An Interview with: Paradok

The alternative, physical theatre society, Paradok, is returning to Edinburgh’s mainstream theatre scene this year with an exciting array of upcoming events.

Keen to change perspectives on physical theatre, Maddie Flint, the company President, calls Paradok “a space for theatre not being made anywhere else”. – This statement is backed by their latest production, Bare Threads, a silent show which used movement in order to explore the way in which we wear our clothes as we “peel away our layers…and wrap ourselves back up” through our clothing. Furthermore, although Paradok often use movement as a form of communication, Flint seemed eager to highlight how important this is as a part of drama as it can be used to combat and explore deep issues, as well as portraying strong messages in a direct and poignant manner without speaking.

With this in mind, the company’s next project is their first semester play, Pomona, a dark comedy set in the lost island of Pomona in Manchester. Located on the River Irwell, the island was severely damaged by the explosion of a nearby chemical factory in 1877. This left a scarred, almost dystopian, landscape which is now the muse of this absurdist play about “what could be happening there”. With “human trafficking, Dungeons and Dragons, snuff films and H.P. Lovecraft”, the play hopes to toy with the audience’s emotion and reactions using the mode of physical theatre.

In an exploration of more commonplace themes and issues, Paradok are also currently devising the piece Utopia which will be examining the way in which we use the Internet in the twenty first century, and the ways in which it affects our lives. This will be performed later in the semester and will be devised on an open platform within the company.

Perhaps the most exciting project, however, is the workshops that will be beginning this term, led by Flint herself. These are an introduction to physical theatre for beginners in order to develop skills that could be applied to any style of theatre. Using body to access a different vocabulary of movement and presence on stage, participants will be practising everything from lifting to contact improvisation. The first of these takes place on Saturday 14th October at the Quaker Studio and will be running around every two weeks. Expect a friendly and inclusive atmosphere that Maddie is sure you’ll leave with a smile.

Proposals for Paradok’s next show will be opening around the end of October, to which new ideas are always welcome. All in all, it seems an exciting upcoming year for the home of the alternative.

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