Natasha Gilmore is the brains behind ‘A Conversation With Carmel’, a mixed genre piece featuring performances from an 83 year old and a baby boy.
We were intrigued when we first heard about it, and then our reviewer only went and gave it a 5/5 review; clearly, a Q&A was the only way forward.
CM: What is the concept behind your show?
NG: The piece is concerned with the cycle of life; it’s a celebration of the joy and resilience of people in their later years, set at a surprise 80th birthday party.
CM: Your show was inspired by your grandmother. How did that happen?
NG: Just prior to my Grandma’s death we had some very candid conversations that made me appreciate how important and precious inter-generational communication is. This became the inspiration for the piece.
CM: The show contains dance, theatre, music and film: how do you make all that fuse comfortably together?
NG: I was lucky enough to work with a brilliant Director, Candice Edmunds who co-directed the piece with me. We started with the concept for the film, to have ‘conversations’ with a number of different older men and women inspired by the conversations I had had with my own Gran, and then devise the piece inspired by the stories that they shared with us.
CM: The show features 83 year old Diana Payne-Myers. Is she still working or did you have to persuade her out of retirement?
NG: I saw her perform in January 2011 and was really impressed by her. I knew she’d be perfect for the role, I just wasn’t sure she’d want to work with us because we are a Glasgow Based company and she lives in London, but as it turns out she has family in Glasgow and was delighted to come to Scotland.
CM: Your son also appears in the production. He must be very easy-going! Does he disprove the “don’t work with children or animals” rule…?
NG: He’s a very easy going, sociable baby. He’s such a pleasure to perform with, but there is the added pressure of making sure he’s had just the right amount of sleep and food.
CM: Why have you brought the show to Edinburgh?
NG: We’re lucky enough to be a part of the ‘Made in Scotland’ showcase for the best of Scottish Theatre. We’re hoping this will be an opportunity to bring our work to new audiences as well as interest from new venues for future touring.
CM: Where will the show go from here? Is it the finished article or is it still developing? Will you tour with it?
NG: It’s a finished piece that we are also touring throughout Scotland in the Autumn and hopefully it will have a life beyond this too.
CM: Presumably you have attended the festival before? Do you enjoy it?
NG: Yes I love it. This is the 4th time in 5 years with my own work. I took last year off – as I was concerned with a different sort of ‘production’! (Otis was born in June).
CM: Will you see other shows while you are in town?
NG: Yes definitely. I love watching contemporary theatre. I’m especially looking forward to seeing Protein Dance; I danced with them for many years so it’s always brilliant to see their new work and catch up with old friends.
Natasha Gilmore’s show ‘A Conversation With Carmel’ was performed at St George’s West during Fringe 2011.