INTERVIEW: "Let me finish" Returns to Finish off Fringe
Let me finish exploded onto the Blue Room Theatre’s stage last year, selling out all shows, winning awards and inspiring people with it’s fierce, unapologetic storytelling for, about and by women.
I chatted to the cast (Ana Ika, Izzy McDonald, Charlotte Otton, Jess Nyanda Moyle and Angela Mahlatjie) ahead of their return FRINGE WORLD season.
How many years have you been doing Fringe?
Ana: Two years for me.
Angela: I have been in fringe for the past five years!
Izzy: Five years now! Woah!
Charlotte: I moved to Perth in the middle of FRINGE WORLD 2015 and I’ve been actively doing shows since 2016!
Jess: Two years now.
What is your show about in five words?
Ana: Sharing our experiences as women.
Angela: It’s about: STRENGTH, LOVE, UNITY, HONESTY, FUN!
Izzy: It’s an invite, not a tell off.
Charlotte: Powerful gals, givin’ honest truth.
Jess: Stories. Strength. Vulnerability. Authenticity. Baddass-bitches-eating-man-flesh-stirring-cauldrons-twerking-at-times.
Tell us a bit about your creative practice and background as performer/theatre-maker/actor.
Ana: I trained at WAAPA completing a Diploma of Acting in 2017, and this year I’m back there beginning a Bachelor of Arts in Acting. I’m interested in seeing and creating stories I haven’t seen represented before.
Angela: I started studying theatre in 2014 for three and a half years and managed to squeeze WAAPA in the mix, studying film! I had the privilege to be a lead in ABC’S new tv series “The Heights” last year and am so excited for what the future will bring. I love acting and its ability to unite anyone honestly! As long as it continues to do that, I will continue to do it!
Izzy: ‘Izzy McDonald is the co-artistic director of Rorschach Beast and is a writer, director and producer.’
Charlotte: My background is primarily in improvisation and comedy. Since moving to Perth in 2015 and graduating from the Performance Making degree at WAAPA it has certainly shifted into a more contemporary theatre practice.
Jess: I started out as a musician and a singer-songwriter, since then I’ve been sort of following whatever sparks my interest. Making theatre being one of them. A mate of mine described me as a cat just sort of slowly wandering off to some shiny/fast-moving thing that catches my eye. I’m not a cat person though.
What are you hoping audiences will take away from the show?
Ana: I hope audiences, particularly young women and women of colour, will leave our show feeling less alone. Maybe even empowered.
Angela: I would love for audiences to understand that firstly, there is no shame in being a woman, embracing that fully, and knowing that you are not alone. Secondly that, as people, we may experience life differently due to our gender, but we are all human beings that feel the same things, so why not accept that about each other?
Izzy: I hope audiences take away insight in to our lived experiences as exhausted women, but also see the fun and power we have when we get together.
Charlotte: A celebration and understanding of the female experience
Jess: I just want people, especially female-identifying people, to feel less alone, and to perhaps come out feeling like they have a bit more agency and control over their own narrative. Enough so that they can tell it, own it and be proud of it.
What were some inspirations or provocations that led to Let me finish’s creation?
Ana: Oh girl. Where to begin? Our lives inspired the show. There’s definitely female socialization and intersectionality in there but also we’re just a bunch of individuals who shared stories with each other and went, ‘Wow, same,’ or, ‘Actually that’s never happened to me before,’ and we laughed and cried at these stories and made them into Let me finish.
Angela: I was constantly inspired by the woman around me in the room. The Let me finish cast and crew all have so much gravitas and it was so inspiring to be a part of that energy and watch them work hard while also being vulnerable and honest about who they were.
Izzy: We wanted to see our gross and hot stories on stage and to see women supporting each other on stage.
What was the process of writing, rehearsing and collaborating on this show like?
Ana: This was the first show that I’ve been a part of devising so not only was it great to have so much freedom and voice in creating a show, but collaborating with a group of selfless, smart and funny women was like winning the lottery.
Angela: It was such a gentle process with a lot of weight behind it. So we all treated each other with such care and we each had such a burning passion to tell this story that could not be quenched. It was such a safe space and there was so much freedom to bring exactly who you were and what you had to the room. One of the best rehearsal processes I’ve ever been in.
Jess: Super supportive, super loving, a lot of around the circle chats. I like to think that we all felt very seen and heard
Choice of mid-Fringe snack?
Ana: I love going to ChiCho and grabbing a pre-show coffee, and maybe even a post-show gelato.
Angela: Waffle fries!
Izzy: Fringe snack is the samosas from Govindas!
Charlotte: I make a bunch of banana and oat energy balls at the beginning of every week and they are the best energising snack!
Jess: 24 hour pho. Always forever.
Favourite song to warm up to in the rehearsal room?
Ana: Solange’s Cranes in the Sky.
Angela: We have a Let me finish Playlist and whenever Body by Loud Luxury comes on, we go nuts!
Izzy: Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton!
Charlotte: My Neck, My Back- Khia.
Jess: Dirty Sexy Money - Charli XCX.
Favourite song for a good boogie?
Ana: Crazy in Love by Queen Bey and Jay Z gets me every time.
Angela: Pretty Young Thing By MJ
Izzy: Honey by Robyn
Charlotte: Say My Name- Destiny’s Child
Jess: Dirty Sexy Money - Charli XCX.
Any other shows you’re looking forward to seeing for the remainder of FRINGE WORLD?
Ana: I’m excited for Talofa Papa at The Blue Room Theatre.
Angela: I’m keen to see Paper Doll at The Blue Room Theatre!
Izzy: Silence My Ladyhead at The Blue Room Theatre.
Charlotte: Silence My Ladyhead by Indigo Keane and Nicole Harvey is sure to be a winner.
Jess: Gutted that I’m missing out on Silence My Ladyhead. Mates get on that please so I can live vicariously through you all.
What do you enjoy most about FRINGE WORLD?
Ana: Perth going out and supporting local artists.
Angela: Fringe is so great for Perth in particular because the arts scene is not that big here. People can not only go and watch this abundance of art, but also get the opportunity to create it. The streets come alive and it’s such a magical experience.
Izzy: Meeting the other artists from all around the world. And The Blue Room balcony.
Jess: Dancing at The Budgie.
Are there particular artists that have inspired you on the path you’re on now?
Ana: Will O’Mahony. Also, Lily Allen and her unapologetic honesty.
Angela: Anyone that has the courage to put themselves out there as an artist is an inspiration to me. That takes guts and a lot of love for what you do.
Charlotte: Too many to mention. One that immediately comes to mind though is Zoe Coombs Marr. Her work has always been a major inspiration- the comedy she brings to her work is superior.
Jess: Mitski and PJ Harvey. The former being the first Eurasian to speak to my sad little soul (because representation is super great you guys) and the latter is such a fucking genius chameleon, she’s been inspiring me for years now. Probs will continue to do so.
Let me finish is on from 12-17 February at 9:40pm at Circus Theatre, Perth Cultural Centre.
Get your tickets here.