Who? Clara Bijl
What? Internationally Unknown
Where? Just the Tonic at The Mash House – Just The Bottle Room (Venue 288)
What are your feelings as you enter into this year’s Edinburgh Fringe season?
I spend July in France hanging out with my kids and visiting with my mother and my sister. While in France, I catch up on books and on wine and on sleep so that I can be ready to have a great Fringe and have a good time while I’m in Edinburgh. I’m bringing a new show to the Fringe this year and I’m really excited to see how it’ll play out.
What is the premise of your Edinburgh show this year?
In this show, I talk about being French and American, about being Iraqi and having a Dutch last name. Adding to that, I went to schools in Germany, Switzerland and South Carolina. The show is primarily about my personal journey of cultural identity. Along the way, I talk about having kids and being in a relationship, relatives, refugees, school, shoes, ketchup and seat belts.
What is the biggest obstacle you face(d) while putting this show together?
The biggest obstacle was actually putting it together, writing the jokes and coming up with material. I decided to do Edinburgh 2019 after I left Edinburgh 2018, and I gave myself the goal of writing a brand new hour. I told myself I’d start working on it ASAP and because I’m great at procrastinating, I didn’t. So the last few months have been a bit stressful but it’s been exciting to see this whole thing shape up.
Has your attitude towards the Fringe changed at all in recent years?
Before coming to the Fringe, I was afraid of it because I had heard horror stories about the festival, about how no one was ever going to come see my show, about how difficult it was to stand out and about how it was crazy to even try to do Fringe because it would be a waste of time. And then, last year, I did the Fringe for the first time and I loved it. I had a great time which is why I’m doing it again this year. There is a lesson here somewhere…
Do you have any other Edinburgh show recommendations?
I went to see a bunch of shows last year and school productions, independent actors and producers, things I’d never heard of before. I saw some very interesting stuff. I was stunned by the amount of energy, creativity and fearlessness each production brought in their work. I look forward to seeing that again this year. Check with me after the first few days and I’ll probably have some stuff to recommend.
Where would you like to be in a year’s time?
I think same place where I am right now, I’d like to do Fringe again next year. It was a great motivator for me to write a bunch of new material and put it together and try new jokes. I look forward to doing this again next year.