The delightful Eve Nicol, author of One Life Stand, answers some of our questions about feminism and performance below. You can find Eve on Twitter under @EveNicol
What makes a show feminist for you? For example, does it need to be explicit in saying that the content or performers are feminist? Is a performance feminist, as long as there are female performers/writers/directors and not actively sexist?
A show doesn’t need to be explicitly feminist for me to view it as such. Nor does an all female creative team doesn’t always mean the production will engage or challenge feminist issues. Sometimes the strongest work is that which wears it’s feminism lightly but engages across their programming, casting and creative decisions. On a very basic level, I’ll always look out to see if the female characters are wearing appropriate footwear. I’m done with running away from dinosaurs whilst wearing high heels.
Would you call yourself feminist? Would you call your show feminist, if so how/why?
I am a feminist and One Life Stand is deeply feminist in it’s point of view. Self-assured, non-judgemental, un-titlating female sexuality is core to the play’s themes and energy. One Life Stand puts women seeking out and enjoying sex centre stage whilst exploring why our social system has made this difficult for them to do.
Can you describe any feminist moments you've experienced recently, either at the festival or elsewhere?
I’m part of a programme called The Scale of Female Ambition run by the National Theatre of Scotland and the Edinburgh International Festival. It’s a curated programme of performances, events and networking for female directors. Our WhatsApp group chat is full of debate, humour and support and has been giving me a boost of solidarity with every update. Having a support network has made me more informed, aware and confident in myself.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between performance/comedy and feminism? How do you think we (as a society) can use performance/comedy to explore and talk about issues such as tech abuse and gender based violence in general?
Performance and comedy are brilliant methods of communication as they speak directly to an audience, unfiltered by screens. An evening at the theatre or at a comedy show demands - and if skilfully done, will hold - your attention. It’s not often nowadays to spend an hour or more focused on one thing without an external distraction. And discussion about gender equality deserves more than a tweet or a cute T-shirt slogan. Performance and comedy offers an opportunity to get under the skin of big topics and have a two-way conversation with the audience.
How do you deal with sexism in your life? Any self-care tips?
Educating myself has caused a big shift in my perspective the past couple of years. I’m becoming more and more aware of how the systems for how we live have their odds stacked against women and all under represented groups. I didn’t used to see it, but actively talking to friends who are further along in their feminist journey than me and making my way through the brilliant books and blogs available has made me feel more ready to call out sexism.
Finally, do you have any feminist Fringe recommendations?
Persistent and Nasty have put together a great panel for their Fringe Central talk and I’m really excited to see Hot Brown Honey after having their show recommended to me by everyone I’ve spoken to. Breach’s ‘It’s True It’s True It’s True’ is also on my wishlist.
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions, Eve! You can catch a performance of One Life Stand by Middle Child Theatre at the Roundabout in Summherall from now till the 26th of August. Description below:
"One Life Stand is a late-night search for intimacy across a hyperconnected, hypersexual city, exposing the loneliness sometimes found in modern relationships, where the expectations of love and lust are ever-changing.
Written by Eve Nicol with music by James Frewer and Honeyblood, this is the latest gig theatre production from the award-winning company [Middle Child Theatre] behind All We Ever Wanted Was Everything."