Later this week we welcome the fantastic Lecoq theatre trained company, Rhum and Clay with their Edinburgh Fringe sell-out show, A Strange Wild Song. They are a theatre ensemble that tells stories: original shows that are that are inventive, ramshackle and cinematic. It’s a show about three French children who encounter a lost American soldier and photographer during WW2. Decades later, the soldier’s camera is unearthed and the photographs inside reveal an incredible story of childhood and imagination, where light can be found in the darkest of places.
We sat down with the company to ask them about their inspirations for the show and what it has been like taking the show on the road.
What was it like performing such a physical show every day at Edinburgh fringe festival?
We definitely had some tired bodies by the end of the festival. We are all very conscientious in looking after ourselves; it’s so important to properly warm up. It’s all the simple things really; eat well and get plenty of sleep, essentially all the things your mum tells you to do!
In A Strange Wild Song you play children, was this difficult? And how did you go about doing this?
This was the major challenge in creating this piece; we spent a lot of time experimenting with different ways of portraying children. The breakthrough came when we actually started to play without worries. In nearly every situation what distinguishes children from adults is their willingness to play, regardless of their situation. Whether it be in a war zone or a public pool children will play. Once we understood this, we adopted this philosophy in everything we did as children and the rest just followed very naturally.
You have now been a touring as a company for four years, what is life like on the road?
We often joke that we are like a weird married couple, and our girlfriends will attest to this! We do spend a lot of time together but thankfully we are all great friends which makes things much easier. Touring can be hard work, but we all believe in our shows and gain great pleasure from performing them to a wide variety of audiences. Whether it be a village hall or The Watermill Theatre, our aim is to perform our work to as many people as possible.
The idea for the show came form a series of photographs by Belgium photographer Leon Gimpel, what attracted you to these photos?
Firstly they are beautiful; Leon Gimpel was the first photographer to have colour photographs in print, they often looked like paintings. If you have never seen any of his photographs we would definitely recommend checking them out. His series entitled The Grenata Street Army struck a chord with our company. He had photographed a series of children playing war in the midst of a war and we were drawn to the innocence and beauty of these images. They were both beautiful and horrific; young children acting out scenes of war. The contrast was ripe for theatre.
There is not much talking in ASWS, do people find this off-putting?
At first some people find it a little different but they soon warm to the style of the piece. Our theatre is much closer to cinema; we tell story’s through images, and we talk when the scene demands it, much like you do in life!
A Strange Wild Song takes place in the Great Hall on Thursday 30 April and is the last show of our theatre maltings spring season. Have a look at the fantastic theatre shows we have coming up through the summer.