Now touring the revival of her one-woman show Fallen Fruit, written in 2010, Katherina Radeva tells Ruth Comerford how the piece was inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall…
What inspired you to revive Fallen Fruit?
It is the very first show I made back in 2010 with my theatre company Two Destination Language. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall had just happened, and I was looking back at my childhood memories. It was first written 10 years ago – Bulgaria had just become part of the EU. About a year and half ago, Alister Lownie [co-producer at Two Destination Language] and I were planning our next five years and the work we wanted to make, and what I wanted to do was reshape the show for 2019. This year is the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall. It’s quite interesting because just as Europe is going to celebrate the occasion, Britain is doing Brexit. As one place is celebrating the dismantling of a wall, others are going up. It felt like a really important moment to look at the work again.
Has the reception of the piece changed?
When I first performed 10 years ago, I was an emerging maker so people were very sweet, whereas now it hits harder. Not because the material has changed, but because of the political situation, with people on different sides of the divide. The conversations I have with audiences after the show are extraordinary – they are longer than the show. It’s hard hitting.
What kind of work does Two Destination Language produce?
Identity and belonging are hugely important to us. We as humans change, culture changes, nothing stays still and we want to explore that. It’s about the bits that fall between the cracks, the things we understand, the things that language fails to describe very well, so emotion and gesture take over. I am really interested in finding my place in this world. I don’t think you can ever settle, or I don’t feel like I can. The socio-political situation changes daily; it’s about forever retracing a map, and maps do change.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline?
We open a new show in February, our most ambitious work, working with five women of diverse heritage in an ensemble piece, Fault Lines, part of the Manipulate Festival in Edinburgh. There is also another solo piece called Lone Wolf in 2020, which takes place in public spaces. Quite a political piece.
What advice would you give to emerging multi-disciplinary artists?
As an artist, if you feel like your voice is leading you in a different direction, follow it. It isn’t easy. But the compromises I made are beginning to pay off. I am shaping my own little area, and there are many people in the history of art and theatre who have crossed boundaries – didn’t David Hockney design sets? I like working with artistic people who have a more interdisciplinary way of thinking. People know me as an amalgamation of things. I am good with that.
Training: BA (hons) in Set and Costume Design, Wimbledon School of Art (2001-04)
First professional role: performer and design assistant at Geraldine Pilgrim’s SPA at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in London (2003)