An Interview With Erin Thompson-Slut-Fringe Toronto 2014

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Erin Thompson-Photo Credit: Dahlia Katz

Who is Erin Thompson?

A animate grouping of of cells with a collective consciousness that really enjoys pie.

According to the bio, ‘Slut’ is based on true life events. Can you elaborate? Is it a collective of events? Are they specific to you personally? How did the idea come about?

I had been wanting to do a one-woman cabaret-style show for a while. At a previous job, I used to amuse my partnered co-workers with the ongoing serial “Erin’s Adventures in Dating” and the combination of the two were the catalyst behind the idea of the show. My director (and dramatuge) Dahlia Katz has been key in shaping the show – writing original music was her idea, and Robert Steven Wilkinson’s amazing compositions turned my poetry/lyrics into catchy tunes. Together, they have helped to move this show from a collection of stand-alone stories to the sexy, sassy, campy slut-pride cabaret it has become. I feel extremely privileged to have such a wonderful team on-side which includes my choreographer, Ayesha Mansur, designer Rachel Ford, stage manager Heather Lacey, and my producer Tracey Beltrano, without whom I would not have started writing in the first place.

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Photo credit: Dahila Katz

The bio also mentions that ‘Slut’ pushes the stereotypes surrounding female sexuality. Can you explain a little of how it accomplishes this or what you hope to accomplish?

At different points in the show I choose to offer myself as a sexual object or sexual being, while encouraging the audience to see me simultaneously as a full-realized human. Traditionally, the term ‘slut’ is diminutive and de-humanizing; I prefer an alternate view which is exalting and humanizing. It can evoke themes of self-actualization and joie-de-vivre instead of questionable dignity or low social status. I think we are all familiar with the trope that a woman who enjoys sex with a number of partners is a ‘slut’. I think there is something really remarkable happening in the Zeitgeist around issues of ownership of one’s body and sexual experience, and I hope my show will enter the conversation. I have been talking to friends and colleagues about their conceptions of who a ‘slut’ is, and what that word means to them as an identifier, and it seems that since the Slut Walk of 2011 and the pervasiveness of the discussion about rape culture, these ideas have begun to shift. I am hoping not to just “stamp” myself with the title, but to celebrate it onstage and collectively with an audience as we feel this shift together. Insofar as we do enjoy certain freedoms as women in this part of the world but we also have ‘a lot of work left to do’, I would like ‘Slut’ to be part of this next stage of the work.

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Erin Thompson as Mean Girls’ Dawn Schweitzer

Are you tired of being asked about Mean Girls? and if not, how (if any) did that character/experience lend itself to this production?

I will never tire of being asked about Mean Girls! It was my first feature film experience, and I’m so grateful to both Mark Waters and Tina Fey for the opportunity. I think as teenagers we are all uncomfortable about our bodies and sex. However, much like my freckles, as I’ve grown older, I’ve also grown to love my huge ass.

Do you have any plans for ‘slut’ after Fringe?

I plan to further develop the show, and continue the conversation. I am looking into publication of SLUT, and making the music available for download. I would love to do a remount!

If you could scream 1 thing out to the masses what would it be?

Make the life you want to have!

CONNECT:

Instagram: @erinnorahthompson
Hashtag: #FringeSlut

 

 

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