Monday 10 July 2017

Dickless Dramatuurgy: Aisha Josiah @ Edfringe 2017

Fundamental Theater Project


New Town Theatre

6.50pm, Aug 3-27, no show Tue 15 August

One part The Scarlet Letter, one part The Inbetweeners, Dickless blends the beats of performance poetry with the twists of a whodunit in a show that explores gender identity, the roles we choose to play, and the roles thrust upon us.

New Town Theatre, Freemasons’ Hall EH2 3DH 6.50pm (70 mins)
Preview: Aug 3 £9 /£8
Tickets: 4 – 27 August (not 15): £10 (£9)
Box office enquiries:

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I began writing the script for Dickless in my final year as an undergraduate student at New York University. I had been interested in questions of identity, in exploring how the various ways we are socialised can impact our innate sense of self. I wrote the first ten pages for a class assignment and was drawn to the character of Saff, as a young woman who simultaneously thrives in and is threatened by a patriarchal society. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?

Arguably, it's the only space for such discussions, as any act of communication between people inevitably involves some aspect of performance. That said, I think theatre, because of its liveness, remains a particularly powerful arena in which to have these discussions.

How did you become interested in making performance?

Growing up, I listened to a lot of radio and would record adaptations of my favourite books on an old dictaphone, which I realise in hindsight, was quite an odd hobby! It wasn't until I was a teenager that I went to see my first real theatre production - “When The Rain Stops Falling” at the Almeida theatre in London - and was so enthralled, I ended up joining their youth theatre program, where I naturally fell into playwriting.

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?

Once I'd decided that Dickless was definitely a one person show, the primary question became, how do I keep an audience interested in this story from moment to moment? 

Does the show fit in with your usual productions?

Perhaps in tone? I tend to gravitate towards fairly provocative characters and subject matter, and Dickless definitely follows this trend.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope that audiences simply enjoy the ride, to be honest. Saff and Oli are quite the anti heroes and I think it's exciting to be able to live vicariously through them. It's also great fun to create a badass female character that isn't a love interest or a idealised figure, but someone who is brash, vulgar and unpredictable, so I hope audiences get a kick out of it, too.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Sometimes a strong character will do most of the heavy lifting for you as a writer - I definitely found this to be the case with Saff and Oli, both of whom have distinct goals and worldviews. The strategy, really, was to strip away anything extraneous, avoid any theatrical gimmicks, and allow these characters to speak directly to the audience, without a filter.

Women never bought Freud's idea of penis envy: who would want a shotgun when you can have an automatic?”

Dickless is the new work from Peter Shaffer Award recipient and Tisch School of the Arts alumnus Aisha Josiah, produced by Sam Underwood’s Fundamental Theater Project.

Narrated by Saff (who’s on the run), and Oli (who should be), what starts as an internet rumour and an incriminating photo fast becomes an adrenaline fuelled quest for revenge, replete with headless cats, bizarre sexual conquests, and girls behaving monstrously.

Gossip, scandal, and a rumour mill in overdrive – the brutal underworld of small-town England unravels over the course of one night, with consequences that will forever alter the lives of those involved.

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