bambule.babys are bringing their immersive performance installation Baby Paradise from Germany to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In this current #MeToo moment the show aptly explores power, sex and control from a feminist perspective.
The Fountain spoke with Anna Valeska Pohl (AVP), artistic director of bambule.babys and writer/director and performer of Baby Paradise, and by Michael Pöpperl (MP), co-founder of bambule.babys.
TF: You are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, how exciting?
MP: For us the Fringe feels like an initiation, like being on a mysterious journey, since we drive thousands of kilometres by car to transport parts of the set, including a very special armchair and fifty Barbie dolls.
AVP: We are stepping into the light, since we come from a dark place, the conservative German hinterland, Bavaria.
TF: Baby Paradise certainly sound intriguing, what is the premise?
AVP: Many times in my life I’ve felt like a lost girl or a broken doll. Then I had a rather abusive relationship with a person who became a sex worker. Based on these experiences I’ve created the character Baby Paradise. Baby is a prostitute who specializes in interacting with Barbie dolls and identifies as ‘white trash’. She is a controversial figure, completely alienated from her true identity, while constantly manipulating herself and others, trapped in a dynamic of power and control.
For me as a feminist my aim is to deconstruct all those discourses of our patriarchal, capitalistic culture, that keep telling little girls how they are supposed to play with Barbie dolls and that they better do this with a white one, rather than with a black one.
MP: Despite the rather serious content Baby Paradise is not a drama, it’s a grotesque. It’s a surreal peep show presented in two serial parts. You can come to either of the two parts. The first part emphasizes more the entertaining side of our ‘feminist Barbie doll porno trash theatre’, in the second part you will find yourself in a ‘dollhouse nightmare’.
TF: And sum up in one sentence why we should come see Baby Paradise over any other show?
AVP: Have you ever met a Barbie doll-playing prostitute? Now you have the chance not only to meet her, but also to play doll games with her, to find out if you prefer Chocolate or Vanilla and to explore how much fun you can have with a Barbie doll leg.
TF: What are your plans for the Fringe, have you been before?
MP: Baby Paradise is our Fringe debut. Our plans are to set up a unique peep show and I’m sure Anna will perform with her inherent intensity every night. We want to open up a space of thought-provoking communication for our audience.
AVP: Our work is challenging but we hope to find a community of people that share a belief for the cathartic power of theatre and performance in these times of multiple crisis.
TF: And what are your future plans beyond the Fringe?
AVP: We will start another Marathon. Prevailing in the art industry, especially as independent artists is a long-distance run.
MP: Baby Paradise is a long-term project. We’ve also created a short film and we’re planning to shoot some more material. And we’ll continue to work on our other bambule.babys projects, which all share the mission to give a voice to ‘the others’ in our society.
AVP: A dream of ours is to tour the US. Baby Paradise was partly created in the US, both the injustice and the freedom of this particular country has inspired me deeply. I have a bunch of American friends, so it would feel a little bit like coming home.
Baby Paradise – Part One, C Royale, Venue 6, 1-27 August 2018, 20:45 (1h) / recommended for ages: 16+
Baby Paradise – Part Two, C Royale, Venue 6, 1-27 August 2018, 21:55 (1h) / recommended for ages: 16+