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Edinburgh Blog: How a chance encounter turned into a ‘spellbinding’ spectacle

I’m sitting at the kitchen table, working on an ever-growing to-do list before our Edinburgh festival in August. Very soon we will enter the rehearsal room to once again fan the flames on the project which has been quietly smoldering since its blistering February premiere at the Theater Royal Plymouth.

I killed my very first bird is a powerful experience. It was sculpted from the raw, tender and unrelenting expression that writer and performer Jason Brownlee began bringing to life in 2018, based on some of his lived experiences of trauma, violence and addiction in childhood.

I first met Jason in 2015 when he started working on the Our Space project which I co-lead at the TRP. The project supports adults in the community with multiple and complex needs, using the process of creating theater as a way to build resilience, insight into our human experience, and creative tools for life. One day, during a free writing exercise (an uninterrupted stream of consciousness flowed onto the paper), a creative channel opened up for Jason, and parts of his life that had been locked away for a long time came out. began to reappear as an epic, rhyming poem. Over the next few months, the words continued to flow, typed into her phone while waiting at bus stops, drinking coffee or walking down the street. It wasn’t until late 2017, however, that I heard what he had written.

During Yukio Ninagawa’s Interval macbeth we met on the sidewalk outside the theater to hang out, smoke and talk about the show. Another member of the Our Space group was with us, prompting Jason to deliver part of his poem. Jason relented and embarked on an epic five-minute gangster journey through South East London – high street business, dysfunctional family, trusted associates and setting up a big job. It was brooding, dark, funny, lively, urgent and, in its rhymed form, relentless.

For those five minutes, I was completely transported – mesmerized by the powerful storytelling that Jason had held me with. A seed had been planted, and now, five years later, the cast has grown to five, the five minutes have grown to 55, and we’re about to share the work at the world’s biggest theater festival as Voodoo Monkeys. . We’ll see you there!

Today I Killed My Very First Bird is at Pleasance Courtyard August 3-29

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