[THEATRE ~ WORLD PREMIERE ~ SA]
by Adrian Miller.
Let’s face it! Most of us spent some time in 2020 in a solitary room wondering what to do next. Some of us even managed to spend that time creatively. Plays such as A Slight Exaggeration were brought into being!
We speak with Poppy Mee, writer and performer of this new theatrical work, who has quite a long history with the Adelaide Fringe. The Clothesline last caught up with Poppy for her 2019 performance in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are ? so we begin by asking what’s been happening since then.
“I’m glad you mention Rosencrantz so I can put this to bed,” Poppy says, “because our show was not the Tom Stoppard play. We wanted to do it but didn’t end up getting the rights, so came through with an original piece of theatre called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are..? set in the dressing room of a failing production of Hamlet. I’m still slightly worried about getting sued.
“After Adelaide Fringe 2019 I secured a Carclew Fellowship to continue my training at Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company in London, which is a brilliant company who are all about training performers to make their own work. Living in London was a dream come true, but was sadly cut short by COVID last March. I had to come back home and make the best out of a difficult situation, which ultimately lead me to write my first solo work, A Slight Exaggeration. So… swings and roundabouts.”
A Slight Exaggeration sounds like it might be your version of social distancing during the current pandemic?
“Since the development came out of having to return to Adelaide because of the pandemic, the content of the piece has obviously been affected by it,” she says, “as I’m sure we’ll see a lot of this season. I cover subjects that I had wanted to speak about anyway, but were probably thrown into starker relief throughout 2020.”
Poppy tells us that she had been kicking around some of the ideas within the show for a couple of years; collating ideas around June/July last year and then completing the bulk of the writing through October/November. We then ask if working solo presented any fears for her having previously performed with larger casts?
“I’m fortunate to have a close circle of friends and collaborators who have helped me a lot during the process, especially my dramaturg Lucy Haas-Hennessy. My primary concern is that I communicate this idea of mine clearly. The rest will take care of itself.”
You are again appearing at The Mill in Angas Street. Is this a favourite place for you to perform?
“The Mill is an excellent spot for us locals!” Poppy says. “They are so supportive and good at what they do. I’m excited to be part of their program this year, I’m sure you’ll catch us all plugging each other’s shows throughout the season.”
What can people expect to see and hear at your show?
“You will definitely see a sweaty young woman and a big pile of dirty laundry while hearing some unbelievable truths and some very convincing fictions!”
Is the story of A Slight Exaggeration unrelentingly grim or can we in for some laughs along the way?
“I fully invite my audience to laugh at the unrelenting grimness!” Poppy says. “That’s comedy, baby!”
What do you think audiences will enjoy most about this show?
“Hopefully, people will leave feeling more connected to one another. There’s also a gag I do with a cocktail shaker that I think is pretty good.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
“I want to thank the Adelaide Fringe for their fantastic initiative of the South Australian Artists COVID Support grants!” Poppy says. “This funding has made my show and loads of other locally made work possible. Hopefully we can keep this investment in local artists going!”
A Slight Exaggeration performs at The Breakout at The Mill from 6pm on Thu 4 Mar until Fri 19 Mar, and from 2pm on Sat 13 Mar.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 and adelaidefringe.com.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.