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Monday, 6 March 2017

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Barbara Brownskirt - the one womb-man show

Last week I learnt that preparing to put on a show is about everything apart from the rehearsal of it, which is jarring for me since I'm used to being just the performer!

Mainly we've been working on the slides, the artwork, communicating with the venue and Brighton Fringe, feasting on gherkins and cheese, getting together a marketing plan, but, the highlight has to be the photo shoot with my mother.


Mummy Brownskirt pretending to be
not all there for the shoot
My mum is playing (in Barbara's slide show presentation) Barbara's mother AKA Julia Mummy Brownskirt. The story goes that when Barbara visits Julia (Mummy) in the Thespian Retirement Village her mother pretends to suffer from Alzheimer's so she doesn't have to converse with Barbara. It's one of the darkest parts of Barbara's her-story and yet she is totally unaware of what her mother is doing. Both my grandmothers suffered from the condition so seeing if my mum would agree to imitate a look of Dementia was a bit chancy. 
Mummy Julia does keep fit
with Jane Fonda watching on
Still dark humour runs through our family and mum responded by just saying, 
'OK sure, how should I do the face?' 
'Just look vacant,' I say. 
'Ooh, I can do that easily,' she joked. 

As soon as Barbara leaves, Mummy Julia goes back to her usual self, doing keep fit, shaking cocktails...


Paula Varjack and money boxes
Putting on a show takes money, time and passion. I don't know whether I've just opened my eyes more fully but there seems to be a massive amount of exciting performance work on in London at the moment. One of the highlights was Paula Varjack and her amazing passion-inspiring piece at Battersea Arts Centre, SHOW ME THE MONEY. It's about how do artists keep dreaming and yet make work with such small budgets? Especially when writing an arts council grant application can take twenty-one days in itself. 
It's real, it's funny and it's touring now, go see http://www.paulavarjack.com/dates.html

Oh yes, lest I forget the major thing that happened last week: TICKETS HAVE GONE ON SALE NOW for my show at Brighton Fringe! 
I think I've sold about two so far (probably my mum) so if you're free on 1st or 2nd June please come: http://bit.ly/BB_BrightonFringe

This is what they are saying about it: 
'Who Do You Think You Are? Barbara Brownskirt' is a darkly funny, pathos-fuelled show inspired by the TV show of similar name by writer and performance artist Karen McLeod.
Shrouded in iconic anorak, knees bulging from pop socks, Barbara Brownskirt is the unsuccessful lesbian Poet-in-Residence at the 197 bus stop, Penge. We meet her, unlucky-in-love, as she tries to find out who she is and why? Share the highs and lows as she explores the past through absurd poetry and film. 
Themes of false identities and aloneness thread through this show. Fans of Rik Mayall and Tim Key will love it.


Next blog will chart how I'm going to approach learning the hour long monologue using actor techniques. EEK!