Returning for its 25th year, Dublin Fringe Festival is taking place in the capital until September 22nd, and promises something for everyone across the worlds of theatre, art, performance, music, comedy and more.
One of those somethings is Megan Riordan's 'It's Not About Love', "an eclectic cabaret extravaganza on the nature of love, presence, consciousness, grace and acting as a vessel".
We caught up with Riordan to hear more about her show, the Dublin Fringe Festival, and the big problems facing the city and the country in 2019.
Give us the 60-second elevator pitch for your show.
An eclectic heart-break, heart-make cabaret mixtape interrogating and redefining the emotional legacy of Romeo and Juliet for the current moment.
Where did the idea for the show come from?
I played Juliet a few years ago and had a lot of weird experiences during rehearsals and performances, experiences where I felt like I was channelling something or connected to the history of the play in some kind of metaphysical way. I wanted to explore that more.
On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you to perform it?
Why Dublin Fringe Festival?
Because it’s just the best. This festival has a special place in my heart; it’s my artistic home. I never thought about doing this show anywhere else first. The calibre and scope of daring, innovative work made in this festival is unmatched in any other environment in Ireland. And based on that history and reputation, audiences are willing to take a punt on something unusual. The buzz of that spirit of adventure in both artists and audiences is unreal.
Who should come see your show?
Anyone who ever thought that it doesn’t make sense that we hold this story up as an example of true love when it takes place over a few days and everybody dies.
Anyone who feels a bit bruised and battered by love and relationships.
Anyone who had a strong attachment to Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and wants to bask in the nostalgia of it all.
What’s the biggest challenge that Dublin/Ireland faces today?
My knee-jerk response was ‘the housing crisis’ but I think there’s a bigger problem that encompasses that and many other challenges: lack of planning, foresight and leadership. There’s a sense that there is no vision for how to craft a vibrant, liveable city: there are just reactions to market forces. i.e. venues closing and becoming hotels; landlords charging rent that they can get away with because of supply and demand—like that’s some immutable force like gravity. Nobody thinks they’re part of the problem if they think of themselves in isolation; nobody’s looking at the big picture and what each individual act does to the country. Irish artists are fleeing because of living costs. Ireland’s superpower is its exceptional cultural prowess. What are all these tourists in these hotels going to do, drink and shop at O’Carroll’s? That’s not Irish culture.
You’re leaving Earth to go explore Mars - what would you choose as your last meal?
Things that wouldn’t translate well into space food, so probably French pastries, champagne, seafood. And my mom’s Christmas cookies. I’d miss those on Mars.
If you could change the world in one way, what would you change?
Much like above, my initial response was ‘climate change’ but I think there’s a broader issue that would address that: greed. I would eliminate greed. Get rid of that so much inequality would right itself and the resources would be available to change the trajectory we’re on. They’re already available! They’re just being hoarded!
Who are your three ideal dinner party guests (living or dead)?
Given the show, I have to say Shakespeare himself, and also the Shakespearean scholar Harold Bloom, whose theories are a big part of the show. I think it would be fun to get Shakespeare’s reaction to Bloom’s interpretation of his work. My director Aoife Spillane-Hinks has to be there to watch the fireworks too.
Pineapple on pizza - yay or nay?
I come from a culture that dips pizza in ranch dressing, so pineapple on pizza barely registers on my radar. Yay.
Dublin Fringe Festival is running until September 22nd. For tickets and more programme information, see fringefest.com.