purchase serif;”>The Sirensickness serif;”> sat down with up-and-coming playwright Stefanie Preissner to discuss her latest Absolut Fringe play order serif;”>Solpadeine is my Boyfriend.
Waiting for my interviewee to arrive at the Stage Door Café, I search the crowd of tourists for a tortured soul bent-over from bearing the weight of a generation on her shoulders. My search is in vain as a cheery young woman sits opposite me, iPhone and coffee in hand, “You must be Stephen.”
On first impressions it’s hard to believe that this is the same person who penned and starred in one of last year’s Fringe highlights, Our Father, a semi-autobiographical play that deals with loss, rejection, death and familial problems all through rap and rhyme. I have barely asked half a question and receive a reply: “It’s about escape and emigration, and how the young people who can’t emigrate are choosing to escape, which is sometimes done through over the counter medication.” She’s well rehearsed, as she should be. We are sitting opposite Project Cube where the first preview of her Fringe play Solpadeine is My Boyfriend will take place later this day.
Preissner has nothing but praise for Dublin Fringe, “The Absolut Fringe Festival were very good to me this year. My house went on fire so I was homeless for a couple of weeks. They gave me an office space to write in as my house was in ashes. I started working with acclaimed actress and writer Gina Moxley on different drafts of the play. It was really challenging… she really pushes me.” Moxley, the play’s director, is a theatre veteran, having worked in everything from Game of Thrones to The Butcher Boy.
On what separates Fringe from other festivals, Preissner remarks, “I wouldn’t put Absolut Fringe plays into the same bracket as plays in Dublin in general. Fringe is curated, so a lot of the work is of a very high standard, and other work which is quite experimental gets a platform to stand on which is great… Society needs theatre, and a lot of people don’t question the plays they showcase and equally the shows they choose to go see. People need to question more.”
Preissner, having raised the costs for the play through Fundit, recognizes the adversities that writers face in showcasing their work. “It’s difficult because young companies like Roughmagic won’t get the same opportunity to grow and develop because the Arts Council can’t take the risks that they used to be able to make. Then there’s crowd funding, which is how I’ve funded Solpadeine is my Boyfriend– it’s a great way to kickstart a project.”
I ask her if she has any advice for fellow aspiring playwrights. “Honestly? I could say, “keep at it”, “never give up on your dreams” or something cheesy like that but I’d rather tell the truth. Get an honest objective opinion from someone as to whether you are any goodbefore you spend your whole life trying to do it. It sounds awful and really harsh but theatre is a grueling and tough business. Apparently your twenties are your most creative and your thirties are your most productive. Write everything in your twenties and do something with it in your thirties.”
Like Preissner, there’s more than meets the eye with Solpadeine. The play, she says, is not only about over-the-counter drug addiction and the effect of emigration, but also a play about change. “It’s those changes we can’t control or come back from in our lives… like emigrating, growing up and that moment you realize that you’re not the person you thought you were going to be when you wrote about it in third class.”
‘Solpadeine’ is My Boyfriend’ is showing at Project Cube on the 12th, 13th & 15th of September.Shows start at 1pm and last 55 mins. Tickets are priced at €11-€13.