As the debut show under the newly established Izzy Parriss Productions, Dear Little Loz has taken to the Edinburgh Fringe to tell a story of how our childhood relationships go on to affect future romantic ones, as Loz tries dating some interesting characters.
Both Izzy, the director/producer of the show, as well as Lauren, the writer/performer, have answered a few questions to expand on this.
Please can you tell us a bit about Dear Little Loz, and what to expect?
Izzy: Dear Little Loz is writer-performer Lauren-Nicole Mayes’ Edinburgh Fringe debut solo show which mixes prose and freeform poetry. Set in Blackpool, the time-hopping, semi-autobiographical show follows the protagonist, Loz, through navigating scabby boys in Blackpool, dodgy dates with Dave and a complex daddy-daughter relationship on her journey of examining her attitude to men, to love, and to herself.
Lauren: Dear Little Loz is a mixture of verse and freeform poetry. The premise of the show starts as we witness Loz on a familiarly disappointing first date; this prompts her to look at what she believes she wants, needs and deserves from men and the belief system she has built to support that. Exploring attachment theories and the ability to re-write her own story, Loz looks at her relationship to the word ‘Love’ and why and where that all began. You should expect a show that is honest, raw, witty and spicy!
Where did the concept for the show come from, and do you feel it will be a relatable story to others?
Izzy: The idea for the show came from a monologue commission Lauren did for Burn Bright which was about writing a letter to your younger self. It was this monologue that caught my interest and inspired Lauren and I to develop Dear Little Loz into a 45 minute Fringe show. I think it is a very relatable story, regardless of your age or gender-identification, which explores themes of love and attachment which we hope will resonate with our audiences and will strike cords with peoples own personal experiences.
Lauren: I was inspired to write the piece after an early writing commission from Burn Bright Theatre Company: they asked me to speak about ‘What I could have said, should have said and would say now’. This prompted me to look at the younger version of ourselves and what, with hindsight and a new perspective, I would reiterate to the younger me. Often hard hitting subject matters are difficult to approach. I wanted Dear Little Loz to be full of wit and compassion- it’s healthy to be able to laugh and cry at the things we once believed were acceptable and inspired by the events that have led us to change. I believe the story is extremely relatable in terms of subject matter and the way in which the audience watches Loz explore her identity and self worth. We could all learn something from Loz.
How was the writing process, and when developing a solo show, how does it feel to be creating the part for yourself to perform?
Lauren: The writing process was at times extremely difficult as well as therapeutic. I think when developing a solo show but working with outside creatives, you have to be firm in your voice and your stance as a writer. It is your baby and you have analysed every part of it. What you feel most strongly about must shine through and at the same time, if your instinct is to tell the story from a different perspective ( i.e in the re-draft stage) you must stand by this as it is your story, and that morally for me matters most, regardless of whether the other creatives in the process want something else. I think ultimately you can't write or develop a show to please other creatives or for validation, you must stay true to your own values and voice. That will always shine through and create the most authentic and relatable show.
Izzy: I was very grateful to be involved along the way and read each draft. It was a collaborative process and we had in depth discussions after each draft on how to develop it further followed by multiple zoom reads and script edits over zoom before we started rehearsals in late July. We continued to make little tweaks to the script throughout the rehearsal process also as some things are clearer once the show is up and on it’s feet compared to on the page.
The piece is described as 'poetic'- which parts are reminiscent of this, and why? Lauren: For me, I love to play around with rhythms to connect to where the character is at mentally in their journey. Therefore as the story advances and we explore some more hard hitting subject matters, the character of Loz's rhythms change and the poetic element and free form poetry style is explored and played with, allowing the story to reach a climactic point.
Izzy: Lauren writes a lot of poetry and a lot of her work is inspired by spoken word. Dear Little Loz combines pose and freeform poetry in Lauren’s unique style throughout the play. We believe that through this style, we can tell Loz’s story in the most effective and compelling way.
Lots of shows explore love as a general topic, but what makes yours unique? Izzy: Dear Little Loz specifically explores love in relation to attachment and the attachments we form as a child, and how these attachments form the adults we become. Love is the most universal of themes and I think that is why most plays (in my opinion) explore the theme of love in some way or another. I find it fascinating.
Lauren: Love is a word that stands on its own with power. However, I believe we don't often scrutinise why circumstances, environment, class, parenting etc, play such a huge part in the journey of Love. Our first encounter with the word love shapes our attachment to love itself and that's why I believe Dear Little Loz is unique.
Why did you want to bring this piece to the Fringe, and where would you like to take it next? Lauren: I want to bring this piece to the Fringe because I feel extremely passionate about connecting female working class voices with a larger audience. Working class stories are not solely for working class audiences. I'm open minded about the future life of Dear Little Loz. Possibly looking at time away from the story after Fringe to explore the best medium and format to tell the future version of Dear Little Loz. It's exciting.
Izzy: Personally, I always knew I wanted to launch my production company at the Fringe as I was a student at Edinburgh University and it had always been a dream of mine. When I met Lauren and she pitched the idea of Dear Little Loz, I knew it was the one.
Many thanks to Izzy and Lauren for their contributions, and I hope you're both having a wonderful Fringe experience so far! Tickets to the show can be found here: