A Joke

Sylvester McCoy (Dr Who, Hobbit), Robert Picardo (Star Trek Voyager, Stargate Atlantis) and John Bett (Shallow Grave, Tess) star in Dan Freeman’s hit play exploring our attitudes to humour and life. An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman find themselves in a void and must work out who and where they are. Are they constituents of a story, or is the joke on them?

MB2_8233

They approach the world respectively with fear, optimism and acceptance and gradually begin to solve the mystery of their own existence and ours. ‘Sharp, satirical, effortlessly amusing’ (Stage). ‘Hilarious… exhilarating theatre’ (International Times).

 

MB2_8355

THE STORY

Three characters with no memory, apparently born into a void, must work out who and where they are. Are they the constituents of a joke, or a story, or is the joke on them? A Joke explores our attitudes to humour, music, stories and life through an exciting and hilarious drama. The characters of The Englishman, The Irishman and The Scotsman approach their barren world respectively with fear, optimism and acceptance. As they adopt one another’s tendencies, and learn by experiment and discussion, they begin to solve the mystery of their own existence and ours. The play boasts razor-sharp wit; slapstick; song and magic to bring the most imaginative show possible to a global stage.

MB2_8365

REVIEWS from 2017

INTERNATIONAL TIMES – “Hilarious… this break-neck hour of exhilarating theatre.”

EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS ***** – “A comic masterclass… laugh out loud funny … Freeman’s layered and thoughtful script… A Joke will keep you laughing and set you thinking.”

BROADWAY WORLD ***** – “A delight… excellent… ”

EDINBURGH REPORTER ***** – “Razor-sharp, rapid-fire one-liners, exquisite wordplay… All three actors are a delight to watch. Picardo is… a revelation… I think this might be my favourite show this year at The Fringe. If it’s not then it has certainly set the bar VERY high.”

JANICE FORSYTH, BBC RADIO SCOTLAND – “A terrific play”

THE STAGE “Sharp, satirical and effortlessly amusing”

FESTMAG – “Delightfully absurdist… charming performances…greatly enjoyable”

SGFRINGE ***** – “Wonderfully performed… impeccable”

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

A Joke explores our attitudes to humour, music, stories and life through an exciting and hilarious drama. The characters of The Englishman, The Irishman and The Scotsman approach their barren world respectively with fear, optimism and acceptance. As they adopt one another’s tendencies, and learn by experiment and discussion, they begin to solve the mystery of their own existence and ours. The play boasts razor-sharp wit; slapstick; song and magic to bring the most imaginative show possible to a global stage. The thesis of the play is that optimism is not only an attitude but an act of courage with a positive effect on The World. It is not only a way of viewing Creation but is a creative act in itself. Similarly, pessimism is an act of cowardice and emphatically destructive. The Irishman embodies hope, but also empiricism: he is brave enough to hope and scientific enough to assume that every phenomenon must have a cause. The Englishman embodies pessimism, but also magical thinking. He is ready to assume that things can “just appear”, and to shut down further inquiry. He is too cowardly to hope and too afraid to imagine that things could be meaningful: a victim and proponent of existential dread. The Irishman eventually triumphs not only by creating a better world for his fellows, but creating another “joker” who will do the same. In this way The Scotsman is an audience surrogate – a happy pragmatist who is converted from creation to creator. By being doggedly optimistic that the World can be better, one makes the World better. At the same time the play is an examination of the essence and structure of art, and the commonalities between jokes, stories, songs and life. The aim is to sneak deep themes past the audience under a fleece of hearty laughter!

ABOUT DAN FREEMAN

Dan Freeman is a pioneering and multi award-winning writer/director. He began by producing short comedy segments for BBC Radio 1 and 5 before graduating to his own series The Wildebeest Years on BBC Radio 4. He adapted and produced Dante’s Inferno for the BBC’s Book at Bedtime and wrote and performed on the first three seasons of The Now Show. He also directed Stephen Fry in the World’s first webcast, Death Comes to Time, for which he won the SWPA Gold Award for Drama (jointly with Michael Frayn). He combines music and comedy regularly in Mundo Jazz, a spoof World Music band who have become favourites at The Glastonbury Festival. In 2013 he won The Parsec Award for his audio movie series The Minister of Chance, a format he has advanced and pioneered. In 2016 he directed Tamsin Greig and Tuppence Middleton in The Light of September, a podcast series using psychoacoustic special effects. A Joke is his first stage play. An earlier version of it was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 to great critical acclaim.