The Midsumma Festival is a brilliant blend of local and overseas artists who bring their special brand of provocative, challenging and just downright entertaining offerings to our fabulous summer. One of those artists is London based writer, performer and director, Ursula Martinez, who is bringing her honest reveal into the human condition, Free Admission, to the Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio starting tomorrow night.
Free Admission is a show which celebrates the inconsistencies and contradictions that make us human. Martinez describes it as funny, political, quirky, surprising, provocative, playful and, ultimately, difficult to describe. “At the core of all my work is a commitment to exploring humour and what it is to be human,” she says.
Martinez’s style is versatile and eclectic: she is an Olivier Award winner, a cult cabaret diva, an original cast member of circus-cabaret phenomena La Soirée, a strip tease artist and a star of stages all across the world. She has garnered rave reviews for her shows: A Family Outing, Show Off, OAP and many more. Generally taking her inspiration from the world around her – the people she meets, the things she witnesses and experiences – Martinez creates theatre whose basis is real life. “This is what fuels my writing,” she says. “Then the next thing I look for is a theatrical idea or holding form to turn the text into a theatrical experience. ” She likes to take her time and work quite organically without pressure. However that may be easier said than done. “At some point the pressures always kicks in, when you realise your opening night is in 4 days and your costume isn’t ready and you haven’t learned your lines. This is unavoidable,” she admits.
Free Admission took about 2 years to emerge in its present form and follows on from the success of, My Stories, Your Emails, (A comical and uncompromising exploration of identity, fame, obsession, censorship, loneliness, sex, human failure, the internet ……….. and what happens when your private parts go public!) following the current social-media obsessed climate of self-promotion, Martinez attempts to understand the absurdity of modern living.
As a London based artist, Martinez has never been to a Midsumma event before, but feels confident that her particular style will resonate with all. “As a queer artist, whilst my queerness is ever present in my work, it’s never really a central theme or a salient part of my identity,” she explains. “For this reason my work often sits comfortably in both a queer context and a mainstream context.” Martinez deals with very human issues regardless of age, sexuality, race, religion, and she is hopeful that this gives the show a broad appeal.
Like all of her work, Free Admission, is inspired by real life. Themes are diverse – sex, families, history, feminism, religion, death, tax returns, anal hygiene – you name it, she mentions it. “If you live in the real world, and have an open mind and a sense of humour, you’ll enjoy this show,” she says.
January 31 – February 5