Edinburgh Showcase 2017: ‘Fleabag’ by DryWrite and Soho Theatre

We are taking ‘Fleabag’ to the Edinburgh
Festival which is the play that I wrote in 2013 and we took up to the festival originally and it was the play
that then ended up, we ended up turning it into a TV show. Three nights ago I ordered myself a very slutty pizza. I mean, the bitch was dripping. That dirty little stuffed-crust wanted to be in me so bad I just ate
the little tart like she meant nothing to me and she loved it. The show is a story about a young woman
who has a relationship with the audience that she is telling her own story to and it’s
about the last few nights and days of her life and she talks to them as though
they are very close friends, that she wants them to come into her world
to hear about how hilarious it is and how funny these things are that have happened to her. But you start, through accidental kind
of revelations when she talks, to realise that the picture is not all
as she wants you to think it is. Suddenly I was on YouPorn having a horrible wank.
Found just the right sort of gangbang and that really knocked me out
so I put my computer away, leaned over, kissed my boyfriend
Harry goodnight and went to sleep. I woke in the morning to find a note from Harry saying, ‘that was the last straw’, which is
a bit out of the blue to be honest, didn’t realise he was counting straws but
nice to know he was paying attention. I thought it was going to be quite hard as
a performer to let go of this character and when we had to start auditioning people for
the role, and then Maddie walked in the room and Maddie Rice is performing it in Edinburgh and she was just so
wonderful and made the whole play completely her own. The character has been through a lot of grief
and loss and she’s completely covered it up and so the play, it’s a comedy with a
sort of horrible punch at the end. I sit on the loo and think about all
the people I can have sex with now. I’m not obsessed with sex.
I just can’t stop thinking about it. The performance of it, the awkwardness of it, the drama of it. There would in her life, as with our lives, have been
an influx of porn and imagery through the media that would have potentially connected
with her on a very emotional level and been potentially damaging
in the way that it was presented. I find my sister outside the lecture hall. She’s uptight and beautiful, probably
anorexic but clothes look awesome on her. Mum died two years ago. She had a double mastectomy but never really recovered. It was particularly hard because she had amazing boobs. She used to say I was lucky because
mine would never ‘get in the way’. And when I asked her what she meant she used to
demonstrate by pretend-struggling to open the fridge door. Or, pretending to not be able to see
what’s on the floor, ‘Oh, nightmare!’ It’s very universal and truthful and it’s something that just
manages to capture something that we haven’t heard before because it feels so honest and it feels
very visceral and real and secret. Dad’s way of coping with two motherless
daughters was to buy us tickets to feminist lectures, start fucking our godmother and
eventually stop calling. I feel like it’s resonated because,
and I’ve thought about this a lot, because on one level, it felt very
authentic to all of us making this show and when I was writing it I felt like there
was something truthful in this woman’s life, this woman’s pain, this woman’s humour. But I think the character has such a front, a front that was
so well designed to entertain and to deflect anyone’s attention and I think people can relate to that, that she’s
hiding so much with this real bravado, and I think especially in cities,
and especially women I think, although a lot of men have said the
same thing, have this kind of outer shell of, ‘I’m absolutely fine, I can deal with this and more than that I can
make jokes through it and I can be knowing and clever and smart’ and then feeling this kind of tremor underneath
of, ‘but I’m so lonely and life’s so sad’ and that, ‘I want more from the sex in my life’ or ‘I want more from the relationships with my family or friends’ and that is, I think it’s that people could see
how hard she was working to hide that that other people could relate to.


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