Thursday, 25 May 2017

Marking Dramaturgy: Rachel ME McKenzie @ Edfringe 2017

Marking Time 
at Surgeons Hall (Venue 53) ​ 18:05 Aug 4-5, 7-12, 14-19 (50 minutes) 14+

Brand new one-woman show tackles life-changing news and takes place inside a broken down hospital lift.  Tom has cancer and is about to meet the consultant.  Wife Ruth, is in too much of a hurry to notice the lift is out of order.  

She is trapped until an NHS engineer arrives who is currently on the other side of a Fringe fuelled Edinburgh.   

Ruth is forced to take a breath away from the world.  She unravels their journey from disbelief at diagnosis, radiotherapy, to the new results the consultant is about to deliver. 

What was the inspiration for this performance? 
Receiving a shock diagnosis that my husband had cancer.  How it turned our lives upside down. Meeting inspirational people and getting through it.

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 
It’s an excellent space – the best.  You can see the multi dimensions to real life.  You don’t get that in a studio based argument.

How did you become interested in making performance?
I have always enjoyed spoken word and watching performances.  When I saw Carol Ann Duffy’s “The World’s Wife” at EdFringe 2009, I knew I wanted to make my own performances.  I started at Free Fringe in 2009.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
I just like to try and reach a wide audience.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?
Yes it does.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
Entertainment, awareness and hope if they or a loved one is going through an illness.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

It is a one woman show and the character Ruth is trapped in a lift.  I hope this will shape the audience experience of taking time out. 

Loosening inhibitions and fears and listening to a story, which ultimately is a human story which will affect all of us at some point.  

Has the treatment bought them some more time? What about the people they have met on the way?  “Yes Tom has cancer, but this is not a gloomy story" says Edinburgh based writer Rachel McKenzie, "far from it.  It's about enjoying life and it’s about love.  Where else but stuck in a lift shaft to make you wake up to that!”

The show is inspired by the approaching 70th anniversary of the NHS.  Pioneering in healthcare has led to life-saving treatments and longevity unimaginable in post war Britain.  “Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital" says Rachel McKenzie,  who worked as a nurse in oncology there, “deserves their world class reputation.  Many people have a story to tell about loss, particularly from cancer, and the importance of hope and available treatment is incalculable”.  Marking Time spans the generations and reflects on those who returned home in 1945.  Bringing with them the freedom to cultivate opportunities in healthcare.  Raising some questions about how they might see the choices we are making today, for the future.

Experienced in spoken word, Rachel McKenzie brought plays to PBH’s free fringe in 2009 and 2010 and has served as a director on the Fringe board.   Since then she has trained in law at Edinburgh university and combines that with her Nursing experience in new venture RMEMME.  “I’ve worn a lot of hats from my first job in fashion, then nursing and onto law.  I use these experiences to write about the multiple dimensions in everyday life.  That is the huge contribution the Arts makes to life, to draw it away from black and white, negative, stereotyped argument.  It’s what the fighting spirit that started the Fringe achieved, also 70 years ago, and we are still reaping the rewards today.”

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