In this interview with Arabella Spendlove (Charlotte) and Teddy Fahey (The Monster), they discuss Mother and the Monster, the show they have brought to the Fringe this year.
How would you describe your show in 3 words?
Arabella: Feel-good, feminist, thought-provoking.
Teddy: Bittersweet, funny, horrifying.
Tell us a bit about your show, is this a revisit to Fringe or first time?
A: The show has been performed before but not at Fringe [and] we are also a whole new cast so this is a really great opportunity for us.
T: Mother and the Monster was originally performed by Paradigm Lab in 2017 and was very well received, so hopefully we’ll be able to continue the show’s original success!
How do you feel about the upcoming Fringe run?
A: I’m really pleased and excited about our run. Everyone in the cast has worked really hard and it’s such a pleasure to be able to share our work with an audience. At the same time, it’s also quite scary because we can’t guarantee an audience, but hopefully we’ll be able to get lots of people in because it’s free for anyone to see.
T: As clichéd as it sounds, a mixture of both apprehension and excitement. As this is the first play The Counterminers have ever put on at the Fringe, we really want to make a brilliant first impression, especially since we all know that the standards of the Fringe are very high indeed. It is this pressure to put on a great show that drives us to make Mother and the Monster the best it can possibly be.
What has been the most challenging part of the show so far?
A: I’ve found my character, Charlotte, quite challenging. She’s 67 whereas I’m only 22, so it’s tricky to try and portray 45 years of experience. [However,] Rory Kelly’s script is wonderful and my director Lewis Forman and I have worked really closely on devising a backstory for Charlotte which has helped a lot. As well as this, lots of Charlotte’s emotion is in her voice as opposed to movement because there is a strong storytelling element in the show so I’ve done my best to try and add dynamism to Charlotte’s physically static moments.
T: As a new theatre company, working on a miniscule budget has its challenges. That being said, there is a remarkable sense of freedom and initiative that comes with working on a limited budget resulting in a number of artistic decisions that I do not think we would have ever come to if we had a larger budget.
What has been the best moment so far?
A: I’ve really enjoyed the rehearsal process but my favourite day was when we did our publicity shoot. We carried some of our set to the Meadows in Edinburgh and the whole cast squeezed into a wardrobe in costume for the photos. The only unfortunate thing was that it poured with rain and I had to wear slippers.
T: The connection we’ve formed as a collective of performers and creators is for me the best part of working on this show. I cannot wait to see where we go from here!
Why is this show so important and what does it do differently to other shows?
A: There’s so much to see at the Fringe so there’s always something for everyone but our show is important because it covers lots of themes which are relevant today. The show is centred around a woman who was cut out of the film industry and had her success taken away from her after it comprised the success of a male director; the trauma of this then affects her mental health in later life. Even though the characters in the show are fictional, it resonates very strongly in today’s climate.
T: While the audience will recognise themes of misogyny, loneliness and mental illness, the manner in which these themes are explored and portrayed is what separates Mother and the Monster from other shows presenting similar themes. The horror influence in Mother and the Monster is, in my opinion, its biggest selling-point.
What does your show bring to Fringe?
A: Our show will hopefully encourage the audience to think about how women’s achievements and rights are still affected today. This aside, our play is primarily about showing how someone can come to terms with the skeletons in their cupboards, monsters in their wardrobes.
T: A combination of humour, sorrow and abject fear.
What can the audience expect when they come to your show?
A: I don’t want to give too much away but I would say that the audience should expect to laugh, definitely be entertained and hopefully inspired – and probably at points, quite shocked!
T: The audience should expect to laugh, weep and jump out of their seat, and not necessarily in that order.
Mother and The Monster by The Counterminers runs Upstairs at The Golf Tavern
At 21:45 until 25th August
Book tickets here
Image: Erin Lynch