EDINBURGH 2017: BWW Q&A- A Waste Land
Tell us a bit about A Waste Land.
TS Eliot's monumental poem has been an influence on me since I first started studying poetry, but recent events around the world have brought up questions which tear at my attachment to this text.
In A Waste Land I'm attempting to grapple with the same themes Eliot was, the depravity of humanity in light of its ability to maim or destroy itself, while reconciling Eliot's and my own conflicting views on the past as idyllic and the future as barren. That, and I wanted to have a literary themed dance party.
The show itself is a dance opera-odyssey, part rave/part multimedia installation, and follows the genderqueer Greek mythological figure, Tiresias, on a quest through the seediest hovels and holes in Trump's 'Murica. Traveling through the poem, I and my brave director/co-performer Mimi Barcomi, create characters and situations reflecting a contemporary view of the text, all while spinning and dropping great beats.
Why bring it to Edinburgh?
Because we like haggis. Because we want to exchange ideas in a global setting. Because, for us coming from New York City, performing at Edinburgh allows us to get out of our usual Brooklyn/Manhattan frame of reference and share our work with new audiences.
What sets it apart from other shows at the Fringe?
I don't think many people are doing EDM-Operas yet (or if they are, and they're reading this, I hope they'll invite us to theirs!). I hope there will be more soon as an EDM show is an opera in and of itself--with a full arc, rising action, climax, and catharsis--we're just adding a story onto ours.
Our heavy use of tech also makes us stand out from some of the other Fringe shows as I think we're doing a lot with very little. We walk into the show at the top with a bag of tricks, unload a party, and load it back up again. It's pretty neat.
I also think we're doing some interesting explorations of gender. While Eliot was cis-gendered he chose to write many stories about women in the poem, explored from women's perspectives. Like Virgil guiding Dante in the inferno, Eliot chose Tiresias as his guide for much of these explorations, who by virtue of gender ambiguity allows the speaker to comment from a standpoint of knowhow on all matters within the poem.
I was not born a woman, so I can't speak to the truthfulness of Eliot's depictions from that standpoint, but as someone in conflict with societal expectations of gender, I can speak to a cis-heterosexual (this is debatable) man's views on how men, women, and homosexuals should eat, sleep, and breath. So while Fiona Shaw remains the foremost artistic expert on women in The Waste Land, perhaps our version will be the foremost artistic exploration of antagonism against gender roles in The Waste Land? Hopefully that is interesting, it's a lot less academic than it sounds. :)
Timings and ticket information for A Waste Land are available on the edfringe website.
From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue
Natalie has been an avid theatre goer since her first London production of Blood Brothers when she was 12. Based in Glasgow, she also reviews (read more...)
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