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Larisa Faber - Stark bollock Naked Interview

Inspired by Larisa Faber’s own experiences, stark bollock naked takes a frank but funny look at abortion and the pressure of the biological clock. The international hit about women’s reproductive shelf life is live-scored using gynaecological instruments.

stark bollock naked is a two-hander with one naked performer, whose body is used as a projection space for video mapping. Our bodies are used as projection spaces by advertising, education, society, social media every day. Those constant projections influence how we shape our identities and how we feel about our bodies.

Then again, where does personal choice end and biological programming begin? How much of the mind do we govern and how much is really for us to decide? In a society where so much currency is given to the brain and to rationality, so little of that is truly within our control.

Larisa Faber comments, If images of sanitised births and sacralised motherhoods hadn’t been all around us – would I still have felt the pressure of the biological clock? Or is that pressure innate, biological? In a world that prizes individualism, where does free will end and biology begin? I believe that these issues are central to the Millennial Generation – a generation that is now coming into their 30s and 40s in an unstable world, where the cornerstones of previous generations – a family, a stable job, an affordable home – belong to a mythical past.

Ahead of the Edinburgh Fringe I speak to Larisa Faber to discuss the show in more detail.

Photo by Jeannine Unsen

What inspired you to write your piece?
Turning 30. Feeling that time is running out, feeling that women can't, actually, have it "all". Being confused about whether I want to have children or not, trying to unpick that pressure to conceive. My abortion experience and the stigma I faced from medical professionals.
Have did you approach writing the piece?
The writing was triggered by a commission: I was given the opportunity to write a piece of any genre, any topic. I only had a submission deadline for publication. That deadline made all the disparate pieces in my mind come together and I wrote the first draft in a few days. Ironic: the pressure to write ended up making sense of the pressure to conceive!

Was it a challenge centring the show around abortion and making something that will still make audiences laugh?
No. But maybe I have a weird sense of humour. I guess the humour is also rooted in my background: I was born during the Communist dictatorship in Romania. Humour was one of the only survival mechanisms left under oppression. If you've got no human rights, no basics covered, humour sees you through the day. Anything can be viewed from a humorous angle. The silly is political.

Photo by Jeannine Unsen

The show uses a naked body that is projected on, how did you approach this and what message did you want to give by doing this?
 The body as projection space for video mapping was there from the very beginning, it's in the writing. If you're female, think about all the crap that's being projected onto us and how that conditions us: how we're supposed to look, to behave. What we're supposed to do with our bodies. I took that literally and subverted it: might as well use my own body to project whatever I want onto it. It's a way of reclaiming the body, of making fun of societal expectations and norms. 

What do you want an audience member to take away from seeing the show?
If they've ever felt this pressure, felt the metal sharpness of the speculum (we use it in our soundscape of gyno instruments!), I hope they feel empowered, seen, less alone. I hope people have a good time, a healing time. And I'd love for them to be inspired by our storytelling tools: the mapping, the gyno instruments, the tampon pom poms. They're silly, but they also carry a deeper meaning about how we view our body. 

What performances/shows have inspired you?
Rosa Garland's Trash Salad, RashDash's Three Sisters, ArinzĂ© Kene's Misty, Julia Masli's Choosh! and Eloina's High Stakes. 

Can you describe the show in 3 words?
Speculum liberation now.

Stark bollock naked plays at Assembly Roxy (Downstairs) at the Edinburgh Fringe from Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2023 (not 8th, 15th, 22nd), 15:10 Relaxed: Wednesday 9th, Wednesday 16th and Wednesday 23rd August. Tickets are available from

Photo by Jeannine Unsen

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