Allison Hetzel talks about the exhausting role of the stepmother in STEP MAMA DRAMA!

Name: Allison Hetzel
Name of Edinburgh show: Step Mama Drama!
Venue: theSpaces on the Mile, Space 2, Venue 39
Performance time: 16:15
Show length: 45 Minutes
Ticket price: £ 8 (£ 5)

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I started performing at a young age and wanted to pursue theatre. I decided to study theatre in college, and went to work and live in Chicago, Illinois. Years later, I went to graduate school to study acting, voice, movement, and teaching. I have been teaching at the college level since 2003, and enjoy my position as an Associate Professor of Acting and Voice in the Department of Theatre and Dance, at the University of Alabama in the US. Having the opportunity to focus on my own creative activity as an actor is rewarding as well as one of the most important things that I can bring back to the classroom for my students.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
This solo show is collection of monologues that reflect on the sometimes stressful, fun, odd, and exhausting role of the stepmother. I share many of my own ups, downs, and discoveries through my experience as well as other perspectives that I have gathered through interviews. This journey is sometimes humorous as well as troubling and this solo show works to strike a balance of the extremes found in the identity of being a stepmom.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I have been working on this show for the past three years, and became a stepmom over ten years ago. Life and times as a stepmom got me thinking about the complex relationship between the stepchild and stepparent and how it relates to the blended family—quite a common thing in our world. Therefore, I began writing about my personal experiences and started to interview others–that was the show was developed. I knew that I wanted to return to the Fringe with this new, personal, solo work Step Mama Drama!

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
If you are performing, you must pace yourself and take care of your instrument as an actor—remember that you must be show ready. I plan my day to include time for warm-ups and to focus on the show. I must also balance this with promoting the show each day—handing out flyers on the mile is a bit of a rush. I reward myself with seeing other shows and dining while in Edinburgh and getting enough sleep is necessary. Being a part of the Fringe is a high-energy experience. My tip for visitors is to enjoy this fabulous festival, and of course come see Step Mama Drama!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I guess I have been lucky, but the last time I was at the Fringe with my solo-show Considering Georgia O’Keeffe in 2010, I was in the same exact venue space two at theSpaces on the mile. As my show was in progress on the first day of the Fringe, there was also a parade on the Royal Mile to celebrate this, and is was so loud–trumpets, cymbals, and cheering. I had to pause as the loud band marching band passed by, the audience laughed, and I took the moment to breathe and connect. Even though I was mid-performance during this interruption, it made me so happy on the opening day of the Fringe that festival parade was happening just outside of the theatre.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Always a tricky question, my biggest inspirations are actors that seek out challenging roles and important projects in theatre, film, and TV. I am also always amazed by actors that also write, direct, and produce their own work—I respect that.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I drink plenty of water; I love a cup of soothing throat coat tea. I also review my lines with a destructuring tremor, it helps connect my mind and breath, and that is essential for me as a performer.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I like to see a variety of things at the Fringe I try to see some comedy, dance, music, circus as well as other theatre shows including visual arts. My current working list is Angry Alan (Solo-show), IRL (a dance piece from the University of Alabama) I want to catch some laughs with some stand-up comedy. I hope to see Janeane Garofalo and will look for art exhibits at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
This show is for everyone and non-step folks should get some insight into the challenges and rewards of the often-difficult relationship. If you are, a stressed-out under-appreciated stepparent or stepchild this show looks at various perspectives found in the daily interactions in a blended family. I hope the show with make you laugh, think, and escape as you meet multiple characters. If you are a stepmom or have a stepmom, this show is a must-see!


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