Jesse Dupré, a fellow South Londoner and a former pupil of James Allen Girls School, Dulwich, is returning to Southwark in a revamped version of the much-loved fringe show, Oyster Boy.
Jesse is one-fifth of Haste Theatre, an all-female, international theatre company who met on the MA Physical Theatre course at St Mary’s University College in Twickenham. Oyster Boy, a bittersweet tale of the trials of love and what it means to be ‘different’, was their first show.
‘Oyster Boy’ was performed over 70 times and taken to many different countries. It is a physical comedy based on a short story by Tim Burton, and was made over a 6-week period and was probably the steepest learning curve Haste Theatre have experienced as a company! Looking back, Jesse feels that they were so overflowing with ideas that they didn’t know properly how to put them all together at the beginning. They didn’t have a director (still often work without a director) so it was really difficult not having an outside eye to see what worked and what didn’t. But they got there in the end though and learnt so many valuable lessons.
The show is critically acclaimed, it gathered various accolades, from Best International Show at Orlando Fringe 2014 to Spirit of the Fringe at San Diego Fringe Festival 2013 and Critics’ Choice for Creativity at Rome Fringe Festival 2013 but it did not always have the smoothest of performances.
During an outdoor performance at San Diego Fringe Festival, a huge fireworks display started overhead during a romantic scene. Cleverly, the suave lover (Valeria Compagnoni) used this to his advantage by smoothly uttering ‘Ah fireworks…for us!’
Subsequently, at the Orlando Fringe press preview, there was a power cut during the very same poignant and touching moment, plunging the theatre into darkness. The audience – filled with press – saved the day by shining the light from their phones on the stage so the show could finish.
Jess is no doubt hoping their upcoming national tour will be less problem-stricken and prove just as popular with audiences.
This new production will premiere at Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell, on 2nd and 3rd of March.