Stefanie Preissner | Solpadeine Is My Boyfriend
Interview by: Caomhan Keane
What happens when the class clown graduates and is no longer funny? We drink, we smoke, we dance, we eat, we book online and pack suitcases, we turn off our phones, we turn on our computers, we log in and log on, we pretend. What do YOU do to escape? Solpadeine is My Boyfriend is about change. It's more than a hair cut or going to college. It's the changes you can't control, can't come back from, like growing up, emigrating, and that moment you realise: you're not who you thought you were going to be when you wrote about it in 3rd class.
Written and starring the distinctive Stefanie Preissner, it opens Saturday at the New Theatre. She talks here to Caomhan Keane.
You once compared the Fringe to the theatre industries Rag Week? Can you tell me a little bit more about this analogy?
Yeah, like... In the way that during rag week, students who you may not have seen all year are out and around the place. People are in great spirits. And there's lots of drink and lots of chats involved. There's a kind of "where's the place to be tonight" and it's just great to see everyone supporting everyone else.
Your show certainly has one of the more eye catching titles. What's it all about?
Basically, it's about what happens to a girl when the most important relationship in her life is one with a pain killer. Why that happens, and how one might get out of it. Or not.
What way is it staged?
It's staged ingeniously by Gina Moxley with a punching bag and a large Buddha bag. It's quite physical and relentless and serves the text in a way I've never experienced before.
Why did you choose Gina Moxley to direct? How did you guys get professionally involved?
Gina and I worked together at MAKE in March of this year. I just thought she was really clever and astute - that is something I now realise is really important when working with rhyme. She's also from Cork which is imperative. No, I'm kidding. She's just lovely and extremely talented. Why wouldn't you choose her, like?
Is it in rap/rhyme?
Yup. Well half and half. It far less in rap, if at all. No, it's not in rap at all. But about 60% of it is in rhyme. For my sins.
How have you developed/refined your style since Our Father?
I've learnt more words. Honestly, I have spent the time between the two shows looking at what I really need to say. This play, while written largely in the same style, is more immediate and relevant to today. I have developed a new way of showcasing truth, I guess.
Where did you get the idea for this show?
I take Solpadeine, the odd time (winks), and I was amazed at how many people always have it on them. It's a largely Irish phenomenon of using painkillers as Berroca in the morning and I wanted to look at why that is.
You've spoken in the past of Arthur Riordan's influence on your work. Can you tell me a little more on that?
I just think he is incredible. Since doing Our Father I saw Peer Gynt. What a legacy to leave behind you, like. I just feel like there are so many shows today where people just stand on stage and speak extremely colloquially and there is a place for that, for sure, but Arthur is a playwright, in the true sense of the word. His plays are wrought. He is a master craftsman. And he's also so humble. Ah, I just think he's great. I love rhyme and I’m glad it didn't die out with Shakespeare, y'know?
You said you were unprepared last year for the emotional strain Our Father was to take on you. How have you prepared this year?
I wrote a better play. I write fiction based on reality. I have learned how to tread that line now. And also, very importantly, I have changed how I speak about the work with the production team and with Gina. I am in control of me and Gina is in control of the play. It's a very clear and professional process. I love it.
What's your favourite memory of seeing either a show or a performance or indeed a crowd reaction at the Fringe?
Gosh, eh... Two years ago now, I saw the Berlin Love Tour and there was a woman in the audience who was just so into the show, so engaged with Hilary and there was a moment at the Berlin Wall on Sycamore Street where Hilary gets upset and you see this woman's heart actually break. It always stays with me as a really 'real' moment. A tribute to Tom and Hilary and Lynda the write of course but also the magic of what we do.
What other shows would you encourage our readers to see and why?
This year’s program is class. There are 30 shows I want to see. I mean you’re guaranteed a top class show with Shaun Dunne's Death of the Tradesman and THEATREclub's Hungry Tender. But I'm also really excited for offsite stuff like Duncan Molloy's MASS and Sorcha Kenny's 7 hour walk around the city. Oh, also the Iranian show White Rabbit Red Rabbit, I'd say that'll be electric.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Friday 7th September 2012 | Theatre
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