Claire Dowie on...

Feature in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

… Acting

You know tarot cards? I use those a lot, just trying to create human beings rather than people who have affectations and are full of holes. I hate pretence. Every show I’ve done, everybody thought it was autobiographical. If that’s me, what I life I’ve had!

… Queer theatre

I don’t see myself as gay. The queer mould is neither here nor there, but just something else. Most of my plays are about somebody who doesn’t ‘fit’. I hate the separatism of people, I hate all that crap. When I was doing lesbian stand up comedy it was in straight clubs. Why just do it to lesbians? Watching the audience change, then you can see the point.

… Politics

I’m definitely political. And feminist because that makes me angry. I would never join any party. Doing this show [Death and Dancing] years ago, people used to argue with me. It was really quite ‘radical’. People have said to me since, “oh, you must have changed the second half”, but I didn’t, people have caught up.

… Communicating

I’m one of those idiot people that can’t actually speak. Off the top of their heads. I do my show, because I’ve got something to say. If I haven’t got lines that I’ve learnt … I LOVE the smoking ban. You go to parties and you can’t really smoke inside people’s houses cos they’ve gone all funny like that. But if you go into the garden, there’s just one person, and you can talk about smoking.

… Being normal

Hippies! Why did they become mainstream? We had this brilliant opportunity to change the world. “No, we wanna be like the normal people”. What’s the ‘normal people’, the establishment? Who wants to be like the establishment?

… Vocation

It doesn’t make sense to me as a person, to go to work, get paid for doing a job you don’t particularly want to do: getting a mortgage; being in debt. There’s some fabulous human beings doing some fabulous things. There are people who are coming home and they do their allotment. And they love their allotment. And you’re thinking, ‘Why don’t they do that all the time?’ I got this theory, that if you got rid of wages the world would carry on turning. People would still enjoy being sewer workers I bet ya, because some people just love shit.

Claire Dowie is a writer and performer of ‘stand-up theatre’, and has several plays in print including Death and Dancing, Why is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt?, Leaking from Every Orifice and Adult Child/Dead Child. Her new script, What Shall We Do With Mother? Was given a rehearsed reading at The Drill Hall in November 2007.

Laura Lloyd interviewed Claire Dowie at Drill Hall during the run of Death and Dancing, November 2007.

Referenced Artists

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 14