Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 interview: David Leddy offers a double whammy of political intrigue and horror
The Scottish theatremaker returns to the Fringe with Horizontal Collaboration and City of the Blind
This article is from 2014.
David Leddy is looking for actors. As his new play, Horizontal Collaboration, requires a fresh cast of four for every performance, he needs about 120 of them to see him through the Fringe. And no one can do it twice.
Leddy, whose works include the comic take on the art world, Long Live the Little Knife and audio play Susurrus, likes to break new ground with each new project. Horizontal Collaboration, and its companion-piece, City of the Blind, a downloadable drama for phone or tablet, are political thrillers about the work of the United Nations.
'It’s an organisation that overshadows all of our lives but most of us know little about how it works,' he says. 'I’m interested in whether or not the UN is a good thing. One of its major failures is the problem of peacekeeping soldiers abusing local people. Also, its track record for dealing with whistleblowers is pretty shabby.'
While City of the Blind tells the story of a whistleblower trapped in a web of surveillance and counter-intelligence, Horizontal Collaboration is about four UN lawyers brought in at short notice to read the testimonies in a tribunal relating to the wife of an African warlord. The plays are a mixture of research and fiction, though Leddy notes: 'Unfortunately, the most outrageous and horrible things are true'
'City of the Blind is a big, epic, complicated narrative in six parts, the theatrical equivalent of a DVD box set,” he says. 'Horizontal Collaboration is a tight, minimal hour. They’re like a vast symphonic work and a chamber piece. I’m interested in manipulating what theatre is, so for every project I try to take theatre apart and put it back together again. I don’t think people are worried about what form it takes as long as there are real stories, real emotions and real questions about how the world works.’
Horizontal Collaboration, Traverse, 228 1404, 1–24 Aug (not 4, 11, 18), times vary, £18 (£13). Preview 31 Jul, £12 (£7).
City of the Blind, 1–24 Aug, online download at davidleddy.com, £8.99.