Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Harry Josephine Giles enters through the audience whilst being filmed by a drone; we see the footage on a screen in front of us. They take us through the life of a drone whilst we can see, clearly that the drone may be a metaphor for more than just people watching. Whilst the visuals continue with footage of offices, drone attacks and discordant patterns, there is a musical soundscape that fits, supports and gives perfect packaging to the piece. By the end, Giles leaves us, with their poetry still ringing in our ears, and the very real impression that their drone attack may have intended.
There is a lot to love and admire about this piece. The entrance of Giles, the technology of it and the words are a more than decent start. There is a richness in the words, and they make you consider how outsiders within our own communities should be made to feel included and what they actually feel when we don’t realise. The cleverness of the drone being placed in the management speak of the times was tremendously humorous and gave a fitting background to the piece.
I loved the question and answer section which, by the time we get there, Giles has built a wonderful rapport with the audience. It is through that rapport, the inclusion they seek and receive from the audience that helps to build the effect in the room. We feel part of something, something going somewhere and being part of a bigger picture; it’s a heady mix.
We also have a multimedia feast which has underpinned the irony of the laughter when complaining about attending a multi media festival about drones. I think this is where I really began to enjoy things. There was a richness already but now because of the ability to nod to the debate there was a maturity of how we should see the drone and how we interact with them. That interaction was very clearly being criticised but also shown to be critical in the future relationships between trans and cis.
The backdrops of the visual art as well as the soundscape add to this and we get a discordance at times that suits the distance with which trans people feel towards society in general.
Of course, this was a performance that could be claimed to be non linear. It meanders all over the place and does not follow a structure that gives it a beginning, a middle or an end in the traditional sense. Having said that, what would you expect when the traditional way of doing things has been so painful for a vulnerable part of our society. Drone asks questions. It teases and asks difficult questions but what I thought was most impressive was I got a sense that the questions were at times as inward as outward facing. There is a fantastic sense of maturity that we have a discussion being suggested and I liked that a lot. The interface has not wholly changed but the agenda was being tweaked. Perhaps we need to avoid a management meeting about it in the future…