Multi-award winning director Teddy Bergman brings to life Four Woke Baes which considers just how liberal ‘woke’ boys really are when they’re alone together, out in nature, beers in hand.
Hi Teddy thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?
It’s going very well, thank you!
How does it feel to be making your Edinburgh Fringe debut with Four Woke Baes?
It’s absolutely thrilling. For a New Yorker, the Edinburgh Fringe is an almost mythical place, so it’s a dream come true. And to do with a play of Jonathan’s - whom I’ve known since university - is the cherry on top.
Are there any nerves ahead of your UK Premiere?
Oh sure, to get a chance to participate, in some small way, in the most august theatrical tradition in the world - it’s a bit intimidating.
Can you tell me a little bit about Four Woke Baes, what can we expect?
Four Woke Baes is a hilarious, savage and deeply felt comedy about love, monogamy and the limits of “wokeness.” It follows four old friends on a river rafting stag party and reveals how quickly their animalistic selves emerge when a mysterious woman lands in their midst.
We have an incredible cast of some of the best actors in New York - folks I have had the honour to work with and watch on stage for years. And in a wonderful bit of irony, Noah Bean and Lyndsy Fonseca, who play the characters sparring about the nature of monogamy at the centre of our show, are actually married in real life!
What was it about Jonathan Caren’s play that interested you so much as a director?
Jonathan writes crackling dialogue, has a such a finely tuned observational eye and he’s fearless. This play is an unflinching look at toxic masculinity and the limits of a certain conception of love. Jonathan manages to unearth the way people’s politics only run so deep and usually, end as when each the shore of someone’s psychology. Four Woke Baes manages to do all this in a rip-roaring and utterly contemporary 75 minutes.
"I was in an after-school program where we were basically given a box of costumes and allowed to make up skits."
What have been the biggest challenges bringing a production to life?
Sometimes I think it’s the dumbest things. Like how are we going to literally pitch a tent in front of an audience in two minutes? It’s never what you think it’s going to be.
When a production like Four Woke Baes is running is it always evolving or are you able to avoid changing too much of it?
I think the beauty of the theatre is its ever-changing nature. Each audience, each night is a once in a lifetime event. That’s what is so vital, so dangerous - we’re creating a new community, throwing a new party, every time.
How would you describe Four Woke Baes in 3 words?
Riotous. Brutal. Big-Hearted. Sorry, that’s four-ish.
Have you always had a passion for theatre?
Unfortunately, yes. Since about age 7. I was in an after-school program where we were basically given a box of costumes and allowed to make up skits. One afternoon, I did a scene in drag and thought, “Wow. This is powerful stuff.”
What was the first play you directed?
The Importance of Being Earnest in high school!
Has your style and approach to creating your shows changed much since you started?
Yes. I think as I go on I both prepare much more and realize how little I know before I start rehearsals. And there’s a weird peace to that.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Only worry about you can control, and if you can control it, don’t worry.
Do you have any advice you would offer a fellow theatre maker?
See as much, read as much, watch as much as you can!
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this show?
I hope people see a bit of themselves in both the best and worst of these characters, and in some small way, use that as an invitation to ever so slightly move the needle within themselves.