MATE Productions have taken the pirate story that everyone knows, torn it to pieces, stripped it for parts and rebuilt it from the ground up with cogs and gears. That’s right, a steampunk influenced Treasure Island will be in Edinburgh this August, which will hold a message about our present society.
Kristian Lawrence, Media Director of MATE Productions, spoke to The Fountain about what we can expect from this Fringe show, their plans for the Fringe as well as post Fringe.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting, what can we expect?
For our steampunk inspired Treasure Island you can expect an explosive blend of comedy, music, dance, swashbuckling action and spectacle woven within a thought provoking and relatable story of human spirit, endeavour, kinship and adventure!
TF: The steampunk re-imagining of Treasure Island sounds intriguing, do you veer away from the original story or are you loyal to Stevenson’s book?
We’ve tried to tread a fine line between accuracy and fantasy through our production. Phil Willmott’s fantastic script does stick fairly closely to the original story (albeit with a ton of characters being female and a certain number involving cheese), but with our interpretation we wanted to give it our own tilt to make the production that little bit more extraordinary. Set in an alternate Britain in the late 18th Century, a cataclysmic event decimates the population and fractures the earth. People spread far and wide across the globe for survival and opportunities with the coarse, archaic machinery of the industrial revolution adapted and altered to build this new world. Translating such a well known story wasn’t without it’s challenges but it has been an absolute thrill to put together and we were surprised with how well the story works with mechanical limbs, steam-powered airships and a clockwork parrot!
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
Our re-imagining of such a classic and well known story was born from observation of our current society: built on waste and fragmentation. The world of our Treasure Island is a reflection of our own, where instead of mindlessly wasted; everyday items are re-used and maintained, where we as a people are so stationary and disconnected, the people of this world are forced to travel, to learn, to adapt after the world has already ended. In the spirit of this our production strives to build on this idea of eco-consciousness, relying primarily on reclaimed, reused and recyclable materials to the create our set, props and costumes.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, have you been before?
We plan to take the Fringe by storm! You’re sure to see us pounding the streets in full pirate regalia handing out leaflets, looking for new recruits and we may even belt out a shanty or two! This will be MATE’s fourth Fringe! Every year we’re overwhelmed with how accommodating, warm and inviting the patrons can be and we can’t wait to swing in rapiers drawn and canons roaring to blow away a whole new audience this year!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Treasure Island?
We’ve got big plans for the rest of the year and well into next year! Our next big touring production will be our take on the greatest love story of all time; Romeo & Juliet! We’ve also got a magical woodland walkabout project planned for the spring and an extensive program of children and young people’s activities such as National Theatre Connections 2019!
Treasure Island – A Steampunk Re-Imagining, TheSpace Triplex Big, 13th–18th August 2018, 14:15pm (1hr 25mins)