+3 Interview: Flanker Origami

“This first hybrid edition of the Fringe festival is juggling with lot of challenges and opportunities, and it is great that it opened to online performances as there is so much experimentation going on.”

WHO: Bianca Mastrominico: Performer, co-creator

WHAT: “An artistic couple expose their daily rituals and lockdown coping routines, digitally unleashing two eccentric performance personas bent on transforming their Edinburgh home into a glittery alternative reality. Through dressing up, dancing, disembodied animations, forced karaoke and improbable ASMR storytelling, they are on a quest to enhance their own wellbeing and yours! Stranded on Zoom, their relationship reveals a tender and funny, if slightly disturbing, world of online intimacy on the edge of misunderstanding and manipulation. Award-winning Organic Theatre returns to the Fringe for a digital world premiere.”

WHERE: Fringe Online – Zoom (Venue 362) 

WHEN: VARIES (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

We have presented work at the EdFringe before and we are an Edinburgh-based company so even when we haven’t performed we have been lucky to have it on our doorstep – it’s addictive!

This first hybrid edition of the Fringe festival is juggling with lot of challenges and opportunities, and it is great that it opened to online performances as there is so much experimentation going on. This is very exciting and enriching, and also fair for artists who cannot afford to travel right now. It feels like the Fringe is returning to its origins, with theatre-makers taking the lead over the needs of venue programming, and we are thrilled to be part of this new iteration. Besides, we’re working from home so it’s cost-effective…

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2019 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

Like many other theatre makers, we found ourselves confronting the need to be creative, learning new ways of working and making the most of the constraints of being ‘at home’. With Flanker Origami we are affirming the power of creative action over habits forced upon us by the health crisis and our home has now been transformed into a (rather messy) digital stage… We couldn’t have imagined an emergency that would have forced us to reconsider how we make, perform and meet our audiences, as well as how we live our lives, and Flanker Origami is our joyous, slightly dark but liberating response to the time that was lost to fear and shock.

Tell us about your show.

Flanker Origami is a ‘home-specific’ performance, so John Dean and I are inviting our audiences to gaze, imagine, and be voyeurs of our personal spaces in our real house. There isn’t a narrative, but a roller-coaster of dynamics between our two eccentric alter egos Flanker and Origami, out of which emerges a darkly comedic and – at times – grotesque journey into the collective psychological drama of the lockdowns. Flanker (and) Origami are seen stranded on Zoom in their own house, with no other escape than playing out preposterous online wellbeing routines, under the illusion of healing themselves and others.

The performance is a world premiere produced by Organic Theatre, it has been devised for digital audiences on Zoom and will be live-streamed daily during the last week of the festival. The process started with adapting our studio work during the pandemic and once we understood that this year’s Fringe was including a digital programme, we decided it was a good fit.

We’re not alone in the show, as we have animated replicas of ourselves in 2d rotoscope animations by artist and animator Cristiana Messina, and a fantastic technical collaborator Chiara Menozzi. It’s a weird experience that we live in the same city and we only ever see each other online…

Organic Theatre started in 2002 as an intercultural performance lab, devising and touring performances and workshops in the UK and internationally – we have performed in theatres, art galleries, museums, streets, barns, village halls and festivals. Our processes are collaborative, interdisciplinary and based on extended periods of research and development. In Flanker Origami we dance, our performances are physical, but there is also a strong emphasis on using text which is improvised and becomes scripted as part of our final performance. We like to create on our feet, through improvisation and repetition of the bits that made sense to us, so the resulting work feels somehow in-between art and life.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

Supporting online work is crucial as many artists are experimenting with the digital medium and what came out of necessity has become a new way of engaging with audiences, producers and press, possibly beyond the Fringe. We particularly recommend the curated programme at Summerhall, which gives a lot of food for thought in terms of creative hybrid exploration. Both these shows play imaginatively and topically with online forms:

> >  iMelania – Summerhall online – Gather.Town
> >  Knot: The Trilogy, Summerhall online – Darkfield App