Bold new solo show, Dominoes, written and performed by Phoebe McIntosh and directed by Stephen Wrentmore, asks if the difficulties of the past will always pose a threat to the future and if discovering your identity means picking a side.
Pheobe spoke with The Fountain about the premise of the show as well as her plans for Edinburgh.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
Yes, I can’t wait. I’ll be at Assembly’s Studio Five more or less every day of August performing my solo show, Dominoes. The space is a converted classroom which lends itself to the main character’s profession as a history teacher. There are a couple of classroom scenes so I’m excited about the site-specific aspect to it.
TF: Your show certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
It’s about Layla McKinnon who is preparing to get married to a man whose surname she already shares. In the lead-up to the big day she discovers that the reason for this initially funny coincidence is much darker; her enslaved ancestors were owned by her fiancé’s slave owner forefathers. With her white fiancé on one side and her black best friend on the other, mixed-race Layla is forced to pick a side. No spoilers – people will have to come and see the show to find out if she makes it down the aisle!
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
I just always knew I wanted to do a one woman show. They’re definitely on the rise and are a great vehicle for writer- performers to tell a story they feel passionate about and create exciting theatre that is usually more accessible than larger productions. The play is based on a mixture of personal and imagined experiences. The thing that sparked the main idea was a BBC documentary called Britain’s Forgotten Slave-owners which explained how former slave owners received compensation for the loss of their ‘goods’ – their slaves- after the abolition of slavery. There’s a database you can search which lists the names of all the people who received a pay-out. There was also the fact that my in-laws already had the same surname before they got married. That was bubbling away in the back of my mind and became the instigator in the story for Layla to question her forthcoming nuptials.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
The last time I did the Fringe was back in 2013 so I’m long overdue another stint! My last show was called The Tea Diaries and was a two hander which I performed with brilliant comedy actress and good friend, Natalie Loader. On that visit to the Fringe, I tended to stumble into shows without really knowing what they were about and went with the flow, seeing everything from mime to stand-up. This time, I think I’ll take less of a scattergun approach. I’ve got the Fringe app which is great and I’m planning to see solo shows Laura by Elina Alminas and Picklejar by Maddie Rice, Luisa Omeilan’s Politics for Bitches, Century Song at Zoo South side and a South Asian dance piece called The Troth at Summerhall. I don’t know how I’m going to fit everything in!
TF: And what are your future plans beyond your show?
I’m working on a feature length screenplay based on the show and have also just started writing my first novel. In terms of this production of Dominoes, I’d love the opportunity to put it on at the Soho Theatre in London and would love to see if there are any international touring opportunities for it, perhaps in the States touring Colleges. I would love to see audience’s reactions in the US to this type of story.
Dominoes, Assembly Rooms – Studio Five, 1st – 27th August (not 8th, 13th, 20th), 12 noon