Ange Lavoipierre - On The Mic

Title of Show:         Ange Lavoipierre: Your Mother Chucks Rocks and Shells
Venue:                 Underbelly – Wee Coo 
Time:                  4:20pm 
Dates:                 2nd - 27th August (except 14th August) 
Photograph:            Steve Ullathorne 
Links:                 Profile and Social Media


Tell me about your 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show.

My show is about insomnia, being online at 2am, and fixing the classic horror film, The Exorcist. And if you didn’t realise there was anything wrong with it, then you more than anyone should see my show.

You can expect absurd sketches evoking guided sleep meditation podcasts, unhinged ASMR YouTube channels, and Instagram quizzes about which “sleep animal” you are. (I’m a dolphin!)

In between that, it’s also a morality-flipped retelling of The Exorcist, narrated via a series of dreams, and filtered through pop culture ranging from Scrubs and The Matrix to the story of John Denver’s death.

Not an easy show to summarise, but the closest I can get is to tell you it’s a one-woman play concealed within an insomnia-induced unravelling, much of which I spend arguing with my own out-loud internal monologue, which is quite hostile and very French.


How many shows have you appeared in at the Fringe and what has the Fringe done for you?

Depends how you cut it, but maybe 8? This is my sixth Edinburgh Fringe, and my third solo show I’ve brought to the UK. In 2018 I brought over a stand up split bill with Jane Watt (we’re back this year with my other show, an hour of absurd sketch called Jazz Or A Bucket Of Blood). I’ve also done several seasons at the Fringe as the cello accompanist for Improv duo The Bear Pack (Carlo Ritchie & Steen Raskopoulos), and one year I somehow ended up being part of an orchestra in Max and Ivan’s show.

The Fringe has given me lifelong friendships and networks, as well as a sense of belonging. The biggest takeaway from being thrown together with great artists is that there are far fewer rules than most people would have you believe, when it comes to what you can do on stage.


What is your most memorable moment from the Fringe?

Performing at ACMS wearing nothing but lettuce leaves was pretty memorable. So was watching the audience descend into Lord Of The Flies style chaos during 2018’s performance of A Young Man Dressed as a Gorilla Dressed as an Old Man Sits Rocking in a Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves. The time that Carlo and Steen and I had to hide in the fire escape to avoid being beaten up by some very drunk men who had not understood the show at all was also pretty special. But nothing is more memorable than watching the sunrise at Arthur’s Seat after closing night and seeing the looks on the faces of other, more sober hikers on your way back down.

What is the worst thing about the Fringe?

The sheer mental and physical exhaustion, second only to the extreme financial risk. Last year, I was so wrecked at one point I mistook sleeping pills for painkillers, and went on stage with 4 times the recommended dose of sedatives in my system without realising. One of my few enduring memories from that day was rushing to the toilet in a spider costume, 2 mins before the show began. I avoided shitting myself in public that day, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared about the future.

If you were not a performer what would you be doing?

I’d be way more annoying at my other job, which is journalism, because I wouldn’t have anywhere else to put my jokes. Outside of that, I have no idea how to relax, so I’d probably use the extra time to write books.

How do you prepare for a performance?

I listen to aggressive Spanish-language rap and dissociate. If you’re looking for an entry point, I can recommend Chaka by Alessandro Di Lorenzo.

What is your favourite thing about being in Edinburgh?

No city does pubs quite like Edinburgh. The pubs in Edinburgh have nooks, and I live for a nook. Disappearing into a nook with a tiny glass of room temperature dark ale might sound unpleasant to you, but it brings me a rare and total sense of inner peace.  I also enjoy being surrounded by more art than there is time to see it, even accounting for the deep temporal panic that comes with that.

Who or what are you inspired by?

Patti Harrison’s unbridled appetite for risk. Joan Didion’s verbal precision. Daniel Kitson’s crowd work.

Most of all, where artists break format or tradition to do something that feels new. Also reckless absurdism or seeing an audience challenged and a little confused.

Tell us something your agent doesn’t want us to know?

I think I already did, with the story about the sedatives. Digging deeper though, it’s probably that I’m a liability when tasked with promoting my show to strangers. I’m as likely to put them off as I am to entice them. Honestly, I’m surprised they wanted me to do this Q&A. This is a reflection of my personality rather than the quality of the show.

What is the best advice you have been given so far and by who?

Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just go to work. An ex of mine used to say that all the time and I was embarrassed to learn recently that he ripped it from Chuck Close.

Also, never attempt to endure sleep deprivation and a hangover at the same time. Pick one. That gem came from my friend Lindsay McDougall, an Australian musician and broadcaster, who would know.

Outside of performing what are your passions?

Understanding and describing the deep weirdness of human culture. I make a trend podcast for the ABC in Australia called Schmeitgeist where I get to do that. I have a strong sense that we’re living through an extremely strange inflection point in human history, and we haven’t fully realised or named it. In particular I’m intensely interested in bizarre internet subcultures (eg. age regression on Reddit or edgy Tumblr Catholicism). There’s an essay series called The Great Weirding by Venkatesh Rao that hints at what the hell I’m referring to when I talk about this inflection point.

Outside of work, I get a lot of joy from writing embarrassing poetry about all my big feelings and posting them on my Instagram stories. Also making monthly Spotify playlists so I can revisit the feeling of that moment in years to some, and playing chess.

What do you want to get our of performing at the Fringe?

A multimillion dollar Netflix deal. Failing that, I’ll be happy if the show hits the spot for some other weirdos, and if I’m inspired in a new direction.

I’m also looking forward to rebuilding my atrophied quads walking > 10km a day.

Name three other shows we should see and why?

Anna Piper Scott, because she is not only hilarious every single time and undeniably talented, but she’s also criminally under-recognised. 2023 is her first time in Edinburgh.

Patti Harrison, because I’ve never seen anyone push an audience that far and frankly it was thrilling.

Michelle Brasier, because she’s charismatic as hell on stage, and will make you cackle whilst also simultaneously melting your icy heart. I also love how unclassifiable she is.

Sum up your show in five words.

I turned my brain inside out.

Why should we see your show? 

I guarantee this show is totally different to everything you’ve seen before. It’s hugely original.

Also, if you’re also someone with a mildly hostile and inexplicably French inner monologue who is torturing you for fun, then this show will make you feel truly seen, maybe for the first time ever.

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