In August it all kicks off, the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Daniel Perks catches up with writer and actor Nilaja Sun, bringing Pike St. to this year’s festival:

For three weeks Scotland’s capital welcomes an explosion of creative energy from around the globe.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe began in 1947 when eight theatre companies turned up uninvited to perform at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival. The companies were refused entry to the programme but decided to perform on the fringe of the Festival anyway. The Fringe has remained true to the defiance expressed by the eight companies who performed here in 1947, upholding its open access principle that permits anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them to participate.

Here at Miro Magazine, we are incredibly excited by the biggest fringe ever. So, up until the 4 August, when the fringe really kicks off, we will be profiling some of the shows playing this year and getting to know the people, theatre companies and performers that are shaping one of the strongest fringe offerings ever seen.

 

Pike St.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Pike St., which plays Edinburgh Festival from 4 – 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and actor Nilaja Sun:

Describe your show in three words.

Humanity, funny, heartbreaking.

Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?

No Child… in 2010.

Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?

I keep my ear to the ground and listen for the word of mouth. Word of mouth is the best incentive.

How do you feel to be performing at Summerhall?

I will be performing Pike St. in the round (Paine’s Plough’s Roundabout at Summerhall). I have wanted to perform a solo piece in the round for several years now so this is an absolute dream come true.

Who or what are your inspirations?

When I am not performing, I am a teaching artist. My students and mentees give me the life and inspiration to continue to tell my stories around the world. The audience at The Fringe also inspires me. They are by far the best audience I have ever performed for. With every show, I am more and more intrigued by how deeply they listen and how purposefully they absorb the soul of my words. It’s an intensely spiritual experience to perform for Fringe audiences, one every actor should experience.

What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?

Before I do anything in the morning, I meditate. Then pray. Then ChiGong, then yoga, then fresh foods and only water. Then shower, stretch, and vocally warmup. Then perform for the best audiences in the world. Then shower eat sleep and repeat. It’s hard to get stressed when that’s all that’s on your to do list. And if I feel any weirdness creeping up, I take a few drops of Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower Essences and I’m good to go.

What are the future plans for your show?

I will be performing Pike St. in Geelong at GPAC and Melbourne at Arts Centre Melbourne in September; Detroit, Michigan and Berkeley, California in the months following.  My one dream for Pike St. is that I hope it shines a light on the beautiful disabled women and men in our families and neighbourhoods whose lives need to be witnessed more often in the theatre.

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

An Octoroon by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?

I am blessed to be working again with Scott Morfee and the Barrow St. Theatre as they produce Pike St. after a successful run of No Child… in 2010. They have always been such a great supporter of my work and I can’t wait to add Pike St to their list of exciting and fun Fringe shows.

 

Pike St. plays Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from 4 – 27 August 2017. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.