EDINBURGH 2017: BWW Q&A- The Portable Dorothy Parker

EDINBURGH 2017: BWW Q&A- The Portable Dorothy Parker

Tell us a bit about The Portable Dorothy Parker

The Portable Dorothy Parker finds the famous wit as she's preparing to sort through her poems and short stories for Viking Press's 1944 collection of the same name. Dorothy is having a very bad day. Well acquainted with Dottie's habit of procrastination, Viking has sent over a young editor, who's about to show up at her door. Her husband, Alan Campbell, has recently shipped off to England with the Army Air Corps. His last leave was a disaster and he's only written once this week: he doesn't need his Dottie now that he has his war.

As Dorothy tackles the daunting task of going through her body of work, she reminisces about her life-her famous friends (Lillian Hellman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and, especially, Ernest Hemingway), the wits of the Round Table (Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman...), the founding of The New Yorker, and her many loves and heartbreaks.

This one-woman play is the labor of love created by Annie Lux (playwright), Lee Costello (director), and Margot Avery (actor). The Portable Dorothy Parker has previously been presented in the Hollywood Fringe, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, FringeNYC, and, most recently, the Pittsburgh Fringe (where it won the Selke Award for best show), as well as in theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, and Richmond, Virginia. The Edinburgh Fringe has long been a goal, and is the first international production of The Portable Dorothy Parker.

Why bring it to Edinburgh this year?

It's ready. The script has been finalized and has been presented in severAl Small Fringe festivals in the US, as well as in FringeNYC.

Also: this summer marks the 50th anniversary of Mrs. Parker's death. What better tribute could there be than giving audiences the opportunity to meet her and hear her words at the mother of all Fringe festivals?

What sets it apart from other shows at the Fringe?

The Portable Dorothy Parker is not just a one-person show; it's a play that gives a glimpse into the life and works of a fascinating, multidimensional woman: writer, wit, critic, champion of the downtrodden, feminist (a Riot Grrrl before her time), and a living example of what becomes of flapper-era excess when the era is over. Margot Avery embodies Mrs. Parker fully, showing the depth and fragility behind the sharp tongue and poison pen.

Who would you recommend comes to see you?

There are lots of fans of Dorothy Parker out there, and of course the show is a natural for them. Book lovers and fans of the era (from the Roaring '20s through WWII) will also be drawn to it. Young women, many of whom discover Parker's work in high school, love her and appreciate her (perhaps unwitting) example that you can be smart and sharp and critical and not always nice-but still be loved and admired. But you don't have to be any of these things to enjoy the play: we've found that even people who are not familiar with Dorothy Parker or her works fall in love with her biting wit and fascinating stories.

Those who know Dottie only as one of the wits of the Algonquin Round Table will be delighted to learn that her career and razor-sharp observations continued well beyond the flapper era.

Are there any other shows you're hoping to catch at the festival?

Anything the National Theatre of Scotland is doing - they're always exceptional. I've heard very good things about How to be a Sissy with Percy Q. Shun. Have to put in a good word for my friend's show Paper Doll. I saw it a while ago in NYC and I'm going to see it again. And while I'm plugging friend's shows: Baby Mama!!! OMG, I love Mariah McCarthy so much!!!

The Traverse has always been full of interesting work in my experience so I'll make a point of going to some of their shows. Of course, other shows at our venue and the other shows under the umbrella of our producer, Fringe Management. Other than that, everything we can! There's so much exciting work to see!

Timings and ticket information for The Portable Dorothy Parker are available on the edfringe website.


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