'They can laugh along with you, they see themselves in it' - Interview with Lauren-Nicole Mayes
We are just a week away from the start of the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with countless shows preparing to open all over the city. One of these shows is ‘Dear Little Loz’, written by and starring Lauren-Nicole Mayes and directed by Izzy Parriss, a vibrant and poetic solo show that explores the themes of love, identity, and attachment.
A disappointing first date leads Loz to question for her view on men and what she believes she needs, wants, and deserves from them in a show that crosses different time frames as Loz explores the attachments that made her who she is.
In an Edinburgh Fringe debut for both Lauren and for Izzy Parriss productions, 'Dear Little Loz' runs at the Space@Surgeons Hall, Theatre 2 from 5-27 August (excluding the 14th) at 12.00.
I was lucky enough to get to talk to Lauren about the show and her hopes for the festival.
Could you please tell us about your show ‘Dear Little Loz’?
Yes, so basically, ‘Dear Little Loz’ is a vibrant solo show, and it is a mixture of prose and free form poetry, and the show explores themes of identity, dreams, attachment theories, and the ability for Loz to rewrite her own story. The premise of the show starts on a familiar, disappointing first date which basically leads Loz to question her view on men and what she believes that she deserves and needs and wants. The show spans across three separate time frames. You’ve got, like a dream state, and then you’ve got 2006 and 2019, and across these time frames it explores, Loz explores the attachments that shaped her and the attachment theories that come into play, so that desperate need for a daddy daughter connection, a real kind of hard-hitting truth throughout the show.
And like you said, with the show being that exploration of love and identity, do you feel that audiences will be able to relate to it?
Yeah, definitely. I think in terms of developing the show, me and Izzy spoke about like how I very much know what happens throughout that storyline but I think for the audience, it’s never kind of stated exactly, so I think the show is a very universal story because even though the themes are so clear to Loz, I think a lot of people will be sat there thinking actually, I’ve been through that with my dad, or it might remind them of their mum, or another figure in their life, and it’s all kind of up for deliberation.
Do you think that it is important for some theatre productions to feature these true to life stories and these relatable characters for the audiences?
Oh yeah, without a doubt. I think a massive part of kind of my writing journey this far is about kind of realizing that what’s on stage and screen, it, kind of, isn’t representing the way that I’ve grown up and the people who have raised me. That being in terms of looks, in terms of voice or in terms of environmental circumstances. I think that if we never, if we don’t start kind of supporting working class stories more, this is coming from a personal point of view, but if we don’t start kind of championing working class voices, people from all different backgrounds, race, cultures, religions then we are never going to get a true representation of the world.
I mean, that comes nicely into another question. Do you feel that there should be more space in the creative industries for those from working class backgrounds?
I think always. I think that we all hope that there’s going to be more space for working class stories, and I think that at the end of the day, that door has to be, you know, people talk about this door and banging down the door. I can only talk from my writing journey so far, and it’s been very promising in terms of people who have been willing to listen, companies like Box of Tricks theatre, Sky Studios, Izzy Parriss productions, BBC, they’ve all been very supportive, but I think that it takes time and people. Some people aren’t always willing to take a risk and I don’t know why it feels like a risk to take it and to champion a working-class story. I think people don’t do it often enough and they need to because we’re here, we exist, and our voices need to be heard.
Yeah, because they are the stories that most people relate to, the working-class stories
Yeah, and what’s funny, I’ve found that people, once they get the story, you know once they have their hands on it, it’s full of wit and compassion, and that’s what they want, they can emphasise with it. They can laugh along with you, they see themselves in it, but it is only when it’s literally in the palm in their hands that you can see that. And if it’s not, then they can’t. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, it’s got to be there for them to get it.
When it comes to the Fringe, what goes into preparing your show to take it to such a big festival?
This has gone through may like a year and a half of development. It started off as a commission for Burn Bright Theatre Company as a five-minute monologue and then it’s been developed by Izzy Parriss and yeah, God, it’s through, yeah everything, it’s gone through a lot
And it’s now up to 45/55 minutes?
Yeah, 45 minutes we’re aiming for, and I think it will be 45 minutes even with like the music elements and stuff. But yeah, I think it’s hard because I think I haven’t, kind of, made this show for the Fringe, but I think in the back of your head as you’re editing once I knew it was for the Fringe, I’ve got that kind of audience in mind.
And what are you most excited about taking your show to the Fringe?
I’m excited to experiment in terms of like, the audiences are going to be different sizes each day and it will be really interesting to like play to a smaller audience and then hopefully to a bigger audience. I’m excited to figure out what the future life of 'Dear Little Loz' is and how we want that to be, whether it’s Loz to tell the story, whether it’s another in the story who will end telling it. And yeah, I’m most excited about seeing all the other shows and new writing. And yeah, I think just remembering that your show is so special but then like other people’s shows are unique in their own right. I think that’s what’s lovely about the Fringe, there’s no show that is like yours and that everybody’s shows, kind of, stands in their own lane, I think that’s really, you know, really healthy and lovely.
And do you think that events such as the Fringe and good opportunities to get the new work seen by these audiences?
I think they are but. I think they’re supposed to be, but I think it’s really hard to do it. Personally, I would have never, I never set out to do 'Dear Little Loz' at the Fringe. Izzy Pariss, that’s my producer and director, she kind of approached me and said, would you be interested in taking the show to the Fringe. And then, obviously we had those conversations and she had made that the production had made that accessible. I’m feeling very lucky and in a grateful position to be taking the show, but at the same time, I’m also really proud that I’ve written the show and I’ve done the work on the show, so it comes in tangent. I know some people, they produce, they write, they direct their own show and show take it all there and for me, financially, that was never for me.
Yeah, I’ve done a few of these interviews with people taking shows to the Fringe and the financial side of it has come up quite a lot.
Yeah, I think it should be a playground for new writing from all backgrounds, but I’d be lying if I said like, Oh Yeah, I’ve always wanted to take my show. I’ve always thought, Edinburgh Fringe amazing, but it’s never been an option so I’ve kind of just battered it off. Do you know what I mean.
What would you like the audiences to get out of your show?
I would like people to connect with Loz, and if you know one person can see themselves in her or the issues that are explored and for young people to just kind of come out feeling a little less, a little lighter about themselves and the younger version of themselves, and yeah kind of, acceptance. I’d like people to come out with it, whatever that may be, in whatever part of their life with that acceptance and these volumes of the show
And them seeing themselves on stage almost
Yeah, seeing themselves on stage and just knowing that, like, there’s reasons behind why we are the way that we are, and why other people are the way that they are, and everything is very complex and flawed. And yeah, that’s just the way it works.
And to finish, why should Fringe goers come and see 'Dear Little Loz'?
They should come and see Dear Little Loz because it is extremely honest, it’s raw, it’s funny, it’s hard hitting, it’s spicy and I don’t think, I’m pretty sure that there’s no other working-class writer and actress from Blackpool making their Fringe debut this year, so they can come and see me.
I would like to thank Lauren for taking the time to talk to me and would like to wish her the very best for the show's run at the Fringe and the future
'Dear Little Loz' runs at the Space@Surgeon's Hall. Tickets are available here https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dear-little-loz