Page 1

For interviews, feature articles, footage, and behind-the-scenes content find us online at pleasancetimes.tumblr.com

PEOPLE OF PLEASANCE

Name: Height: Shoe Size: Position: Hidden Talent: Fringe Rating:

Thomas Andrew Brace More than 5ft, less than 6ft 8 Street Team Coordinator / Magician Invisible deck of cards Chaotic Good

What is it like co-ordinating the street team? This is my fourth year of doing it, so really good fun. I like the freedom of it, you’re not stuck behind a desk and you get to walk and talk to people. That’s what I’m good at. It’s going really well, and we’ve got some really great shows that we are promoting. The strangest thing you’ve seen whilst flyering? I saw a man dressed as a lion today. He wasn’t saying anything, he was just dressed as a lion. It was a kids show, I think, but I was quite terrified. The eyes were so wide for a lion, it looks like it’s done something. Also, I wouldn’t go straight for lion, like a bear? It’s your fourth Fringe. What’s it like returning? I’ve been up at the Fringe in lots of different roles, now I’’m back doing a magic show and I thought, “Oh, I’ll also do this!” I love it. I quit to try and pursue something else and then I very quickly realised that I’d always be coming back.It is addictive, and it’s not even about the shows. The shows are a very small part of it now. It’s its own bubble. Time passes in the real world and you go back and think, “What?” - “How have I missed all of this?” The first year I saw 72 shows, last year I saw about 15. I know what I like and I watch that. For me it’s just the experience and the people, and it’s always a laugh.

IT’S KIKA’S BIRTHDAY!

Hi Danyah! Who is Kika and what can you tell us about your show about? It’s called Kika’s Birthday and it’s about a little French mouse called Kika, who comes to visit her British cousins. You see them going through the seasons – and in the Summer it’s Kika’s Birthday. They have a very special birthday. They have a birthday breakfast and they wear a crown and a cloak. Whilst all this is going on I’m baking a cake. I put it in the oven and it just happens to be ready [in time]. We then take the cake out and decorate it a bit. There’s a party, dancing, a grasshopper band, so it’s a lot of fun. There’s puppetry, singing and storytelling. It’s a theatrical, storytelling piece.

What can families expect when they come to see your show? I really respond to the audience. When I do shows, people say to me, a storyteller is more akin to standup than acting. So, as the children call out and the audience heckle in anyway at all then I will take that, I love that. The naughtier the better! It’s for children between 4 and 8, so it’s softer.

9 AUGUST ISSUE TWO WELCOME

PLEASANCE

TIMES

9 AUGUST ISSUE TWO WELCOME

I was able to go, “Meowwww!” Perfect timing. For me, ad libbing is part of what I do. I love it. It’s real, it’s live.

Many children watch television instead of live theatre. What has their response been to the show? There was a child who saw this, I think he was 7, and he didn’t say it during the show but afterwards he said to his mum, “Mummy, I was concentrating so hard I forgot my own name, I’ve never forgotten my own name before.” How do you go about creating this imaginary world for children? For me, it’s about being gentle, playful and just remembering. As a five-yearold child you have seen four summers. Can you imagine how wonderful summer is, or spring? The first tiny little snow drops that come up. For us, that have seen twenty or thirty of them, it’s like, “Yeah, we know what happens.” Of course, your first two or three you won’t remember very well anyway. That’s so magical! We forget that. Kika’s Birthday, 11.30, Courtyard, Beside

Have you had any budding hecklers in your audience? I was doing one show, and there was this the little boy who was interacting, and he was really in it and then he went, “Mummy, put her on pause, I need the loo!” He said it in the most massive voice, it was fantastic! There are times when I have to ignore it because it’s deeply in the story, but today, for example, I was in the story, and there is a bright orange cat that may be coming to foil these little mice’s party – maybe to eat them for lunch. I move forward with my claws and somebody’s balloon popped. So

Any recommendations? The water. Have you tried the tap water in Scotland? It’s delicious. I’m also a big fan of Irn Bru. I drink Irn Bru for the month and then don’t drink it for 11 months of the year. Also Scoopz, the ice cream place, a big shout out to them. It’s just so good.

Media Futures Team

Brace Yourself, 14:00, 8-18 Aug, Courtyard — The Green

Contact us mediafutures@pleasance.co.uk

Content Producers Ella Dufton Jack Solloway @jack_solloway Photographer Elly White @ellywhitephoto Videographer Eliott Simpson @sockfacesimpson

CREDIT: ELLY WHITE

IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN! E thical responsibility is an idea that can be quickly forgotten amidst the stresses of small budgets, frantic flyering and the constant desire for takeout coffee. Growth in the anti-plastics movement, along with programmes such as Blue Planet, have helped draw awareness towards the issue of single-use consumption, but how can we address this within the largest arts festival in the world? Hosted by Pleasance, who are part fo the Green Arts Initiative, rising stars Poltergeist Theatre, are approaching this issue headon with their #SustainableFringe campaign. Working with Creative Carbon Scotland (who the Green Arts Initiative) and Keep Scotland Beautiful, and to support their existing work, they have created 3 simple steps for other companies and audiences alike to follow. ‘As visitors to Edinburgh, seeing how many flyers there are and how much of an impact the festival goers have, I wanted to build

something at a production level’, Alice Boyd, Poltergeist’s Sustainability Manager tells me. ‘This is the first year of the campaign, so we decided that we wanted to do three very simple challenges that people can commit to and share. These are focused on waste because it is the most visible environmental issue at the Fringe.’ So how can you get involved? First, create a ‘sustainable fringe kit’ including an array of reusables such as a lunch box, travel cutlery, ‘keep cups’. Second, recycle effectively, separating waste, recycling flyers and taking pictures of them. Third, use the fringe Swap Shop organised by Fringe Central and supported by Creative Carbon Scotland, companies can take leftover flyers, set, costume and props to be swapped or recycled. ‘Even if people don’t follow the campaign, if they just read about it, it will start planting in their mind that this is something they

should care about’. It is refreshing to see a young company with such a proactive attitude, taking a stance on this important issue. Leading by example, Alice is fully equipped with her reusable cup and tells me how the whole team have come together to promote #SustainableFringe. Their show, Lights Over Tesco Car Park, follows the story of Robert who tells the group that an alien has come to stay, leaving them to figure out whether they believe him or not. This joyous piece uses the audience to tell a story, playing with theatrical convention to contemplate ideas of truth and how perceptions of this can differ. Actively reusing props throughout the run, with plans to expand the movement, you’d be out of this world to give this one a miss! To find out more follow @SustFringe on twitter. Lights Over Tesco Car Park 10.50 Aug 8-14, 16-21, 23-27 JackDome, Dome

www.pleasance.co.uk

0131 556 6550

www.pleasance.co.uk

0131 556 6550

pleasancetimes.tumblr.com

@ThePleasance

pleasancetimes.tumblr.com

@ThePleasance


INTERVIEW: FREEMAN

‘M

eeting with Corey Campbell, Artistic Director of Strictly Arts, I sit down to speak with him about Freeman, this year’s recipient of the Charlie Hartill Reserve Fund award. Inspired by the first American to plead insanity as his defence, Freeman explores the unspoken link between mental health and systemic racism. On the face of it, it’s a hard sell, and yet the theatre was packed when I attended. The show ended with a standing ovation. ‘It’s amazing here. The energy is great. We’ve been bopping around with our t-shirts on, receiving a lot of love. Even in regards to flyering, which never happens.’ Campbell meets me in the entrance to the Dome and we find ourselves a seat near the bar. Tall and broad shouldered with an easy smile, he leans back in his chair and lets me in on his flyering technique and the company’s so-called secret weapon: ‘We use a member of the company called Marcel [White], who has the sweetest face and he sings to everyone. I don’t even know what the tactic is, we just follow him. We put him at the front.’ ‘Obviously we’re all bearded at the moment,’ Campbell gestures to his face, ‘[with our] hair grown out for the show, and one of the concerns was that we’d just scare people. So as a black male, my worry before coming here was, I’m not sure people are going to want to take flyers out of my hand, because we’re so grizzly at the moment. Now coming here has made me know that that’s not something I needed to worry about.’ Exploring issues of race throughout history, Freeman weaves together six true stories which challenge us to ask whether anything

has really changed. ‘I play William Freeman and the show for me is about the justice system, mental health and black community,’ Campbell explains. ‘William Freeman was ripped off a horse. Sandra Bland was ripped out of her car. We’re talking about 1847 and 2015. Yes, William Freeman was born at a different time and racism was a lot worse, but the actual situation was the same. The services that both of theses characters experienced deal with it in exactly the same way. I can give you a million examples of that; we haven’t just plucked two out. Campbell speaks slowly and with consideration. Language matters, and so does the way these stories are told. On stage, spoken word collides with physical theatre to create a visual poetry that conflicts, provokes and, in moments of pause, delights with its unique blend of techniques and storytelling. ‘We cross different styles,’ Campbell nods. ‘We do some 1960s-50s swing [dancing], throwing people in the air, jumping over bodies. Then, at the very beginning, you get the physical theatre representation. The stories are so elaborate; there was no one style I or Danielle Sanderson, our director, could have chosen.’ ‘Daniel M’Naghten’s character [Pip Barclay], he’s the joker. David Oluwale [Marcel White] loved todance, he was a tailor who’s into fashion.’ Campbell tugs on his t-shirt and raises his chin: ‘He was big and boasting,

and he had to have that moment for him to boast.’ ‘And Freeman, he needed that horse. He needed to get on it and he needed to feel proud. It couldn’t be a horse that was less than six foot. I wanted to feel 12-foot-high, as it’s his first job as a stable hand. He jumps on his horse, and he feels like a free man – until he comes crashing down to the ground.’ In one of the most inventive scene-changes you’ll see this Fringe, the actors create the horse with their bodies, suddenly weaving them together, before emerging transformed, trotting about the stage. Leaping high into the air, Campbell lands saddled on the shoulders of a fellow cast member and towers above the audience. I wonder if he still gets nervous making the jump despite doing it every night. ‘Any of the jumps. They’re so high, I think, “Come on Corz, you got this.” My legs are slowly wearing away. What we try and do is create these quick, very raw and visceral elements that get an audience feeling created uplifted before we hit them with the facts.’ He pauses for a moment and looks sideward. ‘The horse has a name,’ Campbell supresses a smile. ‘Cecilise. We love Cecilise.’ Wondering how the name came about, I ask whether the horse is named after someone special, at which point he gets coy with me. ‘I can’t tell you that,’ he grins. ‘Cecilise knows who she is. We have fun.’ Flipping between monologues – and one bizarre, darkly humorous scene involving shadow puppetry – bodies are placed at the centre of the play. They form horses, cars and makeshift nooses. They also dance, they hold hands and embrace one another. From one scene to the next, Freeman reminds us that prejudice is skin deep. ‘We talk about celebrating and exploring the differences and the similarities of all cultures,’ says Campbell. ‘That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. And we’ll find common ground somewhere. We will – because our blood’s red.’ Freeman 17:00, Aug 8-9, 11-27 Above, Courtyard Photo Credit: Elly White

W

SurvIVal Guide

ith the Fringe well under way – and with that, the realisation of what we’ve all let ourselves in for, with a jam-packed month ahead – we thought we’d share some stellar top tips from some of our seasoned veterans to help reduce that Fringe fatigue. Ellie, Novae Theatre, It’s Not a Sprint, 13:30, Aug 3-13, 15-20, 22-26, Pleasance Dome, Jack Dome ‘It is absolutely okay to make time for a little bit of Netflix downtime, particularly Queer Eye over a cuppa tea, self-care is very important over this month. However, do make the most of supporting your fellow theatrical comrades. It’s a special month and you’ll meet so many incredible people!’ The Clay Party Team, Outside 15:30, Aug 3-12, 14-27, Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar ‘Reviews can be a killer. If you choose to believe in them the good ones will make you feel great and the bad ones will destroy your confidence. You either have to put a lot of stock in them and believe the good with the bad, or you can choose to pay them no heed. We strongly recommend the latter.’ Infinita 13:30, Aug 4-12, 14-27, Pleasance Courtyard, The Grand ‘For participants and audience members alike, we cannot stress enough the importance of good socks: often people concentrate their attention and budget on good

walking shoes (de rigueur for the miles you are going to cover during the Fringe) but socks are almost an afterthought. This is wrong, and it has to stop. A good pair of socks or several are going to save your feet as you dash from venue to venue. Socks Rule. New shoes you must break in. New socks are an instant sensual pleasure (I am obsessed...I might need help!). Alternatively you can happily spend your entire EdFringe in the Pleasance Courtyard going from show to show and solve radically the problem of aching feet.’ Trish Roberts, Signals 13:10, Aug 3-12, 14-27, Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar ‘We’re attempting a healthy fringe this year. Rather than the pub, we’re spending our evenings compiling our unofficial budget Fringe veggie cookbook, Nigella Lawson style. We’re spending this evening swimming at the beach, we think the shock will do us some good!’ Melanie Gall, Opera Mouse 16:30, Aug 6-17, Pleasance Courtyard, The Green ‘Become a Regular: Somewhere. Anywhere. I have a cafe that knows my breakfast order (two poached eggs and toast). I have another cafe that knows my favourite snack. It’s so nice to be greeted with a smile and a genuine welcome in the general madness of the fray.’

James Dangerfield, When You Fall Down: The Buster Keaton Story 12:05, Aug 4-13, 15-27, Pleasance Courtyard, The Cellar ‘Give yourself a couple of quiet moments a week. Whether the cinema, or a walk in the park, or reading a book! Just to step outside the bubble briefly! You’ll find you’re re-energised to jump back in. Also, go to the Whisky Experience by the castle! It feels like a theme park ride at the start but you’ll leave with a renewed appreciation of all the different flavours… and, if you go for the option of tasting several whiskies, you’ll probably leave with a renewed hunger and want to head to Oink! immediately afterwards.’ Alex Slater, Narcissist in the Mirror 15:15, Aug 4-18, 20-27, Pleasance Courtyard, The Attic ‘Keep a diary - the fringe can get really hard at times but there are plenty of joyous moments, keep a record of these and when you’re feeling low you can look back and realise you didn’t always feel like this.’ Josie Dale-Jones, UNCONDITIONAL 14:15, Aug 4-13, 15-26, Pleasance Courtyard, Beside “Main tip is to just keep going and get some perspective when you can”

SNAPSHOT! Monkey Business! ensues in the Arts Industry Reception as Kikanbo from WildChild Productions’ Kensuke’s Kingdom escapes from his enclosure to surf the web. Adapted from the book by Michael Morpurgo, Kensuke’s Kingdom takes families on a journey to an island where the bananas are red and orangutans roam. Swing by Pleasance 2 to see an incredible show of puppetry, adventure and family-friendly storytelling. Kensuke’s Kingdom 12.30, Aug 8-12, 14-27 Courtyard, Pleasance 2 Photo Credit: Elly White

Pleasance Times - Issue 2  

Pleasance Times - Issue 2

Pleasance Times - Issue 2  

Pleasance Times - Issue 2

Advertisement