We spoke to La JohnJoseph about A Generous Lover, a new play coming to the Fringe that explores a queer tale of psychosis and mental illness. It was great to hear about the reasons behind this new show about love and loss, and we will definitely be seeing all these recommended shows!
What drove you to make A Generous Lover?
I spent three months visiting my (now) ex-boyfriend in a psychiatric institute. I was there up to eight hours a day, everyday, it was such a volatile, distressing environment to be in. I wrote the notes that form the basis of this script whilst I was there, because I had to do something to hold myself together. I feel that my work has always been the manifestation of a compulsion, this time it was desperation to cope with the experience of watching someone you love dearly fall apart so violently, and feeling totally powerless to help.
What are the main themes of the play and why are they important to you and your audience?
I think the key themes are loss and love. I’d say they’re pretty universal experiences, unfortunately.
There are so many ways to tell stories, tackle issues, explore ideas - why theatre?
Theatre has an immediacy to it, a “nowness”, you’re sharing a moment with the audience that won’t ever come again. There’s no freeze frames, no retakes, it’s raised stakes and for a story like this, that high voltage intimacy is what I’m looking for.
What was the last show you saw that you think everyone should see?
I actually don’t see a lot of theatre, I seem to get more from live art and visual art shows. I loved Lynn Hershman Leeson’s show “First Person Plural” which I saw in Berlin. And I was thrilled to see Karen Finley’s “Unicorn.Gratitude.Mystery” as part of the Femmetopia festival in London.
What else in the Edinburgh Fringe programme are you excited to see?
All my pals really, Myra Du Bois, Sooz Kempner, Jonny Woo. And Peter Groom in “Dietrich: Natural Duty” which I can’t wait to see because I love to support the work of a fellow red head.
A Generous Lover is on at Summerhall at 4.10pm on varying dates from 1-26 Aug.