EDINBURGH 2019: THE STRUGGLING LIFE OF AN ARTIST Q&A
BWW catches up with Xiomara Meyer and Tamalynne Grant to chat about bringing The Struggling Life Of An Artist to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Tell us a bit about The Struggling Life of An Artist.
X: It's a comedy about two struggling artists (a horror writer and an actress) who are about to land their dream jobs if they each agree to one compromise: the writer must use a male pseudonym and the actress must be "sexier". The play then follows their journey on whether to forfeit their artistic integrity in the name of success, or to stay true to their morals but lose out on the opportunity of a lifetime
T: It brushes on themes such as feminism, sexism, artistic freedom and millennial angst.
What was the inspiration behind the play?
T: The play is based on a monologue I wrote for my final year exams at a conservatory I attended in Vienna, Austria. The monologue is about female empowerment. When Xiomara and I founded our company Hitting Heads Productions, we started by filming mini video clips and named the series "The Struggling Life of an Artist", which we uploaded to Facebook. The video clips were met with positive reactions, we then decided to further develop the idea and write a play based on my monologue and inspired by our own personal experiences.
Do these themes feel particularly relevant just now?
T: Yes, now more than ever women are demanding to be heard. Female rights are human rights. Sexualisation and objectification of women has to stop. Hollywood should no longer be the elite leading platform for artists and society today has to stop pressuring young people to either become rich and successful by the time they're 25 or become slaves to the system.
X: It's also about the idea of honest art. Maybe it's just me, but these days every song on the radio sounds the same. Every celebrity looks the same. We've had about every possible Disney animation remade into a live action film. Why? Because there is very little originality out there and the truth is that the industry is dying and it needs fresh ideas. And ideas are out there, they are everywhere you look, but because it's largely about money, the top dogs would rather be safe and make something unoriginal that will guarantee bucks than to take a risk and potentially underperform at the box office but at least be truthful to their art.
Why premiere it in Edinburgh?
X: Being one of the largest arts festivals in the world, Edinburgh is a melting pot of artistic opportunity. It's full of competition (but we like challenges), but also full of encouragement and chances for networking. Our play is about struggling artists so I'm sure we'll have one or two people who will be able to relate. T: I can only add on to what Xio said. Getting the chance to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a life-changing experience for an artist. The competition, the vibes, the networking, and the different audiences we are going to get every night. It's definitely going to make us grow as artists, professionally and creatively.
What do you hope audiences take away from the show?
X: That art is important, and that it is not easy. In today's age, being a waitress and having studied the arts will label you a stereotype, and being a struggling artist while still receiving financial help from your parents will label you a brat.
Unfortunately, just as some people love physics, and others love law or what have you, the arts is what makes us happy, and all of us here at the Fringe decided to go into a battle were there are more reasons to quit then there are to succeed. Everybody can be "successful" if they follow the status quo. Sticking to your guts is what will get you in trouble.
T: We also want the audience to be more aware of the hardships that an artist has go through, we want them to be more aware of the restraints a woman has to experience as an artist. We also want them to feel that they're not alone, following your dreams and taking risks demands ambition, persistence and courage. We also hope to motivate the audience to follow their dreams in life and we hope to take them on a journey full of love, laughter, honesty and vulnerability.