BED, a story about the sexual awakening of a young gay man, is an original piece of theatre written and performed by a group of from London’s School of Economics. Its debut was on 7th August and I was lucky enough to be amongst the first Fringe audience that was treated to this thought provoking performance. I have since had the opportunity to have a chat with the writer James Dunn, director Alice Harrison and three of the four cast members, Nikhil Parmar (playing Eddie), Celine Buckens (Imogen), and Joe Shalom (Robin), allowing me some insight into their writing and directing strategies, cast dynamics and Fringe experience.
I met the cast in the Brass Monkey whilst they were midway through discussing their post show notes. So, beers to hand, it was my turn to speak.
Congratulations on bringing BED to the fringe, I saw it recently and thought that the script was really impressive and the acting and characterisation was very moving. I think that BED tackled issues of sexuality, relationships and feminism very effectively. You addressed them lucidly but subtly in comparison to a lot of shows I have seen. Was it a deliberate decision to make these poignant themes understated?
Dunn: “Yeh, I mean those aspects kind of appeared but themselves, they were never intentionally written in. I tried to avoid forcing those delicate themes down the audience’s throat”.
Harrison: “We were trying to look at how young people communicate and discuss these ideas, rather than necessarily trying to put a message across”.
Buckens: “The fact that we talk about gay guys isn’t a focus”.
Parmer: “Eddie’s lack of consideration about feminism and misogyny stems from a lack of understanding and is about social immaturity compared with the Robin’s social intellectual superiority”.
Shalom: “It’s nice that we don’t resolve it, that there is no right or wrong answer. We’re simply presenting levitra effetti collaterali different views”.
Buckens:“Eddie is not vilified for his views”.
Harrison: “Since the performance of BED at the Fuel Theatre Festival in March, the themes have became subtler because we felt that the lack of resolution is important. We’re revealing a mere cross section or window into four characters lives rather than defining a period with a moral message”.
Shalom: “Ultimately, the aim is to be though provoking”.
What did you find was the hardest thing about taking this show to the Fringe and how have you found the experience so far?
Parmer: “LSE funded us completely and the important thing now is for us to give something back to our university. We put on a preview and we want to be able to say we’re actually here showcasing LSE’s talent. George Bernard Shaw was one of the founders of LSE; he had a shed built in his garden on a pivot so it would rotate towards the sun when he was writing, hence the name of our theatre company (The Revolving Shed). Like Bernard Shaw’s work we try to have a philosophical story line through our writing. We always put original plays on, we never bring something someone else has done”.
What’s it like performing knowing that you are being reviewed when you have obviously put a lot of work into the show. Do you guys read reviews written about you and how do you deal with criticism and compliments?
Dunn: “I thrive off criticism as opposed to salutary well dones, I’d rather someone told me the things that they thought were sh*t”.
Shalom: “This is quite a personal question, it would probably differ for all of us. I prefer to perform in front of a reviewer than in front of a normal audience. I get a bigger buzz knowing that
I’m being watched and marked. The only danger of knowing that you’re being reviewed is that people can sometimes overdo the acting and show off too much. Emotionally, I get hyped when a reviewer comes but then I have to hold myself back to ensure my performance is preis viagra at still naturalistic”.
Parmar: “With reviewers I kind of want to just block it out”.
Buckens: “I didn’t even know the reviewer was in today and I don’t think that would have changed my performance too much. It’s more about the whole audience. Because it’s such an intimate play that you interact with them a lot”.
Parmar: “Acting in front of one person is the same as acting in front of 200 people, they’ve still paid for their ticket”.
Buckens: “But I mean we have been really lucky; 16 is the smallest audience so far, but most days we average well generic cialis online with over 25”.
Parmar. “16 is slightly south of what we want, but at least it’s north of 0”.
In a small cast
I’m interested about the casting process, was it obvious from the start who would play who, or did you go through a trial and error period?
Parmer (turning to his directors): “You cast
me as Robin first, didn’t you? But then we swapped it round mainly because of my levitra udaipur ego. I asked James: ‘Can you give me a read as Eddie?’”.
Dunn: “We got the actors we wanted without really thinking about their role in the play and that was a mistake. So after we did performed the piece in March, I wrote knowing Nikhil would be Eddie and Celine would be Imogen, meaning I I could write for their strengths”.
What has your experience of the Royal Mile been so like far – what kind of things do you find work best when trying to promote BED?
Buckens: “Saying ‘Would you like to go to bed with me?’ usually works! The reactions are hilarious! But, aside from buy cialis that, we are really keen not to frame this as a gay piece. Speaking quickly and clearly within the 10 second window with a passer by is crucial”.
Harrison then referred to the eye-catching flyer (loud green and blue shapes acting as bed covers with a strikingly beautiful red breasted robin atop them). The cast and crew have seen this as a key element in grabbing peoples attention. The artwork is an original piece by LSE student, Rebecca Wembury.
And I would not be an EdFringe Reviewer through and through if I failed to finished with this: if you could suggest one show really worth seeing at the Fringe this year (besides your own!) what would it be?
Shalom: From Nish Kumar: Long Word… Long Word… Blah Blah Blah… I’m so Clever, a prescription drugs levitra solo stand up comedy at 7.15pm in Pleasance Courtyard.
Buckens: Christian Reilly’s Songs Of Insolence, a musical stand up at 5pm in the Liquid Room.
Dunn: Train Spotting at 5pm, 8.30pm and 10.45pm at Assembly George Square (“ it’s the sensation of the fringe!”).