Spurt at Galway Fringe Festival
By Charlie Mcbride
FINN’S DAD has just died, but so has his fish, and he loved that fish. Remember when your goldfish died? Or your dog? Or your dad? Remember that wake you went to where you did not really know the person so were kind of awkward and did not know what to say except “Sorry for your loss?”
Pacman gets three lives. You just get one. And there are no magic pellets to make the ghosts go away. These are the kind of questions and issues that animate the distinctive and imaginative show, Spurt, which is being presented by the Come As Soon As You Hear troupe.
The ensemble’s web-page – www.comeassoonasyouhear.com – charts its diverse activities and shows the group to be lively, imaginative, freewheeling, playful and witty, qualities which also inform Spurt.
Charlotte Duffy, one of the actors in the show, outlines how they came together.
“We’re a Dublin based company and we started off with Independent Youth Theatre,” she says. “Some of us knew each other from there and we got together and started making club nights with a theatrical element to them and then we used the club nights to fund our theatre shows. We also appeared at art galleries and festivals. We have a couple of core writers but we also devise a lot of work, we’re essentially an art collective.
“We first got together five years ago. The audience are very much rooted at the heart of what we do, with a lot of our stuff we don’t have a ‘fourth wall’, we acknowledge that the audience are present and sometimes there’ll be elements of audience participation. There’s not a fixed number of people in the company, when we’re doing club nights we’d have a lot more people involved. There are four of us performing in Spurt.”
She goes on to explain how Spurt developed.
“We have an improv company called Playback and Spurt developed out of their improvisations where we took audience memories and stories and play them back as theatrical concepts,” she says. “It works like this: the audience tells stories/recount moments from their day/lives. Then performers work together to abstractly recreate the essence of what they’ve been told on stage. It might sounds abstract but it’s also cathartic, touching, nostalgic, entertaining, potentially rich, and always rewarding - for the story teller, the performers ,and the spectators.
“With Spurt it’s about touching on people’s first experiences of things like love and grief. Spurt is part devised and part scripted. There are four actors onstage and we all play different elements of this one character and some of the stories would be based our own lives. This is the fourth time running the show and it has changed and evolved over that time.”
One striking visual feature of Spurt is the presence of 20 goldfish suspended in clear plastic bags over the audience.
“It makes quite an impression when people come into the venue and see 20 goldfish suspended from the ceiling, yet it’s aesthetically beautiful in its own right,” Duffy declares. “We liaised with the ISPCA in using them to make sure they were being treated properly. We do need one dead goldfish but we always source that from a petshop to find one that has succumbed to natural causes!”
Spurt is performed at the Townhouse Bar, from Thursday July 26 to Saturday 28 at 1pm daily as part of the Galway Fringe Festival. See www.galwayfringe.ie