Edinburgh Fringe Fest - Please Love Me
Please Love Me is an all-singing, pole-dancing, one-woman tragi-comic spectacle set to a soundtrack of 2000s clubland-style original songs. A first love, second heartbreak, and third piece of cake lead a naughty teenager to question if she can ever be a "good woman". And what the hell that even means. Seamlessly blending silly comedy and provocative art, Please Love Me explores themes of morality, feminine strength and the difference between love and validation.
We spoke to writer and star of Please Love Me, Clementine Bogg-Hargroves about her foray into pole-dancing, the evolution of her solo shows and her hopes for the future of Please Love Me.
Please Love Me is about a teenage girl making all of her first mistakes. Where did the idea come from?
Well! It’s all about ME! I’m a miniscule baby when it comes to the craft of writing so I’m still mining my own personal history for inspiration when creating shows. Sat in front of my laptop, dredging up all the juicy mistakes, the wake-you-up-in-a-cold-sweat-at-3:15am cringe interactions, the heartache, the confusion, the revelations and, hopefully, some joy too.
Please Love Me is based on a few key events from my teenage years; getting pregnant with my first boyfriend’s baby, the intense relationship I had with my best friend and becoming a stripper, and how they subconsciously shaped what I saw as my worth as a girl and a woman in the world.
Audiences may know you for your previous hit show SKANK. How does Please Love Me differ?
SKANK was born out of ‘how can I perform in a cafe tomorrow?’, and so it needed to be minimal in both set and tech. (The age-old ‘I’ve left drama school and no-one cares. Oh, and where’s my BAFTA?’) But we were very lucky in receiving Arts Council funding for the development of Please Love Me, and so I was able to let my imagination run wild(ish) when it came to production value. We’re talking a light and sound designer, as well as a portable pole with a safe and crazy heavy base for me to throw myself around.
So to answer your question, Please Love Me has more jazz-hands and spandangle when it comes to the tech and set in comparison to SKANK, but we’ve also pushed ourselves in terms of the style of the piece - we have been more experimental with storytelling, using different methods such as dance and song whilst SKANK had more of a naturalistic vibe.
Is Please Love Me autobiographical?
Oh dear, I think I’ve jumped the gun and already answered this one in the first question! Never mind! Yes and no, the inspiration for the show is rooted in certain elements of my past, however we have altered bits and pieces as well as added plain old fiction to make the story cohesive and dramatic enough to be worthy of people’s time and money. But the core elements of the show are based on truth. Or are they? … No, yeah they are. Or are they…? So bloody mysterious.
There’s pole dancing in the show, have you recovered from your injury you sustained earlier this year in rehearsals?
There is pole dancing in the show! And yes, it is an interesting choice considering I only started to pole dance at the end of last year! But where there’s a will, there might be a way but there is also a high chance of failure. Come to the show to find out which!
And yes, the injury that I sustained in March was quite a blow as I could barely move my arm for a month. I basically spent March in bed feeling incredibly sorry for myself. I didn’t know whether I’d be able to go back to training in time to make the show work in August, it was all very upsetting and stressful! As a team, we decided to leave it till the end of May before making any big decisions and luckily my shoulder improved enough for me to get back on the pole. So all being well I’ll be performing my pole routines in a sweaty, sweaty room come EdFringe! But I mean, it’s so hard! The bruising, the climbing and the constant thigh chafing. I have so much respect for anyone who does it, I don’t understand why it isn’t an Olympic Sport! It’d be phenomenal to watch. And the outfits! Imagine. It’d be so good.
You have so many 4 and 5 star reviews for your work and audiences love it – what’s the future plans for Please Love Me?
Well that’s very nice of you to say! Hopefully audiences will respond to Please Love Me in Edinburgh, I think that’s our main focus at the moment, we want to make the best show we can for everyone who’s going to come and see us at the Fringe. In terms of future plans, we’d of course love to tour the show after August but that depends on funding at this stage… I’m also working on a book based on the events in Please Love Me so if that could get published that would be great haha! Know anyone?
Please Love Me will be performed at 8.20pm in Pleasance Dome (Ace Dome) from 2nd – 26th August (Not 7th, 14th or 21st)