Follow us as we talk to a selection of of the Welsh shows travelling to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Here we talk to Gareth Clark about (F.E.A.R.).
Tell us about your show
(F.E.A.R.) is a one man show that asks if the world wants us to feel safe. The show is an autobiographical tour of childhood memories, teenage angst and adult expectations. Covering early public information films, religious and societal expectations the narrative becomes ever more fevered as we get to the modern day terror attacks in London and Manchester and of a middle aged man facing up to his physical decay. It has moments of humour and dance, moments that almost all will recognise or identify with and a thorough breakdown of the pro’s and con’s of social media. (F.E.A.R.) is a bold confessional expose, something men do not often do, and it is hoped that this sparks a debate about how we live, how we are controlled and more importantly how we discuss these things.
We’re based in Newport and have made work in and around the City for the last 7 years. Our ethos is to connect what we do creatively with what is happening around us. Whether taking on empty shop units for pop up performances or touring theatre shows Newport and the political climate has been key to our practice. Being able to connect with our community is really important and making shows like The Meeting and Smash It Up, about the destruction of the Chartist Mural and loss of public space on our high streets, seem to connect the local issues of a City in transformation to a wider global issue of the corporate takeover of civic centres. Smash It Up was nominated for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and that for us was the highest accolade. We want to make people think, question their surrounds and be aware of the changing political climate under a strong corporate agenda. (F.E.A.R.) is aiming to share personal narrative to expose the global context and truth is very important to us in the work we make.
Tell us about your team
We are and always plan to be a small creative team. Gareth, Mr Clark, is the writer and performer in this piece and Marega, Mrs Clark, has designed lighting and supervised choreography. Diretor Agnieszka Blonska is a renowned Polish director working in Poland and the UK. She developed (F.E.A.R.) with Gareth. Andrew Rock created film for the show, a montage of public information films and news clips, and Ceri Benjamin is out technical manager.
Tell us about yourself
In 2000 I met Marega and then everything changed. We started playing in a punk band together, created performance art in bars and galleries and created Mr and Mrs Clark a masked pair of performers. We entertained, poked fun and sometimes got drunk while doing it. There was something anarchic and DIY about the way I entered the world of performance and that was empowering and liberating. We toured shows across Europe in 2006, presented work at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and started to get a little more ambitious in what we wanted to present. We’ve made musicals about Plastic Surgery, Medicine Shows preaching the benefit of creativity and created pop-up art centres on the streets of Newport. Right now I feel as if there is no time for anything else, I have no hobbies other than creating and developing ideas and projects. We are touring Electioneering this summer, a poke at the media training of politicians, and running our installation art project Inviting The Neighbours Around To Paint. And then Edinburgh…. It’s a busy time.
What does the Edinburgh Fringe mean to you?
The fringe is a year’s worth of business in 4 weeks. The amount of media coverage and press, producers and programmers attending make this an exceptional opportunity to make new contacts, gain some critical feedback and hopefully seal some new gigs. Coming from Wales this is essential as getting people to come here is very difficult. The level of critical feedback is immense and ranges from blog sites to acclaimed journalists. This is so useful in developing work. In 2015 we were nominated for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and we were the only self produced company in that final seven. This gave us great hope and encouragement that what we do and attempt to do has a wider reaching appeal and that is so important.
The fringe also is a great opportunity to mix with like minded people. It’s great to meet small companies from all around the world who identify with what we do. The support is great and friends are made for life. The opportunity to see so much theatre is fantastic, particularly work from abroad… sometimes I go and see 4 or 5 shows in a day.
I will also add the fringe means a lot of hard work. There are no days off for a month. Everything is about getting people to your show and then sharing any reviews, feedback, social media to the hilt. Last time Richard Fairbrass, Right Said Fred, re-tweeted me… I laughed and the randomness and it felt great for about 35 seconds. Then it was back on the streets handing out fliers and talking about the show. It’s a marathon and it takes a lot of dedication and commitment.
Mr & Mrs Clark
supported by Chapter
Dates & Times: 4-20 August (except 9 and 15 Aug), 19.10 (60mins)
21-28 August (except 22 August), 11.45 (60mins)