News & Blogs

29 October 2021
Author: The Place

“DONUTS is my version of Seinfeld, or my version of Friends” – and interview with Jamaal Burkmar

Jamaal Burkmar is one of our new cohort of Work Place Artists who we will be working closely with for the next five years. Ahead of DONUTS, his new show with his company Extended Play, coming to The Place, we spoke to him in more detail about the influences behind the show, how music inspires him ,and what he missed about friendships during the past 18 months.

Inspired by classic sitcoms of the 90s & 00s, DONUTS follows a group of friends as their friendship evolves over time. DONUTS is a celebration of how music brings people together, no matter what life throws at them. Bursting with precision and soul, it is a hypnotic and playful ‘groove along’ to jazz and funk. Drawing on his own relationship with music and its influence on his friendships growing up, choreographer Jamaal Burkmar places music at the heart of his creative process. DONUTS is the first, highly anticipated, full length dance piece from the company behind JUKEBOX, the breakthrough Instagram series combining popular music with their distinctive and dynamic style of dance.

 

The Place: What is DONUTS about?

Jamaal Burkmar: DONUTS is based on me and my pals growing up. Pretty much most of the friendships I had were based around a relationship to some sort of music. It’s based on certain late night conversations where we were supposed to go out and some sort of album was playing – and then its 2 in the morning and someone says, can we just order something and stay in?

DONUTS is also a piece about friendship, and it makes it easy that all the dancers are all friends. We’re all pretty close. We want anyone from any era or from any place to be able to recognise themselves and their friends in this piece – to go ‘oh that’s me and my people!’

The Place: How have you been inspired by 90s and 00s classic sitcoms?

JB: Sitcoms are a pretty important part of how everyone grows up, but they were particularly important for how I grew up.

So the first scene of DONUTS is the Cold Open of the show. In sitcoms this is where you’re reintroduced to the characters. Sometimes it might connect to the plot, but it’s just a chance to go ‘oh yeah these are those people that we love’. Then you have the first half of the episode which is usually where the problem happens, and then you have the second half of the episode where the solution is very quickly found. We follow that structure in DONUTS. DONUTS is my version of Seinfeld, or my version of Friends.

The Place: What is the music like for DONUTS?

JB: We’ve found this score created by musician, DJ and producer Jameszoo. His music is a hybrid of funk, electronic, jazz, as well as classical which we’re excited to boogie around to. His music is pretty hard to define but he knows how to tell stories in songs which we’re really excited by.

And it is important to me to not be seen as just one thing musically and not just one thing creatively, so it’s been really exciting to work to his music.

‘we just hope that people really are reminded and think about their experiences with music, think about experiences with their friends, and think about experiences with their friends and their music together – whether that’s an evening out or an evening in’

The Place: Why come to see DONUTS?

JB: I’ve definitely missed sitting in a living room and something is playing in the background, and so it kind of feels pretty perfect that this is the piece that we’re re-entering the theatres with.

 

 

See DONUTS in London from the 2-6 November:

The Albany, Deptford | 2-4 Nov, 7.30pm 

The Place, London | 5 & 6 Nov, 7.30pm 

DONUTS is currently on a UK tour ,for more information visit https://www.theplace.org.uk/whats-on/collections/extended-plays-donuts-tour

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