Drunken Brainstorm is a new theatre company based in London. Their debut show, How to Mend the World (with a student play) recently ran at the Old Red Lion Theatre and opens at the Edinburgh Fringe on 12 August at theSpace on the Mile.
I asked Tilly Price (actor and producer) and Joshua Silverlock (director) to tell me a bit more about the company and the show.
The title of your piece, How to Mend the World (with a student play), offers many possibilities. What might an audience coming along in London or Edinburgh expect?
JS – It’s a very thorough exploration of what each individual can do to help resolve the various crises currently affecting the world we live in. I think often people think that because they are just one person in a population of 7 billion they can’t make a difference but actually if you are a privileged (preferably white) theatre student from Notting Hill you can put on an experimental play that will have a huge impact. That’s just one option. We explore them all.
TP – I should probably say, Josh is not going to take this seriously. Sorry. It’s a riotous character comedy mixing satire, slapstick, and surrealism to take a jab at some of the more pretentious theatre makers within our ranks.
You’ve chosen Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as your inspiration. Are you planning to tease out some themes from that in your 45 minute show, or keep things light?
JS – There’s a scene in this play in which a cucumber is snapped and grated in place of a penis. Take from that what you will.
TP – The characters in How to Mend the World (with a student play) do discuss The Crucible and it’s ‘themes’ but it becomes clear that the majority have misunderstood the text completely (or not even read it). Indirectly, the play itself exposes certain themes and ideas from The Crucible as part of the narrative but this too is kept light.
Tell me about your cast and creatives, and how Drunken Brainstorm came together. What might we expect from you in the future?
JS – We met on Hampstead Heath late at night. No more questions on this please.
TP – Our cast/creatives are made up of graduates from a few drama schools. We have four actors (myself, Liam Hurley, Francis Nunnery and Oliver Tritton-Wheeler). While some of us attended parts of our education together (three of us met at the Arts Ed sixth form and two on the RADA Foundation), we met as a group in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which we played the mechanicals. We really enjoyed working with each other and decided shortly after that our relationship couldn’t stop with ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’.
You’re at the Old Red Lion in Islington for two nights, then on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. What are you most looking forward to from your chosen venues, and how will the spaces inspire your performance and production?
JS – I’m most looking forward to meeting the Old Red Lion himself, I’ve been a fan since a very young age so will be amazing to be working together at last!
TP- All our venues have a different layout which has been great for ensuring our production is very adaptable (this is good for the future too). I think the different audiences we will have in London and up in Edinburgh will be really interesting and with a comedy I love the variety in audience reactions. The different audiences keep the play fresh and I think our venues are diverse which can only add to this. This is our first time at the Edinburgh Fringe as a company and I think the play we have created is extremely suited to that audience so it’s an exciting opportunity.
This production utilised crowdfunding, which is an exciting way for theatre fans to support emerging artists and companies. How can audiences support Drunken Brainstorm in the future?
JS – I need a new bike. So …
TP – The crowdfunding was amazing for us as it has demonstrated the support we have for the company. We were touched by how many people wanted to contribute. The best way to support us now is to come and watch our performances in Edinburgh (at theSpace on the Mile from 12-24 August) or our possible future London/touring shows. Keep an eye out for these on our social media pages. Twitter – Instagram – Facebook.
My thanks to Tilly and Josh for their time – best wishes to the company for their Edinburgh run!