By Constance Strickland
We know that when there is cultural and racial equality in theatre, it makes room for artists of all walks of life to contribute to the history of theatre. It is vital that we make room, make way for women from all backgrounds to have a chance to be included in the future of theatre. It is my great pleasure to introduce Megh Gwinn, writer of CATHARSIS in #HFF19. A first-time Fringer!! Her solo show was developed to process, self reflect, and digest as she states, “the (de)stabilizing effects of adoption.”
Constance: How long have you’ve been sitting with this work? What led you to Fringe and why now?
Megh: I’ve been building Catharsis since February when I began devising it as a part of my final thesis at Scripps College, but most of its text comes from an essay reflection I wrote for a class two years ago. Also, this is my first time doing the Fringe! My professor and producer, Jessie Mills, suggested the festival as a way for me to engage art and theatre outside of an academic setting as a recent graduate! The ability to do art outside of my usual context gives me renewed energy and excitement to engage the world around me. Thus, the Fringe is a space for me to deepen my understanding of self and explore what types of communities I’d like to be a part of post-grad.
Constance: The work is now out there; you’ve given it away. How does that feel?
Megh: Scary! Imposter syndrome is real and I know that I’m my own worst critic. But people have been nothing but supportive and I’ve been receiving great feedback. So, this experience has also been relieving. I think the Fringe has been useful for helping me realize that I do know what I’m doing and that I am an artist.
Constance: What are you enjoying most doing your show? What has been the biggest discovery?
Megh: I am enjoying the intimacy of the space in which I’m performing Catharsis. It makes me feel like I’m a child performing in my bedroom again! Each time I perform I have the opportunity to reflect on my words and feelings. Throughout this process, my biggest discovery is realizing that I’m not as angry at my birth mother as I was when I was younger.
Constance: What’s been your biggest challenge in terms of the Fringe?
Megh: Having just come from college, I was accustomed to sharing my world with a certain community. But, the Fringe blew that social circle wide open and it’s been a process learning to lean into vulnerability in a new social setting.
Constance: What do you hope audience members take away from your show?
Megh: I hope audience members come away with reflections on their relationship to the idea of “mother” and what they’ve allowed to define them throughout their lives. And perhaps, more simply, an appreciation of the quiet ways parent-figures show love.