Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Penis Dramaturgy: Penelope Solomon @ Edfringe 2016

Edinburgh Fringe 2016, THE STAND COMEDY CLUB 16th - 28th August at 4.05 pm

Laffa Jaffa Productions Ltd presents:  
Penelope Solomon: I was a penis at the Royal Festival Hall
Penelope first performed at EdFringe as a sheep and returns as a penis!  

Comedian, actor, singer/song-writer and TV critic
Penelope Solomon brings her brand new solo show I was a penis at the Royal Festival Hall to Edinburgh.  Penelope made her fringe debut as a sheep, sponsored by Pringle.  

Now, 9 years and 3 babies later, she returns as a penis… armed with wigs, jokes and gherkins.

Join her in this autobiographical romp as she blends stand-up, character comedy and a sprinkling of her own songs to explore the highs and lows of a life on stage and screen, her Jewish identity and parenting.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
A radio producer I had been pitching to ‘passed’ on my comedy sketches but said why don't you try writing a 15 minute monologue. 'Write real' he said, 'write the truth'.  Then I had a meeting with a BBC radio producer who I’d worked with on my ‘Tower of Bagel’ script a ‘few’ years ago.  He wasn’t very excited about the sketches either, so I said ‘Maybe I should write about my failed acting career?’ I was expecting him to say What are you talking about? It hasn’t failed, you’re just resting (literally lying down) after the kids. But he didn’t, he just said ‘Yes that’s a good idea’. GULP. And thus began the blend of stand-up with different characters as I began to tell my story, including my Jewish journey and the transition into parenthood.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?
My piece is a solo stand-up/character comedy show, so I just had to gather myself, my wigs and a jar of gherkins. 

How did you become interested in making performance?
I trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq School in Paris . We studied Mime, Movement and Theatre and learnt how to improvise on a daily basis. We had to do everything from generating ideas for a piece, to staging it, performing, collaborating with others and most of all we learnt how to 'play' which is I believe the essence of any great performance.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?
Not really no - I started from the monologue and then used that as the basis to create the work - I'd bring in characters from previous sketches, added jokes about my husband and children and created a brand new character, my mother! This time it was very eclectic but always at the centre was the truth and my journey both my Jewish journey and my performing journey.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
A sense of fun, a freedom and liberty as they watch me fall and get back up again - not literally. I hope they will recognise that we all have dreams and sometimes we achieve them, but more often than not we don't and that’s okay. I hope that they will feel a sense of relief, that it is okay to just be who you are and that as long as you are being yourself and are not being silenced or oppressed by others then that is in itself a great thing. I hope the audience will experience a feeling of joy and that they will have lots of fun.   

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
I don’t really have a strategy, I am telling a story about real events. As I write comedy, the punch-line is kind of important. If there are no jokes then the audience won’t laugh and then perhaps they won’t have as much fun during my show. 

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

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