sometimes at the same time! I think this quote from Fringe Review sums up the feeling that you are left with when you leave the theatre space

"The script represents a marvelous achievement in narrative flow and authenticity…I think some new ground has been broken here. Many solo shows which deal with autobiographical material concerning abuse tinker too much with the truth of it…I came away deeply moved by this production. I needed time to “process” it and let go of it before sleep. I woke up with it still there, like shadows and a few warmer echoes. This is a very special piece of theatre in an intimate setting. It has to be one of the must see solo shows at the Fringe". ★★★★★ Fringe Review




The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?

Before I embarked on a Drama degree I studied Sociology. It is this sociological background that I source from when I write. Belfast Boy is based on a true story and so dramaturgy features massively on the retelling of his life and how we see the character.


What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
I think my writing lends a lot to traditional Irish story telling. Using the method of embodied characterisation to link the narrative flow. I am influenced in my writing by Enda Walsh and Conor McPherson. I actually think I may get done for stalking Enda Walsh!


 Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
I generally have an idea of what to write and it will sit in my brain for two to three months. I will research around the topic matter in that time and hardly sleep as it generally keeps me awake at night. So far, even with the comedy I have written, there is a massive dark element to my writing. 

I seem to become an emotional vessel and own the pain that I write about until I put it on paper. (That sounds totally mental...alas it is true!) The writing itself takes maybe a few days a week. Then I like to get what I have written, the first draft so to speak, on it's feet and get it performed. I trained as a director so I tend to direct my own work. I like to have the actors input and see what works for whom ever performs the piece. 

Once the play is performed, I try to gauge audience reaction for what works and what doesn't work I will redraft it and keep redrafting until I feel the play is finished.


What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
I feel that the audience are imperative in terms of making meaning of the work. If something doesn't work and it is so the opinion of the majority of the audience I will rework it so that it has some meaning. 

That only refers to the actual telling of the story. The story itself will remain but if the narrative does not serve to explain what I set out to do then something is wrong and i think it's important to listen to the audience and work out the issues. Unless the piece is supposed to be abstract... then meaning is an individual experience!







Marathon Dramaturgy: Matt Squance @ Edfringe 2015



The Fringe

What inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Matt Squance: The show started as an idea. Having to sit through yet another World Cup and watch footballers hate each other and blame everyone but themselves for any misfortune is not something I find enjoyable. And having had the phrase 'be a man' thrown at me as a boy, I can't help but feel some resentment to the millions that follow players and sport stars so blindly when they can behave and act so poorly. 


It started out as a massive hate campaign against sport stars, which was full of anger and bitterness, which obviously wasn't going to work as a full theatre piece. So after spending some time working and reshaping, I changed the feel and tone to lighten it and it's become like a comic modern Frankenstein-lite story with a very literal creation and dissection of making your own modern sports star.Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
The Edinburgh Fringe isn't just the biggest arts festival in the world; it is THE arts festival. The atmosphere and vibe that you get from it is nothing that you get at any other festival. Don't get me wrong, it's daunting and requires a lot of hard work but there's a great sense of excitement and unknown going into the fringe. It's the thought that my little show that's come from a small Suffolk town is going to reach a broad audience that like interesting, different work, and that excites me incredibly, both as a writer and an artist.
What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
I think the one thing I always can guarantee an audience is a whole heap of fun, with a slice of bitter social commentary to match. I don't want to shove messages excessively down an audience's throat. That's not the kind of theatre I want to make. 

The important thing for me is creating a sense of fun and ending it on a note where the audience can leave thinking 'Yes, that was great, and it even made me think'. If our audience reaction from Brighton is anything to go by, then this should go down a treat in Edinburgh! Expect anything from Greek toga sassiness to modern homoerotic workout videos. They'll be plenty to see in this!

The Dramaturgy Questions


How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Over the past year, I've actually been one of the Young Writer's with the Soho Theatre in London, so I've had quite a bit of dramaturgical support on this and another show I'm working on at the moment. 

I think it's a really important part of the development process that helps you pick apart what your show is, what you're trying to say and what you want your audience to get out of it. When making a show that deals with a lot of direct address, and interacting with the audience, I needed to be clear in what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it and without having a dramaturgist to help with this, the show would probably be very similar to the angry first draft that was written.



Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
I tend to write about what really pisses me off and then try and take it in a direction from there. My first show was about an ex of mine, which was very personal, so this time I wanted to broaden my scope by using something that to me, is a social problem. Taking this annoyance at the way people perceive sport stars in the media, I wrote a rough outline for everything I wanted to include if I had an endless budget at my disposal. 

From there, you look at it and begin to compromise with yourself and look at other methods of storytelling that don't involve a wall of televisions mounted on a back wall. That's about the point I start to talk to other people about it and tell them about the idea. I don't give away anymore than that. Without seeing my script, I like people taking the idea of it and telling me where they think it would go. I like getting a diverse response to the way people view things. After all, you're not going to get two people in the audience who are exactly the same so this is important for me to do. 

After that, I begin to take it into the rehearsal room. Bits are rehearsed, rewritten, friends come in to watch bits and offer feedback, and then I give myself a break. You come back to it and if you find that scenes work well, and the routines are still funny, then you're onto something. And then it's just practice, practice, rehearse, refine, and take it from there. 

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
The audience is the reason for making the work. I mean, there's a certain sense of self indulgence when you write shows for yourself to perform (which I will always try and acknowledge!), but the main reason is for the audience. I want to make work that I would want to see. I want to be able to make them leave the theatre having to think about something in a different way than they did before entering. 

That is the power of theatre. I may not change anyone's lives with my work but if they can leave and walk, drive or train home and think about it as they're doing so, then that to me is successful. That's what a good piece of theatre should always do.

Are there any questions that you feel I have missed out that would help me to understand how dramaturgy works for you?
I would say you should ask about who people think there audience is, like who is their target audience and does that impact the making of the work? Otherwise, it's a solid ground to ask others about their process.