We had a chat with the lovely Ellie from NOVAE, sister company of Idle Motion, about their new show It's Not A Sprint, which will be at Edinburgh Fringe this August, just across the hall from A Clown Show About Rain in the Pleasance Dome!
Tell us a little bit about NOVAE theatre
Grace Chapman and I are NOVAE theatre, sister company to Idle Motion, a new theatre ensemble dedicated to female led new writing. We love tea, Queer Eye and pretending we're Beyonce on the dance floor (we're definitely not). We've been making theatre together for nearly 15 years now.
What drove you to make It’s Not A Sprint?
This show began life as a short play at the Space theatre’s One Festival in London in January and we’ve been developing it since. I think what drove us to make it is the relevance of the central protagonist, Maddy. She is an insecure, funny, determined woman on the brink of her 30s and faced with endless questions about the next stage of her life. Does she want to get married? Does she want children? If so how many? When? Ultimately, it’s a show about a person, trying to take control of their life and confront those inner insecurities that have been holding them back. I think everyone can relate to that in some way.
What themes are you exploring in It’s Not A Sprint?
‘It’s Not A Sprint’ tells the story of Maddy who is celebrating her 30th birthday by running a marathon - tied to a helium balloon. We meet her at the starting line with 26.2 miles to run and a big decision to make. The night before her boyfriend proposed. This sends Maddy into a spiral of self doubt as she does battle with the ‘voice in her head’, her inner ‘worst, best friend’ who forces her to confront her deeper anxieties on fidelity, children, career, body image… pensions. It’s a funny, moving exploration of age and the relationships we have with both ourselves and each other (oh - and there’s glitter)
There are so many ways to tell stories, tackle issues, explore ideas - why theatre?
Grace and I were first inspired to make theatre when we saw Complicite’s The Elephant Vanishes, I think in 2003! That’s when our collaborative relationship started really. We found theatre to be powerful, accessible and relatable. It can be mesmerizing, eye opening and so much fun to make. It can also be extremely hard to make, but sometimes that's part of the satisfaction, really solving how to tell the story. I think at the heart of our collaboration is a complete enjoyment of making work together and telling stories and for us, theatre feels like the right vehicle to do so.
What was the last show you saw that you think everyone should see?
Great question. We saw Girl From the North Country which rocked our world and broke our hearts all at the same time. We were also randomly sat next to Susan Sarandon, which was an added bonus!
What else in the Edinburgh Fringe programme are you excited to see?
Rhum and Clay’s Mistero Buffo and Breach Theatre It's True, It's True, It's True.
It's Not A Sprint is on at 13.30 in the Jackdome at the Pleasance!