Posts

,

Edinburgh Fringe Diary: Day 3 

Fringe Awards 2018

Fringe Awards 2018

I start the day by heading to the Fringe First Awards at Pleasance Courtyard. The weekly awards recognise new work at the Edinburgh Fringe and The Scotsman have been hosting the awards since 2004; they continue to be the most important awards at the Fringe.

Jason Donovan took time out of his short festival appearance to help present this morning’s Fringe Firsts. Summerhall and the Traverse have each won six awards this year, which is kind of remarkable.

Anyway, rules for the prize were simple. It doesn’t pretend to cover all genres – it would celebrate theatre, as theatre tends to suck in the best bits of other genres anyway.

Many congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

A quirky tale themed around extra-terrestrial sightings, Lights Over Tesco Car Park offers up the perfect theatrical fit for Oxford-based Poltergeist Theatre’s inimitable melancholy. These bright young things have crafted with charm and humour a simple but multi-faceted interactive show that works so superbly on so many levels. The whole thing is staged with infectious youthful seriousness; really enjoyable.

The production is staged with visual sophistication and is emotionally engaging. But, watching this playful study of outsiders, I too felt a sense of alienation. Clever stuff.

I head off to the Pleasance Cafe to have a chin wag with Lyn Gardner. We have a mint tea and discuss several shows that we have both seen. Gardner has been here all month: writing a daily blog for The Stage, participating in podcasts, reviewing for The Independent and seeing up to six shows a day.

She’s kind of amazing.

Clown Show About Rain explores the unpredictable nature of mental health. Clowning, beautiful visuals and physical theatre, this is a quietly enjoyable hour. A poignant piece that borders on the saccharine yet still contains some subtle theatre magic thrown in – there’s a vibrant dance scene with mops and the cast deserve an award for their facial expressions. Not awful.

I’m not quite sure how I ended up at a show about about a woman who has vaginismus, which is a fairly brazen set up. But Skin A Cat at Assembly Rooms, is a clever and frank drama. Isley Lynn’s comic play about one woman’s sexual identity was certainly an eye-opener.

Actually, the moments that do feel a little commonplace here are vastly outweighed by moments that allow uniqueness to shine through. A story that compels its audience towards strong feeling but keeps spectators at a distance. Worth a look.

David Greig’s expanded revival of Midsummer – originally a Fringe two-hander in 2008 – is inexplicably at the Hub for the International Festival. This spirited chamber musical is a thing of joy. It occasionally feels like hard work, though.

There are strong performances from Henry Pettigrew and Sarah Higgins, with a supporting on-stage band delivering a sweet soundtrack. But the dissonance between the forgettable songs and a man having a midlife crisis amidst a haze of hangovers is just too jarring to work. It goes on a bit.

I ended the night at Summerhall with Mark Fisher (The Guardian) chatting about life, Fringe fever & other things. Such fun.

,

Taiwan Season 2018 at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Sun Son Theatre
Sun Son Theatre

Sun Son Theatre

For the fifth year in a row the world’s biggest arts festival features a showcase of dance and theatre direct from Taiwan

In 2018 the Taiwan Season returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for a fifth consecutive year with some of the best live performances being made on the island today. Drawn from an open call to practitioners of all art forms in Taiwan, and carefully curated by the key Fringe venues Dance Base and Summerhall, the season spotlights dance and theatre via a quartet of meaningful and uniquely entertaining productions:

*In Once Upon a Daydream (Summerhall, Aug 1-26) a bouncy, colourful but lonely single female blurs the line between real-life and her highly active imagination.

*The Delusion of Home (Summerhall, Aug 1-26) is a strong, original documentary-style depiction of local contemporary life refracted through one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.

*In Bon 4 Bon (Dance Base, Aug 3-26) four real-life brothers take to the stage in a fresh, literally moving story of memories and mangos.

*Ancient cultural practices receive a dynamic and sensitive new spin in the evocative dance trio Varhung – Heart to Heart (Dance Base, Aug 3-26).

[Please note: no shows on Aug 6, 13 and 20.]

Taiwan Season 2018 warmly invites audiences to experience a range of ideas, emotions and flavours in a hand-picked sampling of some the most stimulating contemporary performances from Taiwan. Whether the tone is playful or dramatic, and based in bubbly fantasy or stark reality, these four shows embrace a gamut of creative impulses, varied settings and complex themes: urban and rural, tradition and modernity, the individual and society, public and private, home and homelessness…

Taiwan Season 2018 is produced and managed collaboratively by Tai He Arts Production Co., Ltd., Taiwan and Step Out Arts, UK and funded by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan. 

Taiwan Season 2018: four works showcasing the best of Taiwanese creativity.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taiwanseasonfringe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/taiwanseason18

 

INDIVIDUAL SHOWS:

Once Upon a Daydream by Sun Son Theatre

Venue 26: Summerhall TechCube 0 / Time: 14.40 (45 mins)

August 1, 2: £5 / August 3-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26: £8 (£6)

£25 family ticket

Box office: 0131 560 1581 / Suitable for age 5 and above

Sun Son Theatre, returning to Summerhall after its success in Taiwan Season 2017, welcomes you to enter a light-hearted world of live action and hand-crafted animation.  Originally created by visual artist/actor Wan-Chun Liu, this disarming show is a 21st century urban fairytale where the line between real-life and fantasy is sweetly blurred and dreams can come true. It introduces us to a single woman – buoyant and colourful, but also bored and lonely – who returns home after work every day to a world of the imagination. Hand-drawn film imagery conjures up home as a safe but possibly confining place of salty tears and sugar water, bathroom karaoke and a mermaid alter ego who isn’t at all as ugly as she might sometimes feel. Come and let your own imagination – and spirit – run free.

Director: Chong-Leong Ng

Concept, animator, actress: Wan-Chun Liu

Actress: Hui-Yun Chuang

Actor: Wei-Loy Chang

Composer, musician: Ivan Alberto Flores Moran, Zi-Yin Chen

Founded in 1998, Sun Son Theatre is a unique musical and physical theatre from Taiwan. Imbued with the company members’ expertise in acting, music and dance, its collectively-created performances explore the primal power of the moving body and live sound. Utilising both modern and traditional aesthetics, the work ischaracterised by an organic and unified energy free from racial and cultural boundaries.
https://www.sunsontheatre.com/

 

Heart of Darkness [Summerhall 2017] is a terrific piece of ensemble theatre that even on a second viewing left me wanting more.’ seeingdance.com

 
and….

The Delusion of Home by Our Theatre

Venue 26: Summerhall TechCube 0 / Time: 15.55 (50 mins)

August 1, 2: £5/ August 3-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26: £12 (£10)

£38 family ticket

Box office: 0131 560 1581 / Suitable for age 12 and above

 

The Delusion of Home is a strong, sometimes bitingly witty and original documentary-style depiction of everyday life in the Chiayi area of southern Taiwan, refracted through one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. Oyster farming and Taoist funeral rites are as much of a touchstone as King Lear in Our Theatre’s character-driven study of displacement, poverty, homelessness and the search for meaning and renewal. Live performance and projected photographs of the declining villages of Taiwan’s southern coastline are skilfully integrated to illuminate sometimes harsh human truths.

Original Concept: I-Tseng Chuang and Lan-Chuan Yen
Director: Jhao-Cian Wang

Playwright: Cheng-Ping Hsu

Music design / musician: Chun-Yuan Ko

Actors: In-Ta Chen, Pen-Chieh Yu and Cheng-Ping Hsu

Established in 2015, Our Theatre is the first performing arts group for  contemporary theatre to be officially established in the greater Chiayi area. In choosing Chiayi as a base, it intentionally distances itself from metropolitan areas. Focusing on folk culture and common people, the troupe is devoted to developing productions from a southern point of view. Our Theatre has produced approximately twenty works in different styles. It began by adapting   Western classics in ways that fit local moods, and usually with a humorous touch. In recent years, however, it has been experimenting with a new generation of Taiwanese-language works in the Minnan dialect. By doing so it strives to set a new direction for the development of art and culture in Chiayi. At the same time, it is constantly aware of the question of how theatre can connect with people and society.http://ourtheatre.net/

‘Rich in experimental flavour and brimming with local colour.’ Taiwan Panorama

and…

 

Bon 4 Bon by Chang Dance Theatre and Eyal Dadon

Venue 22: Dance Base / Time: 17.00 (35 mins)

August 3-5: £11 (£9) / August 7-12, 14-19, 21-26: £13 (£11)

Box office: 0131 225 5525 / Suitable for age 8 and above

 

Collaborating with the prize-winning Israeli choreographer Eyal Dadon, four real-life brothers take to the stage in a literally moving story of memories and mangos. The result is a smart serving of fresh, engaging dance by a sparky young Taiwanese company that’s plainly ready to take on the world. Founded in 2011, Chang Dance Theatre produces only one work per year. Premiered in 2017, Bon 4 Bon is the first in which the siblings perform together using material that arose directly from improvisations centred round their individual experiences of being related. Featuring a soundtrack that includes tracks by Paul McCartney and Bon Iver, this is a touching and humorous look at the slippery rhythms and habitual behaviours of family.

 

Choreographer: Eyal Dadon

Company manager / performer: Chien-Hao Chang

Artistic director / performer: Chien-Chih Chang

Resident artists / performers: Chien-Kuei Chang and Ho-Chien Chang

Chang Dance Theatre was founded in 2011 by four brothers, all graduates from the dance department of Taipei National University of the Arts. The company combines the coherence and cohesion that comes from being siblings with the collaborative assistance and insights of creative partners from different disciplines.www.facebook.com/ChangDanceTheater

‘Dancing bodies able to execute precise movement and deliver poetic imagery.’ Reg’Arts.org
 
and…

                                     

Varhung – Heart to Heart by Tjimur Dance Theatre

Venue 22: Dance Base / Time: 18.15 (50 mins)

August 3-5: £11 (£9) / August 7-12, 14-19, 21-26: £13 (£11)

Box office: 0131 225 5525 / Suitable for age 8 and above

 

Taiwan’s premier indigenous dance-theatre company presents a richly-patterned, open-hearted performance in which private feelings are always on the verge of being made public. Both physically and emotionally charged,Tjimur’s work embraces a bounty of intoxicating, artfully expressed sensations. Working in close collaboration with the company’s founding artistic director Ljuzem Madiljin, in-house choreographer (and sibling) Baru Madiljin and three dynamic dancers bring ancient Paiwan cultural traditions up to date. They know that every human heart holds profound secrets. Their appealing, fine-tuned awareness lends the unique personal and tribal impulses of Varhung – Heart to Heart a distinctly universal resonance.

 

Artistic director: Ljuzem Madiljin

Choreographer: Baru Madiljin

Dancers: Ching-Hao Yang, Ljaucu Tapurakac and Tzu-En Meng

Founded in 2006, Tjimur Dance Theatre is the first contemporary dance company dedicated to the indigenous Paiwan culture of Taiwan. Through its explorations of this living cultural heritage, Tjimur has created a unique style of dance that represents the modern body aesthetics of contemporary Paiwan people. The company also works with different performing artists and groups from Taiwan and abroad, collaborations which help to develop original dance forms and innovative production models that link Paiwan culture to the world.

https://www.tjimur.com

‘Deeply touching…The passion is palpable.’ The Scotsman on Kurakuraw – Dance of the Glass Bead

, , ,

Edinburgh Festivals Diary – Day 3

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

Saturday 19 August

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

Edinburgh Festival Diary -Day 3

My Saturday morning began at the Traverse Theatre for Zinnie Harris’ beautifully devastating ‘Meet Me At Dawn’. Harris’ gorgeous play for the Edinburgh International Festival is a take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth and sees two women washed up on a beach after an accident at sea. At first I thought I was in for a Waiting For Godot sequel – with all the flourishes you’d expect from a Beckett piece. However, the play evolved majestically, is extremely beautiful and by all accounts ‘worth a watch’.

I made my way up to the EIF Hub with some cookies for the press manager and her team.

‘How are you all?’, I asked mischievously.

‘We’re doing fine… Over half way now,’ she responded.

‘Shall we eat the cookies?’ I asked.

We did.

I did some writing over lunch and ended up sitting next to a classical music critic.

‘Have you seen The Divide?’ I asked.

‘Oh yes,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want to talk about it!’

So there we are.

Summerhall

Summerhall

I made my way to Summerhall with anticipation to Selina Thompson’s ‘Salt’. A play that tackles Europe’s involvement in the slave trade with an iron fist. (This play is fucking great). Genuinely political, satirical, provocative, innovative and completely brilliant. A decadent, astute theatrical triumph and I loved it. This one woman show deserves all the praise.

As Saturday afternoon wore on and the streets filled with boozing, I found myself at The Space on Niddry St for ‘Penthouse. Sober.

A play that started off better than I could have expected and ended up being far worse than I could ever have feared. The blurb says it offers ‘an insight into the world of bankers and the pressure they face that can lead them to take their own lives’. It is clumsy in the handling of the subject matter, though, and in dealing in outdated stereotypes will leave you in a state of delirium. Depressing stuff, but what can you do.

By the end of this 38 minute fiasco (advertised: 55 mins) I wanted to jump off the roof. It’s not very good, i’m afraid.

(Yes I know it’s not polite to dwell on awfulness but know your enemy and all that).

My evening ended at the Churchill Theatre for ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’. Barry McGovern’s performance at Church Hill Theatre confirms him as the leading interpreter of Beckett. This haunting play examines age and memory and lasts less than an hour; ideal.

Overall — a good(ish) day.

Plenty of food for thought, readers.

Note: According to my pedometer I did 18, 535 steps (12 kilometres)

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR MEET ME AT DAWN

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR SALT

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR PENTHOUSE
CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS FOR KRAPP’S LAST TAPE
, ,

Mamoru Iriguchi ( 4D Cinema ) : ‘By having a screen around your face, you can make sure that everybody enjoys both the video and your face’

Mamoru Iriguchi

Mamoru Iriguchi

Mamoru Iriguchi is at Summerhall with 4D Cinema. I caught up with him and chatted about the challenges of being a performer at Edinburgh, technical difficulties and more.

Hi ya! Where are you and what are you doing currently?
In my flat (I live in Edinburgh) and drinking coffee. If this question is about my work, I am a theatre designer and performance maker.

How have audiences responded to 4D Cinema so far?
Very positively, I think.

In your show 4D Cinema – you sport a screen and a projector around your face – Where did the idea come from?
When you use video projection in your show, often the audience members only watch the projection and forget about your presence. By having a screen around your face, you can make sure that everybody enjoys both the video and your face.
4D Cinema is partly about the differences between live and filmed performances, so I wanted to place the two very closely.

What’s the hardest part about being a Fringe performer?
I think the hardest part would be sharing a bedroom with ten other performers. Luckily I am based in Edinburgh, so I do not have that. I wish I had more money to see more shows but this is probably a universal issue for everyone who works in art.

Do you read reviews of your work?
Yes, I cry with joy or despair while reading them.

How do you warm up physically, mentally and vocally for this show?
I cycle (uphill) to the venue everyday. I often take a cycle path around Arthur’s Seat and sing a song or two. I am ready when I get there.

Summerhall is quite remarkable isn’t it?
Yes there are lots of really great shows.

Have you been down the Royal Mile in your garb? It would be quite something.
I am afraid not, because, sadly, my projector is not battery-operated.

Have you had any technical difficulties?
Nothing other than my own clumsiness.

Anything you’d like to add? 
Please come to see 4D Cinema.

Solo tour-de-force Scorch puts gender identity centre stage at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Scorch is presented by Primecut Productions at Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall and sees the Fringe debut for award-winning Northern Irish playwright Stacey Gregg. Directed by Emma Jordan (Paul Hamlyn Cultural Entrepreneurship Breakthrough Award) and performed by Amy McAllister (Call the MidwifePhilomena) the production showcases the work of three of the most exciting voices in Northern Irish theatre today. The play is a new original work from Belfast playwright Stacey Gregg and explores issues surrounding gender disclosure experienced by a contemporary teenager.

Scorch

Scorch

Scorch gained further international recognition after it won the Irish Times theatre award for Best New Play of 2015 and has recently won Best New Play at the Writer’s Guild of Ireland ZeBBie Awards.

Inspired by recent court cases and set in the round, Amy McAllister plays Kes, a troubled teenage girl struggling with her gender identity. Kes explores her sexuality and gender by posing as a boy who embarks on an intimate relationship with another girl, which leads to devastating effects both legally and personally. At times funny, poignant and explosive, Scorch is a story of first love through the eyes of a gender-curious teen and examines how the human story often gets lost amidst the headlines.
Presented by Prime Cut Productions; Scorch is directed by Emma Jordan, produced by Una NicEoin and written by Stacey Gregg. Featuring Design/LX by Ciaran Bagnall, Sound Design by Carl Kennedy and Costume Design by Enda Kenny. The production and associated outreach activity is made possible through funding provided by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
2016 marks the third year of Roundabout, Paines Plough’s award-winning portable in-the-round auditorium. It will take up residency once again at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4 – 29 August.

The real life issue takes on heightened dramatic resonance, fractured and splintered by Gregg’s syncopated prose style”

★★★★ Irish Times

McAllister deftly deals with the emotions involved: incredulity, sadness, fear and the lingering confusion”

★★★★ GiggingNI

Listings Information:

Scorch

Venue: Paines Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall

Dates & Times: 18.05 (55 mins)5 – 28 August (not Tuesdays 9, 16, 23)

Tickets: Previews 5,6,7, August: £9

10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, 25, 29 August: £14 (full) £12 (conc)
8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 August: £16 (full) £14 (conc)
Box Office: 0131 226 000 / 0131 560 1581 tickets.edfringe.com or summerhall.co.uk

Prime Cut Productions Theatre CompanyBased in Belfast, Northern Ireland and formed in 1992, Prime Cut Productions is at the forefront of contemporary international theatre across the island of Ireland. With over 30 Irish and Northern Irish premieres to their name, Prime Cut have a reputation for producing award-winning, critically acclaimed professional theatre, that challenges, provokes, inspires, entertains and enthrals.

About Paines Plough. Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays. The company commissions and produces the best playwrights and tours their plays far and wide. Whether you’re in Liverpool or Lyme Regis, Scarborough or Southampton, a Paines Plough show is coming to a theatre near you soon.
Paines Plough was formed in 1974 over a pint of Paines bitter in the Plough pub. Since then they’ve produced more than 130 new productions by world renowned playwrights like Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Sarah Kane, Mark Ravenhill, Dennis Kelly and Mike Bartlett.
2016 marks the third year of Roundabout, Paines Plough’s award-winning portable in-the-round auditorium. The Roundabout season will preview from 19 – 24 July at Hackney Showroom in London before taking up residency once again at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 4 – 29 August