At the Project Arts Centre – Project Cube – Saturday 5th- Friday 11th September @ 2pm
We had the chance to interview Alice Malseed ahead of the premiere of Jellyfish at the Tiger Dublin Fringe. You can see the results below!
Where did the name Jellyfish come from?
‘Jellyfish’ instinctively felt like the right title for this show. I didn’t know that until it was about 3/4 written, and actually it had a few other temporary titles before I landed on ‘Jellyfish’ one hungover morning in Belfast. I think that jellyfish are beautiful and playful but also alien, confusing, threatening and slightly lost. Jellyfish have been an infrequent but welcome visitor in my life, but while I was writing the play I went to Bloc, a house and techno music festival in Butlins, and I ended up in an apartment on one of the manufactured Butlin’s streets called Jellyfish Green. Considering that a lot of the content of the piece is about or inspired by that exciting and chaotic and ecstatic world of clubbing, and the crash that comes after, it felt really serendipitous to be there in that apartment while I was obsessing about my show after not having been to sleep from staying up all night dancing, and in fact lots of moments from that evening and that festival ended up in the piece because of it.
Is this work completely auto-biographical, or are there elements of fiction?
There are always elements of fiction – the truth alters and shifts, depending on the context. I don’t know if it could ever be truly auto-biographical, and I am more interested in how the protagonist in Jellyfish acts as an observer to advocate the voice of the city and the chorus of the generation as opposed to just telling her auto-biography.
It has been described as ‘confessional’, can we expect warts and all?
Definitely. But these aren’t hammed up. The piece is truthful, so if the truth for the character means ketamine binges or boredom, then those are in there. I love the city and the stuff that hides in the corners. Sarah and I were rehearsing in Belfast at the end of June, it was really sunny and we left the rehearsal space to get a coffee and I noticed about 6 empty diazapem packets that had been discarded in a dark alley. Of all the things I could have noticed on that summer day, that’s where my eyes landed. That may clarify something about the way ‘Jellyfish’ approaches the layers of truth in the city…
Are there elements of dance involved in Jellyfish?
That’s a surprise… come and see for yourself!
There was more in the early developments. There are definitely physical residues of dance and anecdotes about dance classes, dance moves and dance floors. There are so many observations from night club dance floors. I go to clubs a lot, and make these iPhone notes in about what I see/hear/feel and these often end up in my work.
How did director Sarah Baxter get involved?
Sarah and I worked together in a theatre in London a couple of years ago. We knew we shared an interest in similar work. Sarah left London a couple of years before I did, and she saw another show of mine called ‘Seen in Soft Focus’ and was interested in my writing. Then in January she invited me down to this great studio space, where she had a residency, and I showed her the beginnings of ‘Jellyfish’ and she was able to totally imagine it being what it is now.
How has the work evolved since she came on board?
It has evolved massively. Sarah’s a real visionary and a very physical thinker – she has totally taken control of those elements of the piece which has allowed me to be really focused on the words and on my performance on stage. Before this piece, I’ve almost exclusively worked as a solo artist, which has sometimes meant that I don’t develop things as much as I could because I’ve had no one to tell me what’s working and what isn’t. Working with Sarah has completely elevated my practice as a writer and performer. She’s forced me to up my game.
Will you get time to see any other shows in the Fringe, If so, which ones?
I hope so. We are on at 2pm (in Project Cube) so I should have the evenings free to see some work. I’m really excited about the programme. Grounded and Sure Thing are top of my list but I hope to see as much as possible when I’m there!
Project Arts Centre – Project Cube – Saturday 5th- Friday 11th September @ 2pm