by Madeleine Ocean
The Rogue Festival hits Fresno again from February 28 – March 9, and you can expect a lot of coverage before & during Rogue from KRL this year–maybe even some videos this time! Here is another article about one of this year’s festival performers. You can learn more on the Festival website! You can find all our other Rogue articles in our A & E section.
Roll Up, Roll Up for Magical Mystery Detour!
9 TIME BEST-OF-FEST AWARD WINNER, Gemma Wilcox (from London, UK), returns for her fourth Rogue Fest with a sparkling new one-woman multi-character show, exploring the unexpected twists and turns of life, love and being on the road…
In Magical Mystery Detour, Wilcox plays 25+ characters (Human, Furry, Feathered, Mythical and Steel!). It is humorous, moving and highly original piece of physical theatre. It utilizes the main female character, Sandra, that many of the Rogue Festival audiences have come to know, although it also stands clearly alone for those who have never seen any of Wilcox’s previous Rogue shows: The Honeymoon Period Is Officially Over (2007), Shadows In Bloom (2008) & 52 Pick-Up (2010).
Magical Mystery Detour is set in the UK, in the summer of 2012. The protagonist, Sandra, and her dog Solar, take an unexpected car journey from London to Land’s End, Cornwall at a pivotal and sensitive time in her life. The audience travel with Sandra from the UK’s capital and along sacred English countryside terrain, as she encounters magical, mysterious, archetypal and everyday characters and scenarios on the way. We journey with her as she struggles/accepts/deals/meets with the unplanned detours of life, love, and on the road (that she *thought* she was on)…
Writing recently about her new show, Wilcox shared a bit about her creation process:
“In Magical Mystery Detour I make use of the character of Sandra to explore a theme in my life that has been very potent in the past year or so, which is about the mysterious unfolding of my life story and how it does not always go the way I *think* I want or expect it to. And how the struggle against the reality of what is happening – or attempting to control, or cling-on to, or steer certain situations or people – can cause pain and frustration.
In this play I specifically employ and explore the metaphor of the road trip, which Sandra expects and assumes will go from A to B in a reasonable and logical time line, but instead unexpected and sometimes magical “detours”, delays and characters crop up along the way, as often happens in our journey through life and love.
I’ve been uncovering over the past year or so how I have had certain agendas and “pictures” of how my life and relationships should look and unfold, and – although there is nothing innately wrong with those visions or dreams or desires – that there is actually a much bigger Mystery in play in my life. This “Mystery” that is my life’s unfoldment, I find impossible to fathom or grasp with my mind, and it certainly does not look or unfold like I think it will most of the time. So I use Sandra as a vehicle – as well as her talking car ? – to explore old and challenging, and new and maybe more allowing and accepting ways of dealing with these apparent obstacles and detours that appear in life and love.
I have also been exploring in my own life that pain and heartache is prolonged through my resistance and struggle to things that happen in my life (such as an unexpected end of a relationship or a death of a loved one), and there is actually a magical, mysterious, and sometimes crazy perfection to this whole journey that can have peace, joy and fun, the more I allow and surrender to the ride…
My director, Liz, is a huge source of support in moments when I freak out and wonder if I am being too transparent or vulnerable in my work, which is semi-autobiographical. She was incredible working with me on how to stay both open and vulnerable as a performer, whilst also staying protected and safe and able to show the many shades and subtleties of a character. We both love to work on finding ways to transform the personal to the universal with the theatre we create.
I do draw on many themes that are personal and intimate to me, but I also add layers to my work that are highly fictional, which helps me to perform the raw material. I believe Liz and I work particularly well together (this is our 4th show we have worked on together) because we find that the most vibrant, exciting and authentic material comes from diving deeply into the personal to find juicy creative material that is very human and real, but then shaping it and staging it in ways that is universally recognizable and that has enough space and universality, so the audience to relate and ‘transpose’ their own life story and feelings onto the scenes and character.
There where many times in the creation of this show and rehearsals where Liz would encourage me to move more courageously into certain scenes and back off from the rawness in other moments. I really trusted her to identify what was best for me and for the play, and I am deeply grateful to be able to work with someone with such skill and sensitivity.
I write comedy-dramas. I find that it is highly important to balance the “light” material with the “darker” material; humor with seriousness – for me as a performer, and also for the audiences. It is easier to receive and digest more poignant or shadowy material when juxtaposed in appropriate moments with humor and lightness. Humor is a huge aspect of my work – humor that comes from identifiable and sometimes embarrassing situations or honest admissions.”
(Important Note: There was a misprint in the Rogue Program and the earlier show on Saturday, 2 March is at 2:30 p.m. (NOT 2 p.m.) )
Magical Mystery Detour Performance Details:
VENUE: California Arts Academy – The Severance Building: 1401 N. Wishon Ave. Fresno
TICKETS: $10 – Buy at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/323481 or at the door
SCHEDULE: Sat March 2, 2.30 p.m. & 10 p.m. (2 shows on opening day)
Sun March 3, 4 p.m. | Tue March 5, 8 p.m. | Fri March 8, 8:30 p.m. | Sat March 9, 5:30 p.m.