Sunday, 1 July 2018

Libidinous Dramaturgy: Fran Bushe @ Edfringe 2018

Voxie present:
Ad Libido
A hilarious and personal quest for a ‘normal’ sex life.

1 – 27 August, Pleasance Courtyard, 3.30pm

Fran wants to want sex, but no matter how many wonder cures she tries, she doesn’t feel like her fire’s been lit. A sex quest (with songs), Fran explores past and present sexual experiences – including men who think their penis can fix Fran, speaks to medical professionals, considers dangerous remedies and gadgets and even makes a trip to sex camp in order to try to pursue a ‘normal’ sex life, whatever that means.

Ad Libido explores Fran Bushe's own experience of Female Sexual Dysfunction, (which covers problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain during sex) a condition affecting at least 43% of women. Doctor’s had advised Fran to ‘go out and have more sex’ or to ‘stop having sex’ and once even to ‘just pop some Savlon on the problem area’. Having lied to her partners for years about her levels of sexual fulfilment, Fran decided this would be the year she stopped faking and began ‘fixing sex’.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

When I turned 30 I realised I wasn't enjoying sex. I was making all the right "ooh" and "ahhh" noises to keep my partners happy but I didn't really get what all the fuss was about.

Sometimes it hurt.  So, I went on a mission to fix sex. Doctors told me to go out and have more of it, partners felt inadequate and plucky men said they thought they had the magic penis to fix the problem. Truth is I just wanted to feel normal and felt I was missing out on a large part of being a human and so I wrote my show Ad Libido

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

Definitely. The amount of people who come and chat to me about their sex life and genitals after the show is incredible. The more openly we talk about these things the more can smash boring old taboos. Let's get chatting. 

How did you become interested in making performance?

Apparently age 6 I refused to leave the theatre after watching Joseph and the Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat. Since then I've just been trying to create a Dreamcoat of my own (*sings* "I closed my eyes"). 

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

I was inspired to make this show during a Bryony Kimmings workshop. We really got to the core of what we cared about and what we wanted to make work about.  Ad Libido was selected for the prestigious Litmus Fest at Pleasance Theatre and I had incredible residencies at Arts Depot and Theatre Deli. Without these spaces to develop and fail a few times, songs such as My Magic Penis would never have been born. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

This show is very different. This is the most personal show I've ever made and 100% completely true. I read from my 16 year old diary about me trying and failing to frantically lose my virginity and take you through my time at Sex Camp. I can safely say this is the most glitter-ball-filled, talking-vagina-tent-full, magic-penis-deflating show I have ever made. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope the audience will laugh. A lot. There is a lot that is funny about my story. And Sex Camp. I also hope they will feel empowered and able to speak about sex honestly if they want to. I also suspect they will be humming the "Smug Dolphin" song.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

Toe tapping tunes, so many balloons, an underwhelming sex dance routine, an over head projector and a dolphin costume. 

Ad Libido was developed for the prestigious Litmus Fest, a festival of new work at Pleasance Theatre in 2017 and has had support from the BAC, Arts Depot and Theatre Deli. The show was Commended at Vault Festival 2018.

Fran Bushe is an award nominated comedian and a prizewinning playwright. Her first play The Site won a Hampstead Theatre playwrighting competition and was performed at The Roundhouse. She is reunited on Ad Libido with Director Ellen Havard, (Director of New Work, National Theatre Studio), who was Assistant Director on The Site and she is also working with the composer Ben Champion, composing and writing original songs for Ad Libido.

1–20 and 22–27 August (60 mins)
Tickets: 1–3 £6
4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 - £10.50 (£9.50 concessions)
8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 £9.50 (£8.50 concessions)
13, 14, 20, 27 £8.00 (£7.00)

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