Name Of Show: How to Swim in Hollywood
Date: August 3-11th, 13-18th
Location: Greenside @ Infirmary Street – Mint Studio (Venue 236)
Hello Alice! Tell us about How To Swim in Hollywood?
The play was inspired by the 2017 Hollywood abuse scandals. It portrays sexual exploitation as a culture nurtured by beauty standards, gender ideals, poor sex education and the materialistic pursuits of the American dream.
Set in Beverly Hills, 1979. Narrated by DAISY, the young housewife of a Hollywood icon- DAISY is unaware that her journey to womanhood was a very damaging and unhealthy experience. I want the play to remind us that the human perspective is always limited by the culture of the present time. On the backdrop of 2017, it asks the audience to consider what aspects of current culture are blurring the perspective of gender equality and sexual exploitation.
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Fringe?
There is an ongoing metaphor throughout the play- growing up DAISY never learned how to swim, this is contrasted with her dark memories of high school crushes to create a picture of a woman thrown into the deep end of a world she was never prepared for. But as well as reflecting the plot line, the title reminds me that Hollywood has been a place where there is a learned skill, manner and technique a person needs to stay afloat in the industry; there is a dangerous side to Hollywood and people know if they don’t perform correctly, they will sink.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
It’s intense, it is a piece that requires something of the audience to think and feel things that aren’t pleasant. The character and visual design is sweet, and soft and pink on the surface but the undercurrent is dark. There is a dreamlike effect created by sound, music and physicality- the audience aren’t listening to DAISY talk, they are in her mind, they are experiencing her memories.
Tell us about the writing process behind a one woman show? What is the most challenging thing?
I begin with a topic that I’m passionate to learn about, then I create a character that captivates me, and I write about the topic of the play from their perspective. That’s the important part and the biggest challenge- the central character, because it’s just me on stage. Even if I play multiple roles, there must be a main character that is so multifaceted that they can fuel the entire play by their presence alone.
What are your pre show ritual?
Relax and laugh. My shows are dark and serious, but I want to hit the stage feeling happy to be there. I sit somewhere peaceful, a park or a cafe with a friend and have a giggle. I take it easy and I don’t focus on the play or “getting into character”. If my mind and body are relaxed I will sink into the performance and even if there are scenes with tears or rage- peace and relaxation is the key to those moments. I’ve worked with directors that like to hype up the energy before getting on stage- that’s not my style. When my body is relaxed and comfortable I’m in control, and that allows the audience to feel comfortable too.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
‘I Am Not Your Woman’ a new play inspired by #metoo, and ‘What the… Feminist!?’ a satirical musical. I’m excited to see how these shows navigate their topics through different styles and mediums.
Have you done the Fringe before? What have been some of your favourite shows to date and why?
Yes, I’ve performed in the previous two festivals. ‘Paper Doll’ by Weird Sisters company, stands out to me. It was a two-hander about a toxic marriage with a bizarre futuristic twist. It showed a dark absurdity to the way people can desperately fixate their purpose in life within romance, love and parenthood. A stand out one-woman comedy was ‘The Barista Chronicles’, Maria Humphreys was perfectly light hearted, she was cheeky and relatable, she told her everyday life stories with an authenticity that reminded me of the funny that is always available in my everyday life.
Some acts have already tried it and done shows in the environment but do you think virtual reality has a space to be used in theatre and what other modern technologies do you think could alter the way we interact and watch shows?
Definitely, what most excites me about VR is that we are just getting started with it, there is so much yet to explore. While I was studying, I did a few classes where we played around with live chat and social media- we had the audience interact with the characters via web chat, directing them on journeys and missions, beyond the perimeters of the stage and into the outside world. That interests me, film either live or recorded, it is what so much of our closets relationships consist of now; our partners and best friends are faces on a screen, I’d like to see shows with characters interacting between the screen and the stage.
What have been some of the most unique and different shows you have seen this year and why?
‘La Clique’ celebrates the weird and wonderful nature of the human performer- I loved that. It reminded me of the funniness of sexuality and the freedom of bizarre behaviour. It’s a perfect mix of breathtaking circus acts, alongside a tall beer-bellied man in a tight sparkling blue bunny leotard.
‘Red’ at the Wyndhams theatre was perfection. It was passionate from the second the curtain went up. It was a show like nothing else, because you are watching actors paint gigantic canvases while performing, spilling paint all over the stage, mopping up paint with their shirts, hammering together 10ft canvases – it allured me to the point I felt like I was a levitating spectator.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Engage with feminism
ED FRINGE QUICK FIRE ROUND
Best thing about performing at the Fringe?
The 2018 tagline is pretty spot on. You really are running into the unknown, there are a lot of opportunities and it’s a thrill to not know what the festival will bring you.
The most challenging thing about performing at the fringe?
Finance. It’s a guessing game of “how many thousands will I lose this year”, not a fun game to play.
What three items are essential for a successful Fringe?
Press pack, Comfy shoes (get around all the venues), and party pants (get social, network, meet other acts, learn and laugh with them, have a good drink and embrace the wild adventure of it all)
What’s the secret to successful flyering?
Find a way to actually enjoy it rather than it being a chore- If you are having fun, people will remember you.
What are the best venue’s at the fringe?
I’m excited to be a part of Greenside venues for the second year, everything with them runs smoothly, their staff are always at hand, and the atmosphere at infirmary street is always lively. Another favourite is Underbelly Cowgate, because its open late and I’m all for fringe nightlife and late shows. Cow Gate street is where the action is at for me, it’s perfect to see a midnight show then head to one of my favourite bars.