Hannah Gadsby: Art, history, marriage and Mary
By Caro Moses | Published on Tuesday 7 August 2012
Hannah Gadsby came to the Fringe with two shows last year, and our reviewers were mightily impressed by both of them. This year she’s repeating the two-show Fringe experience, with one of her 2011 shows returning for a second run, and a second new show, ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’, also on the bill. Known for making shows that are both funny and informative, Hannah demonstrates both skills by answering some quick questions for ThreeWeeks.
CM: You are doing two shows at the Fringe this year, which you also did last year. Is it tiring?
HG: Edinburgh is tiring anyway. I once came here without a show and still felt like a car crash by the end of August.
CM: So what made you decide to return to Edinburgh this August?
HG: Money. I don’t like having it.
CM: Your new show is called ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’, which gives some clue to its contents. Would you like to elaborate?
HG: This show is generally about the role of wives historically. I use paintings to illustrate most of my points. There are quite a few pictures of breasts.
CM: What made you decide to focus on this theme?
HG: Gay marriage seems to be a point of contention in most first world countries. I just wanted to check in to see what all the fuss about marriage was in the first place.
CM: Your second show, ‘Mary Contrary’ – about artistic portrayals of the Virgin Mary over the centuries – is coming to the Fringe for a second time. Our reviewer was very taken with it last year. Is it exactly the same this year?
HG: In many ways it is the same show… just tweaked and improved.
CM: What made you want to cover that topic?
HG: I think art is a really neat way to look at the concerns of religion. I have never been a part of organised religion but I really love exploring it as part of the Western cultural identity. You cannot escape it.
CM: Is it a challenge to make something like art history funny?
HG: It is a challenge to make art and religion funny without also offending people who invest in these things. But I enjoy treading this fine line. and also straying on occasions.
CM: As someone who has studied it, would you recommend art history as a degree course?
HG: Not if you like money and/or invigorating company.
CM: Do you have a favourite from the two shows?
HG: I don’t really. Both provide relief from the other. I probably should do another show to relieve me from their burden.
CM: Do you have further plans for either show? Is a tour on the cards?
HG: It all depends on how well received I am in Edinburgh…
CM: You’ve had quite a few TV appearances in recent years. Would you like to do more television, or do you prefer the live medium?
HG: To be fair, I prefer live work because I enjoy instant gratification: at the end of a live show, an audience will clap. With TV all I can do is plug into Twitter and check to see just how many people wish to declare that I am fat and ugly. Good times.
CM: Have you any plans for Edinburgh other than performing? Any shows to see?
HG: There’s too many shows I need to see! Celia Paquola, Deborah Frances-White, Shirley and Shirley, Briefs, Camille and Eleanor Tiernan… that’ll make a good start!
Hannah Gadsby performed ‘Hannah Wants A Wife’ and ‘Mary. Contrary’ at Gilded Balloon Teviot at Fringe 2012.