A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Street promises to be absurd, dark, surreal yet humorous. A severed finger in the mail sets off a chain of unlikely events. Broadway Baby investigates.
LUDS has performed a number of David’s original works in the past, and with A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Street having been so well received by the society and our audience in Liverpool, we thought it would be fantastic to perform it to a wider audience, and the Fringe is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Tell us about your show
Written and directed by David Jones, Liverpool University Drama Society presents A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Street,an absurdist comedy. When an unsuspecting citizen receives a severed finger with the morning post, the mysterious Officers Tripp and Fielding arrive to investigate the crime, signalling the start of an ever-escalating chain of ludicrous events. Nothing is quite as it seems, and as the officers continue to probe the mystery a cast of colourful, bizarre characters contribute to an increasingly surreal landscape where even the most insignificant of details are interconnected in a web of meaning which few can seem to fathom. As the investigation progresses Tripp and Fielding explore a dizzying array of explanations for the inexplicable arrival of the severed finger, and heap increasing pressure on their only witness to confess to a crime he surely couldn’t have committed. In an ongoing clash between meaning and nonsense, pre-determination and chaos, all the characters are trapped by forces far beyond their control. The show combines light-hearted wit with dark comedy and somewhat existentialist subject matter in a funny, surprising and entertaining way.
Why did you decide to take your show to Space UK this year?
LUDS has performed a number of David’s original works in the past, and with A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Street having been so well received by the society and our audience in Liverpool, we thought it would be fantastic to perform it to a wider audience, and the Fringe is a perfect opportunity to do just that. The Space is a great venue which we think will give us the best chance to maximise our show’s potential in a very helpful, creative environment.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s festival?
We’re just looking forward to the whole experience - living in the festival bubble surrounded by other productions and performers, promoting our show and then of course performing it every day to an entirely new audience who has no idea what to expect. The show is a very unusual blending of black comedy, absurdism and surrealism, and hopefully unlike anything else that audiences will have seen at the festival, so we’re really excited to see what reactions we’ll get! When we’ve performed the play previously every audience has reacted differently to different parts, and it’s going to be really exciting to see which sections have the most profound effect.
What makes your show unique amongst the thousands of others at the festival?
Our show is so unusual, we think that alone makes it unique! A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Streetis an absurdist comedy with surreal, black humour and all manner of strange word play, bizarre coincidences, clowns and cyclical, twisting logic. It’s also visually striking, and the characters themselves are very vibrant and stark. All of this contributes to a strange, uneasy atmosphere, which we think will make an instant and powerful impression on audiences. It should be very memorable!
How did you create your show?
The show started life in shortened form as a short play put on at an Experimental Theatre Night in Liverpool, which was a good home for the absurdist and surrealist aspects of the work. Although the play was already written in its full length form, the reaction of the audience and the rehearsal process helped us to revise and edit the script, because it gave us a good idea of what worked best, what the audience reacted to and how, and most importantly what got the laughs and what got the stunned silences. Because a lot of the comedy and the action is based on rapid exchanges and word play between the actors, it was especially important to see how that worked live, and we worked from there to build the final product. A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Streetwas born out of innumerable different comedies, absurdist and otherwise, and a wide range of influences from around the Liverpool theatre scene.
Why Edinburgh? What’s the attraction?
The fringe is such a hub of creativity and artistic expression; it’s just such a fantastic atmosphere to be in, especially for theatre aficionados such as ourselves! It’s a perfect place for nurturing creativity and to test your skills as a performer, a director, a writer and an artist, and it’s wonderful to be able to take what we learn each year to improve our productions in Liverpool and the following year’s festival production.
Show Name: A Traffic Jam on Sycamore Street
Production Company: Liverpool University Drama Society
Venue: theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall Theatre 2
Dates: 23rd-30th August
Twitter Handle: @sycamorejam