As playwright Khairul Kamsani puts it, international production Discord of Discourse explores the “conundrum between communication and perception”. Check out what he told us about the Camden Fringe show, then book your tickets.
Kamsani’s drama runs at the Tristan Bates Theatre from 5 to 10 August 2019.
Across the seemingly different universes of linguistic anthropology and quantum physics, Jean and Jean attempt to build a relationship. But will two people whose lives have their foundations in very different worlds be able to summon enough mutual empathy and understanding to make it work?
Kamsani’s play premiered at Singapore’s Aliwal Arts Centre in 2015, making its UK premiere three years later when, in 2018, it played at Faversham Fringe and Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre. Having been revived for a production in Hong Kong earlier this year, co-produced by Kamsani’s Playcraft Studios and Kristina Pakhomova‘s KrisP. Productions, it now returns to the UK for Camden Fringe.
In addition to co-producing, Pakhomova also stars in Discord of Discourse. She previously performed in her own play Dark Room and Anvita Gupta‘s What’s Wrong with Me?. She’s joined in this production by Alexander Zorn.
Kamsani both writes and directs the production. His previous plays include sci-fi drama Human+, Fracture: The End, The Middle & The Beginning and Alan In Vunderland.
The Tristan Bates Theatre has a packed summer of Camden Fringe shows. In addition to Discord of Discourse, it’s hosting satirical Shakespearean tale Boris Rex, dark romance The Geminus, refugee tale The Net and more.
Discord of Discourse runs at Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NP from 5 to 10 August 2019 with performances Monday to Saturday 9.15pm. Tickets are priced £12. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Khairul Kamsani on Discord of Discourse
What inspired you to write Discord of Discourse?
My first play, Fracture: The End, The Middle & The Beginning was a 45-minute, dramatic exploration into the idea of perceiving ideas and narratives in a non-linear way. The subject continued to engross me even after closing and further studies into the field of semiotics, linguistics and phenomenology revealed to me the kind of depth that the script could have. I found the new title Discord of Discourse as I rewrote Fracture simply because I was curious to explore the conundrum between communication and perception.
The play was first staged in 2015. Has it grown since then?
The play takes great consideration on the casting and locale of which it is performed in. The perceivable race and ethnicity of the actors become an element that is played with in the script and so are the accents and languages that they are native to. There are also inside jokes that are specific to the locality of the audience being played to, and so there has been line changes to make sense and a stronger relation to the audience when bringing the work from Singapore to Hong Kong and then the UK. Without giving too much away, the play also explores new colloquialisms, phrases and vocabulary that are very current with the millennial generation, so I’ve had to update several words to stay ‘hip’.
What do performers Kristina Pakhomova & Alexander Zorn bring to the piece?
The play is intellectually engaging as it is an emotional journey and heavily dependent on the cast’s ability to carry the text and acting throughout. Alex never leaves the stage and is always moving the piece forward with Kristina keeping a strong presence in the play even when not visible. The actors definitely bring a strong professional presence and display expertise in their craft as the show does not rely on set or glitter to be captivating.
Ideas of division and lack of understanding/empathy for others with a different view on life seem very pertinent at the moment. Without giving too much about the play away, are you optimistic about whether those differences can be overcome?
I don’t think I can answer this without giving too much away! The play not only highlights these differences in perspectives, but explores how and why we have to examine our own prejudices in encountering the world. I hope audiences will leave the theatre with much more awareness on their own perspectives being different from others as much as the other way around.
Why did you want to bring it to the Camden Fringe?
It’s been performed in Singapore, Hong Kong and other parts of the UK; I am curious to hear and engage with conversations that arise from the audiences of the Camden Fringe after each show!
How are you feeling about staging it at the Tristan Bates Theatre?
Definitely ecstatic! The Tristan Bates Theatre is the highest profile venue that I’ve worked with in the UK so far and to be accepted into the programming is certainly a validating feeling when creating fringe work with a tight budget. The intimate nature of the venue works perfectly with the the spatial relationship that the show needs to firmly immerse the audience into its world.
What can audiences expect from the production?
The need to discuss their experience with someone right after! I have taken research and care in crafting the representation of subjects such as about semiotics, anthropology or quantum mechanics in the play that is accurate, useful to the narrative and play without making it too complex or dumbed down. I constantly receive audience feedback after performances that any initial worry or apprehension that the show might be too complicated gets dissipated quickly and the journey of the play becomes a world to build.
Full festival programme
For details on all 300+ shows in the 2019 Camden Fringe programme, visit the festival websiteClick here