This summer I was very lucky in getting the opportunity to travel with a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This was my first time traveling abroad with a show, and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better team to travel with. Hyena was written and performed by Romana Soutus and premiered at La Mama in March in addition to going on afterwards to the United Solo Festival in NYC where we won for Best Experimental, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design. The play examines and demonstrates the many slights and micro-aggressions women experience growing up and living in the world. Dealing with our beast within and what we cage versus what is shown to the world. So all in all it was a fun show.
Our team we took consisted of five amazing women: Our writer and performer, our amazing producer, our phenomenal director, and our brilliant lighting designer, not to mention myself. While abroad we all had to wear multiple hats - from props purchasing and preparing food, to bleaching and washing the white babydoll dresses, to marketing in the streets and gay bars to get people to come see our show.
The energy in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival is nothing to sneeze at either. You are one of hundreds of shows trying to get people to come in and see your performance against street performers, folk operas in churches, full on rock concerts, and political comedies in a theatre that looks more like the trailer you took class in during elementary school. The buzzing on the sidewalks almost feels akin to the streets of New York and how much you have to navigate the sheer number of bodies on the sidewalk. I almost ran into a Scottish older woman one day and got thoroughly talked to, though I could easily imagine how many curse words would have been in the same interaction had it happened on the streets of midtown or soho.
But the Hyena team didn’t come here to just play and marvel at the Scottish countryside. We came here to open our insides and expose the vulnerability and rage contained in the container of a woman. And we were well received. Premiering this show at La Mama created a beautiful framework that I think we really got to eviscerate and play with in the tiny, underground, and almost claustrophobic space at the festival. This was one of the best shows I have ever worked on and look back at the experience and all three iterations with supreme fondness and affection for all those involved. Specifically thanks to our writer-performer of course, Romana Soutus, director Rachel Levens, producer Amy Surratt, lighting designer Cecilia Durbin, and our sound designer Gareth Hobbs.