FRINGE PREVIEW – Dances For Wolves & On The Bench

On The Bench

On The Bench

2 shows, 5 actors, 10 characters, 48 performances…Class Stage Productions certainly aren’t doing things by halves at this year’s Fringe.

“It’s about five preening, whinging, overpaid premier league footballers who think the world owes them,” says playwright Kirsty Eyre, talking about the first of them, On The Bench.

“And it’s already attracted quite a bit of attention….as all the cast are female.”

“We’ve had some hilarious comments at readings so far,” says Kirsty. “My favourite was when someone asked me if I’d got a man to help me write it. I took that as a compliment, really!”

On The Bench is a piece of comedy theatre examining the excesses of the media, sport and the tabloids, intended very much as a tongue-in-cheek piece.

“Although I was into football when I was younger,” says Kirsty, “I wrote it from the perspective of a member of the public looking at the game from the outside.”

“Originally I took inspiration from the French World Cup scandal, but that ended up being too specific so I’ve generalised it. The readings so far have all gone well – people also seem interested in it due to the fact it’s women talking about football!”

Dances For Wolves

Dances For Wolves

Gender stereotypes of an opposite kind are examined in Class Stage’s mirror production, Dances For Wolves. In it, the same actors portray a group of strippers, who reveal their innermost thoughts and motivations as the piece progresses.

“It’s very much a comedy,” says Kirsty, “almost stand-up. Though there’s verbatim theatre and some song and dance in there too!”

“It starts off serious enough,” she says, “but then the girls’ thoughts come into it – everything from shopping, to what they’re selling on eBay – to whether their bums look big in their outfits!”

Whilst On The Bench has stuck pretty close to Kirsty’s original script, Dances For Wolves changed as rehearsals progressed.

“Both plays are great character pieces for showcasing the actors,” she says. “There’s been improv and physicality in there – and of course, no apologies for being women!”

Kirsty set up Class Stage in 2007, and brought a show up to Edinburgh that same year.

“It’s taken me four years to recover!” she laughs. “Both shows this year are getting their world premieres at the Fringe. But I’ve been really busy last year, with a short film I wrote and directed being shortlisted in the Shortcutz Film Festival; and another play in progress too.”

With the challenging schedule ahead of them in August, Class Act could be forgiven for taking four years to return to Edinburgh. By the sound of both their shows however, we hope this isn’t their last appearance again until 2015!

On The Bench and Dances For Wolves from 4-29 Aug at C aquila at and 21:30 respectively. More details are on the Fringe website here and here.

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