Mad Cat Theatre: Isabella takes us down the rabbit hole with her

Mad Cat Theatre Company presents Blow Me//Written by Jessica Farr and Directed by Paul Tei

Blow Me is an unbridled take on the life of fashion icon, Isabella Blow.  Blow, previously fashion editor at Tatler and Vogue, left an indelible mark on the fashion world, having discovered numerous supermodels and designers such as Philip Treacy and Alexander McQueen.  Suffering from Bi-Polar disorder, Isabella attempted suicide 7 times before finally succeeding.  In Blow Me, we follow Isabella down the rabbit hole as her life comes to an end, which is only just the beginning of the ride. Isabella retells her own story as only she could remember it, through spectacle.

I had the opportunity to ask playwright Jessica Farr a couple of questions before the play’s debut.

EA: How did you go about approaching what some would consider a dark tale?

JF: When first approaching the story, I knew the public focus would be on her extraordinary pain, which is what made headlines, and became, unfortunately a big part of her legacy. I was more interested in how a person, of great talent and merit, could find themselves in such a conflicted place, not only with themselves, but with their chosen industry and the people they loved. My approach was bent on capturing her point of view throughout her struggles, a point of view which to me, felt very self-effacing, grandiose and humorous. She was a woman with a great sense of humor to go along with her great sense of fashion. However, she also didn’t have the best sense of herself, or her purpose in the world, and that is essentially the conflict the play stems from. Searching for meaning in a life you already lead. It’s haunting. And absurd. And possibly illuminating.

EA: Is there a dark side to the fashion world you are trying to tell audiences about, or is it more about the disorder?

JF: I don’t want to make Isabella a victim. Too often, I witness popular stories with females at the helm being portrayed as the victim or the villain. As if this is progress. Isabella could have been both villain and victim at the same time in her lifetime, but I wanted to focus less on the blame, the labels, and more on how a human being can be stretched so thin they lose sight of their core passions. Bi-Polar disorder is a serious, real thing and ultimately drove Isabella more than anything, into her high highs and low lows. The fashion industry is hard, especially for women. Models still have no union, and women in any position fight tooth and nail for the credibility they deserve. Through tactical coldness, through sexual favors. Isabella in one of her memoirs is mentioned as having been asked by a male counterpart to “fetch tea” for a shoot, a shoot of which she was hired to be head stylist for, and instead found her role being taken over by said counterpart before the day was done and ousted from the project for being ‘difficult’. Grappling with both the fashion industry and Bi-Polar disorder were great hurdles for Isabella to overcome. The play touches on both elements, but ultimately lays her fate in her lap. It’s a dream play, and many questions she asks herself are unanswered, but the questions hang in the air like a heavy dust, that she is meant to sort through.

Courtesy Mad Cat
Courtesy Mad Cat

Show runs from August 15 to September 1, 2013 – 8:00. Performances Thursday to Sunday

General Admission:  $30 and $15 Student with valid ID.

Opening Night:  $50 Includes food and drink at 7:00 pm and show at 8:00 pm.

Service fees apply to all tickets.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.madcattheatre.org  OR

https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/32115 OR by calling OvationTix at 866.811.4111.

Visit www.madcattheatre.org for all information regarding Mad Cat Theatre Company.

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