ED2013 Interviews ED2013 Theatre ED2013 Week3 Edition

Familia de la Noche: Very possibly the greatest liars of all the Festival

By | Published on Tuesday 20 August 2013

Familia de la Noche

‘The Greatest Liar In All The World’ is a dark sequel to the story of Pinocchio. Puppets, shadow theatre, masks, magic and live music all feature in this theatrical circus of a show from new company Familia de la Noche. Having wowed our reviewer – “flawless” they were heard to declare – we spoke to the group’s Artistic Director Conrad Sharp to find out more.

CC: Tell us about Familia de la Noche. How did you come together as a group?
CS: We’re a newly formed company made up of an eclectic mix of artists and performers, including a Russian-trained-figure-skater-turned-silent-clown, an award-winning Shakespearian actor, a physical theatre choreographer, a puppeteer, and a gypsy swing composer who’s big in the Ukraine. I scouted and schemed and finally brought the whole group together over a roast dinner.

CC: What are the aims of the company?
CS. We want to make brilliant, funny, affecting, devastating, charming and raucously entertaining theatre, with a contagious spirit and a lust for life.

CC: What’s the premise of ‘The Greatest Liar In All The World’?
CS: The show revolves around the life and imminent demise of The Greatest Liar In All The World: a renowned mentalist act, now past his prime and at breaking point. In an attempt to save him, his troupe of unglamorous assistants persuade him to tell his life’s tale. Despite its darkly comic backdrop, at its heart it’s a story of lost love, and how far you will go to find it again.

CC: The show progresses the Pinocchio story, a sequel if you like. Why did you decide to make a show around the story of Pinocchio?
CS: Pinocchio always seemed like a story that ended with a beginning, the little wooden boy becomes real, but then what? He just leaves his magical world behind? We wanted to know what happened next. It’s also a much darker story than most people think, the cartoon leaves a lot of the gruesome stuff out.

CC: There’s a eclectic mix of puppetry, shadow theatre, masks and magic in the play – how do you weave those in? Which comes first, the plot or the performances?
CS: The plot always comes first for us, once that’s nailed down we then experiment to find the best way to tell each aspect of the story. We’re a mixture of performers from a diverse background of disciplines and we’re lucky to have a lot of different tools at our disposal. Half the fun during our rehearsals is to try everything once.

CC: With all that going on, plus the music, is it an exhausting show – especially in the constraints of a Fringe venue?
CS: Of course, but I guess we feel that if the show isn’t exhausting then we’re not trying hard enough. Sweat and sore feet are our friends.

CC: Has the show developed over the month you’ve been performing in Edinburgh?
CS: Absolutely. For the first week we spent most of our evenings reworking scenes until our socks fell off, even now we’re still developing and adding. As a company we don’t like standing still.

CC: What are the future plans for show?
CS: We’ve been approached by a few venues for a homecoming run back in London, and then after that we hope to tour nationally in early 2014. We’ve also had interest from a company in the US to take the show over there.

CC: As we’re nearing the end of the Festival, what other shows would you recommend we see?
CS: Definitely ‘Bin Laden: The One Man Show’ at C nova, and other recommended shows we’ve seen at our own venue Underbelly include ‘Hag’, ‘Killing Roger’ and ‘Where The White Stops’. And our top tip is We Our Goose’s ‘Will You Hold My Hand’, it’s also at Underbelly Cowgate and is an overlooked corker.

CC: And finally, what are your favourite Festival lies?
CS: There are so many to choose from; the old classics such as “Yes I’m still flyering and no I’m not in a bar”. And “We might break even”. But the favourite we’ve overheard has to be “Go and see the Greatest Liar, it’s got goldfish ballet a live tiger and a man shot out of a cannon”.

‘The Greatest Liar In All The World’ was performed at Underbelly Cowgate at Edinburgh Festival 2013.

LINKS: www.familiadelanoche.com

Photo: Natalia Equihua