word on the street is, dog is back!
Are Strings Attached?
Our sell-out show of 2017 is running again at the Brighton Fringe Festival 2018. Hooray!
You think you know about graffiti? Tags, Throw-ups, Pieces? Think again. Are Strings Attached? is written from the inside, in consultation with graffiti writers, to tell the "real story": a one man play about graffiti, tennis and Pinocchio that explores themes of fame, identity and gnosis.
When we watch a play, we generally find that the actor and the character he plays purport to be identical. The signifier (the actor) and his referent (the character) seem to collapse into one another. For 3 hours, Kenneth Brannagh “is” unproblematically Henry the Fifth, for example. Surely, this is why we are able to imaginatively propose the existence of the character? But how truthful is this? At Yama Theatre Prods, we deliberately complicate this transaction. What happens when the actor and his referent are shown to be non-identical, as in our latest show Are Strings Attached?, the so-called autobiography of graffiti artist DOG.
Once a layer of distancing is introduced between the actor and the character he seems to play, by way of a series of increasingly outrageous truth-claims, the limits of representation can be explored, along with the “reliability” of the narrator. Is this more truthful? What happens when you are forced to see DOG as a construction, rather than a character? What does that say about you?
Welcome to the unstable world of Are Strings Attached?
Tagged as both a "Hidden Gem" and a "Must See" show by FringeReview in 2018, Are Strings Attached? has also played to standing ovations at the Buddhafield Festival.
"An intimate portrayal of an aging icon as he drifts into obscurity... What follows is nothing short of a masterclass in character development. I can only assume that a great deal of research went into the creation of DOG, whose character and origin story is so fully realized as to truly grey the lines between fantasy and reality. As DOG explains how he became a graffiti artist we are treated to a winding, evolving mosaic of childhood experiences complicated by a doting father who only wished to dote on the preferred aspects of his overachieving son.
“Are Strings Attached?” brilliantly explores through urban subculture the existential questions of the meaning of life, success, satisfaction, and the pursuit not of excellence but a desire to embrace mediocrity. A knowledge of Banksy or Bjorn Borg isn’t necessary and in fact, the themes of isolation, dissatisfaction, and alienation are universal. Take a chance on this hidden gem. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
"The show is dynamic, deep … Simon Lovat is absolutely captivating, having full control over the pace, energy and mood... It really is ACE!"
"The play is performed with minimal props, and without makeup. That needs a class performance. Yet Simon Lovat manages to take us from his childhood home to the girder of a railway bridge with the twist of his head or the gaze of an eye. The acting is physical and astounding. There's no time to blink... It's both seriously fun and unsettling...[the room] feels empty when he leaves. "
"I strongly urge others to witness this play. Solo Acting is an intriguing phenomenon in itself. Acting so often relies on interaction and reaction but the muscular memory and Opera of the Mind that Lovat employs, sometimes truly ascending into shape shifting, deploys a series of effects that I've not seen other than by Anthony Sher or Berkoff." A W King.
Listen to an interview with Fringereview on the link below:
Audio interview at Brighton Fringe
Paul Levy talks to Simon Lovat about Are Strings Attached?
Are Strings Attached? is the darkly comic fictional autobiography of DOG. He's a graffiti legend, a tennis pro, and a wanna be actor. It turns out that he hates his dad and that he may, or may not, have issues with Jiminy Cricket. Shouldn't fame be more fun than this?
"I asked myself this question,” explains actor/writer Simon Lovat, “What would you get if you crossed Banksy with Bjorn Borg? You’d get DOG. I wanted to take a quintessentially urban ‘problem’ and the concept of ‘fame’ and make those things have a conversation with the Pinocchio story. How do you become a 'real boy' and what does it mean to be authentic? Are Strings Attached? was the result. It wrote itself.”
Prepare to be delighted and confounded and to have your credulity tested to the max in this thrilling exploration of toxic aspiration, identity, and the Big Question of existence itself.
In short, it's a rollercoaster ride through subjectivity and selfhood, truth and fiction. And - believe it or not - it's funny.
Anyone for tennis?
"Simon Lovat will bring a unique theatre" (The Argus)
Fear not, there is no audience participation, and the show runs for 1 hour without a break.
What the public say:
We don't always work in public venues (sometimes we perform in your house!) and we get a lot of audience reviews. This is what they are saying about Are Strings Attached?:
"The performance was absolutely outstanding" (Tony, Fareham)
"All 11 of us thought the performance was brilliant. Thank you so much. A brilliant evening!" (Brendan, Brighton)
"The performance was spellbinding and illuminating. I found myself moved by the depth of this piece… It seemed timeless, with so much packed in to the 55 minutes running time that it seemed to be more - in a very good way. I suspect that this piece is like an onion. (You'll need to see it to get that reference!) Many layered and well worth seeing several times.” (Jon, Worthing)
"To say a performance is stunning is such a cliche, however Simon Lovat recreating Dog the Artist in my own living room had that effect. A play that walks through Dog's life making it personal and moving. Highly recommended. " (Ed, London)
"We were unsure what to expect from a one-person play and we were really impressed! We thought Simon Lovat was superb and that the play was so, so good!!" (Holly, Brighton)
"I was lucky enough to host Are Strings Attached? and I can thoroughly recommend it. A play in your home, how cool is that? And on themes that emerge effortlessly from a fully realised character, involving the art of graffiti, the pressure to succeed, growing up and becoming free. Nice!" (Simon T. Brighton)
"The performance of Simon Lovat was incredible" (Julia & Ed, Brighton)
"We really loved it. Everyone was very impressed. Can't wait for the next one! We thought the way he wove the different ideas into the play was very skilful." (Michelle, Brighton)