Bradley Wrenn, co-founder of The Berserker Residents, talks about how the company is revamping their 2015 Fringe hit It’s So Learning to reflect our new, terrifying political climate. The theater-maker, clown, and deep thinker gave us a lot to chew on! [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] March 10-18, 2017; fringearts.com
FringeArts: What was the moment that you realized, we can make this into a show?
Bradley Wrenn: The original impulse came from working with children as writers. We were delighted by their complete lack of regard for narrative rules and structures. But after a fair amount of exploration we found it to be a bit of a one trick pony and struggled to find a way in which it could be sustained over a full-length production. But we continued to follow the thread and found ourselves making material about school. About the emotions conjured at school. The anxiety, dread, joy and terror.
It’s So Learning is a show about the audience’s journey. A wild ride that dredges up all those strange icky feelings that institutionalized education has wrought.
FringeArts: Can you describe the stage/setting, and what it has allowed you do play with creatively?
Bradley Wrenn: It’s So Learning is 55 child sized classroom chairs surrounded by 4 black boards. It allows for a frenetic theatrical experience. The audience is made to twist and turn to keep up. Action happens constantly around them at all corners of the performance space.
The audience is the main character in the piece. When making the piece we were always tracking their emotional journey. The performance is an entire emotional educational journey packed into 70 min.
FringeArts: Can you describe a few of the characters, and how you went about creating them?
Bradley Wrenn: We aren’t really characters. We are more facilitators. Technicians who sometimes plays teachers and sometimes play salesmen. We call the performance space the Sim Edu Center and we (the performers) serve its whim. We do our best to keep up and try to keep the Sim Edu Center happy but we fail and fall behind and we are punished.
It’s So Learning runs at FringeArts March 10-18. Learn more/get tickets here: fringearts.com/event/its-so-learning-11