To find out more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.
First up in our Spotlight feature is Julius Caesar, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 14 – 26 August 2017. I caught up with actor Amanda LaBonte:
Describe your show in three words.
Women. Power. Ambition
Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?
Yes, I am equal parts excited, equal parts nervous!
Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?
I’m really looking forward to seeing some Physical Theatre and Comedy – two genres I don’t see enough of. Samantha Baines (1 Woman, a High-Flyer and a Flat Bottom and 2 Girls 1 Cup of Comedy) definitely has caught my eye for some female led comedy, and Paris de Nuit, presented by Recirquel Company Budapest.
How do you feel to be performing at theSpace on Niddry St?
Pumped, the space we are performing in is intimate and in the round – which makes for an exciting piece of theatre! Charles Pamment has been fantastic to deal with – very supportive of our constant questioning from the other side of the world!
Who or what are your inspirations?
I was lucky enough to see Alan Cumming in concert only last week. He is a big inspiration – he is brave, vulnerable, talented and open. Graham Norton interviews some wonderful actors and it can be an odd remark or story that resonates and rings true.
It’s people like this that say the right thing at the right time that help keep me going when I think I’ve run out of steam. I’m also lucky enough to be part of a very vibrant independent theatre scene here in Melbourne. There is a definite feeling of mutual respect and shared support amongst us, and it certainly helps!
I also work alongside my brilliant business partner, Co-Artistic Director, Sophie Lampel. She is a massive inspiration to me and I would not still be producing theatre 15 years on if it were not for her humour, support, talent and persistence. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life, and if I can get to a ripe old age and have lived and survived through this industry I will be one very happy and proud old woman!!
What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?
Lots of water, maybe a bit of early morning exercise, and the odd vodka & red bull!
What are the future plans for your show?
If I were to have my dream come true it would be that an international producer sees our production and funds us to perform throughout Europe.
What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?
It’s a tie between a one woman show produced locally and performed by Emily Goddard. This is Eden was funny, tragic and enlightening. It explored the lives of convict women that landed in Tasmania in the late 1880’s. The writing and the performance was outstanding.
The other production that I think a lot about is Schau Buhne’s production of Richard III with Lars Eidinger playing the title role. It was exhilarating!
Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?
What’s exciting about our production is that it is being performed by six women. In a genre that is generally dominated by male characters, it’s a welcome and glorious surprise to see strong females taking centre stage, speaking mighty verses about freedom, leadership and destiny. The other thing that excites me about Julius Caesar in 2017 is it’s absolute relevance – it directly talks to society 400 years on. Conspiracy, tests of loyalty, whispers of what is good for the country, are all common headlines in today’s papers. Today our “Caesar” grows and shape-shifts with our own violence, griefs and tragedies. Julius Caesar has never been more relevant. Director Fleur Kilpatrick says, “With each news bulletin this play feels newer and more connected to the world around us”.
Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Fleur Kilpatrick
Producer: Essential Theatre
Cast: Alexandra Aldrich; Leah Filley; Helen Hopkins; Amanda LaBonte; Devon Lang Wilton; Sophie Lampel
Julius Caesar plays theSpace on Niddry St as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 14 – 26 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.