Delphine, a new solo show playing at the Pleasance Courtyard, is a coming of age story about a quirky girl forced to step out of her comfort zone for the first time. I sat down with Delphine writer and actress Clare Rebekah Pointing to talk movement, complex personalities, and explosions of emotional insecurity.
When did you start performing, acting, writing, etc.?
When I was in secondary school, I started studying drama, and I found theatre to be an outlet for self-expression. I was good at it, and not being academic, it was good to find something I could excel at. From there I went on to be a founding member of the theatre company The River People. We started presenting devised puppetry pieces and won the Edinburgh International Festival Award for Best of the Fringe. I felt like I was in the right place. I started to act and puppeteer in shows. In a lot of ways I think that puppeteering has informed my acting in that puppeteering requires intense concentration, and with that there is a stillness of moment and breathing. Delphine, however is my first piece of new writing and my first solo show at the Fringe. It’s exciting you know, to try to something new.
How do you incorporate the stillness and movement techniques learned in puppetry when you’re doing a solo show?
When you’re doing a solo show you’re very aware of your gestures because you’re directly communicating with the audience. Likewise, the concentration on stillness and breaking that stillness in puppetry, is the way you express a conversation to the audience. In this show, Delphine has two different characters that require different physicality – that of the narrator and that of this entirely different person who exists only inside her head. Movement is important to demonstrate the sides of her personality, the different way that she moves and feels.
Where did the idea for Delphine’s character and her different sides come from?
I suppose she definitely influenced by myself, but bits and pieces of my family influence her as well. As a character, she’s really an exploded version of all of us – she’s full of insecurities and self-doubt, but she’s also naïve and honest. I suppose she’s someone who I could have been if I had made different decisions, if I hadn’t challenged myself to be a bit braver. I started writing about her as a character because I wanted to write about a misjudged character.
Since Delphine is similar to you in some ways, is playing her a vulnerable experience for you?
She’s not so much of me, or even someone that I used to be, but there are a few moments in the show that hit very close to home. I’m displaying small truths along the way, and that can be quite scary.
What are the emotive differences when doing puppetry versus doing a solo show?
Puppetry is really intense. The energy of it then is pushed out into the object. It’s this really interesting internal feeling that is externalized in a puppet’s movements. When you’re doing a solo show though, there’s something really powerful about that emotion. There’s nothing in front of you; it’s very naked. It’s not as controlled in some ways, because it’s just you there.
You’ve really set up an emotional intimate space – a solo show set in a bedroom. Was it your intention when you were writing the piece to create so much intimacy with the audience?
It’s very important to the show. A bedroom is very private. It’s something that’s always yours. Delphine is very revealing as well – she’s very honest about everything that’s going on with her. But every audience member does go on their own journey, so whether they focus on that intimacy or not is largely out of your control.
What kind of ideas and feelings drive you an artist?
I like telling stories about characters who are misjudged or might seem odd to people, but have got their own story. I like to show that there is importance in the individual. This particular show is about a character who comes from a single parent household, and I do as well. I wanted to show that there’s a strength that comes from that; there’s a celebration in it. So often in society we focus on the brokenness of these types of families, but I wanted display the fortitude that they have. Each story is unique.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about your show?
It sounds like quite a serious piece – and it is – but it’s really funny as well. I think it’s a rather witty piece of storytelling.
Delphine is on at the Pleasance Courtyard until August 29th.