Edinburgh Fringe Fest - TINK
Did you know fairies are born big? They were never intended to be such tiny little creatures. That’s not supposed to be their destiny. Tink is a nostalgic, uplifting musical monologue that tackles the modern experience of being female and the societal pressures that come with navigating from child to tween to teen to adult. The story of one shrinking fairy on the path to one crucial question: Why do so many girls who start powerful, big and bold, begin to shrink just as they should be growing?
Show director Lizzy Connolly talks to us about changing the current narrative for young girls, why Gen Z are nailing life and her advice for supporting female voices.
Tink is not an origin story of the Tinker Bell we all know. How would you describe it?
TINK is an imperfect, messy ‘female gaze fairytale’ in all its ugly glory. It’s a modern story of a character who happens to be called Tink navigating her life. It’s set in an alternate universe that resembles today's society which we use to examine the stories we tell our children, the messages that are communicated, and why so many of our little people start huge and shrink as teenagers. Children aren’t born with agendas. Children really shine! They are powerful, unfiltered, and without prejudice and shame.
What was the inspiration behind Tink? Is it a topic that’s close to your heart?
I feel frustrated about how we become the stories people tell us we are, because it informs the way we think about ourselves. In Peter Pan we see women being pitted against each other, the beautiful mother type Wendy and the mini skirt wearing other woman type Tinker Bell. We also see the jealous mermaids all competing for Peter's affections. It made me feel cross. I wanted to change the narrative and not just with a sassy power ballad. Tink is silent, tiny and losing her light. But all of my friends' little girls are huge, loud and sparkly. How do we keep our future little girls big and BOLD? It’s now especially close to our heart because Kat (Performer of TINK) has just had a baby girl Ada and we want her to be told stories of all she can be, not of who she could marry.
One reviewer said ‘Every girl and woman should see this!’ do you agree with that?
Every girl and woman should see this - yes! Please come we love you!!! But we love everyone! We also want dads and brothers to come, we are all the product of the patriarchy and it’s all together we can change our stories. It’s a lot about what we say to each other that reinforces the patriarchy’s narrative. It’s not a blame game, it's a change game. Please women, men, non-binary people, everyone come. It’s about supporting female voices to be loud and not making each other feel small. Come see yourself and your daughter and your pal. And laugh too. It’s funny with funny songs and a good story!! (Just in case it sounds - from what I’ve said - like you're coming to a TED Talk).
Do you think the societal pressures for females are even tougher for Gen Z’s than they were for us millennials?
I think it’s different and I hope we are making waves in some ways. Gen Z are nailing it; they speak up about things and call things out in ways we definitely didn’t. However social media is intensifying the teenage girl experience which is already highly intense. Front-facing cameras make us not look out to the world. Our phones being able to hear our worries and advertising solutions to us the next day. And when your body is changing, and people are making comments, it’s a really vulnerable time. Not to mention the comments are now not just coming from creepy people in the street. They are in your dm’s. I can’t imagine. And as my most ‘beeped at’ time as a woman was when I was walking to school in school uniform, god knows what’s going on in these young gals dm’s. So yes, harder in lots of ways. But these Gen Z female identifying and non-binary people are already making moves and finding their identities and changing their stories and talking about their mental health in ways we never did! Sooooo there is hope… I think Gen Z are gonna do great!
In order to make change, what can women do to support other women, in particular younger ones? And what advice do you have for the men in the room?
Ohhhhh love this question!!! I feel like I answer this in a non-preachy way in the show and anything I say now will sound like I have a quick woke solution, but I would say - listen to what women are saying. They have had to work twice as hard to get their point across because you might have been distracted by her make up or what she’s wearing, and she might be speaking quickly (because she wants to get it all out because she is sure she will be interrupted) or she might undermine the idea as she starts (because if the idea fails she wants you to know she has more). Gals - stand tall. Speak loud. Fly high.
Tink will be performed at 12.55pm in Underbelly Bristo Square (Clover) from 2nd – 20th August