Token Toni loves a bitta bashment and only dates Black and Brown womxn, my barber holds the cure to lesbian urges and straight women are like junk food. ‘Your anxiety must of got lost in the smoke, cos there’s that chair behind me, I slump nervously, your hands are over me, quietly you tell me, I’ve never given anyone a lap dance before, whaaaaaat?’ Underscored by poetry, movement and original beats, Pink Lemonade is a solo piece of experimental theatre which explores femxle masculinity, racial fetishism, sexuality and gender identity. Performed by Mika Johnson, The Fountain caught up with Mika about the show.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how excited are you?
I’m very excited! I’m looking forward to the show having a bigger platform and me being able to share this story with so many people, this is the first show I’ve written and it’s come a long way and I have this amazing opportunity with The Queer House and HighTide, it feels really surreal, it was only like a year ago I started working on Pink Lemonade and now I’m at the fringe, its mad!
TF: Pink Lemonade certainly sounds intriguing, what is the premise?
Pink Lemonade is ultimately about accepting yourself and growing from past relationships, it also looks at masculinity and how my character is trying to navigate that; the story follows my character revisiting a relationship they had that left a significant mark on them, it’s about them moving past that time and embracing who they are today. I identify as non-binary, trans-masculine and I’m still trying to reimagine what masculinity looks like for me. I think masculinity needs to be reframed throughout society and in the show I’m addressing how society can impact the way we see ourselves. It’s important that we think about some of the assumptions and judgements we make about people; I’m exploring some problematic issues in the piece but the show is a vibe.
TF: And what drove the project, where did your influences lie?
Honestly I wanted to speak my truth, it can be difficult making work that’s autobiographical but I guess I was fed up of not seeing myself represented in theatre and so I wanted to make a show that spoke to other queer people. Often times, the assumption is that queer/trans people have the same experiences and it’s just not the case; we’re so multifaceted, there can be so many intersections that make up a person’s identity and that dictates how they’re treated and viewed in society – it’s important that we remember that, so many queer/trans stories have been erased from history, we’ve always existed and I’m really passionate about our stories being told. I want the next generation of queer kids to know that we’ve always been here and will continue to be.
TF: Have you been to the Fringe before, is there anything you are keen to see whilst in Edinburgh?
This is my first time at the Fringe and I’m really looking forward to seeing other work by queer/trans artists and other poc, shows like NIGHTCLUBBING and OUT by Rachael Young, Burgerz by Travis Alabanza and, of course, Since U Been Gone by Teddy Lamb. I’ve heard so much about the madness that is the Fringe so I’m sure consuming a lot of theatre and meeting a lot of amazing artists.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond Pink Lemonade?
Pink Lemonade will be in Aldeburgh at HighTide Festival in September, straight after the Fringe. But my hope for the show is to tour it next year, nationally and internationally that would be sick! I’d like to keep sharing this story with as many people as possible. I think there’s a lot of amazing queer artists really pushing the boundaries and reimagining the way theatre looks. It’s an exciting time.
You can see Pink Lemonade at Assembly Roxy from 9th – 25th August on various dates at 15:45. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/