Elina Alminas talks about her immersive one woman tragicomedy LAURA at the Edinburgh Fringe

Name: Elina Alminas
Name of Edinburgh show: LAURA
Venue: theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
Performance time: 13th-18th at 12:00PM 20th-25th at 08:10PM
Show length: 50 minutes
Ticket price: 13th-18th 5/7£ 20th-25th 6/9£

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Hi, I’m Elina, born in Tallinn, Estonia and have been living in London for almost 10 years. I have Theatre and Performance degree from Goldsmiths University. I was mainly focusing on directing during my studies, but in the last year at uni I decided to give acting a try, got the bug and have not looked back since. I met great people there and became part of all female devised company, Geranium Theatre. With many moving to exciting new opportunities away from London, we stopped devising for the time being and my main focus for the past four years has been screen acting. I have done television series and films and absolutely love being on set, but as the time passed I realised I really miss being in the rehearsal room and making theatre. So I decided to start writing and as a matter of fact, LAURA, is my debut one woman show, which I am very excited to take for the very first time to Edinburgh Fringe this year.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
LAURA is an immersive one woman tragicomedy set at a wedding, where the audience play the guests. Coming from a Russian background I decided to make a piece that shows how it is still very common in Eastern European culture (as well as many other places around the world) for women to believe that the most important thing in life is marriage. So my show follows Laura, who’s only goal in life is to get married and since it’s the third time she gets jilted at the altar she looses her-self completely, but in her debauched self discovery she finds clearer understating of the future and realises that she has been wrong all this time, there’s so much more to life than a man. She throws one hell of a party that you will not forget, so come be my guest.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
Ironically, I started writing the show about two years ago whilst actually planning my own wed-ding. Neither my partner or myself wanted to have a proper wedding, but luckily we still managed to have that perfect and planned day unlike Laura. Although, this show is not just for someone who’s looking for some easy-cheesy bridal entertainment with the vintage vibe, 80s inspired tunes, drugs & booze, it’s a pretty dark and brutal comedic tale that reflects on many things, which many of us will connect with. It explores the themes of our mundane everyday life, loneliness and the urge to be loved in a society where a lot of the time everything is only perfect on the surface.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visi-tors to the event?
I have never performed at Edinburgh Fringe before actually, but I have visited many times and had quite a few late ones. I would probably be very boring on this one and say don’t forget to eat and hydrate, but limit your drink. Also, there are so many fantastic shows on and great people around – don’t be shy, see as many things as possible and meet new people. It’s the best creative atmos-phere in the world so prepare to get inspired.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Re-enacting Jurassic Park and dinosaur’s egg hatching with all the sound effects in our devised show Paradise with Geranium Theatre. I still don’t understand why I decided to make myself do it.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Oh there are so many, but just to name a few, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Michaela Coel, Alice Birch are fantastic female voices; always Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and DV8, who have the most visually compelling images and choreography; the pioneers of theatre, Complicite, Cheek by Jowl…

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I do some stretching and breathing exercises to warm myself up and to stop overthinking and freaking out.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I am very looking forward to seeing all the shows that are part of Soho Theatre Young Company. I have been getting very excited hearing all about them in the past couple of months whilst we were doing our Edinburgh Lab course and they all sound great. Also, I cannot wait to see brilliant comedian Beth Vyse as Olive Hands with an addition of her adorable baby boy in The Hand That Rocked The Cradle.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I think it’s quite different to any other show you might have seen. People are curious, ever wanted the pleasure of being a witness or a guest at a failed wedding party, where the tensions and stakes are high? Who knows, this time you might well be the one to save the night…

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