So, what can we expect from " The Girl Who Fell In Love With The Moon"?
It is a complete departure from our last show, The Hive. After two years of dystopian drama we fancied a go at some fairy tale-esque comedy and as a new company we are keen to keep trying new things. At it’s heart, the show is about humankind’s relationship with the skies, reflected in each of our characters having a certain pull towards elements above us; stars, clouds, the sun and of course the moon. The entire show unpacks from a bundle of suitcases and erupts into a vast collection of props, costumes, some dodgy accents from Flo and Roz and a stunning goldfish impression from Freddie. It uses a similar combination of movement, poetry and puppetry that we explored in The Hive, as well as the addition of live music and hopefully a few more laughs.
How have rehearsals been going?
We began rehearsals for this show as soon as we returned from Edinburgh last year. Rather than starting with a script and blocking it together, we decided to devise it from scratch all together in the rehearsal room. This took the form of bizarre improvisations and creating a poem with each cast member saying a word at a time in turn – safe to say some of us lost any sense of reality during these exercises. This gave the rehearsal process a constant buzz of creation and meant that all the material we created was completely flexible and organic. After two months of putting the show together we have since had two week-long rehearsal periods of polishing and tweaking first at The Pleasance, Islington and then The Castle, Wellingborough respectively. So now, apart from the behemoth task of actually packing, we are feeling ready and raring to go for the Festival!
With just a few weeks to go are you excited/ nervous?
We are currently all on a rehearsal residency preparing the show so we are raring to go! Of course Edinburgh brings along with it a lot of nerves, for instance; will Parcel Force turn up and simply laugh at the size of our set before flouncing off into the distance? And will Fleur actually bring any winter clothes this year? But mostly we’re really excited to share our new play with a brand new audience, especially as it’s very different to the show you saw last year!
Both of your Edinburgh shows have been at Pleasance Dome. This is quite a prestigious venue for a small company. How has this come about?
We were lucky enough to win the Les Enfants Terribles Award last year that secured us a Pleasance Venue, and for some strange reason they invited us back this year (we didn’t need to be asked twice!)
Is it a good venue to play?
We love the Jack Dome because it’s nice and intimate. We can get right up in our audience’s faces… Ok so we don’t actually do that, but we feel it’s perfectly proportioned for the size of our shows.
I am intrigued how performers fill their day in Edinburgh your show is at 14.30pm. Do you have quiet mornings and late nights?
Yes and no. Mainly no. And also largely yes. Most of our days are spent flyering on the Royal Mile and around the venue. Last year our show was at 12pm so we were out on The Mile by 10am. Thankfully we are able to head out a little later this year, so will have more time to nurse the occasional hangover. There is always so much going on during the Festival, either a show to see, a pub to drink at or a club to dance at and whatever else, so we try to fill our time and see as much as we can. However, inevitably towards the end of the month, when the long days flyering and performing, nights spent drinking and lack of sleep catches up with us, we will be dying for an early night.
Does it take you long to unwind after a show?
In the whirlwind that is Edinburgh I’m not too sure if we do actually unwind after the show, we’re usually just excited to get to an array of plays, oh and eat pasta for the 18th day in a row… and outside of Edinburgh we always have a get out to do and then will have driven to our venue together so will be heading home, so I suppose we don’t really think about unwinding. All being friends already, we enjoy spending time with each other, so I guess that’s our unwinding.
I understand performers have a pass to see shows at their venue. Are there any particular shows you fancy watching at Pleasance Dome?
We’re really excited to see Blam! and Institute by Gecko. The Solid Life of Sugar Water by Graeame Matter is also on our to do list as their work with disabled artists in ground breaking.
What are your memories of "The Hive" at Edinburgh last year?
Having seen our show last year you may remember that we had a mantra ‘Safety in segregation, pleasure in logic and peace in solidarity’ that we said repeatedly. Not only was this mantra repeated many times during the show, the show that we had repeated every day for a month, but it was also actually written on our set. It was therefore astonishing to us when Chris, who played the Network Controller, one day forgot his lines mid-mantra, and just stared like a rabbit in headlights at the audience before whispering an extra ‘safety’ very slowly indeed and waving his hands in front of his face as he walked off, as if this would somehow make the audience think he was magically disappearing and not notice. Nothing can really beat that highlight!
Why did you come to the festival last year?
To garner new audiences as an emerging company and be immersed in the largest Arts Festival in the world.
Assuming it was your first festival what did you expect?
We heard a lot about how exhausting it would be, so we were definitely expecting that. A few of us had been to Edinburgh before as punters so knew the sort of atmosphere and sensation of being surrounded and completely immersed in art and performance, which got the rest of us who had never been before buzzing with excitement.
How did the reality differ from your expectations?
It was not as absolutely exhausting as we had expected, perhaps because there had been so much hype around this for so long beforehand. The excitement of being in such a beautiful city and surrounded by all that theatre, dance, music, comedy and art was genuinely exhilarating. It makes you realise what you are a part of, and there is a real sense of community with the other performers, companies and audiences. The one thing we definitely did not expect was our freezer breaking during the first week, and having to throw out some rather pungent chicken breast whilst trying not to vomit. Also, no one told as about the 99p beers from Lidl.
What is the best thing about the festival?
Being a part of the world’s biggest Arts Festival and being able to perform in the thick of it. It really is such an honour.
What is the worst thing about the festival?
Is it predictable that we’d answer the weather? Probably, but oh isn’t it true. Come on Edinburgh; give us a little continuity for one day of the month! No I’m only joking, we love it when it’s sunny, rainy, sunny, windy, rainy, snowy, rainy, then sunny again all in the same day. It’s like our very own fashion show.
What shows did you enjoy last year?
Last year one of the first shows we saw was Action To The Word’s ‘Dracula’, which was a steam-punk rock opera based on Bram Stoker’s novel. ‘Lights, camera, improv!’ was an improvisation show based around movie genres, two groups of us went on different nights and each one was fantastic! Another firm favourite of ours was a show called Scaramouch Jones, which was a one man show following the story of a clown in his final hours as he recounts the story of his life. It was an electrifying, gripping and skilled performance, which we recommended to many others.
Despite being inundated with flyers it occurred to us at DARKCHAT that as we are quite organised before we arrive we never watch a show due to a flyer. So, as a first this year we have allocated Sunday 9th August as Flyer Day. The plan is to leave our flat ( near Arthur's Seat) and start walking down Nicholson Street and go to the 1st show we have a flyer for etc, & so forth. Does this sound a genius or a disastrous idea?
All I’ll say is good luck! We’ll be interested to see if you’re still alive at the top of the mile. But also, knowing how much effort everyone puts into their flyers, it’s lovely to know that at least one group will be paying attention to them.
Finally, how do you plan to survive that month of mayhem?
With good friends and oranges. Lots of oranges.
The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Moon plays daily (not 17th) at The Pleasance Dome