An Interview with Rosie Wilby

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THE MUMBLE : Hi Rosie, so you’re coming back to Edinburgh, what do you think of the city?
ROSIE : It’s a beautiful place. It’s really interesting to come up outside of August and see how peaceful it is at non-Fringe time. I noticed that when I was up for the science festival before.

THE MUMBLE : You have performed in an incredible amount of places over the years – you must love to travel
ROSIE : It’s part of the comedian’s life. I travel on the train so that I can work and write. The journey up to Edinburgh is an inspiring one as there’s that beautiful coastal section. It’s safest for the world if I don’t get behind the wheel of a car.

IMG_0212.JPGTHE MUMBLE : You also have a literary turn, & last year you were the only UK writer selected for the 2016 LAMBDA writers’ retreat at the University of Southern California. Can you tell us about the experience 
In 2016, I got myself a literary agent and a publisher. My nonfiction debut Is Monogamy Dead is out in July with Accent Press. It’s loosely based on the research I did for my 2013 Edinburgh show which I performed at Assembly Hall. I did a survey asking ‘what counts as cheating?’ The answers were intriguing and set me on a path of writing and thinking more deeply about love, friendship, sex and all of that tangly emotional stuff. I was delighted to get accepted on the writers retreat. I took what I thought was the opening of the book. It turned out to be the opening of the middle bit instead. I wrote the new prologue in my head whilst swimming up and down in the pool at University of Southern California – quite possibly the best pool in the world.

THE MUMBLE : What does Rosie Wilby like to do when she’s not being, well, creative
ROSIE : There’s not much time. But the normal things… I recently binge-watched Stranger Things with my girlfriend. I do love TV and films. I was always a big Homeland fan but I’m really undecided about this latest series.


THE MUMBLE : So you’re about to bring THE CONSCIOUS UNCOUPLING to the Edinburgh International Science Festival – how did that come about.
ROSIE : I love the festival. I was part of a panel discussion on monogamy in 2015. So when they did a callout for 2017, I thought ‘I’m in’. This is a special performance with the added bonus of a post-show discussion with my friend Qazi Rahman of Kings College, London. Can you tell us about the show It’s the final part of my trilogy of shows about relationships. So it made sense to look at endings. Rather than do a funny lecture format, I wanted to deliberately create an artistic piece of storytelling theatre that was subtly informed by all the things I’d read about the psychology of love. In it, I interweave sections of nostalgic memoir with breakup emails, comedy, Richard Hawley music and the visits of three ghosts from our romantic past, present and future. A nonlinear structure means that the section about the start of the relationship is bittersweet. We already know it ended.

THE MUMBLE : What inspired you to create such an interesting, quite cutting edge piece
ROSIE : I‘m glad it’s still timely in 2017. I wrote it in early 2016 but couldn’t do Edinburgh last year because I was in LA at the writers retreat. It was inspired by re-reading the breakup email I received in early January 2011. It stayed at the bottom of my inbox and I decided, five years on, to revisit it. As I say in the show, I felt better about it once I’d corrected her spelling and punctuation. And changed the font.


THE MUMBLE : You’ll be bringing it back to Edinburgh Fringe this August, what are the details
ROSIE : It’ll be in The Loft at The Counting House daily at 18.30 from the 3rd – 27th. I’m also hosting The Breakup Monologues in the same venue at 12.15 for the first week. It’s a chat show where I’ll be asking other acts about their breakup stories.

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