[3 minute read]
The Patient Gloria is a rambunctious, punky, attitude-filled production, based on a real story with huge implications for the public perception of female sexual desire.
Writer and performer Gina Moxley (who is also directing Spliced and may be the busiest woman in Edinburgh in August) takes on our 10 Questions and reveals her most memorable theatre experience, how Fiona Shaw changed her life and how a simple question from a child ended up as The Patient Gloria.
1. The Patient Gloria is based on Three Approaches to Psychotherapy (also known as The Gloria Films). Could you give us a bit of background on what the film was about and what your first reaction it was?
The films were made in 1964 with three eminent therapists interviewing the same patient – a loquacious chain-smoking divorcee called Gloria. It was the first time a private process like this was seen on screen. A precursor of reality TV. Gloria’s ‘problem’ was her desire. She was getting back out there and hooking up with various men but was riddled with guilt.
Her nine-year-old daughter had asked “Mommy did you ever go to bed with anyone besides Daddy?” and this exchange became central to the therapy sessions. A friend introduced me to the films and I was intrigued by Gloria and how she changes in relation to the therapists. The straining for authenticity. And I found their approaches had great theatrical and sometimes hilarious possibilities.
2. Why did you feel compelled to turn it into a theatre piece and how does it differ from the films?
The theatre piece is way bolder and funnier than the films. The idea gnawed away at me for some time. I wanted to do something around women and sex but wasn’t sure how. Then we found ourselves in the realm of pussy-grabbing presidents and it all began to fall into place. Same as it ever was. We use versions of Gloria’s encounters with the therapists ruptured by meditations on guilt and women’s lived experience. And a lot of talk about dicks.
3. How did you find the writing process?
Like shitting a bungalow.
4. What can audiences expect from The Patient Gloria?
Boldness, smartness, couldn’t give a fuckness.
5. Do you have a favourite line or moment in the play?
The line – I mean, I’d like to say ‘Gee, I’d like you for a father’ precipitates a sequence that ends in a great sight gag. A sort of rebirth.
6. Can you tell us about your writing environment?
7. As well as writing and performing in The Patient Gloria, you’re also directing Spliced – can you tell us a bit about Spliced?
Spliced is a one man show about about a crisis of masculinity. I tell you, I am covering all bases here. Writer/performer Timmy Creed grew up playing hurling – one of our national games – in an almost cultishly male environment. He had to extricate himself from the club to find who he really was. Snowboarding and joining Jessica Alba for a smoke was part of the purge. It’s a gorgeous and tender call to arms to young men unable to express themselves.
8. Who or what had the greatest impact on your decision to become a theatremaker?
My plan had been to be an artist. At Art School I saw Fiona Shaw in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds and thought bloody hell, that looks way more crack than painting. Since then it’s been an improvised life. Eventually getting to perform and write for Pan Pan Theatre has been what defined me.
9. Can you tell us about the first play you wrote and what advice would you give to your younger playwriting self?
I had acted with Rough Magic Theatre when they asked me to write a play for them, which struck me as utter madness. It is very flattering to be asked to write a play – particularly if you’ve never done it before. They gave me money and I did nothing for a very long time. It was agony trying to make myself write. I didn’t know how. Finally, I wrote Danti-Dan in a shortish burst. I would tell my younger self - It’s always going to be like this. Get used to it. There is no ‘how’.
10. What has been your most memorable theatre experience – either as a member of the audience, or as part of the creative team?
As an audience member I was blown away by Complicité’s The Encounter which I saw in Edinburgh a few years back. The closest thing to a drug I’ve ever experienced in a theatre. Binaural audio, a few water bottles and Simon McBurney – stunning. As an actor it was a chaotic situation that arose during a Pan Pan show, Oedipus Loves You, at The Arches in Glasgow. Oedipus put on his gouged out eyes arseways and walked off the stage towards a wheelchair bound woman and her drunk husband. It’d take a few drinks to tell the whole story but it was memorable all right.
The Patient Gloria runs at the Traverse from 3 – 25 Aug (ex. Mondays).