Today we meet award-winning Irish writer Margaret Perry who introduces her new show Collapsible. ‘A funny, furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world’.
Can you introduce yourself and your show?
I’m Margaret Perry, a writer from Cork, and Collapsible is my debut monologue.
This is a story about work, identity and trying to wade out of the dark; inspired by a period in my life when I was unemployed and isolated and began to stop feeling like a real person. It asks, who are we without other people? (With plenty of jokes.)
What is the top reason people should see the show?
To meet Essie; a complex, funny bisexual woman played with heart and fury by the astonishing Breffni Holahan. Essie will tell you what it’s like inside her brain and ask you if you’ve ever felt like that. (Not literally – if you hate audience interaction that’s another reason to see Collapsible. No one will speak to you. No one will ask you to come on stage. You’ll just get to sit in the dark for an hour).
What does a ‘successful Fringe run’ mean to you?
Good post-show conversations.
If one person left the theatre feeling a little less alone inside their own head, I’d be happy!
Have you had work staged at the Fringe before? What is the worst rumour you have heard about taking work at the Edinburgh Fringe?
I’ve never brought a show to the Fringe before so I’m heading up there with the blissful ignorance and naivety of a new-born baby. Many people have told me about their weeps on cobbled street corners at 5am, so I am ready for the crying – happy crying, sad crying, tired crying, frustrated crying. Like any self-respecting baby, I am prepared to weep. A good weep can be very cathartic.
This show forms part of HighTide and Assembly’s #Disruptionfest. Could you briefly give the background to that and how the shows were chosen for the programme?
The idea of the HighTide Disruption season is to present shows which disrupt a received idea – about gender, about sexuality, about romance, about capitalism, about addiction, about theatre itself. Collapsible is disruptive in that it presents a bisexual character in a story in which her sexuality is not the focus; and it asks big questions about the way our work is increasingly tied to our identity in a capitalist system. If what we do is intrinsic to who we are, then what happens when what we do is – nothing?
What key message do you hope comes across to your audiences?
I try not to put any specific message or takeaway into my work. I hope people will get a wide variety of different things from it. But I do hope that it’s a play for anyone who’s ever felt a bit crumbly, a bit wobbly and that it could make people feel less alone in that feeling and offer some hope.
Tells us a bit about the staging and set design for this play
Without giving too much away – let’s just say our performer won’t quite have her feet firmly on the ground.
Some people say that when one aspect of your life fails – be it wealth, health or love, everything fails. Others say that when one of those aspects (be it love, health or wealth) is going right, the others will follow. Do you think we need all three in balance or are we always in a state of permanent collapse, where we have to cope with some major aspect of our lives going a kilter at any one time?
Find me a person who has every aspect of their life ticking along in perfect harmony – I’m not sure that’s possible and I think that’s absolutely okay. Life is for living, not executing like a military operation, with every moment of your days portioned out and polished for maximum productivity. (At least that’s how I justify my pointlessly ongoing direct debit to the gym…)
How are you promoting your show in the run up to the Fringe?
You can get all our show updates on Twitter; give us a follow on @CollapsiblePlay for all our updates.
Lastly do you want to tell us where and when we can see the show?
Find us at Assembly Roxy from 31st July – 25th August (Not 14th) at 13.20.
Collapsible will be performed daily at 13:20 at the Assembly Roxy Upstairs (Venue 139) from July 31st to August 13th and from August 15th-25th. Tickets available now from the Fringe Box Office.