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Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011: Killing Bill Gates

Formed in late 2009, Mechanical Tiger is a small production company consisting of a team of eight people. They have made two short films with two more currently in production.

Killing Bill Gates will be the first theatrical production for Mechanical Tiger:

“Four charity workers are caught up in a frantic and fanciful quest to dispatch their illustrious boss, IT magnate and philanthropist – Bill Gates. However, all the limp “good intentions” are soon thwarted, as the brutal methods of the volatile charity worker-cum-hitman Stevie stirs up the darker motivations in each of his colleagues. Very soon, the groups whimsical plan takes an unexpected and dangerous turn.”

Director, Josh Vince, said of the preparation for the Edinburgh festivities:

“This is my first year at the Fringe. It’s something I’ve wanted to be a part of for a few years, as I’m a huge fan of comedy, I enjoy the craft behind stand up and think that theatre has a real home in Edinburgh for the duration of the festival. I’m eagerly anticipating living in a creative, thriving, vibrant atmosphere for the month and hope to learn a lot from it.

“As far as preparation goes, we had an intense period of rehearsals throughout May, and put on two preview shows at Bournemouth University at the beginning of June. We asked for audience feedback afterwards and I took some very useful points from some of the people who had paid to see the show. We had a break throughout June to prepare mentally and physically for what will be a pretty exhausting run for a group of newcomers.

“When we returned in the middle of July I sat the cast down and, under the supervision of the writers (Peter Fellows, Tom Harrison and Sam Hutchinson – who are also cast) we workshopped some of the feedback we had received from the previews, which included plot points and line changes. I’ve found, and I think all the company would agree, that performing a preview show in good time before your opening night is a fantastic way of putting the text up against the test of a paying audience. This is an original piece, so while we knew what we found funny and what worked in rehearsals, the previews gave us a great sense of how accurate our instincts were. The preview show in Balham will be a great opportunity to show members of the press and generate word of mouth to help us hit the ground running, north of the border.

“The subject matter of the play appears dark in a synopsis, but for me it was always a straight comedy, for the simple fact that all the characters are tragic in some way (some in more than one way). Each character has their own, completely plausible motivation for the assassination, but the trait that makes them want to commit the act is the very same trait holding them back in their lives, and holding the plan back. The play is really the story of these people realising (or not) that their current situation in life may not be good for them.

“Before the writers went to work, we all sat down and spoke about the tone, which is crucial when tackling something as potentially incendiary as murder of a philanthropist. We decided it would be a mistake to make it too high-brow or too broad, so hopefully we’ve achieved a healthy balance of the two. A great example is a joke where a character derides past acts of political assassination for their lack of women’s involvement using street slang and swear words. We are performing at 4pm, so can’t afford to knock out any one section of our audience by being too base, or too highbrow. We want everyone to enjoy the play, and hopefully they will.

“I come from a background of writing and directing for film, and this is the first stage play I’ve directed, so it’s been a learning curve for me. The writers all produced a great script, and every person on that stage is absolutely wonderful. When you have that calibre of team backing you up, it makes my job so much easier. We’re lucky, in that we are were all friends before the process started, so there are no egos in the company. A play is alive from the moment you start read-throughs to the moment you close on the last night, and no one is afraid to voice their opinion.

“I’m proud to have such a talented bunch of friends. This summer will be a fascinating but steep learning curve for the 8 of us, and I hope we can stand to go back next year with a new show, but I guess that’s getting ahead of ourselves. More than anything, I hope you all enjoy the show.”

The play will preview in London on 29th July 2011 at The Bedford (Ballroom) in Balham at 9pm. The performance will be free and unticketed.

The show then moves to Scotland’s capital as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2011.

Venue: Laughing Horse @ The Three Sisters (Maggie’s Chamber) 139 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS
Dates: 4th-8th,10th-14th, 17th-21st, 24th-28th August 2011
Times: 4pm – 5pm
Prices: (Free/unticketed)

About Entertainment Desk

Entertainment Desk
Editors and staff from the Entertainment Desk at The Global Herald.

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