Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Screw Your Dramaturgy: Klahr Thorsen @ Edfringe 2016

SCREW YOUR COURAGE! (or The Bloody Crown!)
Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236) 13:50 Aug 5-13, 15-20, 22-27

In this one-woman show, a Brooklyn actress confronts her most stubborn demons. Cursed with an unshakeable obsession to triumph in the role of Lady Macbeth, will she finally come to terms with Shakespeare’s most misunderstood heroine? Or will she succumb to madness, Serbians and enchanted bagpipers? Warning: Contains drama and insanity. 

What was the inspiration for this performance? 

I've always been fascinated by Lady Macbeth.  About six years ago, I was participating in a very intense program at Shakespeare & Company (here in the States) and was working on the role.  We were strongly encouraged to draw parallels between the trajectory of our characters and the trajectory of our own lives.  One night I was writing during a mandatory journal writing session (SO American!), and the idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  I knew that I could do it, and I knew that it had to be a solo show. 

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

That's a huge question because it's been six years in the making!  Matt Hoverman and his Go-Solo Workshop here in New York City was absolutely instrumental in the writing of the show.  My friends Autumn Mirassou, Kacie Laforest, and Perri Yaniv were my rocks during the initial staging, and now my director (and former teacher) Eileen Vorbach has joined on!  I've also relied heavily on my friends from Shakespeare's Globe for their continued support and guidance and, of course, my husband Sean who is possibly the most patient man in Brooklyn (imagine how often he's had to run lines with me!). 

How did you become interested in making performance?

When I was a student at The Second City Conservatory in my hometown of Chicago, making performance was the only thing we did!  Honestly, I was terrified of improv, but my Mom had just died and I needed a challenge and a distraction.  And, boy did I get one - when it goes wrong (which it easily can) it can be quite daunting.  But when it worked, it was pure magic! 

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

That's hard to say because it was my first solo show, and it's worlds apart from improvising with an ensemble or doing a play.  I definitely used techniques from The Second City, but I also used a lot of techniques that I learned during my Fellowship at the Globe.  Performing at the Globe is an extraordinary experience because that theatre allows you to open up and have an intimate conversation with a thousand people.  Actually, it doesn't just allow it - it demands it!  I address the audience directly quite a bit in SCREW YOUR COURAGE, which was an intentional choice.  I wanted the audience to feel that they were coming with me on a journey rather than just observing me. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they're surprised by the show.  There are many elements in the piece (comedy, drama, Shakespeare, contemporary language, and... Shakespeare in Serbian).  It's a lot of fun, but it also deals with some very serious matters, such as my family's history of mental illness.  

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I wrote three witches into the story for the purpose of exposition (and, yes, their lines are mostly written in trochaic tetrameter because... giant nerd).  Otherwise, I tried to use a comedic touch to move the story forward.  I think that helps the audience when things get serious.  After all, even King Lear had a fool. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

Certainly it's part of the solo theatre revolution we've been having here in New York City, and it's part of the ongoing fringe theatre tradition as well. 

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