Show: Mo-to-the-oncle Performer: Melissa Cole Venue: Fringe Online Time: On Demand Dates: 5-29 August 2022 Links: Instagram Twitter Website Facebook TikTok
Please tell me about your 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show,
Mo-to-the-oncle is a solo show about a teen boy in New York City who is forced to wear a monocle to school after his dad loses their vision insurance. If it’s not already obvious from the premise alone, it’s a comedy, but, watch out because it does get a bit dark at times. You’ll see! There’s racism, bullying, healthcare, and gun violence–as well as singing and dancing. I’d say the story is equal parts funny and tragic. I play about a dozen different characters throughout the show, and there’s a costume change for each and every one of them. I try to keep the audience on their toes.
This year, Mo-to-the-oncle is apart of Fringe Online, marking my first time “at” the Edinburgh Fringe. I shot this virtual adaptation of my critically acclaimed stage show at home. To capture what I feel is the “Fringe spirit,” I wanted the set to look a bit campy, so I shot everything in front of a gray backdrop. I know that a huge portion of all of our lives have been online over the course of the last few years, and I didn’t want to add to any online theater fatigue, if anyone’s feeling that. My ultimate aim was to put up a show with great production value and to make audiences walk away feeling really, really, really good about the future of digital theater.
What is the attraction of performing at the Edinburgh Fringe? What do you think of Edinburgh?
The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, so I think that it’s only natural that artists like myself would be attracted to an opportunity to perform on the grandest world stage. Besides that, I love the history of the festival. I love that this festival’s roots started as a bunch of people who didn’t need anyone’s permission to put on a show. That spirit carries on today. When everyone out there is saying NO to you, Fringe allows you to say YES to YOURSELF.
I honestly never thought that being here was in the cards for me, so I am super grateful to have the opportunity to present my show this year.
Who inspires you?
In terms of comedy, I’ve always loved sketch comedy. Growing up, there was a kids’ sketch show called All That. I seriously wish there was a way for me to retroactively be cast on that show. I also loved Mad TV, Chappelle’s Show, Martin and In Living Color. Marlon Wayans has always been one of my favorite comedians and I met Tiffany Haddish once and she was so sincere and authentic, and I was really inspired by her ability to stay grounded in the midst of everything that comes with being in Hollywood.
Are there other shows you want to check out during the Fringe?
International Comedy Jam, Hip-Hop Orchestra Experience, Black is the Color of My Voice, I Shall Not Be Moved are just a few of the shows I’d love to see!
Finally, ask and answer a question of your own.
What’s your favorite meme?
Although I really love the woman arguing across the dinner table with the cat but my absolute favorite is the the butterfly meme (you know, the one where the guy sees the butterfly and says “Is this…?”). It makes me laugh every time.