Theatre how the power to start any conversation, and some conversations need to be had more than others. In their brave two man show Ephemeral Ensemble address the topic of suicide, and how it can be incredibly liberating to talk about such taboo and personal subjects. We spoke to Ramon about why they decided to make this show and the challenges they faced along the way.
What drove you to make Offstage?
Eyglo and I had the need to talk about loneliness for a long time. Living in London, this big city, it always amazed us to see so many people lonely and isolated and at the same time being surrounded by masses of people.
During our research, we found a report from the Samaritans, stating that suicide is the biggest killer of man and woman under 35 in the UK. Those statistics shocked us, we had no idea. We then started to look into the vast number of artists, actors, comedians that have died by suicide.
A big push for us on the OFFSTAGE journey was when close friends started opening up about their personal experiences with suicide and how liberating it felt to talk about it.
It has been life-changing to work on this project in collaboration with SOAS Social Anthropology professor David Mosse, PAPYRUS, prevention of young suicide and L.A.S - life after suicide and talk to people who have contemplated suicide and suffered alone as well as people who have gone through the heartbreak of losing a loved one to suicide - these people were the true inspiration to us.
Working with heavy subject matter can present us with difficult challenges. What exact challenges did you face in making a show about suicide?
During the devising process we did a lot of detailed work, we had the challenge to create a performance that could sincerely treat the subject suicide sensitively and with the respect it deserves.
Unfortunately, it is still a taboo to talk about suicide. When we tell people what our show is about, people often have strange reactions, they seem not to be sure how to take it. But it is also where you feel you make a difference, when you get the chance to show people another side to the subject.
There are so many ways to tell stories, tackle issues, explore ideas - why theatre?
Theatre opens so many doors. The possibilities of delivering a message, investigating and telling stories are endless and allows for you to approach people in unconventional ways. It’s such an active way to engage with an audience to move them and make a difference. It is about the connection and the moment, it is ephemeral, it’s alive and happens there right in front of you. It can be fragile and so strong at the same time.
And because of course, that’s what we love to do.
What was the last show you saw that you think everyone should see?
If you ever get the chance to see FC Bergman’s 300el x 50 el x 30 el - it’s a feast for the eyes!
What else in the Edinburgh Fringe programme are you excited to see?
We are curious to see mostly the physical theatre folks. “A Clown Show About Rain” from Silent Faces, Familie Flöz's “Infinita”, Theatre ad Infinitum’s “No kids”, Theatre Témoin’s “FEED”, This Egg’s “Dressed” and many more…
Offstage is on at the Pleasance Jack Dome at 12.10pm from 1-27th August!
Ephemeral Ensemble have been working closely with PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide) throughout the making of Offstage - check out their website here: www.papyrus-uk.org