In rehearsal for BUNK at this year's Dublin Fringe Festival
Project Blogger Jan Schneider meets PaperDolls who are heating up the Space Upstairs with their new show BUNK for Dublin Fringe Festival 2013
“How comfortable are you in your own bedroom, your own bed? Is it a place of retreat from the outside world? It’s the space where your head runs wild and you go between dreams and nightmares, between reality and imagination. It can be a crazy place, but you always go back there, because it’s a safe place.”
It’s exactly one week until PaperDolls will open their new show BUNK for this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival and I’m having lunch with doll Elaine McCague and director and collaborator Ruairí Donovan. I find them in the middle of rehearsals in the space upstairs in Project Arts Centre or somewhere between rolling around in their sheets and rigging their bed, the centrepiece of the show.
When I asked Elaine what inspired the group to develop this show, she is telling me the story of a visit to the 18th century Castletown House in Celbridge. A tour of the pristine mansion and its multiple bedrooms stirred up some ideas about making the bed, the sacred centre of each of those rooms, the focus of the show. “The question of what happens in the bedroom, when the door closes was intriguing to us. To imagine, what these noble ladies would do once they are all alone.”
If you have ever seen a PaperDolls performance before, you know, this anecdote is only a glimpse of what you can expect. Ruairí Donovan who is working with the dolls for the first time proudly describes their work as “the best aerial work you will see in Ireland, as it’s is not an art form that is widely available. BUNK is going to be a spectacle, a physical experience for the audience of getting into bed with us. This can be positive or negative, but for sure it’s going to be sexy.”
For the first time ever, the three dolls, Elaine McCague, Karen Anderson and Emily Aoibheann, are performing alone. No big ensemble of aerialists and acrobats as you might remember from Constellations (Fringe 2012, Winner of Spirit of the Fringe Award) or belly and pole dancing women as in Eccentric Ladies will support the doll’s performance.
“It was a big decision for us at the beginning”, says Elaine, “as we usually consider a loads of people to perform with us. This time we focus on ourselves, take it back to basics and have more time for us individually to figure things out. We are also able to provide more glimpses of ourselves.”
Another novelty for the usually site specific oriented PaperDolls is the evolution into a contemporary art space. Elaine explains “it took us a little time to adapt, like a block in our minds, as we were always used to manipulate the space in every way we liked. Now the show is build for the space and that made the process really exciting.” Ruairí adds “this is only another example of how the group is always growing and adding new skill sets whenever they perform, everything is moving on and developing constantly and now they treat the venue as off site.”
In their last week before the opening, PaperDolls will practically “breathe and live” in the space upstairs in the Project. The process of visualizing everything coming together is an important part and will take a lot of energy, but surely a nap on the set seems always inviting.
So I suggest take a grip on your favourite blanket, put on some comfy pj’s and get into some sheet action with the PaperDolls. BUNK is going to be just as mesmerizing, ingenious, attractive and edgy as we know it from this company.
You can catch BUNK from the 7th -14th September in the Space upstairs.
BOOK TICKETS HERE
Follow Jan Schnneider on Twitter @jottesable