For those who might be unfamiliar with the concept: what exactly is a ‘quarter life crisis’?
It’s a feeling of being a bit lost as you roam through your twenties and thirties, trying to work out how to become a ‘grown-up’. Mine came about after I graduated from University and suddenly couldn’t get a job, was single and had to move back home to my parents’ house, whilst around me it felt like everyone was being promoted, getting married and buying houses.
The performance incorporates a rich variety of artistic mediums, from music to comedy and cabaret. In what form do they take?
To make sense of something scary, and make it seem less overwhelming and frightening I find the best way is to talk about it and then laugh about it. Therefore, during the show, we take all the common issues that define a Quarter-Life Crisis, that pretty much any twenty/thirtysomething will have been though and poke fun at it, through humour and song. It’s all about giving a warm, funny, musical hug to anyone that’s experienced these feelings, and to say ‘It’s okay! You’re not on your own and things aren’t as bad as they seem!’
Crippling debt, unpaid internships and a dysfunctional love life seem to be the burdens of just about every twenty-something. What inspired you to make this the focus of your performance?
The more I spoke to my friends about my worries and fears, the more I realised there was a common feeling. I thought, well we need to talk about this then. There needs to be a conversation that will help people realise they’re not alone and that these feelings are common and above all, we need to poke fun at this situation. As I said, the minute you laugh at something, it isn’t as powerful (for example, The Boggart in Harry Potter!).
What do you hope audiences will take from your crisis dramaturgy? Life-affirmation, the feeling of being in this crisis-period together, or something between the two?
Whenever we’ve shown the show to anyone the over-riding feedback I get is people saying ‘Oh my god you’re talking/singing about MY life!’. They seem genuinely thrilled that there’s someone voicing these common problems and it’s wonderful to hear. In a world that’s so full of screen time and social media boasting, it’s rare to find a show that is just saying things how they are, and making people feel better about their problems. I just hope people will have their ribs tickled and their cockles warmed by the show!
This isn’t your first visit to Edinburgh Fringe, but it is the first time that you’re taking your own show to the festival. How does this compare to previous years?
There’s a certain level of anxiety as I’m sure everyone performing at the fringe is feeling too (it’s the voice that wakes me in the middle of the night thinking OMG BUT WHAT IF NO-ONE COMES TO SEE THE SHOW lol that voice is a babe) but I’m mainly just excited! I’m a fringe veteran and it’s honestly the most wonderful, exhausting, bonkers place on the planet. Plus my FACE is on the flyers, how nuts is that?!
How do you make it through one month of doing the same show?
You feed off the audience every night! Every single performance is different and every audience will react slightly differently. You feel their energy. Also, I’m not precious about ‘freezing’ the show. I believe it should breathe and develop naturally. Maybe you’ll find a gag that really works, or you’ll pop a new anecdote in to see how it goes down for example. That’s the wonderful thing about doing my own show, I get to decide those things!
Katie Brennan’s Quarter Life Crisis will take place in George Square from the 3rd to the 29th August at 10.50pm