Liz McMullen talks about bringing a love drug dealer to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in STUPID CUPID
Name: Liz McMullen
Name of Edinburgh show: Stupid Cupid
Venue: Underbelly Bristo Square – Clover
Performance time: 12:10pm
Show length: 55 minutes
Ticket price: from £7.30 – £10
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I’m a Canadian actor and moved to London in 2006 to study Shakespeare, as it is clearly the best place to learn the craft of the Bard. I fell in love with London and the thrill of opportunity that it could offer; I never knew what each day would bring! Over the past 12 years, I have been involved with a range of projects, from devised theatre, Ex Libris Macabre: A Night of Dark Fairytales, in the old BBC radio buildings in Marylebone, to the Cambridge Shakespeare festival, to improv troupes to feature films starring John Cusack- (which is a Western and I’ve always wanted to be in a western as I’m a cowgirl at heart), to creating my one woman show Stupid Cupid …sprinkled with voice over work on top for some extra flavour.
Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Stupid Cupid is all about Love. More specifically it’s about Cupid…in training. Stupid Cupid has been rigorously training in matters of the heart and she’s finally ready to get her wings! But in the middle of her big exam, she accidentally shoots herself with one of her own arrows, making her fall in love with everyone in the audience. After the first arrow leaves its mark, Stupid Cupid craves everything from the erotic to exotic — leading her down a path of passionate adventures and new insights on modern love. But with so much l’amour to explore, will Stupid Cupid get her wings before exam time is up? If Love is a drug, meet the dealer.
How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I first had the idea for the character about three years ago. Quickly it grew and my head was full of a cupid world, but I needed help getting it onto paper and into play format. So I contacted a couple of friends back in Canada, Miguel Eichelberger and Kerianne Cameron, to help me to write the play. We work shopped the story and in a couple of months they had the first draft finished. Then I got my director James Wren on board – I pitched him the idea and gave him the script to read and he was in.
I think Stupid Cupid is relevant to now because it comes at a time when people are struggling to connect with others. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the state of affairs in the world, to feel lonely and to be addicted to our phones/social media. My play is about going back to our roots of being human, going back to Love. What does Love mean to you? It’s about injecting the world with a bit more love, laughter and hope.
Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Wear comfy shoes – if you plan to see lots of shows, you might be running from venue to venue, you don’t want to miss a show because your shoes held you back! Also, plan some of the shows you want to see, but leave some time for the shows you hear about from word of mouth. Some of the best things I have seen have been spur of the moment decisions.
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
It was actually as an audience member. I was at a Dr Brown show in Edinburgh a few years ago…it was a midnight ‘a had been show added last minute’ type of situation. Word got around and the place was packed. It was surreal and at one point he got me out to the audience and into the stage. It felt like a first date; we chatted for what felt like 10 minutes; it was flirtatious and in the end he was asking me if I’d consider moving to LA… I think I was blushing the whole time. When it was all over I was like did that just happen?
Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
Women who make things happen! Like Cariad Lloyd. She does everything, improv (Austentatious), podcast (Griefcast), Toast on TV and comedy shows (8 out of 10cats, QI, Have I got news for You). She taught me improv back in 2014 and I’ve loved her work ever since. Plus she’s just an awesome person.
Reece Witherspoon. She’s started her own production company with a focus on telling female driven stories and creating opportunities for women both in front and behind the camera.
Amma Asente. She’s a great director and I find her career so inspiring. She approaches everything with such an elegance and grace. From her ted Talk to her film Belle about a mixed-race daughter of a royal navy admiral, who is raised by her aristocratic great uncle in 18 century England. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Aside for actory things like a vocal warm up, for this show I have to dance. To loud power love tunes…mostly from the ‘80s. It gets me in the mood!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
So many! A Modern Guide to Heroism and Sidekickery (what a great title!), Gingzilla: Glammoster vs the World, anything clown – I love watching clown – and for some late night fun, Spank.
Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Where else are you going to see a cute Cupid have an orgasm for the first time?
It’s a fun romp into the world of love that will make you laugh and if you choose to look a little deeper, you might just learn something about yourself.