20 artists 20 questions
1. Please tell me about your piece and the inspiration behind it – what has provoked it, what questions are you asking?
The theme of Bush Bazaar is ‘value’ and when we first began thinking about it, we thought of monetary value, then we realized that ‘values’ are more about our morals, our political viewpoints, our background etc. We decided we wanted to make a play about values: whether there are common values that everyone in this country can subscribe to. That got us thinking about people who come to this country from elsewhere: What do they have in common with the culture in this country and what differentiates them from us? Roundabout was inspired by an actual story of a group of eastern European immigrants who were squatting on a roundabout in Northampton. We wanted to tell their story and ask the question: ‘are their values the same as ours, and are their values valued by us.’
2. Please give me three words that sum up your piece
Story. Play. Lie
3. Who is involved in your piece and what are their roles?
Hugo Thurston – Producer
Jamie Harper – Director
Tiffany Woodsmith – Writer
Hilda Peter – Actress
Bogdan Silaghi – Actor
Mariam Haque – Actress
Brendan Jones – Actor
Florence McHugh - Designer
4. What is the background to your company? How did you all meet? – or - what is your background as a performer?
Hobo was started this year with the aim of producing unusual theatrical experiences in forgotten spaces. Hugo, Jamie and Tiff met while collaborating on various fringe projects and decided that non-theatre spaces are more interesting than small theatres.
5. What space will you be performing in at the Bush? Do you know what you’re going to do with the space – do you have elaborate set plans?
In the garden and the market – Our set is a simple stage as mounted by the characters of our play. It isn’t elaborate, it’s storytelling in its simplest form.
6. How does your rehearsal/devising process work?
Story idea, improvisations to develop character and narrative, writer writes the play. A Fast, minimal fuss rehearsal.
7. Bush Bazaar has its roots in the idea of value and the price we put on things? What do you value most in your life?
Jamie: Being alive.
8. What theatre companies or performance artists inspire you? What have you seen recently that you have raved about to your friends?
Jamie: Misterman at the NT. A) because I’m proud of Irish theatre and b) because it’s a simple story told in a brilliantly theatrical way.
Tiff: Watching Caroline Horton’s one woman show at the Bush was fantastic – charming, beguiling, moving, and it was great to see one of my Gaulier alumni in action in London.
Hugo: Mary Stuart produced by the Faction, for its clarity of storytelling.
9. There will be an element of bargaining going on between performers and audience members in Bush Bazaar – what is the best bargain you have ever got? Are you a fierce haggler?
Jamie: no, I’m not a haggler, but I did get a great deal on a young bowler recently on Battrick, the online cricket management game. £102,000 for a respectable 17 year old medium pacer is pretty cheap.
Tiff: I love haggling, and always ask for ‘discount for cash’ EVEN in supermarkets
Hugo: I hate haggling – I manage a restaurant and colleagues often suggest I try and get lower prices on wines etc, but I don’t do it – they’ve given me a price, we’re making a profit, I don’t want to steal some of their margin. Maybe I’m naïve…
10. What would you pay for your work?
No more than £10
11. What kind of interaction are you expecting to have with your audience?
The characters in the piece are performing their play in order to have an impact on the audience, we expect them to be affected in some way. But interactivity isn’t always necessary.
12. What do you think audience members gain from immersive theatre? Does it matter if an audience member is a bit shy or nervous? Will they still enjoy it?
Immersive theatre is an overused term. It only works if the audience is given an incentive to get involved. If they’re shy and retiring, that’s fine, as long as the performers respond truthfully to what is there. Too much immersive theatre pretends to interact with an audience, without really receiving what the audience give, or choose not to give.
13. What challenges does Bush Bazaar pose for your company?
Earning people’s attention, making a good play.
14. What are your company’s plans after Bush Bazaar? What are your long term plans?
Our next project is “La Turista” which is an evening of food and culture combining the best nosh from a country along with singing, dancing, stories and art. The first installment will be at Morito on Exmouth Market in September. Longer term, we would love to take over a large space for a period of months and do lots of stories using different art forms.
15. What does theatre mean to you in 2012? How do you see the performance world opening itself up to new ideas and possibilities?
More collaboration across different art forms, less elitism, less focus on big venues, less focus on boring fringe venues, more work that happens in the real world rather than in defined arts spaces.
16. Do you have any tips or tricks up your sleeve for getting the best price from our audience..? What's your selling strategy?
Make it good. Don’t ask for more.
17. Why should I come to see your act? What will I leave your act with? What will I gain?
It'll be fun, moving and thought provoking.
Hopefully you’ll have a think about what values you value, and want to come and see our next show.
18. If your piece was a well known person or fictional character, who would it be and why?
Jamie: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, because he spent the majority of his life celebrating the freedom of being able to tell people what happened.
Hugo: J M Synge – my favourite theatre quotation: “On the stage one must have reality, and one must have joy… the rich joy found only in what is superb and wild in reality. In a good play every speech should be as fully-flavoured as a nut or apple.” If we can achieve that, I'll be very happy.
Tiff: My yet unborn child: it came from inside me, I love it deeply, a number of men made contributions and I’m not sure whose was the most crucial.
19. Who would be your dream audience member and why?
A little kid, because if they’re bored they vote with their feet.
20. What are you most looking forward to with Bush Bazaar?
Finishing a strong run and carrying the momentum into our next project.