This week for WTF Wednesday, the Freakshow production team is taking over to tell you why you should come "Fall In Love With Freakshow" on February 14th! The event, sponsored by Michael David Winery/Freakshow Wines and HQ Raleigh, takes place at HQ Raleigh's Gateway Location, 2411 Crabtree Blvd, from 6:30-8:30pm. Attendees can enjoy a glass of wine, nibble on chocolate, and learn more about the world of this fascinating play!
“Fall in Love with Freakshow” is happening for so many reasons! The idea started as a way to tell folks about the show. It’s a challenging piece, and many people—including those of us working on it—have had questions about its portrayal of women and of people with disabilities. It kind of makes you ask, “WTF?!” This event is a way to engage in that conversation with our Triangle audience prior to the show.
Reason #1 to Fall in Love: Freakshow is about love!
It’s about the sacrifices we make so that those we love can be free. That seems like a pretty good tie-in with a February 14th event, no?! What is love? How do we show love for each other? Can love exist in and amongst the dark aspects of humanity?
On the surface, Freakshow is full of ugliness, exploitation, and manipulation. This play is uncomfortable and at times grotesque. It feels a bit like turning over a stone and looking at the teeming, unsettling life that lies underneath—and that’s the point. The ugliness doesn’t always lie with the “freaks,” though. It also lies with those of us—aka most of us—who are drawn to stare at them.
This is a play that gets under your skin. It draws you in and pushes you away simultaneously. That’s what sets it up to be such an incredible piece of theater. That’s also why we wanted to start introducing Triangle audiences to it well before the production in May. And also we love you! (...see what we did there!? #NotYourUsualValentinesDay #BestValentinesDayEver #FreeWine!)
Reason #2 to Fall in Love: The history is fascinating!
The Freakshow team also has an amazing dramaturg—what’s up, Lydia!—working with us and her research is super cool. History of turn-of-the-century freakshows? Check.
History of disabled ‘outcasts’ banding together? Check. Humanistic examination of the disabilities that the Freakshow characters live with? Check.
It seems crazy to just keep all that info internal—we should get everyone in on that!
Reason #3 to Fall in Love: We're doing things differently!
Bye-bye hierarchical and patriarchal top-down directing! Hello uber-powerful directing team: Rachel Nunn & Rowen Haigh, co-directors, with Ruth Berry, assistant director. We’re sharing the workload, the decision-making, and (let’s be honest) the pressure! We’re challenging each others’ ideas and valuing each others’ boundaries. We’re cultivating a team approach and creating a space where every member of the design and production team can contribute to both the creative and logistical shape of the show.
Rachel, who has been directing and AD’ing since 2016, had plenty of questions when she was first invited to co-direct. She worried that without a clear hierarchy people wouldn’t be held accountable for their roles,