Amy chats to Joyful Raven as she prepares to perform in her show Breed or Bust.
Hey Joyful- here’s your chance to give an elevator pitch, can you give us a brief synopsis?
Breed or Bust is a brutally honest tragic comedy that blazes a fire through the taboo of abortion and our primal baby-making instincts. It’s about the choices we make when we get pregnant and the lasting effects of those choices. It’s about female pleasure and the fallacy of having it all. It’s a raw, hilarious, feminist yawp that goes right to the heart of the matter.
What inspired the show?
One day I was in the midst of a lively conversation with a group of female acquaintances who were all talking about their pregnancies. I found myself quiet despite the fact that I had things to say about being pregnant. But you see, my pregnancy had ended in an abortion. And even in the liberal, left-leaning part of America where I live, I STILL felt like I couldn’t talk about my abortions openly in mixed company. Like I was supposed to be at least a little bit ashamed. It was at that moment that the show was conceived…pun intended.
How important is the Fringe for new work? And how does it feel to be at the
Fringe this year?
The fringe is tremendously important for new work! It offers artists a much-needed place to express EXACTLY what is on their hearts. A Mecca where courage is encouraged and theatre artists can blend and bend genres with total freedom. In addition to being a writer/performer, I am also what I call a ‘story midwife,” meaning I help storytellers of all kinds birth their creative projects. And every day I see first-hand the importance of taking creative risks in the development of new work. Though I have been to many other Fringes, this is my first time at the Edinburgh Fringe and I am beyond thrilled to add my voice to the cacophony of courageous voices. I can’t wait to be inspired by all my fellow artists.
What are the main themes within the production, and what can audiences expect?
While the main theme of this show is about the difficult decisions those of us with uteruses have to make about our bodies and our lives, it’s also about much more. It’s about the fathers of our abortions. It’s about how female pleasure is often left out of the discussion about reproductive rights and how using birth control is anything but rational despite our attempts to make it so. It’s about the consequences of not having children and living outside the patriarchal expectations of womanhood. The audience can expect to be crying one moment and then laughing at an abortion joke the next. The show feels like an evening spent with a deliciously irreverent and bawdy friend who dishes all the dirt and makes you think.
Finally, with so many shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, why should people book a ticket to this show?
This show takes a scalding hot topic and addresses it with loads of comedy and layers of nuance. It takes a political topic and makes it utterly personal. No band standing, just a story. Comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin and Breed or Bust is an exhilarating ride right at the cross hares. It will subvert your expectations of a solo show, seamlessly blending stand-up, clown, storytelling and pathos… And for what it’s worth it has received multiple awards and accolades along the way!
BREED OR BUST – WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY JOYFUL RAVEN RUNS AT THE GILDED BALLOON PATTER HOOSE COORIE AT 14.20 FROM 2 TO 28 AUGUST –find out more here!