In Eggsistentialism, Joanne Ryan questions whether making a life for oneself should involve making another. We spoke to Joanne about using comedy as a vehicle to tackle serious subject matter, why she made the show, and what we can expect from it.
1. Describe Eggsistentialism in 5 words.
Funny, honest, irreverent, touching and eggy!
2. What was your reasoning behind making this show?
I turned 35 (gasp!) at the beginning of last year and felt I was suddenly expected to have an opinion on whether or not I wanted to have a child. I didn’t have a clue, realised a lot of people I knew were similarly confused and the more I thought about, researched and discussed the question, the more culturally and politically fraught and fascinating it became. It also struck me that I’m part of the first generation of humans in the history of the species (in Ireland at least) to have a choice in the matter, which is an interesting experimental cohort to find yourself a part of, and I decided to explore the whole phenomenon – and hopefully come to a decision myself – by documenting my journey in a show.
(Of course it may all actually have been an elaborate unconscious tactic to further delay making a decision on kids, but don’t tell my mother that!)
3. Eggsistentialism is a comedy, but the subject matter is quite serious. How do you reconcile these two genres?
I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive. Comedy is the perfect way to unpick the absurdity and contradictions in the world around us and a natural vehicle for the kind of madcap odyssey I undertook to come to an answer which was often very, very funny. Pairing that with the serious creates an illuminating balance of light and shade; the light makes the dark darker and vice versa. I think they co-exist very happily in the show.
4. Name 3 things you hope an audience member will take away from this show?
A deeper understanding of the issues facing a generation.
A concise insight into Ireland’s sexual and reproductive history and what’s got us to where we are as, well as lots of questions about where we should be going.
The feeling that they’ve been on a hilarious, thought-provoking and intensely human journey.
5. Are there any other shows you’re excited to see in Tiger Dublin Fringe?
Looking forward to seeing some of the shows we’re co-fringing in Smock Alley with like Collapsing Horse’s The Aenied and Hostel 16. Also hoping to catch Foil Arms and Hog, Alison Spittle, Hot Brown Honey, Paul Currie and Limerick’s own Rusangano Family.