Name: 52Up Productions (RR = Radojka Radulovic, PN = Pip Nixon, NW = Nicola Wood)
Name of Edinburgh show: 9/11 Was A Conspiracy
Venue: theSpace on the Mile: Space One (venue 39)
Performance time: 3rd – 7th August, 1.10pm
Show length: 45 mins
Ticket price: (3 – 5 Aug) £8 & £6 conc. / (6 – 7 Aug) £9 2-4-1
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
RR: Pip, Nicola and I all know each other as part of the Leicester Drama Society who produce plays year round at The Little Theatre. Over the last few years we have all put on various productions with the society in general but collaborated together on Martin Crimp’s The Country, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and David Hare’s The Secret Rapture. I myself have always been in the performing arts – from acting in youth theatres to choreographing University musical theatre groups. Nowadays I work with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures in an administrative capacity (which I love!) and am lucky to also be building a producing portfolio of my own.
NW: I first started performing when I joined a local drama school as a child. I went on to take my acting licentiate with LAMDA and final exams with RADA. Since then I have tried my hand at roles on screen and stage from musical theatre to Shakespeare, also doing a stint of presenting at the BBC. This is my first one-woman show and I admit I am (very) nervous but so excited to be fulfilling that dream.
PN: This is the third play I’ve written for the Fringe and the first one I’ve directed myself – I wanted to make this as simple and exact as possible. The first play was about orphans but a famous playwright told me it was about Tony Blair; the second was a comedy about siblings arguing which was actually about the work/life balance. This one is about 9/11 but isn’t, as far as I can tell, actually about 9/11.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
RR: It’s about a lady who falls in love with a guy. And he’s good looking and lovely. But he’s obsessed (and really believes) in conspiracy theories. So . . . what to do? We’re interested at looking at how what we choose to believe as the truth helps us to handle realities in our lives: dating, illness, family. It’s a rich 45-minute monologue delivered by Nicola, focusing on just telling a story really well and engaging the audience.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
PN: We first started putting this play together last autumn, so a year ago, and it was very much born out of the fake news phenomenon. The essence of the play is “Why do people believe things which are clearly not true?”Recently Donald Trump meant to say “wouldn’t” when he accidentally said “would.” As you do. Who to believe these days?
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
RR: Top tip for first time visitors, take care of trusting 2D maps! A lot of Edinburgh is on two levels – the street you want might be running above you on a bridge.
PN: I’ve always survived it by pacing the pints between shows!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
NW: So many to choose from but one I’ll never forget was when playing a role in Blood Wedding I had to take a slap to the face. On one particular night, it went wrong. I was slapped across the ear, burst an eardrum and could not hear for the rest of the play. I will be 7 months pregnant when performing this show which opens the door to some embarrassment potential, particularly when getting up (elegantly) from the ground.
PN: Oh god. I was performing with an actor once who fell off the stage. That was difficult to handle. I’m not sure we got away with that without the audience noticing but we did … attempt … to start the scene again.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
RR: I find inspiration from lots of different people at all stages of their career – really successful Producers in venues to General Managers who I have seen move forward from being Administrators. I’m consistently impressed by people to manage to take on these busy, changeable jobs with efficiently but continue to have fun and be kind. A few friends of mine have recently taken the plunge to go freelance in the arts and I really admire that.
PN: I read Katie Mitchell’s book on directing, and just stole all of it. I think she’s tremendously inspiring and exact.
NW: I recently saw Sofie Hagen on tour and was blown away by her storytelling ability. She has the full package of skill, craft, creativity, originality, humour, timing and what she is doing offstage for feminism and equal rights is an inspiration. What a woman!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
NW: No. None. I’m not superstitious at all and have zero routine from day to day so I would find it very hard to uphold any kind of ritual. As long as I have plenty of time to get ready, gather my thoughts and go to the toilet I’m happy.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
NW: Too many to mention. Every year we spend hours creating a strict timetable of shows and aim to see 6-8 shows a day and cover all genres. We always look out for Trygve Wakenshaw. Last year South Africa’s Baxter Theatre blew me away so I will definitely look them up this year. Likewise with Baccala, well worth a look.
PN: There’s a show on about a guy having sex with animals isn’t there? That sounds good. Other than that I tend to look for inspiration on the day.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
PN: I think it’s gripping from the start, and it involves a brilliant performer taking you on a hell of a ride through all sorts of emotions and ideas. I really believe in it. I can’t wait to get started.
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