Welcome to The Chicken Appreciation Society and welcome to the mind of meat processor, Comrade Egg. When farm owner, Henny, doesn’t turn up to chair the meeting, Comrade Egg steps in to fill her shoes. Everything’s as it should be. So far, so habitual. Performed by physical theatre performer and clown, Bronya Deutsch and directed by James Baldwin (National Theatre), Mother Bunch use physical theatre, clowning and audience interaction to weave this dark, joyous and sometimes magical story of disconnection and a longing to belong. Bronya spoke with The Fountain in more depth about the show and her plans for the month.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
It’s definitely starting to tip on the scales towards exciting and away from blindingly terrifying. In general they are good scales to be on for making new work.
TF: Comrade Egg and the Chicken of Tomorrow certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Welcome to the Chicken Appreciation Society and welcome to the mind of meat processor Comrade Egg. She’s not supposed to be here tonight but it feels good to be back in the brood.
Using clowning, physical theatre and audience interaction, Lecoq-trained Mother Bunch weave a dark, joyous and sometimes magical story about longing to belong. For everyone who has ever wanted to make a difference and didn’t know where to start.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
Fairly early on in the development we discovered links between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and workers in the meat processing industry. Comrade Egg is an outsider and in her attempts to belong she gets further away from herself. This piece tells the story of her trying to get back. The frame of the show is the meat processing industry but it tells a wider story of longing to be part of something and what we will do to get there.
We have been influenced by testimony from workers in the meat industry, studies on mental health in meat processing workers and many books, documentaries and articles.
This is a solo show, but it has been created through collaborative devising with the core Mother Bunch team and other artists. The form of the piece has been influenced by the working practices of the artists involved.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, having been before are there any tips or musts you would offer to first-time performers?/Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
I plan to see lots, to share in other people’s creative passions – it’s a pretty unique place for the sheer volume of new work. It’s my first time up as a parent so I’ll be going to lots of children’s shows with my two year old. It can be easy to get lost in your own show and sometimes that just happens but it can help to remember that you’re part of a community. We’re part of Staging Change, a brilliant organisation striving to make the industry sustainable.
I will also be jumping in the sea on several occasions, running up Arthur’s Seat and heading to The Meadows for a bit of al fresco yoga – it’s good to remember that there is life outside the world of the fringe when it all gets a bit much.
In terms of tips, remember why you’re doing it. The process of doing it is where you’ll grow the most. We all want good audiences, good reviews – indeed any reviews sometimes – but in the doing of it you will gain experience and that is the invaluable bit. The down moments are part of that and you are already winning by doing what you do.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Comrade Egg and the Chicken of Tomorrow?
We’re planning a tour for Comrade Egg post Edinburgh. There are several ideas on the back burner for Mother Bunch that we’ll begin developing later in the year, which you can keep posted on by following us on social media.
However, the main thing I’m hoping to do post Edinburgh is to go camping for a couple of days in the wilds of Scotland with my family.
You can see Comrade Egg and the Chicken of Tomorrow at the Pleasance Courtyard until 26th August at 11:25. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/