Jonty Chatted with Julia Croft about the inspiration for Power Ballad.
How did the concept for the show come about?
Through a strange and serendipitous series of events as is often the way with conceptualising shows. Mostly reading Revolt She Said, Revolt Again by Alice Birch, (which coincidentally ended up playing at Basement at the same time as Power Ballad) and the misogynic train wreck that was the 2016 US election and the implicit gendered narratives that were played out in the politics and media of that time, as well as a lifetime of feeling the ways in which language was used against me as a woman and the ways I felt (and still feel) that language can be an impossible bind for women. That and a long held love for impossibly uncool 80s music and Karaoke. I like to think it's my super power.
What are the central questions, themes, or conflicts that lie at the heart of the work for you?
At one level the work is about the hidden gendered ideologies in our language that we don't often interrogate. But on a deeper level this work is about how we as women and as feminist challenge these power structures that seem permanent and immovable. They are not immovable, we can find new ways of navigating these systems and power structures.
on a deeper level this work is about how we as women and as feminist challenge these power structures that seem permanent and immovable
There's some great songs featured, how did you choose them?
By following my keen sense for the cheesiest pop songs. We knew we wanted them to be 80s in theme and sung by women. Choosing them in rehearsal was too much fun.
How much of a constraint / imaginative opportunity is having limited space and budget?
Lack of budget is is a huge constraint. Mostly because you are constantly having to work odd and changeable hours around paid work and where you can find cheap rehearsal space. There are some opportunities, but I guess I am wary of romanticising lack of budget. I think some constraints are useful for creativity however. The space at the basement offers some challenges that are fun to work against. Me and Nisha went to see Cindi Lauper at the Vector Arena- how do we make a show at the Basement have that feeling, of a crowd of thousands singing True Colours?
Were you surprised at the reaction it received at the Fringe Festival? Best contemporary performance & live art, and best performer are pretty good awards...
Of course. Very surprised and so very delighted. I always freak out in the last week of making a show, convinced that it is a hot mess. In those dark days of making Power Ballad I did not anticipate the beautiful reaction it got. But also I feel like making a show is a bit like falling in love. I fall in love wth these works deeply, and am so happy when that other people like them too.
Power Ballad is on in The Basement Studio 6 - 17 Jun. This is a fundraising season to help get the show to Edinburgh!