Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Who Are You Supposed To Be?
Who Are You Supposed To Be?, C venues – C aquila, 14 to 26 August 3:40pm, £9.50 (£7.50/£5.50 concessions)
Actor Jennifer Lusk wants to know why she can’t play the Doctor in the BBC science fiction series, Doctor Who.
“The Doctor is an alien with two hearts. Why can’t she be an alien with two hearts and two breasts, “ she said. Lusk will star in a rom com set at a science fiction convention called Who Are You Supposed To Be?
Co-star Cameron K McEwan, better known in Doctor Who fan circles as the owner of “Blogtor Who” agrees. “Don’t we all want to be the Doctor? Maybe it’s time for a woman to take the mantle. That’s part of what the play addresses.”
Originally conceived as a tribute to fans in the 50th Anniversary year of Doctor Who, the play’s themes became more relevant on the announcement of Matt Smith’s departure earlier in the month.
“Once Matt Smith and the BBC had made their official announcement, the first thing declared by the tabloids is that he would be replaced by a woman,” said Who Are You Supposed To Be? writer, Keith Gow. “And the online discussions quickly mirrored the conflict in the play. Jen’s character likes to dress up as the Doctor. Cameron’s character doesn’t want a woman, because of tradition.”
The show isn’t just about a woman playing the Doctor, though. It is, at its core, a love story where the characters initially bond over pop culture references. As well as love, the show also tackles the issue of anxiety – and how we cope outside our comfort zones.
“It was important to us that the show wasn’t just about Doctor Who jokes or Batman references. We’ve all got different sides and I wanted to make sure the show captured that,” said Gow. “It would be easy to make a show that relies on in-jokes, but we definitely want to appeal to everyone. So it’s for people who fall in love, people who have awkward moments. All of us.”
Lusk and McEwan are about to begin rehearsals on the play, which they hope to tour after the thirteen-show run at Edinburgh Fringe. Two months out from the premiere, they are also trying to raise a little bit more money for costumes and publicity.
“My character, Ash, is dressed up as Peter Davison’s Doctor throughout the show. We need money to get that costume right. That’s her character – she likes to dress up! She spends hours making these costumes. The show needs to get that right,” Lusk explains.
“I get to dress up late in the show as well,” said McEwan. “But I can’t tell you who I dress as. As River Song is so fond of saying, ‘Spoilers!’”
With a decision on who will replace Matt Smith still pending, are the creators of this World Premiere romantic comedy about fans and fandom worried that the BBC might be bold and actually cast a woman in the role? Would that change the show?
“Writing is re-writing,” joked Lusk. “If we have to make a change, we’ll be fine. But I think the argument might go on well after an announcement is made. Besides, if the BBC is so bold as to cast a woman as the Doctor, the most important thing is that little girls watching the show can look up and start to believe they could be the Doctor, too.”