It is August which only means one thing – it is Camden Fringe time! Over the next few weeks we are chatting to acts that are performing at the festival and finding all about their show and what they would call this years iconic Camden Fringe Pigeon! Today we speak to Karen Hall
Date: 17th, 18th / 20th, 21st August
Time: 6:00pm / 3:00pm
Location: The Hen and Chickens
Ticket Link: https://camden.ssboxoffice.com/events/delusions-and-grandeur/
Hello! Tell us about yourself?
My name is Karen and I’m a professional cellist and clown from Los Angeles. To be clear, I am a professional cellist by trade and I make about $60 a month as a clown which does not even pay for the overhead investments but, I’m looking to expand. I also play cello with clowns, so it’s pretty niche.
How did you come up with the name of your show that you’re taking to the Camden fringe?
I’m a classically trained cellist and there’s a lot of pomp and circumstance and grandeur around the art form and performance of it. But then the flip side of the training is borderline insanity; the dedication, the identity blurring, the physical and mental health concerns, the inconsistent lifestyle and paychecks, and the cycle you go in as the show must go on. The title came to me one day because I think I was feeling the delusion of the life I live.
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
It’s a solo theater show meets a classical cello recital with a lot of the vulnerability of my sad clown.
What will your set be about?
The set focuses on how we constantly cycle back to the titles we hold in our lives as a way of upholding expectations and forming an identity for ourselves. Although I am trained in clown and developed many of the stories in Idiot classes, the show departs from the funny and lives in the vulnerability of the clown – that the clown exists to see and be seen. Classical music and training, in the majority of my experiences, exists for tradition and the art form so the juxtaposition has been a space of curiosity and play for me. I play the entire first Bach Suite for Cello over the course of the show so there’s a lot of beautiful music in there as well.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
Phaedo, TR33, Failure Studies, Cosi Fan Tutte/Love Me Out – the Opera, Amy Webber – No Previous Experience,
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
This is the most supportive festival I’ve applied to! It’s especially helpful when learning how to self-book and perform overseas.
What are your favourite things about London?
The only other time I’ve been was a 24 hour layover but I love the weather. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the US and there’s something about an overcast, gray sky that I find comforting and inspiring.
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
I’m about to find out! So far, the helpful and supportive arts community and my reasonably priced AirBnB.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
I’m not really a one-liner type of comic since most of what I do is out of physical comedy or the context of an improv scene. One time I shouted a line that “Celiac’s Disease is an American privilege.” but I think it was a funnier concept in my head than it was to a room full of gluten-free Southern Californians. I still stand by it.
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
John Oliver. I want to play absurd viola/cello duets with him and I will not stop telling anyone and everyone until the day it happens.
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this year’s pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
Charles. But I am sure it’s my American brain superimposing what I believe to be proper and British.
If people want to find out more about you, where can they follow you on social media?
I’m on instagram @inforthelonghall
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Mastery Meets Insanity