Preview: 'Gagarin Way'
The Head of Press for OTR, Kit Klaes, interviews a member of 'Gagarin Way', a theatrical production written by Gregory Burke, which is to be performed in the 2017 OTR festival, on what to expect from the show.
Event: Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke
Organization: Mermaids Performing Arts Fund
Date: 7th April at 2pm, 8th April at 7pm
Venue: The Barron Theatre
In order of appearance: Director – Tom Williams
Tom – Carla van der Sluijs Producer – Brianna Chu
Eddie – Catherine Potter Publicity – Terry Lee
Gary – Harry Johnson Fight Choreographer – Joshua Teo
Frank – Ellen White Technician – Julia Zeh
Synopsis: Gagarin Way is a ridiculous, politically charged and intrinsically thoughtful dark comedy. Set in a deserted Fife factory, downtrodden and depressed workers with grand visions of a Communist revolution plot the overthrow of their corporate overlords. Their plan works almost perfectly, until one catastrophic mistake threatens to bring their whole scheme, and everything they once held to be true, crashing down.
Brutally violent and cruelly funny, Gagarin Way is not for the faint-hearted. But if you think you can handle it, prepare to be shocked, occasionally offended and thoroughly amused (though maybe not in that order).
Kit Klaes: Why did you choose your venue?
As much as I and every Mermaid loves the Barron, it does rather wonderfully emulate the grotty, detestable and utterly unpleasant despair of a factory floor. I love the intimate potential of the space to really drag an audience, probably unwillingly, right onto the stage and into the lives of the characters.
KK: What was the inspiration behind putting on this show?
As most people in and around Mermaids probably know, Gagarin Way used to be taught on a second year English module. While most of the plays on that course were excellent (shout-out to Faustus and Lear, and their great St Andrean productions), Gagarin Way was the one that really grabbed my attention. The way the course was taught, particularly Gagarin Way, really resonated with me, so I suppose directing it is both a sort of thank you to lecturers and proof that I really did pay attention to what was said in class!
KK: What should people look out for while watching the show?
Every review of Gagarin Way that I read while researching this project has two things in common. The first is that Eddie (Catherine Potter) is always the only convincingly acted character in the play. I am especially confident that Carla, Harry and Ellen will match Catherine’s intensity and all the interesting things we’ve done with her character. However, if people should look out for anything in particular, I would say make sure to keep an eye on characters other than Eddie, and be aware of the more sinister and menacing overtones we’ve gone for.
KK: What challenges have you faced?
Surprisingly, it’s been quite difficult to find Scottish actors! Gagarin Way almost requires actors who have Scottish accents or those who can adopt the accent in order to stay true to the original story. So their scarcity cut my casting choices by about 70%, which was much more than I expected! Before we started casting, I was interested in potentially gender-bending one or two of the characters, but I never thought I’d end up only having one male actor! Having said that, I absolutely adore every member of this cast, and the reason that I ended up gender-bending so much was because these three fantastic women did exactly what I wanted in the audition, which was to grab my attention and say ‘hey, I’m talented, and I can knock this out of the freakin’ park if you give me a shot.’
KK: Which three words best sum up your show?
Charged, hilarious and unbec*ntinglievable.