Long long ago, in 2006, I wrote a version of Rapunzel for my then tiny daughters. Emma Rice, then from Kneehigh, read it and decided to put it on. Finding a Rapunzel was tricky. In those days, the noughties, when Queen Katie Price was at the height of her powers and it was pretty normal to see female children wearing Daddy’s Little Princess diamante t shirts and all toys were gendered and all girls’ clothes were pink, in those times long long ago before social media, MeToo and CarolineCriadoPerez and the new generation put intersectional feminism, along with several other pressing intersectional concerns,firmly back into the conversation, it felt like retrograde times for women, for feminism, for the world and I needed to do something to rebalance this.
My Rapunzel needed to be swarthy, earthy, fiery, funny, soulful, wild, and intelligent. She was a representation of how I wanted my daughters to meet the world, a representation of an idealised me. Emma said to me, oh, I’ve found Rapunzel, she’s a Canadian Jewish circus performer and clown called Edith Tankus, and she showed me a picture of her on a trapeze, and I was like YES YES YES.
So that’s how I met Edith and how we became firm friends. She is one of my absolute favourites. A sister.
So now, 12 years later, Edith has travelled huge literal and metaphorical distances. She’s moved from urban Canada to rural Kent, married an English man, had two children, and tried to keep the art going, the art growing, in amongst all of this. And Wild Country, which is a show we’ve been working on for a year, is an examination and interrogation of this, in classic Eeds style which is charming, funny, astute, and delicious. You can see the very first scratch showing of this on 15/16 Feb at BAC and you really should.