EdFringe: meeting the writer of Like Other Girls
Updated: Aug 3
Like Other Girls is written, produced (under the umbrella of Very Rascals) and performed by one of our past collaborators - Claire Feuille. As you can see Claire has worn many hats to get this show up and running, so the perfect person to do a Q&A with! Join us below to find out more about the show and to pick up any tips Claire has for others wanting to follow in her footsteps.
Have you ever noticed how all female leads in historical fiction are... kind of the same person? Like Other Girls is the sensible roast of musical theatre's finest historical women that you've been waiting for. "I'm not like the other girls. I'm well-read and independent and I don't want to get married." We're covering that trope. "I'm trapped by [insert patriarchal figure here] but I just want to see the world." That one too. "I hate this man and we bicker, but eventually I will fall in love with him because he is my intellectual equal." Yep. Come along for a jaunt through my favourite genre. Funny, smart, and touching, Like Other Girls might just make you love these characters as much as I do.
What made you want to write this show/where did the first idea spring from?
When COVID brought everything grinding to a halt in 2020, I had the opportunity to reflect on my acting career: what was going well, what wasn’t, what was making me happy, what was making me miserable. I realised that I felt like I was going in circles, and I needed to reinvigorate my career. On the musical theatre side of things, that meant I threw out my whole book of audition songs, and started looking for new rep from scratch. By the end of the summer of 2020, a pattern had emerged. I kept bringing the same types of characters to my voice teachers, kept responding to the music from the same genre of shows: historical fiction musicals. My voice teacher, Jenna, wisely pointed out that I couldn’t put all of those songs in my book, and that maybe I should do something with them… and thus, this show was born.
How did you select the songs for this show?
I started by making a list of all the historical fiction musicals I could think of, and I listened to a whole lot of music. And then I looked for patterns. How did these characters relate, how did these shows structure themselves? Turns out the patterns weren’t hard to find - they sort of just fell into my lap naturally. For instance, we all know the moment where we have to introduce the plucky young female lead who is headstrong and independent and--hence the title--“not like the other girls” in her time. Once I identified tropes like that, it was just a matter of pulling together all the songs that fell into them and deciding which ones spoke to me the most.
Who is your favourite character to play?
It’s such a hard decision, but I think the song that brings me the most joy to sing is Harriet’s song from Emma. It’s called “Humiliation” and it’s this amazing waltz that she sings while at the ball, standing alone while the other girls dance. And it’s just so delightfully funny and awkward, but at the same time, I know how painful it can be to be in that position.
Can you describe the show in three words?
Funny, thought-provoking, touching.
What do you find interesting about this genre?
I love a good period show, but I’ve always found that doing musicals written during the Golden Age left me feeling unsatisfied from a character-development perspective. What I love about historical fiction musicals written from a contemporary perspective is that the women have much richer stories. A lot of that is probably due to the fact that this genre really owes a huge amount to the female writers of the 19th Century - the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, etc - who wrote their female characters in a way their male counterparts never could or would. Even though these shows are usually love stories, with a male love interest, the women have interests and lives of their own. That’s not to say the genre doesn’t have its problems and clichés. It does, and I explore them in Like Other Girls. But the women in the genre are the women I connect to the most in musical theatre - they feel the most authentic and true to my life and my story.
Why should people come and see this show?
I think this show has something for everyone! Anyone who loves literature will appreciate the nods to Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Louisa May Alcott, Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, and more! If you love musicals, there are some classic songs in the mix for you - some of which I do in their original fashion, and some of which I put a little twist on, like an acoustic guitar rendition of “Green Finch and Linnet Bird” from Sweeney Todd. If you like comedy, I’ve got a bunch in there for you. If you like drama, me too - who doesn’t love a good ballad? I tried to make this show cover a broad range of styles and tones while focusing it all around the genre that inspires me.
What is your favourite line from the show?
“Humiliation—but other than that, it’s a beautiful night for throwing yourself into cold, freezing water to die.”
What is the last thing you do before you step out onstage?
I say “f*** it” in my head, take a deep breath, and start just walking before I can get in my head about it.
What are your top tips for someone who is taking a show to the fringe for the first time?
I think it’s really important to make sure your show has an identity - do you know who you are making it for? If you were to sell it in 30 seconds, how would you convince me to come? I think asking yourself those questions can really help you in navigating the festival. From picking a venue to designing a poster to picking time slots for your performances to setting your ticket prices, there is really no aspect of your Fringe experience that wouldn’t be helped by having a really clear vision for how you want to present yourself and your piece.
I would also highly recommend finding a partner(s) to help you with all of the administrative aspects that go into heading to Fringe. Between finding a venue, finding housing, getting all your tech settled, putting together a marketing packet, reaching out to reporters, and of course rehearsing the actual show, there are a lot of deadlines and important milestones to hit. Ask for help! Oh, and START EARLY!
Make sure to catch Like Other Girls at The Space @ Surgeons Hall 15th-28th August 2022.
Written and Performed by Claire Feuille
Produced by Very Rascals & Claire Feuille
Instagram: @clairefeuille & @veryrascals
Get your tickets here.