Kate Kennedy talks about the dark superhero comedy HUNCH coming to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I played men throughout my teens. I think I wore the same pair of brown loafers in plays from 12-18. When I got to University (Trinity College Dublin) I bizarrely played even more men, but luckily, there were more shoes. I trained with the National Youth Theatre REP where we performed three plays in rep at the Ambassador’s Theatre, they were swimming in shoes. Since then, I’ve done a smorgasbord of everything (screen and stage, men and women.) I bypassed Juliet, but I’ve played Helena (BBC) and Olivia (Royal Exchange) and before I can play Cleopatra I want to keep diving into the unknown.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Hunch is a new dark comedy about a superhero with the unique ability to tune into people’s gut instinct. The nation is in crisis and civilians are at serious risk of being too indecisive. Hunch arrives on the scene and helps determine what the nation really want- but what happens when the individuals are unhappy with her aid? When Hunch isn’t Hunch, she’s Una. And Una seems to be able to make decisions for everyone except herself. She loves the call to arms and wants to save the world, one decision at a time. But can a superhero ever save themselves? Heartfelt and humorous, the play explores the power of the gut and the quest to change others.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve had the idea for Hunch for a while but started working on it around six months ago. I’ve been developing the script with the excellent director Sara Joyce and we’ve sent around 239 Whatsapp Voice Notes to each other during the process. We started rehearsing a few weeks before our previews at Soho Theatre. The play was inspired by 2016, the shittiest of years, and touches on the notion of decision making, responsibility and priorities. How can the world keep turning after tragedy?
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Your calves are going to triple in size. Be prepared for them to rub together.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
I was playing a German Flautist in a play a few years ago and got my flute caught and attached to the bottom of an actor’s dress. I had to play the rest of the tune on my knees or her skirt went above her head. I was the accidental pied piper of indecency.
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I have a penchant for grafters. I love makers that have toiled and honed. Maxine Peake and Sharon Horgan are brilliant. They stand their ground, stay true to the story they want to tell and work really really hard. In an industry where the word ‘luck’ and phrase ‘right place right time’ is often bandied around, I still believe you don’t get to be part of brilliant projects unless you put the work in. My Dad’s big on hard work paying off in the long run, even if it doesn’t ring true immediately.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I’m very superstitious when it comes to pre-performance and have stuck to a similar routine for years. A cocktail of yoddling, lunging and a highly pruned playlist of Vulfpeck and Creedance Clearwater is the menu of choice. I get very sleepy when I’m nervous, so I’m known to take the occasional blackout nap before a show.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
My partner in writing crime Maddie Rice has a solo show I can’t wait to see called Pickle Jar on at the Underbelly. The Fisherman, The Pin, Natalie Palamides and The Greatest Play in the History of the World are my top picks.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the Fringe?
Hunch is for anyone that can’t describe themselves in three words. It’s a story about the real vs. surreal and why we fetishise superheroes when humans are fantastic, however bizarre and complex they may be.
Assembly Roxy (Downstairs), 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9SU
Wednesday 1st – Monday 27th August 2018 (not 13th), 17:05
Twitter: @dugouttheatre, @katekenners, @AssemblyFest, #Hunch