Next up in our Spotlight feature is Quarter Life Crisis, which plays Edinburgh Festival from 3 – 27 August 2017. I caught up with writer and actor Yolanda Mercy:
Describe your show in three words.
Relatable, funny and thought-provoking.
Is this your first Edinburgh Fringe performance experience?
I am soooooooo excited with a little bit of stress, because there is so much to do… From redrafts, learning lines and sending out invites.
Who else are you most looking forward to seeing while at the Fringe?
I am super excited about seeing Elsa (by Isobel Rogers) and Dust (by Milly Thomas).
How do you feel to be performing at Underbelly Cowgate?
To be honest, this is a huge dream come true. When I first saw a show at the fringe it was at Underbelly Cowgate. I feel like I spent three days straight there. I remember thinking “one day I’d love to perform here”. I didn’t know how, or when but I knew that was something I really wanted…. two years later and my dream came true. When I found out Underbelly accepted my show and also gave me their Untapped Award I literally read that email 56 times to make sure it was actually for me…. I literally couldn’t stop smiling. I remember sitting in rehearsals for a show that I was working on at The Globe and I had the BIGGEST smile on my face… the team must have thought I was crazy…
Who or what are your inspirations?
I know it may sound cliché but I’d say my family, those alive and dead. Doing Quarter Life Crisis allowed me to delve more into my Nigerian heritage, and it made me think A LOT. Me living the UK, and calling theatre my profession was the result of my ancestors hard work. They came over from Nigeria in the 50s and 60s which would have been a really tough time in British history. Looking at British history I know they must have faced adversity but clearly found ways to overcoming (cause I am the product of their strength). I feel so blessed that they fought really hard so that I can live the life that I have now.
What is your secret to surviving the intense, fast pace of the fringe?
Well I’d have to say practicing meditation. I have been practising meditation for over two years. Having 10-20mins to my self everyday does me wonders. I just shut off the noise from the world and just sit in quite. I LOVE IT.
I will also combine this with some yoga during the fringe, which I think will help me feel more rooted…. I’m creating my yoga playlist as we speak.
What are the future plans for your show?
I really want to tour Quarter Life Crisis. We already have some venues who want it in autumn, and I’d love to tour more into Spring-Autumn 2018…. Basically world domination…
What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?
I would say Barbershop Chronicles (at the National Theatre). The music, the story and the actors were 10 out of 10.
Is there anything else you want to highlight about your show/ theatre company/ production?
I am really proud of my team. We have worked so hard and I’m super excited about sharing the fringe with them. No shade, but especially my musician Luay Eljamal. Luay is from Canada and told me that when he was at university (in Canada) a show which he directed won a competition to take the piece to the Edinburgh fringe; sadly because he was graduating that year the Uni couldn’t pay for him to go. So going to the fringe this year is also his dream come true.