As well as noir, we are taking inspiration from films such as Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Adaptation’
What makes it different from your past productions?
Charlotte: Our most obvious difference is that A View from the Edge features four actors this time, in contrast to our previous two-hander performances. This means that this show will be quite unlike what we’ve attempted in the past as our other shows all followed a certain dynamic that comes with only having two performers on stage. A View from the Edge will hopefully change it up quite a bit because now we have the opportunity to involve more people into the scenes – providing larger scriptwriting possibilities. Extra cast members will bring new skills to the table which Dan and I do not have. For example, we’ve written in a jazz-singer character into the play which will hopefully make A View from the Edge more musical compared to any of our previous shows. We also have Ben Sutcliffe from the ‘People’s String Foundation’ who is going to be composing our soundtrack. Hopefully, this will also give the show a ‘filmic’ vibe. A title track has already been written for it and we are incredibly pleased with it.
Dan: The point of this production is to make it a defined step-up for the company. Above Bored was an enlargement for us in terms of professionalism and content. This is yet another tier above it – making it bigger and better than what we have attempted in the past.
Charlotte: Every show we do, we gain a better understanding of script-writing so it will have all the plot twists and zaniness from the previous three shows but take it to a new level – now that we know what we are doing!
Why did you pick the name ‘A View from the Edge’ for your next production?
Dan: It was a very long process. Basically, we have a tendency to choose names that we like but which everyone else seems to find too complicated to grasp. Originally, it wasn’t called ‘A View from the Edge’ it was previously known as ‘Da Net Navernoe’ which is a Russian phrase that literally translates as ‘yes, no, maybe’ but really means ‘no, but I can change my mind at the last minute’ and we liked it because this new play we are working on is about the uncertainty of reality and truth. However, we found that nobody could pronounce it so we abbreviated it to ‘Da Net’ but that looked like some sort of 90s slang referring to the internet! So that title got scrapped and we started looking for a something that reflected the noir theme that had developed when we did our R&D week. We then proceeded to write down various titles from noir films we had come across. Finally, we asked some close friends of ours and put a poll on social media. Eventually it came down to ‘A View from the Edge’.
Charlotte: It is common for classic noir titles to either feature precious objects or some sort of metaphor (such as ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘The Maltese Falcon’ or ‘The Blue Dhalia’). We wanted our title to reflect the theme of our new play and A View from the Edge was appropriate because it sounds noir-y and a little dangerous perhaps but it also suggests that this show has something to do with perspective! The questions we hope the audience will ask throughout A View from the Edge are “which characters perspective are we seeing this from?” and “who has the view from the edge?” This is also tying into the two taglines we have running at the moment which are ‘stand back, see the big picture’ and ‘the truth depends on where you stand’.
Where did you get the inspiration to write AVFTE?
Charlotte: Originally, we had this idea that we wanted to something that would mess with people’s conception of reality. We had this idea of making a piece that encourages the audience to think they’re watching a certain type of show but then switches perspectives somehow to pull the rug out from under them. We enjoyed this idea and thought that perhaps we could have multiple ‘perspective shifts’ or ‘reality jumps’ throughout the show – for example, it could start in a 50s Noir and then go to action/adventure or a futuristic sci-fi setting However, this proved difficult in practice as you need a strong storyline to latch onto even with cool ‘rug-pulling’ moments. When we were doing our R&D, playing around with the noir was very satisfying because it’s a genre that spans from the 1930s until present day with modern filmmakers who are re-interpreting the concept. So we had plenty of scope and material to work with. We find the style of Noir incredibly exciting and feel that it could work very well on stage. Our aim with A View from the Edge is to take the essence of noir e.g. a detective story where the characters are looking for something or the resolution to some crime then have that go in a very unexpected direction. We’ve narrowed down the perspective idea to the noir and one more which is a story from the point of view of two writers who are struggling to write a play about a noir story. And there’s the potential for a strong storyline! Because the writer’s universe is so close to our world and yet so different from the world of noir, there’s real scope for the ‘messing around with reality’ idea. The fun is going to be entwining the two so that the audience don’t know which reality is influencing the other.
Dan: We’ve been reading lots of philosophies about ‘how do you know your reality is real?’ We also read a Pirandello play called: ‘So it is, if you think so’ where there is one story told from two different perspectives. We were initially taken with this idea and wished to expand on it and questioned whether it could be more than a single story taking place. And we know this has been done a lot throughout the years by various playwrights and filmmakers so we watched many films and read a lot of their plays as influences. The writer-character relationship has also been done quite a lot and we researched ways of making our version as original as we can and we want to base it on a different storyline rather than the typical ‘artist as god’ storyline which you commonly get in those types of production.
Charlotte: If you (as a writer) have a character who is really strong, in what way do they influence you? Especially if they have already a strong identity from the other genres and films which you may have watched in the past. At what point are you inventing and at what point is that character influencing you? And what if the character wasn’t aware it was a character?
Dan: You might have seen some of our early promo images for A View from the Edge already so we are heavily pushing the fact that it is a noir and want to get people interested in that from an early beginning. We wish to spread the fact that noir isn’t just a genre which had its heyday in the 40s and 50s – there is some brilliant modern stuff today that you could class as noir. There are many examples of people taking this well-known genre and then putting a twist on it somehow.
As well as noir, we are taking inspiration from films such as Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Adaptation’, and ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Bartonfink’ which was directed by the Coen brothers
When will we get to watch it?
Starting from February in 2017 – The tour is currently being booked. So watch this space!