Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Jane Doe

Edinburgh Festival Spotlight: Jane Doe

To find out more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Jane Doe, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 3 – 28 August 2017. I caught up with actor Karin McCracken:

Describe your show in three words.

Women being honest.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

Yes! I’m feeling good about it, but also nervous. People keep telling me to treat it like a long-distance run, which alarms me, because I can’t even plan out a short-distance run very well. I’m looking forward to gaining a few new performances muscles during the month though. Jane Doe requires quite a strong relationship between the audience and I (don’t worry, all participation is volunteer only!), so developing that with very different audience sizes will be quite key.

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

So many! Three I’m really looking forward to are Forced Entertainment‘s Real Magic, RashDash‘s Two Man Show, and Wild Bore. I’m also looking forward to seeing all the New Zealand shows that Zanetti Productions has wheeled over here, because they’re great, and weird, and worth seeing more than once.

How do you feel to be performing at Assembly George Square?

Great. It’s the kind of show that needs to be in a venue that values the messages – and Assembly do. I’m hopeful that we’ll get a decent cross-section of audience demographics at George Square, which is important for a show like this

Who or what are your inspirations?

This changes year to year, but right now, it’s women who are doing difficult, important work. That can be in the arts, or social services, or at home. Back in NZ there is a good coven of women/witches making feminist theatre, and I always feel bolstered when I see them in action. The same goes for the women who I worked with at Wellington Rape Crisis. They’re just – incredible people. They make me want to work hard.

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

Beyond coffee, I have no plan and no secrets, and I’m getting the sense this is not a good thing. I’m open to any secrets anyone would like to share. Please.

What are the future plans for your show?

I’m hoping we can put the show in front of more audiences (New Zealand and abroad). Every time I perform the show I learn more about it, and I learn what audiences need from me, and what they get from the show. And I’m at a place now where I know the best thing about this show is it gives audiences an opportunity to safely reflect on their own experiences, their own lives. I think that’s important. So, I want more people to experience it. Eleanor Bishop (creator of the show) and I are currently toying with how a version on this show could be created for a younger audience. I think that would be pretty incredible.

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

I’m going to mention two. I’m sorry, I know that’s cheating, but one is too difficult. They are both from the coven I mentioned.

  1. Eleanor Bishop and Julia Croft made a show called BOYS, which was an insane deconstruction of a seminal New Zealand play that interrogated rape culture in New Zealand. They had 16 actors, personal experiences smashed up against the arid depiction of gendered violence in New Zealand media, and an original script that was smart and cutting but also hopeful. The show left me feeling like a raw nerve. In a good way.
  2. Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan made a show called Power Ballad that played at Auckland Fringe. It is an immersive piece of experimental theatre that is hilarious and (I found) very moving. Julia is an unbearably talented performer – she manages to just sweep you up into this world, where, odds are, you will end up singing, even if you hate singing. Good news for everyone, it is playing at Summerhall during the Festival.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?

The show can be quite emotional, but it’s also funny, and kind. After every show, without fail, audience members have asked if they can hug me. I don’t really know what any of that means, except to say I think it’s a unique experience for audiences. And that’s what Edinburgh Fringe is about, right?


Writer/ Director: Eleanor Bishop

Producer: Zanetti Productions

Cast: Karin McCracken

Jane Doe plays Assembly George Square as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 3 – 28 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.