Amy catches up with Luke Wintour, Co-Artistic Director of Freight Theatre which is staging their brand new production Move Fast and Break Things which is on at Summerhall as part of the Edinburgh Fringe this August.
Hi, how are you feeling ahead of the Fringe?
Can’t wait. It’s been nearly 3 years making this show under 3 or 4 variations, so it has been a long time coming.. There was a global pandemic that got in the way in the middle so remembering how lucky we are to be able to share work again. We are nervous of course, but would be mad not to be.
What inspired Move Fast and Break Things?
The impending Tech Apocalypse. In all seriousness though it was fear. We started to read and hear about a future which feels scary in a lot of ways. Most fundamentally it felt like an encroachment on the idea of human agency and privacy.
Things are moving a lot faster than most of us can keep up with, in particular law makers and governments, so big tech companies are able to tear up the norms which are quite helpful for keeping society held together. Lots needs to change about the world but Facebook’s corporate motto, ‘Move Fast and Break Things’, feels dangerous. When you have the ability to swing elections, alter people’s mood and create severe mental health crises all at your fingertips, you probably want someone moving gradually and carefully rather than fast and without care.
We were fed up by the Black Mirror depictions of these issues, and disappointed by the lack of conversation about them in theatre, so we thought we’d try to stage the unstagable – the internet..
What can people expect from the show?
A macro tech epic about the man who made Google what it is today, and then went missing, framed within a psycho drama of two theatre makers. We create live cinema on stage using dolls houses, water tanks and ash piles so it’s quite a rich theatrical journey. As intense as it sounds it’s also quite funny.
What are the key messages / themes within the show?
A few things – the main one being that we need to recognise the relationship we are in with technology. Our aim is to simply hold a mirror up to our relationship with tech and ask ‘Are you alright with this?’
We’re fascinated by Harari’s notion of ‘Imagined Realities’, just like most things in society, The internet is a product of our imagination, and just as we imagined it in to this form, we can imagine it into a different one. We reached out to Amit Patel, the missing Google employee who our show is about. Without spoiling things, we were really interested in collision between the Amit we had imagined and the real, living breathing guy.
There is multimedia involved in the performance, how and why is this incorporated?
It felt important that quite early one that there was a sense of surveillance in the show. Cameras on stage made sense, and so we started to play with what we could do with cameras. The work of Katie Mitchel and Kiss and Cry Collective helped us dream about the worlds that you can depict on a stage, in particular the ability to portray the incredibly intimate. Crucially we wanted to be able to represent the power dynamic we have entered in our relationship with tech companies and that was possible through using live cameras and dolls to play with scale.
Why is this an important show to be staged now?
This issue is so fast moving but it is very much one of the issues of our time. It’s hard to keep up with the pace of change but we think that in order to do so it is imperative that we tell the stories of now. Our future could be quite dystopian if we don’t start thinking about tech seriously today.
There’s also a bit of complacency around these issues – most people have a low-lying fear of big tech companies but we think those people also probably think they’re immune to the surveillance practices these companies use. This isn’t really true and we hope our show is a wake-up call. There’s a powerful narrative and mythology spun by tech companies, and we hope our own spin can change perspectives.
What is the best and worst thing about performing at the Fringe?
Best – Meeting other artists you love and getting to share your work with them.
Worst – It definitely requires stamina. And it is often chilly and wet.
What shows will you be seeing whilst you’re in Edinburgh?
I’m excited by work.txt by Nathan Elis, Sinehouse Theatre who are sharing Tech Cube 0 with us, and Feeling Afraid As If Something Else is Going to Happen. Tbh most of Summerhall’s lineup. Just in case you hadn’t realised – I can’t wait.
Mark Silcox is up again this year with an hour of the least/most funny comedy you can find, we’ll be checking him out.
With a huge number of shows to choose from at the Fringe, tell people why they should come to Move Fast and Break Things?
Move Fast and Break Things is a pretty unusual show. The live video is pretty astounding the first time you see it. Find me a show that has doll’s houses, fish tanks, a real life missing person mystery and the best dance break in Edinburgh.
Also someone said at our previews in London that it was the first piece of theatre they’d ever liked.
And finally, where can people buy tickets to your shows and where do people find you on socials?
@Freighttheatre – twitter +insta
ABOUT THE SHOW
Move Fast and Break Things is on from the 3rd – 14th August at 20:55pm every day – you can catch the show at Summerhall!