ALTER EGO Q&A – Peter Clements/ Frau Welt

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Deadline at the Fringe are interviewing performers across the month, putting 20 questions to them – both as an artist and as their stage or performance alter ego.

Peter Clements is Frau Welt in a new cabaret theatre production. Frau Welt is a play about the outsider and the consequences of a life excluded, examining the masks we wear in our search for acceptance and belonging.

 

Photo submitted

Peter Clements

1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

Walking out of Waverley station and having a flood of festival nostalgia. I’m here to play Frau Welt for the month at Assembly Rooms.

2. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

A healthy mix of joy, excitement and nerves.

3. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

I’m told I was born a bit of a grump and an old man – all my foibles are poured into the mad old bag Frau.

4. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

At the moment I’m looking forward to a whole morning in bed – I haven’t had a day off for months! I’ll also use it to catch up on friends’ shows I’ve missed.

5. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

No. But I do get ‘performer-envy’; when you see someone doing something so incredibly marvellous and you wish you were in that play. I decided to banish jealousy a long time ago – joy is far healthier, all the bad stuff comes through Frau.

6. Did you have a happy childhood?

I had a colourful childhood.

7. What does success and failure mean to you?

Success on stage for me is if I’ve served the story for the audience.

8. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

Highly. I’ve lots of rituals. I always wash my face. The order I put my costume on must be the same every time… etc.

9. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

That there’ll be nobody out there.

10. What is your favourite saying?

For FRAU WELT, Tim Crouch our dramaturg released a massive part of the play, and the joy in the performing of her, for me: “None of it’s real” – when you see the show you’ll know what I mean.

11. What is your worst habit?

Worry.

12. What do you love/hate about the festival?

That we’re all in the same boat.

13. Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

Fionn Cox-Davies in Walden Street, Whitechapel.

14. Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

Never.

15. Most embarrassing moment?

My life is littered with too many.

16. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Unanswered.

17. Who would you be if you were not you?

I’d be the Queen to see what goes on behind closed doors.

18. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy and, do any of them fill you with fear?

I love haggis.

19. What is your greatest ambition?

For now – to keep making theatre.

20. How can we bring world peace?

My brain is too fried to answer this question properly… Be kind to each other. That would be a start.

Photo: Holly Revell

Frau Welt

1. First impressions of our fair city and, why are you here?

“Get me to my suite at The Scotsman!” My journey to Edinburgh was absolute hell. My team accidentally booked me on cattle class. Ghastly.

2. Does your time here bring on joy or dread?

I dread the constantly changing temperatures; I’m either sweating out of my eyeballs or stuck in a torrential downpour. My joy – like my libido – is for the stage, only.

3. Are you a happy soul or do the occasionally dreich elements make you morose?

A ridiculous question. Next!

4. Where will you visit on your day off and why?

Angela Lansbury’s given me the keys to her bungalow in Perth, “Illyria”, for brief respite. And to feed Barbara, her beloved Alsatian.

5. Do you ever get jealous of other performers?

Others have nothing on me, mein liebling. For my uncensored answer, you’ll have to see my show.

6. Did you have a happy childhood?

I don’t remember what I did last week, dear, let alone as a child! I hate children.

7. What does success and failure mean to you?

Failure for me led to my success. Years rotting away in Weimar Germany at the Berliner Ensemble, playing metaphors and parables and serving soup. Miserable! That led to my exile in America, on to Broadway, and beyond.

8. Are you superstitious when it comes to performing?

Don’t be ridiculous.

9. What is your biggest fear before going on stage?

That there’ll be nobody out there.

10. What is your favourite saying?

I once asked Angela Lansbury how she seemed so relaxed on opening night. Her reply: “If they don’t like it, fuck ‘em.”

11. What is your worst habit?

Channel Number Five. Its aroma reminds me of the theater, it takes me right back to Berlin.

12. What do you love/hate about the festival?

I hate the technical, I hate the furniture, I hate the props, I hate the PR.

13. Tell me about your most passionate embrace.

Jane Asher backstage at the Citizens Theater in Glasgow, 1982. She crossed the boundary.

14. Do you wear knickers under your kilt?

What?

15. Most embarrassing moment?

When Bertolt Brecht took the Threepenny Opera to Broadway. I wasn’t the lead. I should’ve been.

16. Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Unanswered.

17. Who would you be if you were not you?

I play other people for a living dear, I don’t need to be anybody else!

18. What Scottish delicacies do you enjoy and, do any of them fill you with fear?

I’ve a very sensitive stomach. Maureen Lipman took me out to the Ocean Fish Bar last night for a battered ‘Mars Bar’. It’s been a very difficult morning.

19. What is your greatest ambition?

For the world to know my name.

20. How can we bring world peace?

It’ll never happen. I’ve got to dash – see my show!

Show Information

Venue: The Blue Room, Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR

Dates: 2nd – 25th (not 13th)

Times: 20:35 (1hr)

Tickets: £12 Mon – Thu (excl 6th, 7th) | 6th, 7th & Fri, Sat, Sun £13

Bookings: Here | Assembly Box Offices | 0131 623 3030

Recommended: 12+

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