How does a Fringe show come into being? This isn’t a question I get asked directly, but I think that if I answer it I’ll be coming close to answering several questions that I do get asked over and over – questions such as “Where do you get your ideas from?” and “Why did you write about that?” and several other common questions.
I rather think that if you asked a hundred of us the same questions, you’d get a hundred different answers really, but I also think that there’s a common ground that we all cover, stages of development.
Our individual process might be very different, but we’re all taking the same journey. Just as, when we come to Fringe time, we’ll all be in Edinburgh but how we got there will vary tremendously. Like with most things in this business, we learn very quickly what works for us and we use that as a sort of template for creating what we hope will be something that an audience will want to see. So, how did I come up with “Dulce et Decorum Est: The Unknown Soldiers”?
For me, every show starts with one isolated thought. Almost anything can trigger it. Reading a book, watching TV or a movie. A dream. A conversation. Something will spark a thought that makes me think “I want to write that”. Usually, the thought that’s triggered is very simple to state. I may think of a line of dialogue which would be a great line for the first line of the show (that one was “I wasn’t cut out to be a murderer.” from The Box). It might be a situation, like a serial killer in his cell the night before his execution (10 Rillington Place).
Or it might, as in this case, be “I wonder who those people are?”.
In December 2017 my friend and Director, Penny Gkritzapi and myself met for dinner. We talked of lots of things, as usual, but one of the topics was the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. Penny showed me a photograph – the one at the head of this post – which she had come across in a Facebook post. I think most of you will agree that it evokes a number of sensations in the viewer, not least of which is “I wonder who those people are?”. So, there was the impetus, and there was my trigger. “I want to write about those people”, I thought.
I’ll tell you more about that in the next post. Until then…
Dulce et Decorum Est: The Unknown Soldiers plays at the Space Triplex from the 6th to the 11th of August 2018.
Tickets on sale at the Edinburgh Fringe Box Office