Oddmanout – The Art of Facing Fear. 14.8.20

Elijah Young – the sole performer

Darlington based OddManOut have built up a reputation for creating interesting, relevant, theatricals but perhaps even they’re shocked by how on the zeitgeist their current production, The Art of Facing Fear, has turned out to be. 

Part of an international, live, digital production ‘The Art; features performers from over 14 countries in a narrative focused inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Damian Robinson caught up with performer Elijah Young to find out more.

The show looks pretty technical to bring to life, stemming a number of performers from different countries, how have you been finding the shows?

The shows have been really good, thanks.  There’s a massive assemble of 16 performers across the globe, two of us from the uk, and a number from other countries which makes the show quiet technical and really instant.

As the shows are with an international cast, have you found you’ve been performing in different time zones?

Sort of yes, the overall piece has been headed up by a Brazilian company and we’ve chosen to blend the Africa and European shows together because we have similar time zones.  Even then, and this is one of the exciting parts of the show, as we perform you can see zoom chats from all across the world; from Darlington through to Peru.

The show seems to be relevant, did thinking about Covid bring challenges to the creation of the show?

It’s weird in a way as although the cast have never met, and we’ve been rehearsing since July, we’ve got to be really close and have in-jokes and conversations about how other countries are handling the pandemic.  What it’s meant for me is that I’ve been really humbled by what I am able to do in the UK compared to other countries in the way the pandemic has been impacting each location.

And with the show being about fear, those cast conversations must be helping to create an interesting environment to draw inspiration from?

Yeah, the character I play is from the UK and some of the plot feels quiet dystopian, but when you chat to some of the cast and they tell you that some of the plot is happening right now in their countries the show becomes really thought provoking.  I could say that’s really interesting but it’s also really sad as well when you think about the reality of how other people are living.

How do you feel that the use of virtual performances is influencing live shows?

Our director is from Brazil and he actually quiet likes some of the technical challenges that come from playing live, like the internet going down for a performer, as he believes it adds to the drama of the show.  That ‘what if’ fear keeps me on my toes for sure but the new genre of a hybrid of internet and performance I’m finding interesting; as a performer it means I can change my costume and the lighting in my room and I have more control, and more responsibilities, of how visually I bring my performance to life.  There’s challenges to the show but the feedback has been great and the story is really interesting so I think this is setting a high benchmark for future shows.

OddManOut’s ‘The Art of Facing Fear’ will run every Friday and Saturday until the end of August.