I was lucky enough to see an advance preview of Mucking Fuddles’ Dirty Bitches at Kardomah in Hull before I jetted off to Paris for my hols. Women of Words pal Lynda Harrison is at the heart of this beautiful, gritty, and well-researched play. She not only wrote it, sang the gorgeous song at the opening, and performed in it, but she also formed the diverse and ever-expanding theatre group herself. Dirty Bitches also took its glorious backside up to Edinburgh Festival…
As the lights came up, a hush settled over the intimate space of Kardmoah’s theatre in Hull, and we were witness to a dark tale of broken dreams and stolen purity. But there is so much more to the two ‘bitches’ who have been brought together by a curious coincidence, and who bond as they wait to be ‘picked up.’ Weaved into the darkness are spatters of comic delight (Harrison is a natural comedian) and moments of acute tenderness. I left the venue in a hazy glow.
Afterwards, I caught up with Lynda, full of questions…
The song that opens your play is beautiful. Did you write it? Tell us about it.
No! The credit belongs to the wonderful Mr. Cole Porter“Love for Sale” is from the musical The New Yorkers which opened on Broadway on December 8, 1930 and closed in May 1931 after 168 performances. The song is written from the viewpoint of a prostitute advertising “love for sale”: Old love, new love, every love but true love.
What inspired you to initially write Dirty Bitches?
The inspiration for this writing arose when I was working in a department store and spent my lunch and break times chatting with other female employees. Light-hearted banter would more than often include the subject of sex; and it became apparent that some married women were using sex as a bargaining tool for either material or emotional gain, accepting this as the ‘norm’. I asked the question “Could this form of barter be regarded as prostitution?” … and so began my research into this age-old industry.
Tell us about the process.
I contacted LIGHTHOUSE, a local charity who support street-workers, ex prostitutes and women who are/have been victims of abuse. They were very helpful and have in fact supported me throughout the process of writing and producing my play. I recorded interviews with them and an ex street-worker who generously allowed me to use her narrative in my play.
How hard was it getting it on to the stage?
Not hard at all. I have been producing plays for almost ten years and am used to the process of getting ‘stuff on stage’. Of course, there is the process of casting the right people for the parts but again I’m used to this and often I write with particular actors in mind.
What was it like performing at Edinburgh Festival?
Exhausting, nerve wracking and rewarding, all at the same time. There is so much talent there and it was a massive privilege to be part of this seventy year old festival. I am considering next year…watch this space!
How long has Mucking Fuddles Theatre group been going? Who does it involve? What do you have in the pipeline for the future?
I formed The Mucking Fuddles around three years ago. We have eleven players who ‘dip’ in and out as required. Alongside plays, we also do comedy sketch shows and often raise money for charities. The future for me involves writing, writing and writing. I am currently excited about an idea I have for a play inspired by the old song ‘Don’t put your Daughter on the Stage Mrs. Worthington’. Comedy of course, and destined for Edinburgh…