Written by: Dorothy Englert, Head of Drama
This Summer marked our third outing in five years to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Taking a play to Edinburgh and performing in the Fringe is a terrific and intense experience. We stay in university accommodation, see plays together, rehearse every day ahead of the show and eat together. This year we also walked up Arthur’s Seat and the views were spectacular. In more ways than one this was a real high point for those of us who made it to the top and faced the exhilarating and buffeting winds. Fram Drama hopes to take another show to the Fringe in 2019 so if you are interested in taking part or coming to see us in Edinburgh do listen out for further information as this term progresses. And come and talk to the Drama department!
This year we performed Buchner’s play, Woyzeck, for our FramBag make-over of a classic tale. The cast were a total joy to work alongside throughout the rehearsal process and the performance week. They worked very hard and beautifully well together bringing an energy, enthusiasm and talent to the whole event. An Edinburgh show has to offer an audience a gamut of emotions in a tight 50 minute slot and our Woyzeck sought to deliver the full-bellied laugh alongside shock and horror. From the 14th to the 19th of August we performed our show at 12.40 every day in Lime Studio in Greensides’ Nicholson Square venue. For most of the cast this was the longest run they had experienced and that in itself was part of the emotional and physical pressure placed on an actor in the festival. We took the job of performing to our paying audience very seriously and this meant that we were able to fully embrace the time away from the play. Most nights we went out to see live comedy, cabaret and theatre of different genres and quality. With most Fringe performances lasting less than an hour it is a great way to see a huge variety of performance in an incredible array of venues that range from a car park to the back of a church. Stamina is a must for Edinburgh alongside good walking shoes and a sense of direction which is a skill that usually improves over the length of the week. We ate well too with cast members producing terrific meals over the time we were there from spaghetti Bolognese to guacamole and chicken wraps; risotto and baked ham; chicken in bacon; roasted garlic potatoes. All yum! Our first group show attendance was the Lady Boys of Bangkok which gave George some focus for his part and was also fantastic show-stopping entertainment.
Image: Twitter (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama – @CSSDLondon)
One member of the audience who turned up three times to see the show in Edinburgh said that her favourite bit was George Hunt’s take on the bullying Captain in a ridiculously short dress and wig doing a full cross-dressing impression of Gloria Gaynor. Jonathan Thorp played the eponymous hero who, when we met him in the play, is suffering from PTSD and a wife (Marie played by OF Amelia Wilson) who has begun to look outside the marriage for romance. Conal Judge played the conceited and arrogant Drum Major who takes advantage of her desperate state and despises Woyzeck alongside the bullying of the higher ranking characters of the Captain and the glamorous but fiendish Doctor played by Ella Hamilton-Wright. As Andrea, Sophie Grose moved between the characters, standing up for her troubled friend and showing a real care for him as his mind deteriorates into madness. The show was completely underpinned by the terrific music design of Lois Scott and she ran the show in Edinburgh overseeing the lighting design and desk operation. She was also the best cook.
A new student of A level Drama, Holly Van Assen, wrote after watching the play on the 8th September in the College Theatre: ‘This was an interesting and fresh piece. All characters showed clear development throughout the performance with clever and gripping dialogue…A highlight was the penultimate scene in which a troubled Woyzeck murders his wife. This scene was realistic, horrific and shocking.’