Among the LGBTQ productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Director Sam Curtis Lindsay is at the helm of two of the most intriguing and notable shows, Burgerz and Scottee: Class. Paul T. Davies caught up with Sam to find out more about both shows, Sam himself, and how to survive the Fringe!
PTD: First of all, tell us what audiences can expect from Burgerz and Scottee: Class?
SAM: Burgerz is a show about Trans harassment and survival. It’s a very funny and moving call to action and asks the audience what it means to be an ally. Travis cooks a burger from scratch on stage so you might leave smelling faintly of beef.
Class is about growing up on a council estate and navigating shame and pride. It’s about how we present poverty on stage and why we do it. It feels like a stand-up show that leads us somewhere unexpected.
PTD: On the surface, Burgerz and Class appear to be two very different pieces, yet there are probably similarities in themes and characters. Can you tell us a little about what drew you to both plays, and what connections do you make between them?
SCL: Both of the pieces are asking audiences big questions but doing it in very different ways. The similarity is that both are exploring how we empathize and connect with one another and how that can lead us to take some sort of action.
Scottee and Travis are artists that have honed their craft in the queer clubs, taking on rooms of drunken people and winning them over. They’re both great storytellers and I found the narrative journeys of each piece particularly compelling. I love working with artists who instinctively know how to work a crowd and spin a yarn, it makes the performances very alive, risky and fun to make.
PTD: That seems to be the best way to develop a distinctive voice! Do you like directing monologues? That solo voice offers up some unique challenges.
SCL: I have never thought about them as monologues funnily enough. I suppose I always imagine that the audience is part of the world. In Burgerz, Travis is the named performer but really it’s a three-hander – it’s just that the other parts are “cast” on the night with people who volunteer. In Class, the audience is very much included so I’ve been seeing it as an ensemble piece. The challenge with both shows is to keep in conversation with the audience – the moment I feel lectured or talked at rather than talked to I switch off.
PTD: Is there anything in your past experiences that led you to these plays?
SCL: Both of them explore the complexities of feeling “other’d” and how we perform various identities in order to survive. Growing up queer I dodged anger and desire from the boys in my school, learning to deflect with comedy or by staring ahead. I didn’t realise I was working-class until I went to drama school and one of my housemates offered me Hummus. I had no idea what it was. Suddenly people started to look a bit alien to me. I became aware of how the world sometimes sees me and how I could mould myself to fit in. Both of the plays have helped me to dig deeper and feel prouder.
PTD: That reflects my experiences growing up too! Finally, what are your three top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe?
I’m purely speaking as a punter here…
Try and get up and get out – that 10.30am show is where you might find your mojo for the day.
Take at least one trip to dance at CC BLOOMS.
Just enjoy yourself loves!
PTD: I second all three! Thank you very much, Sam!
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