David Fenne talks about bringing his gay love story FORGET ME NOTS to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: David Fenne
Name of Edinburgh show: Forget Me Nots
Venue: Army @ The Fringe in association with Summerhall (Drill Hall)
Performance time: 1:00PM
Show length: 50 minutes
Ticket price: £10/£8

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Sure! I am a country lad from Dorset, but I’ve been living in London for six years now. I studied American Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford which also took me overseas to Syracuse University in New York State. New writing is my passion, but I’ve done everything from Howard Barker to plays about Warcraft since graduating three years ago. I also do improv comedy with my company, Very Serious People, specialising in theatrical Long-form shows, such as our Improvised Panto (also at the Fringe this year).

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Forget Me Nots is about a romance between a British Solider and an Icelandic Farmer set during the British occupation of Iceland in World War Two. Many of the young Icelandic women fell victim to the allure of the soldiers, much to the chagrin of the older generation, and it was dubbed “The Situation”. The play centres around a gay love story and how this forbidden romance affects them and the community. Told by overlapping monologues and movement, Forget Me Nots is about love and the people it can hurt.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The show has been in development in Iceland for several months now, and I came aboard when they came to London earlier in June. We have been performing in Reykjavik and will be in the first ever Reykjavik Fringe later in July, before coming to London and then onto the Edinburgh Fringe. Now more than ever LGBTQ+ voices need to be heard in the theatre and it is definitely a part of history that UK audiences will not have heard of before. Every member of the production lies on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and I think that is important to celebrate and support.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Plan your days! There is so much to do and see at the Festival, so a good timetable will make sure you see a variety of shows. I am actually performing in two shows, so I am making sure I am doubly prepared and use my time wisely. Also, go and support emerging artists—you never know when you might see the next big comedian or performer!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Oh god, do my early years of youth theatre count as embarrassing enough? I still need a trigger warning whenever someone mentions High School Musical …

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
For me the play is the thing. I’m a writer myself and so much of my training was focused around text and the playwright that I find myself inspired by them more than other actors. Christopher Shinn, Mark Ravenhill, and Tony Kushner have created such important queer work that challenge audiences and ask the unpleasant or ugly questions of our community while still giving LGBTQ+ characters a nuanced and realistic voice.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A good warm up, a nervous wee, and then zone out playing an iPhone game until it is time to go on.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
There are some fantastic sketch groups from London going up this year. I can’t wait to see “Just These, Please” in their Edinburgh debut. I also saw “Dirty White Boys” do some stuff at a scratch night, and now I am a massive fan, so I’ll be seeing their show “Manners”.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
People should come and see Forget Me Nots because it is something a little different: an international production of a gay period piece with movement, set in Iceland, featuring two Icelandic performers and one very British one, and with an entirely queer cast and crew. Iceland is such a bonkers place (I’ve been here for several weeks now), with Churches for Elves and “Love-Bollock” pastries, and it is so nice to share it, and an unknown part of our own shared history with the rest of the UK.


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