Rosy Carrick brings PASSIONATE MACHINE to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Rosy Carrick
Name of Edinburgh show: Passionate Machine
Venue: ZOO Charteris (Aviary)
Performance time: 15.30
Show length: 60 mins
Ticket price: £10/8

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I live in Brighton and I’m a writer, performer and translator. With Luke Wright I co-curate the Port Eliot Festival poetry stage, and have co-hosted the Latitude Festival poetry stage (now The Speakeasy) since 2010.

I have a PhD on the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky, and have published two books of his work in translation: Volodya (Enitharmon, 2015) and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Smokestack, 2017). My debut poetry collection Chokey was published by Burning Eye Books this June. Passionate Machine is my first play so it feels like a very new and exciting form to be writing in!

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
The show is a brilliantly geeky sci-fi adventure about a woman sent on a deeply personal mission to find herself (literally!) After receiving an SOS from her future self – trapped 100 years in the past – the real-life Rosy Carrick must gather all the info she has to rescue herself. Unfortunately her scientific knowledge starts and ends with the works of Arnold Schwarzenegger, so Rosy does what any modern intelligent woman might do in her position – she sources an open-minded physicist from Gumtree and sets out on a mission to conquer wormholes, the Large Hadron Collider and the obstacles of her own creeping self-doubt.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
The first idea came many years ago but I only started work on the show itself last year. It’s a highly individual story of self-determination and personal accountability, told through the lens of a sci-fi narrative. I invite the audience to reflect on the ways they engage with and look after their own past and future selves. Did your drunk last-night self leave out a pint of water for your hungover morning-after self? Will you leave out a pint next time? We are navigating our pasts and futures in increasingly immediate and concrete ways, for example with daily Facebook Memory notifications (lest we forget that ex we’re fucking desperate to forget!), and are bombarded by a constantly-shifting narrative of “truth” by world leaders like Trump. Passionate Machine occupies and explores that gap between truth and fiction in a playful and inventive way. It’s jam-packed with sci-fi and pop culture references, but at heart it’s an empowering story about being most excellent to your many various selves.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Be kind to yourself, and patient with other people. It’s a long slog, physically and mentally – the city is heaving, everyone’s got their own very important thing going on, emotions are running high… Sometimes you’ve just got to go home, make yourself a hot choc and watch an episode of Last of the Summer Wine in your pants, and that’s okay!

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Oh God – last week I had a corker. There’s a huge A/V element to Passionate Machine with photos and video montages all the way through, the most significant of which comes right at the end as I walk offstage… Last Tuesday I upped the ante a bit by not only walking off but tripping over the power cable as I went – unplugging the projector in the process. I had to walk back on and say HEY GUYS – GUESS WHAT I’VE JUST DONE! Luckily the audience that day had been my best and most fun yet, so it was all quite funny and we had a chat – suspended in time – while it booted up again!

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
For this show my biggest inspiration has been my director Katie Bonna (a Fringe First winner and recipient of Most Promising New Playwright award at the 2018 Off West End Awards for All The Things I Lied About). I approached her to help me with this because I knew and loved her own work, but she took my play to a whole new level in a way that totally boggled my mind. She is so intelligent, intuitive and creatively inventive – without her, Passionate Machine would never have become the thing it is today, and it wouldn’t have been half as fun and interesting to work on!

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I stretch my body, warm up my voice and remind myself why it’s important to me to be telling this story (sometimes easy to forget when you’re rigid with terror waiting to go on!) I also listen to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) before each show – in fact I’ve got it as my entrance music now so everyone in the theatre has to listen to it too! I love that song, it’s so joyous, and in the context of PM it becomes about wanting to dance with myself, to be in my own company. I also sometimes recite a bit from The Secret Garden to myself too (‘Magic, Magic, come and help!’, etc…) but that’s by the by!

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m looking forward to seeing some brilliant comedians at Succubus Fringe Edition (The Tron, 11.40am), and also Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff) by Carys Eleri (Summerhall, 9pm). I really want to see Stardust by Blackboard Theatre – it looks brilliant – but it clashes with my own show and I have no days off, so perhaps everyone else can go and see it and let me know how it is! Likewise, Katie Bonna saw Build a Rocket and spoke very highly of Serena Manteghi’s thrilling and flawless performance, but that clashes with me too. Watch on my behalf! The best thing I’ve seen so far is Testament by Chalkline (Zoo Charteris, 4.45pm). It’s absolutely brilliant – beautiful, mesmerising and also very funny.

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
What would you change if you could travel through time? What advice would you give to your future-gazing child-self now from your position in the present – a present that every second takes you further away from them? In Passionate Machine the line between fact and fiction blurs to become indistinguishable, and the possibility for delving in and changing your path from the inside out suddenly becomes a very real prospect. Come with me if you want to live!


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