Once more we welcome back Jolie Booth as a guest blogger on FringeReview. Jolie’s blog Hip at the Fringe followed her journey as a theatre maker. This year, Jolie charts and reflects on her role as a theatre producer, bringing work up to the Fringe for seven years in a row…
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Returning to the Fringe…
And for the first time I am bringing a show to Summerhall, which I’m incredibly excited about, but it has proven to be a little bit tricky. Having gotten used to the Pleasance and how things are run around there, I’ve been going through a sharp learning curve getting things right for Summerhall. No two venues are ever the same and it has been a useful wake-up call for me, who thought I could arrange a show going to Edinburgh with my eyes closed (which, for the record, I can not).
This year I am working with Kit Redstone (From TESTOSTERONE fame) and his new show Passengers. Directed by Jessica Edwards, this new play explores the epic battles within the psyche and the beautiful power of the mind to protect itself, using ensemble theatre to invite you to see the self in a whole new way.
Supported by Body and Soul Charity, this play delves into the ways the mind copes with trauma. Kit was diagnosed as having Disassociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) and to our knowledge this will be the first time someone has performed their actual different personas live on a stage. It is going to be a tough month for Kit, but we all feel this is an important subject to unpack, and in doing so we hope audiences will leave beginning to explore their own psyche’s in new and hopefully rewarding ways.
This blog will chart my journey of bringing the show to Summerhall and being in Edinburgh for the seventh year… (Why do we do this to ourselves and how do we keep up our stamina?)
Hope you enjoy the ride.
An Interview with Kit Redstone
In one sentence tell us about your show
A semi-autobiographical play about the three alter personalities of one man, who battle for dominion over his mind!
What made you decide to bring a show this year?
I had such a wonderful experience of the fringe in 2017 as part of the British Council Showcase that I couldn’t wait to return. As everyone knows the fringe is tough – financially, emotionally but it’s the largest theatre festival in the world, and a chance to not only share work with new audiences but to forge future working relationships. I met Jess Edwards at my last fringe and now she’s directing and developing this show with me.
How is your work different to your last show?
My last show Testosterone was about my experiences as a trans man and masculinity. That was my second show about the subject. It was super important to me to make work that wasn’t about being trans – but about identity from a completely different perspective. Ironically (Testosterone was in collab with physical theatre company Rhum and Clay) this show is even more physical, and in some ways more theatrical. It’s also a completely different creative team – so the world of the show, the style, the input is so different. This show began as mine but it now belongs to a whole group of us. It has been shaped and moulded by all the other voices in the room.
What do you hope your new show will achieve up in Edinburgh?
I hope of course that we manage to gain some momentum and gather an audience. To me, the beauty of theatre is the live interaction between performer and audience – and I just hope that we can share our mad, surreal story with as many people as possible. I’d love for people to go away thinking about the notion of ‘self’, how all of us to some extent have different versions of ourselves who surface at different moments. I’m all about building bridges of understanding by taking a unique, singular experience and making it universal.
What makes your show stand out from all of the others on offer? (Don’t say that it’s because you’re in it!)
I may be wrong but I suspect that it’s the only show written by a writer with Dissociative Identity Disorder placing their alters on stage. Which I think is really interesting. I think what my shows are generally successful in is treating an apparently serious subject matter with a playful, surrealist, bombastic style. We also have an absolutely fantastic team. Award winni f director Jessica Edwards and phenomenal actors and devisers Neil Chinneck and Jessica Clark.
Any advice you’ve heard or can give to anyone coming to the Fringe for the first time?
Look after your mental health. Take time to reconnect with life outside of theatre. It is easy to be swept up in the madness of the fringe and to forget that it’s not a matter of life and death. If your show gets bad reviews or a small audience it’s a horrible feeling but it’s not the end of the world. Remind yourself of all the other things of value in your life.
What show, other than your own, do you not want to miss?
Hands down Ridiculusmus’ Die Die Old People Die. They are one of my favourite companies and I’m proud to say they are also on at Summerhall.