Amy catches up with Andrea, choreographer of 201 Dance Company, who are heading to the Edinburgh Fringe with their show Sad Book.
Hi, how are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?
I can’t wait to be back! The Fringe is a place that means so much to me, it’s what launched my career and 201 Dance Company back in 2015. The energy is always electric, so I’m excited to see what this year brings!
You’ve previously had hugely successful runs at the Fringe, what can people expect from you this time around?
Expect the kind of cinematic, narrative driven and emotionally-charged work that 201 has grown to be known for. I also think our movement has evolved – this is our first original show in 5 years – so we’ve had lots of time to experiment and really get Sad Book looking the way we envisioned. It’s such a personal story and there’s so many elements at play – animation, dance, lighting, original music. We really wanted to get it right.
Tell us about Sad Book, and what inspired the show?
Sad Book follows a father and his journey through grief and acceptance with the loss of his son. It’s adapted from Michael Rosen’s award-winning book, which I fell in love with when I first read it 7 years ago. Sadness is such a complicated emotion, yet Michael has this beautiful way of explaining it with simple, yet gut-wrenchingly effective language. Ultimately, Sad Book tells us that it’s ok to feel sad. There is no moral to the book, no “lesson”. You’re sad, and that’s ok. I had never read anything in my life that spoke to my depression and sadness the way Sad Book did. I knew I wanted to adapt it for the stage the second I put it down.
What are the key themes / messages in the show?
Sadness – in its many shapes and forms – is the main theme of Sad Book. Sad can be a destroying emotion, but it can also be beautiful and melancholic. Like when you think of a moment in the past that made you happy, yet you’re sad that moment is gone. Just like Michael does in his book, in the show we try to explain what sadness means to us. I hope Sad Book will speak to anyone who’s struggled with mental-ill health and depression. I also hope the show will touch anyone who’s experienced sadness in their own unique way.
What do you hope audience members will leave thinking and feeling?
Sadness can be such a rollercoaster, and Sad Book covers a lot of conflicting emotions. I hope the audience will leave feeling happy, sad, and happy they felt sad. I hope the show will make people feel listened, and truly stay with them long after the lights have gone up.
You’ve previously performed at the Fringe; how does it feel to be returning?
It feels fantastic! The Fringe owns a bit of my heart, and I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since we were here last. We’ve always launched our new productions at the festival, so I’m excited to see Sad Book finally come to life on the Zoo Main Stage. Zoo is also where we launched our first ever show – ‘Smother’ – so this feels like a bit of a full circle moment.
What is the best and worst thing about performing at the Fringe?
The best is the amount of incredible work that is floating around every corner of the city. Most performers and companies have risked everything to be here, so the energy is infectious, exciting and new. The worst part is that most performers and companies have risked everything to be here. The Fringe is always a gamble, which makes taking part in it addictively exciting, but also very, very stressful.
What shows will you be seeing whilst you’re in Edinburgh?
I can’t wait to see Dan Wye’s “Séayoncé – Res-Erection” at Assembly Roxy! Dan is one of the funniest comedians I have ever seen, and Séayoncé is a show that I’ve been blessed to see 4 times. I can’t get enough of it, go, go, go! I also can’t wait to catch some amazing dance and circus at Zoo. I’m particularly excited to see “Runners” by Cirk La Putyka, it looks phenomenal!
Finally with thousands of shows to choose from, why should people come along to see Sad Book?
If you’ve ever felt sad, you should come along and see Sad Book. While I was creating it, I felt this unusual sense of calm and relief: there’s something beautiful and uplifting about accepting that sometimes, feeling sad is ok. We wanted to take the audience on that emotional journey of acceptance, through visually striking moments and a moving score that will stay with you long after the show has finished. Sad Book is a work that has been crafted with so much love and attention, and one that us at 201 are very proud of. Come feel sad with us for an hour, in that beautiful kind of way that fills your heart. It might just make you smile for the rest of your evening.
ABOUT THE SHOW
Sad Book is on at the Zoo Southside at 6.30pm from the 22nd – 28th August