#GreenFests: FSPA Shortlist Diary No.1

13th August 2015

At the end of July we announced the 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award shortlist. Two weeks on from this and …

At the end of July we announced the 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award shortlist. Two weeks on from this and Edinburgh has been transformed: the Fringe has hit! Consequently, we have finally begun the reviewing process of our 21 shortlisted shows. Over the next three weeks we will update you on the shows we have seen, how they exist in real time and in what ways they are addressing sustainability.

This week our reviewers, from the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Creative Carbon Scotland, have been kept on their toes, managing to fit in 7 shows in just 6 days! Here is our shortlist diary so far:

Saturday 8th  3pm:  We May Have To Choose

“Farting breaks the ice. Ice caps are good places for Japanese Butoh dancing. Dancing fills your body with happy chemicals. Chemicals are destroying the oceans. Antarctica is not a good place to visit. The polar bears are angry with you.”

We May Have to Choose tackles the thoughts in our heads, the things we hear on the news, the actions we see on the street: in gentle confrontation. Emma Hall manages to capture the audience’s attention with the familiar and unfamiliar, forcing us to examine the interconnectedness of opinions and actions, and the societal pressures that influence our daily choices. The phrase ‘In my opinion…’ now seems of utmost importance to state.

Sunday 9th  3.45pm:  Bayou Blues

Bayou Blues addresses the social domain of sustainability; dealing with issues of colour and race, presented as the experiences of a young girl growing up in the bayou of New Orleans.

Writer and performer, Shaine Lynn, leads a captivating strong performance. The audience is drawn into each moment of joy and struggle the young girl faces, as the show progresses through scenes of her life. Lynn masters all forms of performance, including a series of monologues, song, poetry, and dance. The multi-media production includes a series of short animations, all beautifully in sync with the themes of the performance.

Monday 10th  3.30pm:  Garden

“I stick my tongue out a tiny bit. Just a tiny bit. To see what the soil, the ground, the earth tastes like…”

Garden looks at both the loneliness of many current modern day lifestyles, and the inherent desire of humans to reconnect with nature. The performance follows an isolated lonely woman from London, working as the photocopier and printer girl in a dead end office job. Lucy Grace leads the audience down the ever-unhinging tale of this city dweller’s journey into the natural world.

For a one-woman show the stage was a marvellous small space that grew with the content of the performance: banners, pot plants, glitter and ivy all inhabited the space by the end of the hour.

Tuesday 11th  6.45pm:  Frankenstein

This new adaptation of Frankenstein highlights the prescience of Shelley’s classic novel; asking us to examine the monsters we create, and the ones that live within us. The production evokes the audience to probe questions, such as; how can we carry out personal responsibility, what is the new path that will guide us, and, what are the present agreements we have made that threaten our species?

Frankenstein took a sustainable approach to the design of their show. They used recycled berry netting for their set and have been recycling and re-using their costumes for the past 30 years. The company’s goal is to keep introducing sustainable aspects of theatre into their show to promote the importance of sustainability through art.

Wednesday 12th  5pm:  To Space

An engaging and intelligent performer opens up the world of the scientist and would-be astronaut. Niamh Shaw conveys the excitement of an 8 year-old, watching Star Wars for the first time, and takes the audience on an expedition through the astronaut potential of a girl who dreams of going to space.

Sitting in the Dissection Room of Summerhall, as Shaw’s aspirations and achievements are exposed and documented, ‘To Space’ makes us all question our position when it comes to an environment where the primary attraction is the extreme unknown.

For NASA’s interactive evidence of global climate change, click here.

8.40pm:  Sing For Your Life

Celebrated taxidermy artist Charlie Tuesday Gates scraped animals from the road, bought deceased dogs on Gumtree and revived the family pet to create this cabaret from the Underworld.

Sing for Your Life was one of the most disgusting and yet highly entertaining shows at the Fringe. The singing and dancing taxidermied puppets, handled superbly by a young cast, used the spotlight to highlight issues such as animal testing, overbreeding, mass-production, unnecessary culling and the problems of invasive species. Despite the seriousness of these issues, they were dealt with in an enjoyable and comical fashion, whilst still proving extremely thought provoking.

Thursday 13th  1pm:  Ndebele Funeral

Ndebele Funeral looks at contemporary South Africa through the meeting of three characters in Soweto shantytown. The production examines the characters’ aspirations and losses, as they quarrel with the notions of fate and choice.

The impacts of decades of social change and the AIDS epidemic are exposed within a one-room set constructed of scavenged corrugated metal, cardboard and wood: the politics of which are further demonstrated through the clipboard-documentation and the multiple interpretations of the term ‘affirmative action’.
Careful storytelling is blended with call-and-response song, powerful choreographed movement and quick dialogue to transport the viewer to the Southern Hemisphere, and a social environment of danger, fear and violence. In these moments the emotionally intense performance became irresistibly alive and dynamic.

Our next Fringe Sustainable Practice Award shortlist diary will be out next Thursday, the 20th August. Be sure to have a read, as our reviewers will have 8 new shows to report back on!

If you are interested in sustainability in the Fringe, the Fringe Swap Shop (formerly known as the Reuse & Recycle Days) occurs each year at the end of August and is a great opportunity for companies, individuals, and those that have participated in the Fringe to dispose of any unwanted props, sets and costumes. We’d also like to encourage anyone, fringe participant or not, to come along to pickup and re-use the dropped off materials – it’s a swap shop after all!

Image, Brown Linen Lace Coptic Journal, courtesy of Samandra Vieira

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We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

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Supported by

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A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

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