Using real stories and experiences, Bodily Functions and Where to Find Them doesn’t shy away from the embarrassing, stomach churning and all the stuff that’s just a little a bit gross. At the Fringe this year in Edinburgh at Surgeons Hall, there is plenty of opportunity to witness the show. The Fountain caught up with Izzy Cutler, Writer and Director of the show, to discuss her influences and tips.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Our whole group is so excited to head up to the fringe this year! We have three actors in the piece and four of us working behind the scenes. However, for me personally, this is the first time I have taken up a show that I have written and directed, so it’s a very strange experience! I’m obviously very excited to see how the play looks when the actors get it up on its feet, but I’m also slightly terrified to sit in the audience each night watching how other people react to it!
TF: Bodily Functions certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
So, Bodily Functions and Where to Find Them is a really eclectic mix of real experiences and stories, some my own and the rest shared with me, and it’s all about exploring our own bodies, what they do and the taboo that surrounds all of that. From poo, wee and sweat to vomiting and periods.
To fit so much into a one hour play, we’ve created a storyteller narrative, which centres around a young woman talking to the audience, and through that we explore her story and the stories of those around her as she moves through her life. Covering everything from peeing yourself on a bus to dealing with bulimia, we’re pretty sure there’s nothing else quite like it in theatre at the moment!
At it’s heart, it is a comedy. I firmly believe that you can really connect with people using comedy and theatre, particularly when its a topic not many people want to discuss or are ashamed of. If you make it funny somehow it becomes more okay to talk about it. And that also then allows you to get more serious messages across. So this play should hopefully make people laugh but also tell a really heart-warming story.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
The original idea for the play was conceived while talking to a friend at the Edinburgh Fringe last year. I think my first thought was just “Isn’t it weird how people get embarrassed and don’t talk about poo when it’s something we all do?” and from there the idea just grew!
I did a show last year that was semi-verbatim which did really well, so that was a very strong influence, although I decided in the end that verbatim wasn’t quite right for the style of show I wanted to do, but it’s still based off real events and experiences so that’s stayed with it.
When it came to putting the show into a narrative, I was very inspired by Bridget Jones. The narrator is like a younger version of the character, stumbling her way through life and just trying not to make an idiot of herself but seeming to fail at every turn! I just thought a character like that, who blurts out what they are thinking, would be great to lead a show that is really a conversation with the audience.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?
We’re up for the first week and previews at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, 7.05pm every night, so between that and flyering lots, we’re all going to try and see as many shows as we can! There’s always so much going on and so many amazing things you will go and see spontaneously so I’m very hyped to see where it will all take me! I’m also organising a cast and crew trip up Arthur’s Seat! I’ve been to the fringe three times before and never managed to do it so I decided this year was the year!
In terms of tips I would give to first-time performers or groups, I would say don’t exhaust yourself. Especially if you are going for a longer run. When you first arrive there’s so much stuff happening and you feel the need to try and see everything and stay up every night and then by the end of the first week you’re already exhausted and you realise you have so many more shows to do. So just be careful. Make sure to eat properly, get lots of sleep and take your time!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Bodily Functions?
This is actually our first year as a theatre company so we’re just really excited to be getting our name out there and building up a reputation at the moment. We haven’t decided on what we are doing next year, but the possibilities are endless! I would love to do plays centring around women in theatre and people’s perception of women, and I would obviously love to come to the fringe again. I’d also love to branch out and do more challenging and bigger productions – maybe even a musical – who knows?
And in terms of Bodily Functions and Where to Find Them, I’m obviously hoping that we get a great response from audiences when we’re up and I know I’d love to do the show again sometime. Not sure where or when but we will just have to wait and see!
You can see Bodily Functions and Where to Find Them at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall from 2nd – 10th August (Not 4th) at 19:05. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com