Surfing the (Edinburgh) Fringe with Actor/Writer, Erin Hunter
On this week's episode, Surfing the (Edinburgh) Fringe with Actor/Writer, Erin Hunter...
When was the last time you learned a new sport? Moved to a new country? Wrote your own solo show? Erin Hunter did all three- at the same time... moving to Tel Aviv, she learned to surf and then wrote her own ("creative, funny & brave" -Keshet TV) solo show, which she's taking to the Edinburgh Fringe.
Surfing the (Edinburgh) Fringe with Actor/Writer, Erin Hunter Episode Transcript
Kristin: Hello, and welcome to The Second Chapter podcast. Today I'm speaking with Erin Hunter. Although Erin has acted her entire life, she wrote her first solo show after 35. And I'm so excited to announce that I'll be producing it for the Edinburgh Fringe in August. In this episode, Erin and I talk about ageing as a female actor, her brilliantly funny show, which she wrote and performs in, Surfing the Holyland, and she even puts me in the hot seat to talk about my work producing female-led shows for Slackline Productions. I'm so excited because this is a first listen to an extended version of the interview that will appear in print soon. And it's just for listeners of The Second Chapter.
"...that's probably the biggest one, a woman who finds herself and finds her inner strength or 'chutzpah' as we say in the show and really it's also about rebirth. The story of transformation."
Kristin: Hi, Erin. Thanks for joining me on The Second Chapter. How are you?
Erin: I'm great. I'm very excited and refreshed after the Platty Joobs weekend. Thank much for the "Platty Joobs" moniker.
Kristin: I cannot take credit. It's I can't think of his surname, but it's Kiell, whatever his name is, from Ghosts is taking credit for that one. So I love him and I think he's so funny. And I was like, you know what? It's so stupid. I'm going to say Platty Joobs about everything. So here we are two American women in London here to chat about your upcoming show. And I should say our upcoming show at the Edinburgh Fringe, Surfing the Holyland. I'm so excited to be producing it, and I'm assuming you're excited to be finally getting to perform it at Edinburgh.
Erin: Yes, it was, it's sort of a long time overdue. I was planning to do it in 2020, but then a certain coronavirus got in the way of a lot of live arts and life in general. Yes, better, late than never, second chapter, new leaf, post-pandemic-y kind of world. So yes, more excited and feeling more energised and actually more ready and prepared than I would have been two years ago.
Kristin: Mixed blessings.
Kristin: So I'm cheating a little bit because normally I'd have somebody who's changed their lives and careers after 35. But I think the fact that we're working on this show together, we're both powerhouse women in the entertainment industry after 35. I like to think. So we're going to chat with each other a little bit about the show and I'm scared to say you're going to be interviewing me a little bit as well.
Erin: She is on the other foot today.
Kristin: Exactly listeners, watch out- once again, the tables are turned, but saying that you've been an actor always, yes?
Erin: I have, yes, since I was a little kid going to auditions in Los Angeles for commercials and stuff like that. It goes way back and in the blood, too! My great-grandmother moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter in the 1930s. So I have lots of photos of her with, glamorous 1920s and thirties stars in my parents' house.
Yeah. It's goes way back.
Kristin: And speaking of in the blood, I've met your daughter and she is definitely taking after the family genes.
Erin: Yes she's also, she'll be up in Edinburgh for the festival, and she's already seen the show a few times and seen me rehearse enough that she could probably get up and do it herself. And I'll be hard pressed to prevent her from jumping on stage to sing some of the songs or act out some of the p arts and jokes and things.
Kristin: Yeah. the title I have is producer, but I think it's actually going to be Lola entertainer slash don't let her on stage.
Erin: child Wrangler.
Kristin: Exactly. What was the inspiration behind Surfing the Holyland?
Erin: You say that we're cheating a little bit with the topic today, but I did write the show after 35. So it was always on the bucket list for me to write a one woman show and the opportunity never seemed to present itself until a few years ago when my husband and my daughter, who was two at the time, moved to Tel Aviv for my husband's work.
Kristin: I should say you moved with them.
Erin: Yeah, key thing not to miss out. I went too, I didn't just ship them off to Tel Aviv while I stayed in London, living a single lady's life. Yeah, so we went to Tel Aviv, I despaired on the way, what I was going to do with very little Hebrew, how I'd be able to act, how my career would stay intact.
And I took a step back and realised that the total change of scenery would be a good opportunity to finally write that one person show, which I was absolutely terrified of the thought of it. And didn't know what I was gonna write about until I got there and saw that there was a surf community there.
I didn't know if there was surfing and I'd always wanted to learn- I'm from Los Angeles and never learned how to surf. And I thought, you know what, I'm going to give it a go. And just the wild times that we had in Tel Aviv, plus the, just the sort of odd and interesting, almost a conflicting experience of surfing, which is the most sort of laid-back community there is, but in a conflict zone just felt ripe for
turning into a one woman show plus inspired a little bit. Cause I very much felt like a fish out of water, no pun intended.
Kristin: Or pun intended. Come on…
Erin: um, ' cause I converted to Judaism for love, for my husband. And so I properly felt like a fish out of water. So the combination of being a Jewish convert and learning to surf felt the perfect material for a one woman show cause it was such a unique experience. Yeah, and I kept a record sort of daily records of all the sort of odd and unusual and wild things that happened to us there from like going to the Golan Heights and going wine tasting and you can see the Syrian border. And driving through areas that had songs that said “warning, landmines".
Or like going to, you know, a wild bar mitzvah in the desert in near Masada, which is right on the Dead Sea. And there were a lot of wild experiences, so yeah, lots of material.
Kristin: One of my favourite things that you've said about the show, I'll quote it. Uh, "the show is 100% fiction and not at all based on Erin's experiences, living in the Israeli balagan. 95% fiction uh, at least 90%. Okay. 70. 70% fiction". Do you think that's statistically accurate?
Erin: I'd probably have to do a page by page breakdown to find out the exact statistic, but I would say. It's at least 50% fiction, but it's really hard to tell because I've lived this show so much that it's like reality and fiction blend together are starting to blend together more and more.
Cause I've been living the show so much that I almost start to forget what the original inspiration for some of it was.
Kristin: So you kind of touched on it already, just basically saying what your experiences were, but the show has 12 characters, four ukulele anthems, as I like to call them. Just give me little more description about the show.
Erin: It's about a wide-eyed American who winds up living in Tel-Aviv and in order to survive the balagan, which is the Hebrew word for chaos in order to survive the balagan of Israel she learns to surf and It's a story of transformation. Uh, This woman's journey of discovery as she, she finds herself and her inner strength through surfing.
And it also is about how while she gets sucked into surfing her husband, who on arriving in Tel Aviv is a pretty secular Jew, ends up being drawn further and further into religion. I like to say that he finds the wailing wall and she finds a wall of water.
And as the play continues, it becomes more and more about they find themselves, but will they lose each other? Oh, and it's... each lesson, it's all in the water. So each scene is structured as a surf lesson. So there are lessons in, and then out of the water and it jumps around a lot in time and place and memory.
And as you said, there are four ukulele anthems. I won't say too much about them because they do give away plot, but one t hat doesn't that will give you a good sense of it is, "An Orthodox Party at Ikea". This is one of the songs which is based very much in an experience.
I actually had going to Ikea at nine o'clock on a Thursday and 9:00 PM. That is on a Thursday. And...
Kristin: I think it's safe to say that one of the things that I a couple of the things I loved about the show is that it is really funny. I was really surprised, actually, that you hadn't surfed your whole life because it's really physical and you're just doing these pop-ups and things like a pro. So I'm looking forward to you teaching me a pop-up.
I think that's going to be one of our things through this.
Erin: Yes, it is one of the most challenging things that I've ever learned to do
Kristin: But you're very small and I have these big gangly legs, but I'm just convinced, cannot fold underneath me. I'm convinced.
Erin: There are enough tall surfers in the world and come on, you're a triathlete. So I think you probably you'll probably be able to manage it.
Kristin: Fine. I'm definitely going to give it a go cause I've tried this many times before and I’ve not succeeded and I'm convinced you're the ticket. So I think one of the things we've talked about and you talked about the fact that there's a religious aspect to the show, but it's certainly not a show based around religion. It's something that could have happened, a fish-out-of-water story anywhere. But what would you say the underlying themes are?
Erin: FEMALE EMPOWERMENT!
Kristin: Which, I think that's probably something that's drawn me to this show.
Erin: Yeah. So I, that's probably the biggest one, a woman who finds herself and finds her inner strength or 'chutzpah' as we say in the show and really, I think as well, it's also about rebirth. The story of transformation. And , drawing on the themes of this podcast, you know, that everyone can have a second chance and you can change your life.
And of course, it's also about the immigrant experience. I think that is why I think it's resonated a lot, not just with audiences who are Jewish or have been to Israel. But I think even if you've moved away from your home town, you'll have some sort of experience that that any immigrant might have of feeling new, feeling marginalised and the loneliness that comes along with that.
And even though it is set in Israel, I, it really could be set in any city in any country. Because it is truly a classic fish out of water story. Not as prominent as female empowerment in the immigrant experience, but it also draws on questions of devotion, because there are parallel devotional aspects to religion and to surfing. The surfers I know, it is their religion and they worship at the altar of the sea. And they are married to the sea, almost like a convent nun. They everything is Revolves around that for those sort of hardcore surfers.
I really like that parallel aspect.
Kristin: So life in Tel-Aviv. What was the standout? What struck you the most about living specifically in Tel Aviv?
Erin: What was interesting is that, I went in with all these sort of preconceived notions of I'm going to be living in a conflict zone and I'm going to be constantly in danger and I'm going to have to be running to the, the shelter yeah on a regular basis. You know, I thought that I would be much more aware on a daily basis of basically being at risk of the conflict escalating at any given moment. And as it turned out you get desensitised to that. In Tel Aviv, people live life to the fullest. And maybe that is because they live in a conflict zone. But
Tel Aviv is an electric city. The energy you get just walking down the streets, it almost hits you like a punch. It is just such a vibrant city. And I do think that is because of the fact that they are living in a conflict zone. But having said that. A lot of the time, I totally forgot about it.
Because it is a beautiful place, the weather is incredible. It's sunny all the time. You have the gorgeous Mediterranean on your doorstep. The food, oh my God. The food Israeli food is there's been a real Renaissance, I think in the last. I dunno, 20 plus years and Israeli food is amazing.
There's actually quite a few Israeli restaurants in London. Ottolenghi...
Kristin: I was going to say Ottolenghi. Yum.
Erin: Yeah, quite a few of those- one called Bala Baya, which is actually delicious in London Bridge. Yeah, the food's amazing. And the markets. Just fresh food and people shouting, offering you deals in Hebrew of this fruit and that vegetable and dates and spices.
It is, yeah, I think really just, it's just such a vibrant city. Like you never get bored in Tel Aviv.
Kristin: I mentioned your daughter... and I know that you have your comedy duo, first of all, tell me about this name.
Erin: Well, uh, the name is Hunt the Vigan,
Kristin: I should say I've researched Vigan…
Erin: …it’s not a thing.
Kristin: I… it's not a thing. I'm so confused. It's a place. It's a, whatever I put I was like, what IS it?
Erin: So my last name is Hunter and my comedy partner, James, his last name is Gavigan. So it just ended up being this weird, fun amalgamation of our names. And then we did create a um, a Vigan is NOW a thing. It's a furry little animated creature. And not to be confused with vegans, which sometimes people think it's Hunt the Vegan, but no, I am vegetarian, so hunting vegans, would probably not be top on my list.
Kristin: The reason I mentioned in connection with your daughter is because you had the Boobies in a Box video that has gone super viral. I guess my question is multifold, but how much did having your daughter how much of a change was that?
and then this whole Boobies in a Box... How, you know, tell me about that.
Erin: [00:15:00] James, my comedy partner, and I started working together pre-baby, pre Lola but not long before her, because even our, so the first thing we made together was a sort of vintage style screwball comedy style web series called "A Quick Fortune", five sort of short episodes, which did the festival circuit and won some awards. But when we were filming it, I was pregnant. I feel like Lola is an integral part of of our comedy duo in a way I remember throwing up on set and stuff like that.
That was fun. So fast forward a year and Lola enters the world and we had said wouldn't it be great if we could make a sketch with Lola while she's still a baby.
And that was just how it started. Because I've always been one of those moms who just wanted to include Lola and everything. I didn't want to stop my life in order to accommodate a child, I thought she can just be part of it. And so I always had her strapped on my front.
So she also, that meant that she was part of Hunt the Vigan and I breastfed. I ended up breastfeeding Lola for three years, which I know not many mothers do. And Lola was one when we made that. And I had a lot of experiences where I'd take her out and I'd be breastfeeding in a public place.
And, you get a lot of... you get looks and you get different differing opinions on what's appropriate. And if it were up to me, I would just whip my boob out and feed her because it's her food and it's her mealtime, too. Anyway, it just kept drifting up into my consciousness, this idea of public breastfeeding and that there actually was a debate about what's appropriate and whether it's appropriate. And so, we wrote that sketch in the space of a few hours and little did we know that it would touch such a nerve and sparked this sort of global . A lot of support, but a lot of people, it did really provoke debate about what's appropriate these days. But I think that's something that I really enjoy about making my own work is being provocative and you're sparking debate and conversation about stuff that, and using humour, I think is the best way.
Like there's been so many, essays and novels and, panel discussions about these kinds of topics. But I think a sketch through humour and entertainment, you're going to, I think, reach a lot more people without hammering them over the head with it and actually ended up having a bigger impact in the end.
Kristin: It's funny you say that because the last time I interviewed someone who also had several changes in her life, but was involved with the Slackline situation. So we were talking about the play we were producing. Her. Her play was just this ridiculous, crazy, very dark, but very funny play. And she said exactly the same thing.
She wanted to get across an environmental message. There was a lot of female empowerment in it, but to sit and just tell people like, oh, it's bad to not recycle. On the smallest possible terms, you shouldn't drive your car. That's not the way to do it. Watching your video, I was cracking up laughing, but it did make me think, somebody is going to watch this. There's a lot of debate around it, it could change opinions. It could. All the things that you said and because they're laughing, it's not a blow to the head.
You must do this. It's just a funny way of thinking about things a little differently and the same with Surfing the Holyland, actually.
Erin: Yes. Yes. Cause it's not a play about the conflict is not about Israel, Palestine. But I do definitely throw in moments that are... I like to say I lob a little grenade (pun intended) for people to think about .And, you know, I don't linger on it, but hopefully, you know, wrapped in humour and wrapped in comedy so that people can laugh about it,
but then also think about it afterwards. And that's why I love comedy because it's such a powerful tool to get people thinking and talking and, potentially changing their outlook or their behaviour. That's what I love about comedy and theatrr and entertainment that it has that - it is such a powerful tool.
Kristin: You've definitely been doing a lot of writing for yourself and, creating your own work for awhile. But do you think that you've seen changes? You look very young, so I mean to say changes, past 35, blah, blah, blah. But Do you think what I'm always beating people over the head with about women becoming invisible, especially in the entertainment industry.
Do you find that happening to you? Do you think that's a thing?
Erin: A hundred percent as much as I'd like to say that it's no longer the case and that, everyone's - what is it?- third wave feminist. And that there is, gender parody, onstage and onscreen and behind the cameras and behind set, we're still far from [00:20:00] that. And I can see that the industry is waking up a little bit. What was it? With the last Academy Awards, I think was it, the second woman in history to win an Oscar for directing ever? The statistics, I think are still pretty harrowing. And I think perhaps I don't notice it quite as much because I've made an active choice to make my own work and make that my focus so that when auditions come in I'm grateful for them, but I definitely have noticed that, that things are quieter once you, I think once you even hit 30.
Kristin: UGH, Which is so disappointing because I mean, as someone who didn't even start until my mid-thirties, I asked you the question partially, because I'm like, is it me? I didn't start young and I didn't have this big buildup and is it more difficult?
And I would say, Yeah, it's more difficult entering at the most difficult or one of the more difficult times. And your window is so short. I mean, If you go to drama school, you graduate like mid twenties and you've got what, five years, and then you're competing against everybody else who's just come out of drama school.
Erin: Yeah, it's it's a sticky situation. Isn't it to sound a little bit more British than I am. It's not easy. And I hope that for Lola's generation, that things will have progressed. One of my many day jobs is I'm running a drama club at Lola's school.
And it's a girls school. I don't have to hide my feminist agenda and each drama lesson is about an amazing woman who changed the world from Cleopatra to Amelia Earhart, to Ada Lovelace and Wangari Maathai. And I hope that the work that is being done now, What I'm trying to do, sort of planting the seeds that you can reach higher, you have, there are role models out there, women doing amazing things that hopefully in a generation's time, we might be a bit closer to gender parity.
But in the meantime, that's I think why my advice to, I call myself an actor. I don't use the term actress, but for the female actors out there who are feeling the pinch and not getting the work that they hope they would, because of the lack of opportunity. My advice is always don't sit by, don't stand by. Make your own work, make your own opportunities. Cause they're not gonna come to you. You have to do it yourself.
Kristin: Nobody knows you're sitting at home waiting, like you're going to have to be knocking on that door because the people behind the door are not coming to try to find you. They have people. Like, it's fine.
You have to be there and making yourself present, which I think, it takes a lot of confidence. And I do think that's one thing that I'd like to think as a benefit of getting older is that the confidence level is, sometimes it is more difficult, but there is something inside of you.
That's I'm not going to stand for this bullshit anymore.
Erin: Yes. I think that being that much older. Also being a mother I'm taking, I take less crap. And I realised that the clock is ticking just generally in life. If I'd only seen myself, if I could have told my younger self that you will have this confidence in a few years time.
Yeah. I definitely feel a lot more confident and willing to knock on those doors than I would have done when I was fresh out of drama school
Kristin: definitely. one thing we talked about very briefly, but the musical element of the show. I'm looping back around. We've gone through our, strong women bet. But do you think we talked about the ukuleles enough?
Kristin: I say ukuleles, like you've got 10 ukulele you're spinning around
Erin: A ukulele band that pops up.
Kristin: Yeah, So why ukulele songs in this, I feel like it's like a... I actually have a comedy song that I very brief comedy song about not being able to play the ukulele So I'm convinced I'll never make it in comedy, but
Erin: That I have not seen yet, Kristin, you're going to have to play that for me.
Kristin: Maybe after
Erin: after a few pints.
Kristin: Okay. So why the ukulele in this show or in your life in general?
Erin: Oh, because it's the best instrument and I love it and I feel like it is one of the happiest instruments out there. For me, I play the ukulele and I just feel so much better. It's like a great mood booster in general. And it's so portable. Also the ukulele comes from Hawaii, which is the origin of surfing.
So I think there's a nice sort of integration or connector there between surfing and the ukulele. I think of Hawaii, when I think of both. On a more basic, nuts and bolts level, it's the only instrument I know how to play. And when I decided to write a one woman show I thought, well, I want to play a bunch of characters.
[00:25:00] I want some songs in there because it's just, I don't know. It makes things more hopeful, more fun . And that was one thing that I really leaned into when I was pregnant. Heavily pregnant and realised that it was going to be difficult for me to get much acting work. Especially in my third trimester, when I had a belly, the size of a watermelon I started writing more ukulele songs about the experience of being pregnant.
And I had really enjoyed that. I kind of found my comedy voice through song much quicker than I thought I would. So it just seems natural for me to tie it into, to my one woman show... cause I love it.
Kristin: I just keep picturing you just hugely pregnant with this little ukulele balanced on this really big belly. Yes. The songs are really funny too and I think they're so integral to what happens in the show because it does, it just tells the story. But again, like you said, it brings like comedy and hope and happiness and hilarity, and I love it.
I'm trying to get better at it. But as I said pop-ups, it's one of these things, maybe I should write a comedy song about not being able to pop up on a surfboard.
Erin: I can help you with that!
Kristin: Yeah, exactly. So I'm trying to think of a an interesting way to segue into you asking me questions, but I can't really come up with
one. So you got anything for me?
Erin: yes yes. Yeah we could unofficially swap positions, swap seats although you can't see us cause it's a podcast.
Kristin: I don't know if anybody remembers
dude, World. Now we're in a dream sequence. And it's your turn to interview me.
Erin: So Kristin, thanks for coming on the podcast.
Kristin: Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.
Erin: I would love to know the origins of Slackline because I had the pleasure of performing in, not one, but two of your 24 hour play festivals, one live and in person a few days before a lockdown hit and then the second one online. But it was such a whirlwind experience,
both of them, that I didn't actually get much time to chat to you about how Slackline came into being. So tell me.
Kristin: First of all, caveat, I can not call it a 24 hour play festival because that is officially a taken title. I like to call it some sort of I had various things, Slackline Sleepover was my ultimate thing. So my apologies to the hashtag 24 hour plays people, but yes, we did get to work together twice with that
and it was amazing, which is how we ended up now Surfing the Holyland together. But Slack line is sort of a happy-sad story, really, because it really was like my divorce baby. I was, as I mentioned earlier, someone who had gone to drama school as a second cha- my own second or third or whatever chapter, and just felt like I wasn't getting the work that I wanted.
And when things were ticking along happily with my marriage and life was good, it bothered me.
and I was trying- you know- fairly aggressively to get more acting work. But when there was like a surprise divorce and life, wasn't so happy. And on top of it, I was like, what am I going to do now? Not just from a, what am I going to do with myself?
I need more fulfilment, but also what am I going to do with myself financially? And what am I going to do with myself? So how am I going to stay in this country? All of these different things came about and. I actually have to give credit to a friend because I was like, I'm thinking about, going into business instead, or I'm thinking about trying to start something else, or I don't know what to do.
And she said, why don't you do a theatre company? It was the stupidest thing for somebody to have to say to me. Now, financially, probably not the wisest choice. I will say that right away. And I will say also that I've really tried to make it more about not just theatre. I love events and I love production in general.
So I see myself growing and growing way beyond just saying I'm a theatre company, but yeah, it was a bit of frustration about what I really saw happening with women in the industry. And what I saw happening in my own life. And yeah, like I was getting divorced. I was looking for something and Slackline was born and as it turns out, I love it.
I love being able to empower women s voices a bit. And then the podcast was something I'd been considering a long time as well. It's just more ways to, again, amplify women's voices, especially after a certain age.
So here I am.
Erin: Here you are! And we have to thank your friend who planted the seed in your head cause it is nothing less than a success story. So since Slackline started , how many Slackline Sleepovers, have you done?
Kristin: We've had… It's been three or four different live events, which have been at Southwark Playhouse and we've had, you know, things like that that have been pretty interesting. Not all overnight, some of them just call-outs for scripts and things like that (Slackline Stories), but it's introduced me to a world of amazing female playwrights and directors and actors.
And we have male, female, non-binary people in the shows. So a huge range, a huge pool of people. But quite a few events over lockdown because I didn't start that much before lockdown. I think officially I registered in 2018. but So then all of a sudden we're going into lockdown. And so yeah, I would say one of the biggest things is actually Slackline Cyberstories…. quite a few “film plays”. We were calling them. I think one of the directors I'd been casually calling it that, but one of the directors coined the title, but over lockdown, we did 18 different, short plays, written to be performed, virally, because we knew that it wasn't going to be getting together in person. Virtually. Virally? virtually, but we didn't go viral necessarily.
Erin: Never too late. Never too late.
I think that's been one of the biggest things as well. And of course I treated myself to getting to act in a couple of those .
Those are still up on YouTube. If anyone's interested, youtube.com/slacklineproductions
Kristin: get it viral.
Erin: Yeah, dark art
We've already touched on it, but in terms of your focus on women over 35 and giving female playwrights a voice, although it may be difficult to discern, what impact have you felt or what have you seen since you've started Slackline?
Have you seen any victories that you can talk about?
Kristin: I would say one of the things that I am happy to say that I think I'm very good at is connecting people. So I've seen quite a few people who have ended up working together or, just this community that I've built, that I'm really proud of. And I'm really proud of the fact that I ended up working with people again and again, like you, I've made these kinds of connections that not just for myself, but that I see rippling on, which I think
whether or not, that leads to something that everybody's heard of and become some big, famous thing. I do think that is what my kind of knock-on biggest effect has been. One of the playwrights that actually the show you were in
Kristin: Linda (Linda Jane Butler), I'm so proud of her because she ended up one of the
the shows that she just wrote in less than 11- yeah, she had 11 hours to write it and it also had ukulele songs and it was a really hilarious sketch. And
she went on to adapt it as a TV script and it's been getting a lot of attention, was a finalist in a big international screenwriting competition. I've kept a big connection with her and I think, she's definitely going places and this is not her first career.
And I think so many of the people that I've spoken to and worked with through Slackline are so relevant to The Second Chapter because it's not their first careers. And I think even just the practice that they've gotten writing and directing and working with Slackline is something that's built their confidence to be able to go on to the next level.
So I'm really proud of that. And I think that's one of the things that probably would be what I hope to continue most.
Erin: Yes. And then just to add onto what you were saying about what a good connector of people you are. I know that with both times I did Slackline I kept in touch with the director of it and other actors and writer that I was in my little show with, and we're still in touch and I can totally see that in with a few more sort of iterations of these wonderful events you create that it'll only be a matter of time before you have, West End shows of writers that have worked with you and stuff like that.
I can totally see that being the trajectory.
Kristin: Thanks. Fingers crossed.
Erin: Yeah. Yeah. So I think we've already touched on it a little bit. But how does Surfing the Holyland fit in with your portfolio and mission?
From your perspective
Kristin: Because I had seen the show and this was, long before the idea of me helping to produce it for Edinburgh was like a twinkle in my eye. But I just really liked the show. And I did think, it's such a cliche to say I laughed, I cried, but I really did laugh a lot, it's really poignant and really touching.
And it really does have this female empowerment message. I was like, oh, you need a producer. Yes. Really it's saying what I want to say. It's saying it with a sense of humour and I really love the show.
So it's my company and I'll do what I want with it.
Erin: Who do you think the show will appeal to? Now, obviously at Edinburgh is its next destination, but the festival attracts a global crowd, I think Edinburgh triples or quadruples in size during the festival month. So who do you think the show speaks to?
Kristin: I'm like a marketing worst nightmare because when I like something I'm like it'll appeal to everyone, but I do think, it really does have a broad appeal because as we talked about earlier, it's such a relatable story.
So my mission is really that we stop saying, that it's a woman's story or that it's female-led or female written, but at the moment that's what I'm focusing on, because I do feel like it's an issue that we don't have, like you said, statistically, there is an issue with this being a thing. I also just recently read something about novels and I posted this actually on The Second Chapter Instagram page, but the percentage of men that will read novels written by women is staggeringly low compared to women who read novels by men.
Erin: apparently that's why JK Rowling went with J K and didn't put her first name. Cause she didn't think that young boys would read a book, even though it's about a wizard, a young boy. That's why she used JK.
Kristin: And famously somebody like George Elliot, but you wouldn't think this many years later that would still be a thing. Now I'm even trying to remember the question because I went on my soapbox
Kristin: Yes. I really do think based on that, I don't think that this is just a story of one woman. I think it's a story that will appeal to a lot of people. Obviously you've got the surfing thing, like you said, that is like a religion. So anybody who wants to know more about surfing, anybody who loves surfing will have a great time watching and hearing about your experience with surfing,
I think. Heather in the, in the play, I don't know, again, it might be only 50% fiction... I'm not sure. yeah, so I think there's an interesting, there's an interesting dynamic, like you said about living in Tel Aviv, what's that like? Knew nothing pretty much about Tel-Aviv before seeing the show.
And I thought it was really interesting the 12 characters and the different personalities that you came across. And so I do think it has a really broad appeal. Obviously it also has the appeal of, the same people that I expect are listening to this podcast to be honest with you. Women who really want to hear a strong woman's story who want to laugh, who, you know, appreciate and embrace change.
Erin: Fab! I'll take that. I want those people in the audience.
Kristin: So do I, and I think they'll all be like laughing like me. They'll laugh. They'll cry. The love, the ukulele, the ukulele anthems.
Erin: Yeah. Next thing, Surfing the Holyland- stadium tour!
Kristin: It worked for Flight of the Conchords, right?
Erin: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I know it's only been a blip. In time, but in the last few weeks of producing Surfing the Holyland, how has it been? I know it's probably not your average producing job since the show was already made .
Kristin: Skin in the game, which I was talking about before that I worked with Gill on, she had already done the R and D and it was a bit different because I did have to still come up with a cast and, work on things that I normally would say are my forte. First of all, I appreciate you taking a punt with me because I do think some of the stuff that I'm doing is new. Like I haven't produced a show for Edinburgh and then I think it's always a risky proposition to go up to a place- kudos to you for pushing it and getting it programmed and ready to go.
So yeah, I'm excited to learn more about producing for the fringe. I'm excited to expand on what I'm doing. Hopefully make some great connections for the show up there. And so far it's been great. You are way too on top of things, because I feel like I can't impress you with my organisational prowess, but it's good.
Because I really do feel like… I mean, I made the whole like we’re two women over 35 and powerhouses in the industry. But I feel like we've both got this really strong over-the-top work ethic and it's just been really interesting to, spend a few weeks really figuring out how we're going to make the show rock, very exciting.
Erin: Yeah I have a feeling we might get a reputation as being just that at the Fringe, these two loud Americans with that show about surfing? Oh yeah. Them.
Kristin: Yeah, one’s really tall and one’s kind of small and they just, they run around talking about surfing a lot.
Erin: we were destined to play, Hermia and Helena, and I know we missed an opportunity there.
That's the spin off.
Kristin: I always ask people to bring a quote, and I asked you to bring one today. What is your quote?
Erin: I thought I knew who had written this quote and then I looked it up and it has, it's been attributed to multiple people, but I will go with the fact that I know it from Audrey Hepburn. And the quote is, "dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before, sing as though no one can hear you, live as though heaven is on Earth." I just think it's such a [00:40:00] joyful and hopeful motto to live by. I think that's, I just love it. I've always been a person who likes to wear their heart on their sleeve and it's, yeah, it's a good motto to live by.
And the show is about hope and I think this is, it's a very hopeful point of view.
Kristin: I think it is just, like learning, not to give a crap as a nicer or less nice way to say it, but yeah, I want to live my life dancing as if nobody's watching and heaven on earth part I'd never even heard before.
Erin: Oh, right. Yeah.
Yeah, because you knows what happens at the end? But in the meantime, it also I just, I think of my daughter, Lola, who is seven and who does live that way. And I think it is almost about finding that Innocence and childlike Everything is new and fresh before you learn boundaries and to censor yourself and to edit and all sorts of the society norms.
I think it's like we were probably all were once that way. Dancing, like no one's watching, singing like no one hears you.
Kristin: That's exactly perfect. If we could all just live how we were before society or before someone told us we shouldn't
Kristin: break the rules.
Erin: Yeah. Yes. Yes.
Kristin: Thank you for joining me today, Erin. I, I always tell people stay in touch But I think we'll be speaking a bit, in the next,
Erin: Just a
Erin: if I'm not haranguing you with WhatsApps in the next half hour, you can assume that I've been hospitalised or something bad's happened. Kristin, what about now? What about this?
Kristin: Normally I would say, I'll make sure that everything's in the show notes where people can find you, but obviously Surfing the Holyland will be all over the place on Slackline and it will be in the show notes and anybody's going to be in Edinburgh should come see it because we will be there.
It's such a fun show. And yeah, we look forward to welcoming amazing audiences
Erin: Yes. Yes, exactly. Bristo Square, Edinburgh every day of the festival, 3rd to the 29th, except for the 15th when I will be sleeping for 24 hours.
Kristin: Exactly. Thanks, Erin. I will speak to you soon.
Erin: Thank you, Kristin. Speak to you soon!