INTERVIEW: SuperPosition Productions | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s not easy starting anything from scratch but when your work will eventually be shown to a multitude of people across two nights. SuperPosition Productions, a new artist run, not-for-profit group initiated by graduates on Newcastle University’s Fine Arts degree are doing just that, presenting their first work Selfish Shellfish Salty at Northern Stage this week. Determined to present an immersive challenge for the audience, the production will be raising the simple but slightly confounding question: are you satisfied?

Ahead of the performances of Selfish Shellfish Salty at Northern Stage this week, we asked writer and co-director Oscar Dempsey more about the production company, what we can expect from the show and what’s next for SuperPosition Productions.

How did SuperPosition Productions initially come together?

I originally had an idea for a play that was situated between performance work, seen in the gallery and a play, seen the theatre. After discussing with friends and artists I work with, it then progressed to initiating an artist-led production group aiming to bring together mediums of performance, writing, set design, video and audio. Since then it has involved different people and creative bodies, as we have started to collaborate in making different decisions for the group.

The group was initiated by Fine Art graduates from Newcastle University, but is the group open to anyone who wishes to get involved?

Yes, this is a new group that gives people a variety of opportunities such as other working artists having their practise exposed in different sectors, actors to have a chance to publically perform in a different context and current students to have the chance to experience various areas of working in a theatre group, such as advertising and technical equipment control. One of our actresses is currently studying for her performance diploma at Newcastle College and the other actress is working full-time at Newcastle University.

Part of your remit as a group is that you want to bring together performance, writing, audio and visual aspects. How are setting about achieving this?

We set out to combine different mediums so that they were portrayed on an equal level, i.e. the set holding as much importance as the performance. As the play Selfish Shellfish Salty has progressed, it has become apparent that the script is dialogue-heavy and very key to the ideas put forward by the piece. We still retain the fusing of mediums, but at this stage we did not want to overcomplicate our debut production, so the focus shall lie on the play’s questions.

Tell us a bit about Selfish Shellfish Salty; what’s it about and what can we expect from the performance?

Selfish Shellfish Salty takes the form of a conversation between the protagonist Egon and her companion Grel. Egon has reached a point in her life where she has started to question the systems by which the community she lives in operate. Her curiosity seeks answers from companion Grel, whom whilst concerned does not carry the same burdens. Selfish Shellfish Salty will not answer Egon’s questions but invites the audience on her pensive journey. Although confusing and isolating it is a journey familiar to everyone.

“The great thing about our group is that is multidisciplinary, meaning we can take on any new projects involving text, film or performance”

The play is taking the form of a conversation between two characters, Egon and Grel. Why did you decide to make the performance so minimal?

The script was created first from a series of conversations and musings that have been condensed down, questioning what it is to be truly satisfied with what we are doing. I didn’t actively decide to make it minimal, rather the script’s intention demanded only two characters. The true intent of these two characters will hopefully become apparent during the live performance.

This will be SuperPosition Productions’ first production. Are you nervous at all about how the production will go?

Of course! This will be my first production that I have ever written and produced! It has involved a lot of work in a small period of time but I believe this has been extremely valuable for myself and other contributors in developing key skills and knowledge for working in a creative industry, as we are covering an extensive amount of roles involved in showing a production. We are still continuing to work with our actresses as well as building the set. As long as they are on the stage on the 18th and 19th and people come to see it, I will be satisfied!

After Selfish Shellfish Salty, what are your plans?

I plan to recuperate and creatively evaluate our first production to study its success. As an artist initiation, this is an attempt to start a social enterprise that could be sustainable for future projects and potential revenue income. The great thing about our group is that is multidisciplinary, meaning we can take on any new projects involving text, film or performance. I do realise that current members of our group are all at a stage of huge flux and change so we shall we what the future holds.

Selfish Shellfish Salty comes to Northern Stage, Newcastle on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th June.

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