We spoke to choreographer Jaamal Burkmar about Extended Play’s upcoming performance of DONUTS at the Edinburgh Fringe, presented by The Place. The show, which is taking place at Assembly George Square Gardens, is a soul-lifting contemporary dance performance with a funk-inspired beat that reaches for the reference book of classic 90s and 00s sitcoms to explore the beauty and playfulness of friendship
How’s your preparation for the Fringe going?
Preparation is always great, we’re all currently working on different projects, Maya and Iolanda are performing a version of our latest work How To Build A Universe in schools and we’ll all be together again in a studio soon. The most important part of our preparation is keeping the friendship in the work between the characters authentic and that work is mostly done in the Instagram group chat. Also, the work is so evenly split between set material and improvisation that whilst we have to rehearse the different movement phrases, we also have to work on re-finding the magical connection between the dancers. This process can be seen quite clearly on lots of the material we post on our Instagram page as well.
Why did you want to take inspiration from classic sitcoms from the 90s and 00s for a contemporary piece?
Lots of reasons! It all began with a desire to make whatever work I wanted as a choreographer, to have the permission to be able to tell whatever stories I felt most closely connected to as an artist. I watch a ton of tv, and sitcoms always felt like they never really needed to make a point, Seinfeld being the most obvious example of that.
You’re a relatively new company, what brought you together?
I think the answer is as simple as music and dance to be honest. It’s the most important part of what we do and everyone that gets involved with what we do kind of needs to have those as two loves.
What’s your favourite sitcom?
A difficult question… I’m going to go with “Community”… it very much spun the genre on its head. I’m not even sure it’s fair to call it a sitcom… but it firmly remains as one of the best things I’ve ever seen, a regular rewatch is required.
What are you most looking forward to at the Fringe this year?
This is my and the dancers first time at the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s always a laugh being with this group, so that’s going to be a lot of fun! I’m excited to see lots of shows and to immerse myself in all that’s on offer! Comedy became a big part of my life before lockdowns and that love has only grown over the last few years, so I’m definitely going to see a lot of comedy.
DONUTS is being performed at the Piccolo Tent at Assembly George Square Gardens between the 3d – 14th August. Tickets start at £8 and you can purchase them here.