To find out more about Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.
Next up in our Spotlight feature is FAG/STAG which plays Edinburgh Festival until 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and actor Chris Isaacs:
Describe your show in three words.
Funny. Honest. Intimate.
Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?
No, I’ve been lucky enough to be over at the Fringe before with a few shows – The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer and It’s Dark Outside in 2011 and 2013 respectively. They were great experiences but I’m still nervous. It’s always exciting to see how a new audience will respond to a work. Though FAG/STAG is a slightly different show than these visual storytelling shows, its similarities are in its truth, exploration of ideas and honest storytelling.
Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?
Oh there’s a few old friends that it’d be nice to catch up with. Trygve Wakenshaw is a bit of a legend. I really love the work of Gecko and I’m excited about seeing their new work, The Dreamer – a collaboration with a Shanghai company. Also, I see Translunar Paradise is having a return season, which is show I put in my top ten shows of all time – so check that out for its short run. Outside of that seeing new exciting work is one of the best things about Ed Fringe – it’s such a melting pot of ideas. Jeff wanted me to mention Lilith: the Jungle Girl, from Melbourne outfit Sisters Grimm, which he’s been dying to see for years.
How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Cowgate?
We’re so happy to be with Underbelly and at Cowgate. They’ve been a really great venue to us in the past and we’re stoked they’re having us back again. We love the closeness and intimacy of the Belly Button in Cowgate and I think it’s going to be perfect for the show.
Who or what are your inspirations?
The other people I work with. The other members of The Last Great Hunt – their ideas and ambitions are contagious. I get inspired by lots of things in the world, but as to being involved it’s nice to think we can make a difference, to change someone in the audience even just a little and make their world brighter, or more open even for a moment. Theatre is a shared experience and there’s something quite ritualistic about that which I think hits you as you watch a good show – you don’t watch it alone, you’re there with it – a part of it. It’s about people. What else is there?
What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?
Don’t live or die by audience numbers. Drink water. Have a little routine. Go for a walk every day (Even if it rains). And remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What are the future plans for your show?
We’ve got a few possible seasons lined up next year but nothing confirmed just yet – hopefully taking the show to Edinburgh can give us a platform to look at bringing it to other parts of the UK or elsewhere internationally.
What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?
I saw The Gabriels Trilogy by Richard Nelson at this year at Perth Festival. Naturalism done with incredible touching characters and stories. It’s utter perfection.
Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?
It’s not often you get to shout out this part of the work but The Last Great Hunt is bringing three shows over to the Fringe this year, and it’s a mammoth effort with a whole mess of logistics to worry about. We can’t do that without great support from our staff, producers, publicity, venue and everyone else who chips in. There’s a lot of giants whose shoulders we’re standing on, and they’re working damn hard to help us bring these shows to audiences around the world.
The show itself is a real joy to perform – it’s had a really great series of runs around Australia and hopefully we can continue that in Edinburgh.
Writer: Jeffrey Jay Fowler; Chris Isaacs
Producer: The Last Great Hun
Design: Brett Smith (sound)
Cast: Jeffrey Jay Fowler; Chris Isaacs
FAG/STAG plays Underbelly Cowgate as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.