Martin McCormick talks about falling in and out of love with America at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Martin McCormick
Name of Edinburgh show: South Bend
Venue: Gilded Ballon at the Museum
Performance time: 3pm
Show length: 1 hour

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I trained as an actor at the RSAMD and have been a jobbing dogsbody for about eleven years now. I started writing about six years ago and luckily my first play won Best New Play at the CATS in 2014. Since then I’ve managed to be a bit pickier with the acting work and concentrate on writing.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
It’s about me falling in love with America and in America. Then falling out of love with both. I studied for a term in California and got seduced (in more ways than one) with what it’s like out there. Then when I returned, to visit the person I was in a long-distance relationship with, they and America had changed. I was in the Mid-West, the person had totally changed and George W was waging war in the Middle East. It’s a road movie on stage.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I’ve been developing the show with Grid Iron on and off for about two years now. We presented it at Hidden Door last year and it went down a storm. The show is about truth and lies through the prism of an outsider experiencing the different guises of America and, whilst we never touch on Trump or post-truth politics, that’s a part of the show which chimes with what’s going on right now.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Performers- always have a supply of those wee effervescent tubes on the go. Visitors- Get used to walking all day and find a nice way of coping with all the folk punting their shows.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
14 years old singing Goodnight Girl by Wet Wet Wet at the Saint Thomas Aquinas end of term concert. That’s not the embarrassing part; in front of the entire school my voice broke as I attempted the first chorus. I sounded like I’d caught myself in my flies.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Douglas Maxwell. He writes excellent drama with humour, pathos and with a unique style that is unmistakably Scottish. He’ll probably also hate me name dropping him like that!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I’m a total sucker for a Greggs. (Is my wife reading this?)

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’ll check out everything I can at the Trav and Summerhall, just because you kind of have to. But I can’t actually wait to see American Ulster.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
I’d say come and see this because it is being presented by one of Edinburgh and Scotland’s leading theatre companies and directors in Grid Iron and Ben Harrison. It’s very current, it’s very funny and it’s all true.


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