It is August which only means one thing – it is Camden Fringe time! Over the next few weeks we are chatting to acts that are performing at the festival and finding all about their show and what they would call this years iconic Camden Fringe Pigeon! Today we speak to Plumtree Theatre about the show Give A Little.
Date: 12th / 13th August
Time: 3:30pm / 11:30am
Location: Etcetera Theatre
Ticket Link: https://camden.ssboxoffice.com/events/give-a-little/
Hello! Tell us about yourself?
Caitlin: We are Plumtree Theatre, a new theatre company developing original work about relationships, domestic settings, and gender based stories. We are made up of three wonderful people who all graduated from Guildford School of Acting. I’m Caitlin Plummer, the Artistic Director of the company. I’m also the co-writer on Give a Little, and play the younger sister in the duo called Emily. Aside from the show I’m also a sound designer, and love to draw on all aspects of theatre when creating new work.
Izzy: I’m Izzy Kersely, I am the other co-writer of Give a Little and play the older sister of the pair, called Lila. I’m the Company Manager for the show and props extraordinaire! My personal interest in theatre stems around Shakespeare and classical theatre, I love stories about the pinnacle moments in life and how people respond to them.
Luke: And I’m Luke Bromley, I am the producer at Plumtree so all things organisation, budget, and people! I’m also a big fan of performance philosophy and the idea of grass-roots theatre. I love taking shows which are low budget and making them as big as possible…so watch this space.
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Camden fringe?
Caitlin: Our show is called Give a Little and involves two sisters giving each other presents every year. So when thinking about the name, we wanted something that aligned with that imagery but also hinted at the subtext in the story, in this case it’s the relationship between the characters.
Izzy:The phrase, ‘give a little’ is also like a command to stop being so stubborn and make a little room for someone else. There’s a lot of that in the play, especially with my character. She is very fixed in her ways and likes things done a certain way, whereas Cait’s character is almost trying to break that. So the title is almost like a dialogue as well.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
Luke: I guess if you were going to attribute it to a genre it would be a comedy-drama play.
Izzy: Yeah and also a coming of age story, with domestic themes.
Caitlin: In terms of theatre style, it’s a mix between a naturalistic and stylistic narrative. Each scene is in real time, but split up by transitions where we fast forward a year and thus break linear time. We end up following the characters across ten years.
What will your set be about?
Izzy: It’s a play about two sisters who come together on their mothers birthday every year and give each other presents. Each year, you see them grow up and deal with new milestones. One year their Mother is diagnosed with early-onset dementia and their lives as they know it change. We see their relationship evolve as a result, and how they respond to it differently whilst going through the growing pains of becoming an adult.
Luke:The comedy mainly comes from the characters. It’s a very character driven play, where you’ve got two very specific relatable people. As you follow their journey the comedy arises from the circumstances they are presented with and how they react to them. I guess you could say it’s a situational comedy in a way.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
Luke: Berlin looks wicked. I love anything twisted that balances the line between comedy and tragedy.
Caitlin:I’m excited by Toxic Femininity, I love a bit of female stand up and Estafania Baha sounds like my kind of multitasking gal!
Izzy: LipZinc’s Kites shares a lot of similarities to Give a Little – a female led, coming of age story. I’d love to see how they portray their characters’ journey towards adulthood, especially with an emphasis on creating a sensory experience.
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
Luke: I think finding your USP is very important, because that dictates everything. It should be something that’s as personal as you could possibly make it.
Caitlin: I’d add doing a version of your show in front of an audience before you bring it to Camden – because it could all change!
Izzy: Yeah when it’s yours and you’ve written it, you don’t always separate yourself from it to realise which bits you don’t need. When you show it to an audience, it stops becoming an inner monologue and turns into a conversation.
Luke: Final bit of advice would be just do it! The greatest enemy to not doing it is yourself. Yes, you’ve got to make sacrifices, but in the end they’ll probably be worth it.
What are your favourite things about London?
Luke:I love how London is constantly changing. Everytime I go, there seems to be something new going on. It’s adaptable. If you compare it to somewhere like Paris, Paris is quite conservative in its architecture, but in London, you go past a building that’s hundreds of years old next to one that is brand new. It’s so varied and that’s reflected in the type of art it produces as a city.
Izzy: So true and I think the art is my favourite thing. I love how London is the epicentre of creativity in this country, it has such a rich history of performance!
Caitlin: Yes and such a mix of performance spaces…there’s the giants of the theatre world like the National Theatre, plonked on the side of the southbank, then down the road hidden away in the little pockets of the city you have these wonderfully unique fringe spaces.
Luke: I also really like the people. They say Londoners are always miserable, but I don’t think that’s true. I think they’re just very specific people. Sure, if you get in their way on the tube you can make them a little cranky. But if there was a crisis on the street, I think 9 times out of 10 they would act in a generous and selfless way.
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
Izzy: I’ve actually never been to Camden before, so I wouldn’t know…
Caitlin: What? You’ve never been to Camden?!
Izzy: Nope! This years fringe will be a first for me
Caitlin: That’s exciting, it’s a fun part of London! It has such a vibrancy of culture. I love the artwork on the buildings, you walk down the highstreet and get bombarded with colour and patterns and these giant structures sticking out of buildings. Not to mention the market, the food there is so good and has so much variety! We will have to take you there for breakfast before the show Izzy.
Luke: There’s always something new in Camden, like London, and I love that. They’ve also got some really cool theatres which are small but well established. There’s obviously the Forum, but also the Etcetera Theatre, Hen and Chickens, Camden Peoples, the Cockpit which all have stuff on all year round not just for the fringe.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
Izzy: I think mine is, “When you go back in there, try not to be too much of a Tit”. It’s a bit of light relief after an emotional scene before. It’s also a fun one to say and always makes me smile.
Caitlin: My favourite line is when the sisters are talking about their Mum turning 51, which my character thinks is really old. I say, “Exactly, her life? Practically over”. It’s a line that always gets a reaction. It either stirs up laughs or gasps. It’s a treat to see how the audience responds to it. I remember we had one woman whisper under her voice, ‘you can’t say that!’, it did make me smirk. We do go on to break down the age stigma in the rest of that scene, so any offence taken we tend to win back.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Luke: As a performer, I guess the dream audience member would be someone responsive. You don’t want someone who just sits there with a cold hard stare. If you’re performing, seeing the audience respond is exciting.
Caitlin: Absolutely! That reminds me of our premier performance back in february. We had two ladies who would voice their reactions to everything, and because the space was so intimate you could clearly hear them. It wasn’t in a particularly off putting way, but having them there seemed to give us more energy. Their attention and engagement was exciting, and it became a game of trying to keep it.
Izzy: So I guess our ideal member would be open, responsive, and engaged.
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this years pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
Luke:If I’m honest, I’m against naming pigeons in general…why are we humanising the pigeon let them be! I think that with pets as well…
Caitlin: What? So you’d call your pet dog…dog?
Caitlin: You realise you’re still naming it by calling it pigeon…
Luke: Yeah I guess… I just think we should let the pigeon decide. Maybe it’s also because I don’t trust pigeons…
Izzy: But this fella looks trustworthy. I think his name should be Perkins, it’s smart like his bowtie but quirky like the fringe!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
Izzy: So you can find us on a variety of platforms. On facebook it’s Plumtree Theatre, on instagram it’s @Plumtree_Thetare, and on twitter it’s @PlumtreeTheatre. We are also in the process of building up a website, so keep an eye out on our socials for the announcement of that. You’ll recognise us by the little purple plum tree logo we have!
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Luke: Fun night out…in the day
Izzy: It’s endearing, emotional, and entertaining
Caitlin: It’s chaotically authentic