‘I’ll tell you what I really want. I want to jump clean out of my brain.’ Essie’s lost her job. Her girlfriend’s left. But she’s alright. Except lately she feels more like a chair than a person. One of those folding chairs. Solid one minute. And then. From award-winning Irish writer Margaret Perry (Porcelain, Abbey Theatre), Collapsible is a furious new monologue about holding on in this collapsing world. Margaret spoke with The Fountain about the drivers behind the show.
TF: You are staging work at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how excited are you?
I’m so excited to get up to the Fringe to meet audiences and other artists.
TF: Collapsible certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Collapsible is a funny and furious monologue that tells the story of Essie Nutting. Essie’s lost her job. And her girlfriend’s left. But she’s getting on okay, applying for jobs, writing cover letters. Except she starts to run out of ways to describe herself, what she has to offer. That’s when she decides to make the list. A list of words that describe her, crowd-sourced from the people in her life who know her best. But as the list grows, Essie begins to lose any sense of who she was in the first place. Begins to stop feeling like she exists at all.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
Collapsible is a play about feeling very alone inside your own head. It’s inspired by a time when I was unemployed and trying to wade out of the dark and I wanted to write honestly about what that felt like and how it feels to me to live in the brokenness of right now. And I wanted to write a monologue about how much we need other people. Collapsible‘s primary influences are online cover letter templates, Buzzfeed quizzes and the plays of Samuel Beckett. (I reckon Beckett was a driven and conscientious self-starter and also probably a ham and pineapple pizza.)
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
Long time listener first time caller here, I’ve been to the Fringe loads as a punter but this will be my first time taking a show up.
There’s so much I’m excited to see – a few to mention, Civilisation by Jaz Woodcock Stewart and her company Antler, The Patient Gloria by Gina Moxley, Algorithms by Sadie Clark, Bible John by Caitlin McEwan/Poor Michelle, Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz, dressed by This Egg, Landscape (1989) by Emergency Chorus, Catherine Bohart’s new show Lemon, I really could go on but I appreciate you have a word limit!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Collapsible?
Collapsible will be heading to Dublin and to HighTide Festival in Aldeburgh after the Fringe and then back to London as part of the Bush Theatre’s new season in 2020. After the Fringe I’m going on holiday with my Mum. Beyond that, I have no idea what I’m doing. Such is freelance life. I’m open for commissions?!
You can see Collapsible at Assembly Roxy, from 8th – 25th August at 13:20. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/