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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Edinburgh Fringe Fest - Fielding Edlow

What if one day you wake up and you’re like “Uh oh I hate you”? In Gaslighting is My Love Language, award-winning playwright, actress and stand-up comedian Fielding Edlow (Bojack Horseman) brings her autobiographical tale of marital disharmony to the Edinburgh Festival. Unpicking how she and her husband started gaslighting each other from the moment they met in 2006. Each falling into a deeply unhealthy state of what could essentially be coined as “Co-dependent Gaslighting”

Fielding tells us all about what it’s like to continue to work with your husband even when the divorce is final, career highlights and hairy shamans…

This is your debut Fringe, what kind of things are you planning to include in the show?

I’m excited to light up the “Meeting Room” in the Grassmarket venue and it’s a true honour amidst the tartan, textile and candles. My shows in LA are usually in an abandoned shipyard or a broom closet in a mini mall in Tarzana. I’m planning a rollicking 50-minute rollercoaster ride of a derailed 13 ½ year marriage which will include a tsunami of gaslight-y examples and the ways in which I got ensnared in my husband’s mind games and marital hijinks. And then the ways in which I started gaslighting him! Because halfway through our marriage/hostage situation, I realized “my God, these tactics are very effective. So, he would tell me “every guy has porn on their desktop” and I would secretly throw his shorts and hoodies into the dryer to shrink them and “send a message.” Because Larry needed to understand that intermittent fasting was really “intermittent binging.” One lucky audience member will also be acting out a scene from the 1944 Oscar-winning film “Gaslight” with me. He will be playing menacing ‘Gregory’ and I will be playing the perennially confused Ingrid Bergman. I will regale you with how I am a gaslighting prototype even though I have been in multiple 12 step programs, 16 years of therapy (including horse and pillow) and had a weird session with an unlicensed hairy shaman named Leviathan. I’m the kind of person who seems like a strong self-actualized woman but when getting off the phone I still can’t say “bye first.” This show is about a 50-year-old woman who is now raw, unleashed and will hopefully not start dating emotionally unavailable talentless drummers who aren’t even in bands. You may need to sage all of Candlemaker Row after my run has completed…

What’s it like continuing working with your now ex-husband?

Working with my wasband is like doing synchronized swimming every week with your frenemy but on the break you get to watch him now eat healthy and carry around BOOKS… 600 page biographies and ‘the ins and outs of microdosing’. My wasband has dropped 15 pounds and now quotes Desmond Tutu! Where was that guy when I was with him? He couldn’t even get through a BuzzFeed article and when he went to Burger King, they automatically brought him “the lumberjack.” (I am a chubby chaser before you judge me) But working with Larry and not sleeping with Larry is a dream come true. We have always worked wonderfully together and actually do best when there is a camera rolling or we’re doing a “live performance” of Bitter Homes and Gardens. I now bring him his favourite carob granola snack before we have an industry pitch together and when we were married, I would hide all of his carb heavy snacks in crock pots. I would find him at 3am with a miner’s helmet in the backyard shouting “I found the Count Chocula!” I fell in love with my husband’s acting chops and always had a “talent crush” on him. I still feel the same --- although this is hard to admit. There’s nobody I would rather improvise with (except for Tina Fey and maybe the entire SNL casts from 1975-1995)

What was your childhood career dream?

My childhood career dream was to get sprung from my New York City apartment and away from my parents who have a live-in divorce: the only thing they have in common is Bill Maher and almonds. My Mom is a part-time therapist/stay-at-home narcissist, and my Dad is a wall street banker who got a nose job to look like Jack Nicholson. My Dad secretly just had me set up his J-Date (Jewish dating app) profile which reads “I hate people, I just cancelled HBO, but I’m sitting on a pile of cash and I can drive at night.” They told me to “work at Planned Parenthood and marry somebody rich.” I married a balding middle aged character actor who just got a residual check in the mail with nothing in it. Just a note that said “stop acting.” I wrote that note. Eventually my childhood dream was to emulate the solo performer, Eve Ensler and tour autobiographical shows all over the world or at least cities which had decent hot yoga and pistachio fro yo. And then subsequently I put on my vision board, acting as the ‘bisexual best friend with a problem’ in PT Anderson films, TV shows and off-Broadway theatre. I’ll keep you posted. Making a new vision board as we speak that has Marc Jacobs “party boots”, dudes without man buns and having an extended run at Joe’s Pub in New York City. My manager now refers to me as “Jewish Fleabag.”

What’s been a highlight of your career so far?

A highlight of my career was my extended, sold-out run of my debut solo show, Coke Free J.A.P. which was about a mercurial, but charming 22-year-old who was 90 days off coke and going on her first blind date (with a nice guy.) I played uncensored “Sage Saperstein” and feeling the audience’s energy every night and tell me their personal stories after the show was an unforgettable ride. The show became more about connecting and having a human experience than just “getting my laughs.” Even more than the tangible accolades of getting written up in Variety, getting an agent, were the far-reaching effects of trusting myself to take a pause during the show and making those magical discoveries. I never thought I would learn from “Sage” (who was modelled on my most lunatic coke-addled friend at the Neighborhood Playhouse) but she taught me so much about true intimacy rather than spending all your days as a kind of personality magician.

Any pre-show rituals?

My current pre-show rituals are loud breathing like a truffle pig in child’s pose while checking who’s liked my Instagram stories every 3 minutes. And then when I’m eating my small meal of chicken and the skin of a baked potato, I’m obsessing about whether to wear my lucky “key necklace” which makes me look like an 11-year-old latch key kid from the 80’s. Then I call my wasband and tell him that his last tweet is embarrassing, and I need more space. And then he tells me I’m picking a fight because I’m just nervous about the show. I completely agree with him and then he tells me “I can’t be nervous if I just go out on stage and do my job.” And I’m like, OK but my job is to publicly take your spiritual inventory and try not to have the entire audience turn on me. En route to the show, I listen to “Eye of the Tiger” (or “Thunderstruck”) and try not to check my wasband’s Instagram stories for the rest of the night and wonder if I should unfollow him after I’ve followed and unfollowed 19 times during the pandemic. And I never pick up the phone for any triggering friends who say things to me after my show like “you look like you were having a lot of fun up there! Or (patronizing tone) I liked what you did...”

Fielding Edlow: Gaslighting Is My Love Language will be performed at 7.10pm in Just the Tonic at the Grassmarket (The Meeting Room) from 3rd – 13th August



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