BREAKS explores the limits of what one woman can take and tackles issues of gender and feminism. Co-devised by Erin Gilgen, Emma Hughes, Naomi Faughnan and Louisa Sanfey, it runs at Smock Alley Theatre from Sep 11 - 18. We asked Louisa Sanfey #FiveQuickQuestions to find out a little bit more!
1. Describe Breaks in 5 words.
Corsets. Arsenic. Feminist. Cheeky. Melange.
2. How did you guys go about devising this piece?
Myself and Erin Gilgen had been talking about making a show around gender and feminism, and then after #WakingTheFeminists it just seemed rude not to actually do it! (Yes, BREAKS is a little nod to that tweet.) We began researching and chatting and playing with ideas and writing and applying for all the funding. The Barbican in London replied and offered us a week’s development as part of their Open Lab scheme, and FRINGE LAB offered us some more space, and more people joined the team, and suddenly we realised this was a real, living thing on our hands. Now we’re here, one week to go and it’s scary but exciting to think of humans coming to watch it. We hope they come and talk to us after the show in the Smock Alley bar!
3. What has been the best part about working on BREAKS?
The true story we’re working with is incredible. Gesche Gottfried was a fascinating, bizarre, frightening and strangely sympathetic serial killer who lived in Germany 200 years ago. We met with a German professor from UCL in London who shared her research material with us, and our LX designer Teresa Nagel helped translate some of the obituaries and letters that Gesche herself wrote. There are so many facets to Gesche’s story that we haven’t been able to include everything in the show, however one of the performers Morgan Cooke went away one day and off his own back decided to set some of the obituaries to music, then record them with a full choir, so we’re lip-synching to his original mini-opera within the show!
4. What would you like audience members to take away from the show?
Part of the impetus for making the show was to find out how gender affects the way we choose what stories to tell, and how we tell them. We want to encourage the audience to follow us through the story in ways that might not be familiar for them, and we hope they will trust us enough to relax and enjoy the ride! We want to spread some feminist love. Also, we really want everyone to have fun, laugh, cry, maybe sing and dance a little, and leave feeling strong feels!
5. Are there any other shows in this year’s line-up that you’re excited to see?
Mad excited about Megalomaniac by Outlandish Theatre Platform. We’re lucky to be sharing Smock Alley with some fab shows like Animalia, Hostel 16 and Gays Against the Free State! RISK looks interesting. And since all the BREAKS team are RuPaul’s Drag Race obsessives, we’ll definitely not miss Jinkx Monsoon in The Vaudevillians!