Fringe festival season has started and we now know, what is on offer to entertain and broaden our minds this year. This year, we at TBN are setting out our duologue piece ‘Safe Mode’, starring Nathan Morris and Rebecca Derrick. Since we started our research and development of this piece, I have become more intrigued, by duologue productions that exist in theatre and film.
In my personal opinion, if someone had asked me to describe my ideal production, I would have probably said, at some point that a strong ensemble cast, would be essential, but why? I believe the natural human instinct is to say more is better, but through due course, it has been clear to me that some of the finest pieces of work involve at most two or maybe three actors in one production.
Now there are several reasons why this could be the case
1. Investing more to the characters – When there are fewer characters in the piece, the audience can devote their emotional involvement, more to the individual characters on the stage and also feel more involved in their story.
2. More Effective Storylines – With the removal of an ensemble cast in a piece of theatre, the storyline doesn’t have to compensate for the several characters involved. Certain plays will include scenes, which are only really there to validate a characters involvement in the story or to try to give them a substance. It is just common sense when it comes to writing a piece that you need to get the characters involved and make sure that they are necessary to what is going on in the piece. However this can lead to over complex storylines, loopholes and overly long productions. With a two-actor piece, the drama, emotion and flow of the piece, is no longer sacrificed to keep the story running along.
3 – Feels more real – When it comes to a production like ‘Safe Mode’, ‘Waiting For Godot’ or ‘Constellations’ ,the scenes can feel more true to the dialogue and drama of everyday life. That’s not to say in our everyday lives we don’t ever have group chats with our friends and family, but let’s be honest, those chats aren’t the ones that make great drama. The conversations we have, with one of our best mates, relatives, partners or lovers are the ones that we remember and are most important and significant to our time on this world, which leads to my next point.
4-It becomes personal – Because it feels more real and familiar, we start remembering those same conversations we have had in our lives and we in turn start to truly feel the character’s emotions in the scenes. When something horrid has been said, we feel the heartbreak it causes, when something loving is said, we feel the joy and happiness it causes. With these scenes having those true moments of realism, we as the audience become a fly on the wall. It becomes a piece of reality TV except it’s actually good and 110 times more genuine than any ‘Big Brother’ or ‘TOWIE’. No reality TV has given us, the true feeling of intrusion. There are scenes in productions like this, which tension is so high you can barely move, because you think that you are going to make the conflict worse, scenes where the fourth wall disintegrates, because something charming or beautiful is happening between two characters and you truly feel engrossed in the moment.
Productions like this are more effective in giving an audience a dramatic experience than any blockbuster film starring Tom Cruise or Jennifer Lawrence. Two performers in a space with an audience, performing their creative art with all their heart and souls, it becomes infective. Even if theatre isn’t your cup of tea, you can’t take away that moment, when two people are telling a room of strangers a story, a story that is being listened to and is being endured by that very room of strangers and you are one of them.
Take that journey with us on one of these dates. It’s an experience we really want to share with you.
19th and 20th July – Gullivers Bar, Manchester
23rd July – The Continental, Preston
24th July – The Studio, Widnes
26th July – The Old Clubhouse, Buxton