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Venue Rocket @ Kirk O'Field (124)
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"The main thing for me is to create people that exist... Some people
have this idea that theatre's not cinema, so you're not trying to make
it real, everyone knows it's theatre. I disagree; my play's probably
Andreas Beltzer, writer and director of the play Mina and occasional
student is drinking cappucino in an Italian cafe that seems to be the
crew's office - and his natural habitat. Coincidentally this is also
the setting for his play.
Mina, he says, is "very much character based - you take a bunch
of different people, throw them together & you see what happens -
that's basically how I write."
"I write very extensive histories to make sure I know them, and lots
of sample dialogues to see what voice they use."
He also believes in involving the actors as much as possible, feeling
that otherwise they "are just regurgitating".
"We include improvisation within the script in order for it to be as
realistic as possible. The improv might bleed into the script - the
script will be broken up and improv will happen for a few seconds or a
minute, and then they'll go back to the script."
He is an English and History student at Edinburgh University, but has
taken the scenic route to get there. Born in Sweden but raised in
Switzerland, Andreas returned for Business School where he "learnt one
thing - that I did not want to be a businessman."
He then switched to the cafes of Paris, where he acquired a taste for
literature and berets. "It was your standard `I want to be a
bohemian' kind of life." Aware of this potential cliche he admits, "Oh
God, yeah, very pretentious", laughing at the memory of his younger
self, but adds, "it was a great time. I would say it was certainly one
of the better cliches around."
His Paris was one of "creative ambitious passionate people... who go
to Paris for the reason that they are allowed to be like that there."
A sort of refugee camp for the artistic.
Then A-Levels in Oxford followed and by the time he arrived in Edinburgh he had
set his heart on theatre.
Although Swedish is his mother tongue, Andreas only writes in English,
which he considers much richer.
The character of Mina is what the play is built around, but it is not
the main role (she is somewhere between a supporting lead and a
Hitchcockian McGuffin). She is "fascinating" but "reserved" and above
all "mysterious... one of these people - who I think everyone's come
across - who, when they walk into a room, they fill the room." Her
arrival at a party in a restaurant reveals more about those around her
than herself. It asks the question do we actually find out who this
person is at all, or is it just a concoction of what everybody else
Andreas himself has a very clear idea of who she is. He found pinning
her character down was the hardest part of writing the play, even
though only distorted fragments of it are ever revealed. He believes
that "ambiguity is very important... I don't think life has endings
with clear messages."
Mina is now on it's second fringe showing. It mixes humour and drama,
and is well worth seeing.
Runs until 28 Aug at 5:30pm (7pm).
Tickets £6 (£4)
© Daniel Winterstein, 19th August 2001