So, how did Alix In Wundergarten come about ?
Well, everyone says write about what you know so I did. I am actor and I understand an actor's psyche, all the doubts, paranoia and ego, so I wanted to concentrate upon actor's insecurity.
Why use " Alice In Wonderland"?
I needed a hook and Alice asks "Who Am I", which is what an actor does. When everything is stripped away what is left?
What is the history of "Alix In Wundergarten"?
It ran last Christmas at The Other Room in Porters for 3 weeks. That is why there are still some Christmas props, but trust me there used to be a lot more.
What differences are there for this production?
We have moved to a sixty minute running time to fit the requirement of the Edinburgh festival. We have reduced the cast from 5 to 4 and recruited 2 new performers. Also, we had several weeks to prepare at Porters but only 9 days in Chapter.
What was the audition process?
That I find is the worst part of being an actor. You are basically asked to read from a script in front of strangers and there is no flexibility. We like to be different and we need performers who are happy improvising. I think it is very important for the casting directors and the performers to be open-minded. So for the character of Jess we played a Bonnie Tyler track and asked to create a piece to go with it. There is a lot of improvisation in the show so we need actors how are comfortable in this format.
Some of this is improvised? It certainly doesn't feel that way. It is clearly weird but it looks quite tight.
No, it is currently 40% improvised and our director( Angharad Lee) wants us to increase to 50% by the time we open in Edinburgh. The minute she sees us in our comfort zone she wants to keep us on our toes.
As a playwright faced with a blank sheet of paper what kind of experience do you want the audience to have?
I love playing with form and creating unpredictability. I believe that by taking risks and making them react to contentious situations you make the audience complicit. I feel that by pushing limits you place a mirror up to ourselves to see how we react to them. For me the best part of a show is watching an audience (and trust me that happens a lot – David).s
Who are your writing inspirations?
I love The Mighty Boosh & The League Of Gentlemen.
How would you describe your character Fabian?
He is a nervous wreck. It takes me a long time to get into character and the constant improvisations ensures that it takes me long time to unwind afterwards.
The radio station clock is an important prop as it shows the real time.
You overran on Wednesday so, when does the show normally end?
To be honest there is no set ending. It varies every night and we never quite know how we are going to finish it.
So, tonight ( Saturday) is your last performance before Edinburgh. Are you excited?
Yes, we can’t wait. After tonight’s get out we will pack up the set and props and in the morning we head to Edinburgh on coach shared other Welsh companies . We alternate our performances with “Saturday Night Forever” (check out our review and interview with Delme Thomas) so I plan to see as many shows as possible, especially featuring other Welsh companies.
But, somehow I must learn not to over-indulge.
And after Edinburgh?
Well, Lewis Carroll following up “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” with “Alice Through The Looking Glass”, so "Alix Through The Looking Glass” – you never know.
And with that Francois shot off to the rehearsal studio saying “ I mustn’t be late”.
We thank him for his time as well as his talent and bravery for creating such an interesting and unusual show. ( You can see the review in our review section).
Alix in Wundergarten is playing on odd numbered days between 9-29 August
19.10 at Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)