Our Brighton Bites series offers short, witty and slightly tongue-in-cheek insights into the offerings at England’s largest arts festival this year. Director Samuel Caprini (SC) and actress Sharon Drain (SD) tells us about their show Hella Granger-Superstar, performing at The Lantern, Brighton.
How would you describe your show in one sentence?
SC: Hella Granger–Superstar is the proof that a moany, opinionated, frog-eating French director can collaborate with a cold, uptight, on-the-left-driving English actress to play a role as an uncultured,ignorant and flag-waving American superstar.
Is this your first visit to Brighton Fringe, if so what interesting tales have you been told about what to expect?
SD: I live in Brighton and performed for the first time last year, so what Sam knows is what I have told him. (Sharon Drain)
How has the show developed on the way to Brighton?
SC: I wrote Hella Granger-Superstar in French. The text has undergone enormous transformation to finish in this English translation (by the actor herself) and the direction of the piece has transformed as well. The production for Brighton Fringe is much more “dramatic” while still keeping the abrasive humour. The emphasis is on the inexorable nature of the story, like the chronicle of a death foretold.
How have you been preparing for Brighton Fringe?
SC: The difficulties of staging this production have been the same as they were for the original French production – I live in Toulouse and Sharon in Brighton! And we have approached them in the same way. Two or three days a month we met in a European city to take photos and to rehearse. We have approached this production in the same way but this time in English! Bizarrely, the very first rehearsal of the French version was in Brighton, so we’ve come full circle!
What do you think sets your show apart from all the other festival offerings?
SC: Firstly, Sharon will have played this role in two languages. I think that is unusual! Secondly, the very effective work on the image of the character including media presence (articles and magazine covers), a discography (album covers)have led some people to check her out on Wikipedia!
Then the performance itself where the actress plunges into the fog provoked by alcohol and pills. It’s like being present at the last moments of Amy Winehouse or Whitney Houston, forced to witness their humanity.
But despite the dark side, Hella Granger-Superstar is not only a dramatic piece. Humour is always there with spirited and witty exchanges with the audience
What’s the show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Brighton Fringe (apart from your own!)?
SC and SD: The Merchant of New York.
If your show was a flavour of Brighton Rock, what would it be?
SC and SD: Espresso Martini!
Hella Granger-Superstaris being performed at The Brighton Fringe 5-9 May 2016
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