ED2015 Dance & Physical Theatre ED2015 Interviews ED2015 Week0 Edition

Linda Cattaneo: Cranking up the Discoteque Machine

By | Published on Saturday 1 August 2015

Discoteque Machine

At Discoteque Machine, rhythm hungry festival-goers can take to the stage themselves, interacting with the mysterious Morphs, under the watchful eye of the even more mysterious Voice. Confused? Intrigued? Entranced?
The brain child of Italian performers Alice Mangione and Gianmarco Pozzoli, Discoteque Machine has all the ingredients to become an Edinburgh Fringe institution, as it premieres at Zoo Southside this Festival. We spoke to Linda Cattaneo, one of the team behind the Machine, to find out more.

CC: It’s an exciting sounding show. Tell us how it works.
LC: ‘Discoteque Machine’ is like an interactive dance party. The show is hosted by our friendly dance performers – the Morphs – who invite audience members to join them on the stage. There are six rounds to the show involving six audience members, before the entire audience is invited up on stage for the finale. The Morphs have an uncanny ability to mimic any person’s movement and they are on hand to help the audiences let themselves go and feel the music. Throughout the show they are directed by ‘the Voice’ who instructs the audience and Morphs on what to do throughout the show.

CC: Where did the idea come from?
LC: It was created by two Italian comic performers, Alice Mangione and Gianmarco Pozzoli, who wanted to create a show where people could enjoy themselves, where there was no judgement, and where audience members could rid themselves of shyness. They felt that now, more than ever, we need to be free to express ourselves and feel liberated, which is why they created ‘Discoteque Machine’.

CC: Is the idea that all audience members ultimately join in – or could some sit on the sidelines and watch?
LC: There is no pressure on audience members to take part. If audience members would like to just watch the Morphs perform and interact with people on stage, they can. Equally, if they would like to get involved they can too. The show is made in such a way so that you can enjoy it as a spectator as well as a participant.

CC: Do participating audience members need some cool dancing skills? Or will any old body movements suffice?
LC: No dancing skills are necessary! The moves in the show are really easy to learn, so much so that we’ve even had five year old children on stage picking them up easily! People won’t be judged on their dancing skills and the audience are welcome to bring their own unique style of dancing to the show too.

CC: Given the audience participation, how much of the show is set in stone and how much is improvised?
LC: The show format is the same every night, but what changes is how the audience react and engage with the Morphs. In that sense it’s about 50/50 set in stone versus improvised. The structure remains the same but it’s a different audience every night, so the show can be a new experience for the company and the audience each time.

CC: Is there a story you are telling, or a message to convey?
LC: The message of the show is to be yourself, free yourself from shyness and let yourself go with the music. Dance is fun and liberating and there is no one that can judge you, so just go for it! ‘Discoteque Machine’ wants to serve as a liberating and joyful opportunity to dance. A non-judgmental invitation where spectator and actor create an amazing synergistic show.

CC: How have you picked the music?
LC: The music is a selection of songs that appeal to all ages. There are 50 remixed tracks that everybody knows and loves, from ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ to ‘Pump Up The Volume’, ‘Thriller’ to ‘Singing In The Rain’, and a big favourite for the last dance!

CC: Tell us a bit more about this mysterious ‘Voice’.
LC: Well, as I said, the Voice will direct the show. The Voice is the only thing the Morphs obey and will give instructions to them, and the audience, on where to move, how the music plays and what to do next.

CC: The costumes sound great. Tell us more about them. Who has created them?
LC: The costumes are created by an Edinburgh-based company called Morphsuits, who like us want to help people free themselves from shyness. They have kindly sponsored the show by providing the costumes for the Morphs, who in a way are like modern day Commedia d’ellarte performers.

CC: Why did you decide to premiere this show at the Edinburgh Fringe?
LC: Alice and Gianmarco have been to Edinburgh many times to perform and it has always been an incredible experience. Audiences are always so open and friendly, and the energy in Edinburgh at Festival time is incredible. It’s this energy we want to tap into to spread the joy of ‘Discoteque Machine’ around the world!

CC: And talking of which, where will the show be heading beyond the festival?
LC: The details of an international tour are currently being put together and we hope that following our festival run that the tour will be extended to even more destinations. For up-to-date tour information, do check out our website.

‘Discoteque Machine’ was performed at Zoo Southside at Edinburgh Festival 2015.

LINKS: bagsentertainment.com