Buck-A-Brenda – R&D Update

So myself, Nickie, Jon and Mike have been working on a new Wild N Beets show. The R&D for Buck-A-Brenda is supported by Blueprint: Without Walls R&D investment fund. Without Walls is the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor arts shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond. For more information on the work of Without Walls please visit WithoutWalls.uk.com

So what is Buck-A- Brenda?
Well its The Wheelchair Wobbling game with Burdened Brenda

You’ve just finishing reading the Daily Fail, so what are you going to to with all that hostility? Well our burdened Brenda can take it, but be careful how much you pile it on as there’s only so long before she flips! In this prejudice pilling, wheelchair wobbling family game you never know when Brenda will buck……One buck… and your out of Luck!

So what have we been up to on the R&D Process to Date?
During the R&D we have explored:

  • How the show works – structure, rules of the game
  • How Brenda works, what she looks like?
  • The mechanics of Bucking Brenda
  • What are the objects placed on Brenda
  • Audience interaction
  • Why are we playing this game? 
  • Logistics of touring both shows at the same time

So what we have Discovered so far?
Brenda is precious to Beryl and Cyril because she is made up of all their friends who are living on the edge right now, for example, the leg reminds us of Bill, the arm of Raquel, the knee of Edith. All of these people are tipping into poverty, tipping into debt, tipping into ill health, tipping into society’s perceptions of worth? Brenda has a home made feel about her and is treated like royalty, towed behind Beryl and Cyril will great pomp.

The current Bingo Lingo Machines can be easily re-designed and interchangeable providing easy flexibility between shows, allowing us to perform both shows at the same festival over a weekend, widening our offer to festivals and audiences. We worked with Jon Van Beek to explore the overall design and came up with initial design concepts, both machines will have horses head and a rodeo feel. Cyril’s Machine will have phallic cacti and rattle snakes instead of the bingo balls and Beryl’s Machine will have a giant white horse shoe instead of the prizes. Both Machines will hold the objects placed on Brenda. 

The show format will be very different to Bingo Lingo but still be in the shape of a game show where the audiences play and work as teams. All objects will be a oversized tongue-in-cheek metaphors for current political and social barriers which are unfairly placed on society, which will echo the Bingo Lingo calls and style.

We have worked with Mike Pattison to create a ‘proof of concept’ remote control tipping wheelchair and continue to explore options with Mike about future development.

We worked with Musician John Kelly to explore the music and sound of the show, a tongue in cheek western themed adventure telling the story of our Brenda. Have a listen below to the track!

The aesthetic of access has been central to the development allowing us to explore integrated Audio description, best ways to incorporate basic BSL and has impacted on the overall design.

So What Next?
We continue to work on more detailed elements such as music concepts, more detailed focus on design with Jon and further mechanical elements with Mike to also animate Brenda herself as well as the wheelchair.

But don’t take our word for it, lets hear it from the horses mouth! (Beryl and Cyril that is!)

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