Plus ça change for the femme fatale at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

If only filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard knew what he’d started when he said: ‘All I need to make a movie is a girl and a gun’

Some 50 years after he uttered those words the have found resonance as the inspiration behind a thought-provoking and high entertaining show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Artist, theatre-maker, film buff and Godard-fan Louise Orwin has taken the legendary French-Swiss director’s quote to heart and started thinking just how much the media’s portrayal of women has changed over the years.

She thought about this when watching Beyonce’s video for ‘Videophone’ featuring the singer and Lady GaGa dressed in their scanties bearing multi-coloured guns, and the Springbreakers (US film) scene where two teenage girls lie on a bed surrounded by guns, using them as suggestive props… She began to wonder whether anything had moved on at all.

It quickly became apparent that girls with guns are everywhere in popular culture from music videos and computer games to television and movies. She decided to make a show that would challenge those films that use girls and guns as easy plot devices, and the audiences that watch them – while also admitting her own confusion, as a woman, at being simultaneously repulsed and attracted to that imagery.

The result, according to a review in the Londonist website is “a witty, sexy and sometimes sad dissection of screen sexuality”.

The cuttingly sharp satirical script of ‘A Girl And A Gun’ is playfully performed by Orwin alongside a different male guest performer at every show.

The guest male performer will have never seen the script before so his reactions – and those of the audience – are genuinely spontaneous. He will read his lines and stage directions live off an autocue, the audience seeing some of his lines and directions projected onto an onstage screen.

“From a young age I’ve been particularly drawn to the image of the femme fatale’ said Louise.

“But as my politics developed I began to question this. By making an unprepared stranger the star of the show every night, it is my hope that audiences will consider how they might feel if they, too, were put in this position”.

A Girl & A Gun Louise Orwin is on at Summerhall, Edinburgh until 27 August.
Now starting its second week the party is still going strong in Edinburgh this weekend as the city celebrates 70 years of the Festival Fringe.

This year visitors can expect to enjoy in excess of 30,000 performances of more than 2,000 shows. Everything from drama, dance, circus, comedy, music, musicals, opera, cabaret and variety are on offer along with a range of children’s shows, free shows, exhibitions and events.

  • Full feature in Issue No. 8


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