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Millie Haldane - A Perfectly Average Glimpse Into A Perfectly Average Day Interview

This is a theatre event unlike others. Featuring five original monologues, Millie Haldane writes characters that represent average, ordinary people, and details the not-so average, and slightly unusual about each of their lives. A swimming teacher who fantasises about drowning the children, a young man juggling three phone calls, and a best man whose speech takes a slightly different angle from love are just a few of the characters you will meet in this show.

Each monologue has been created following a conversation between writer and actor. It is a collaborative process that allows both writer and performer to be passionate about the work they are presenting, and the unique character they are portraying.

Inspired by the works of Alan Bennett, and the concept of sonder, A Perfectly Average Glimpse Into A Perfectly Average Day explores the individual lives we all lead, tackling topics ranging from reluctant motherhood, loss of identity, to just wanting to teach your neighbours how to play chess.

I caught up with Millie ahead of the show playing at the Edinburgh Fringe at Zoo Playground 2.

What inspired you to create the piece?
Growing up I was a big fan of Alan Bennett, and was given a copy of Talking Heads when I was about 16. I loved that he created characters that seemed so ordinary. There were no great flashes of emotion or some big event that turned them into overblown heroes, but just everyday people I could relate to. When I got older I took at Playwriting module at my University, St Andrews, where I was taught by Zinnie Harris and Olly Emmanuel. We learnt about the art of the monologue, and I really fell in love with the way that you can create a fully fleshed out character from the simplest of prompts. I kept harking back to Bennett and decided I wanted to create a series of monologues that showcased ordinary people who were having rather unordinary days.

How did you approach developing the show leading up to the point of playing at the Fringe?
I'm lucky to have an unbelievably talented team of actors behind me. We created the monologues together, in that I asked them to describe a type of character they wanted to play, an emotion they wanted to portray or even just a scenario they wanted to talk about, and each of their characters were born. From this, as we rehearsed ahead of our show in St Andrews we were able to expand and change the writing based on both of our opinions. Following the show, I used the audience's reception of each character to develop their stories. I find that this process of collaboration with others' opinions really helps me with my writing.

How did you settle on which characters to focus the piece on?
I had a collection of ten monologues to start with, and I knew I had a 50-minute slot. This obviously meant choosing only 5 of the 10-minute monologues. It was hard, but ultimately I went for the five most different ones. The first monologue is an explosion of anger from a young man towards his distant, changing father, and so I knew I wanted the second to be slower in pace, volume and even content. This process of comparison across the board meant that I ended up with five completely different characters on stage, whose stories compliment each other because they are so different. It also helps that I think they're the best showcase of my writing, as well as really enjoying the actors' takes on them.

You develop text alongside the actor, how important was that for you so they are passionate about the character they represent?
Looking back on the entire process of writing to rehearsing to developing to performing, the collaboration between myself and the actor is non-negotiable. Like I said, these actors are incredibly talented, and in allowing them to play a part in the creation of a character, I really notice them become the character. It also makes the rehearsal process a lot easier. I know the way they all act, so I can play to their strengths and they have a real grasp of the sub-text within a few runs of the script.

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing the show?
I'd really love for the audience to be inspired by the performances, and to reflect on the topics we touch on. The characters are close to the bone in so many different ways, and I want the audience to enjoy and relate to what they see before them, and maybe even start a conversation about the ways that we communicate our feelings.

Can you describe the show in 3 words?
(An) uncomfortably comedic explosion.

A Perfectly Average Glimpse Into A Perfectly Average Day plays at Zoo Playground 2 at the Edinburgh Fringe from

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