Phoebe McIntosh is an actress and writer based in London. Since completing her training at Arts Educational, she has worked in independent films, commercials, voiceover and theatre. Not content with simply auditioning for existing roles, she began writing her own projects. In 2013, Phoebe performed in a sell-out run of her first play, The Tea Diaries, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before taking it to London. Her new show for this year’s Fringe is Dominoes which she is also performing in.
DOMINOES is coming to Assembly Studio Five. What can you tell us about it?
It’s is a one woman show about Layla McKinnon, a history teacher who is about to get married to a man whose surname she already shares. In the lead-up to the big day she discovers that the reason for this initially funny coincidence is much darker; her enslaved ancestors were owned by her fiancé’s slave owner forefathers. With her white fiancé on one side and her black best friend on the other, mixed-race Layla is forced to pick a side. No spoilers – people will have to come and see the show to find out if she makes it down the aisle!
What’s the one thing about DOMINOES makes it different from all the rest?
It’s different because it’s a really unexpected angle to tell this type of story from. We hear about the mixed-race experience, but it goes even further – it talks about the legacies of slavery in the present day rather than a direct experience of it. It leaves you asking yourself what you’d do in Layla’s situation. And despite the subject matter being quite weighty, I’m hopeful you’ll leave with a smile on your face and an immediate urge to buy yourself one of those ancestry / DNA kits and draw your family tree!
How is this character different to other roles you’ve had?
Layla is relatable in a way like no other character I’ve played. As both the writer and performer in this instance, it’s been great to have had free reign to create a character I enjoy playing but at the same time, I’d like to think I haven’t shied away from making her challenging, a little flawed and very human. She’s also pretty funny, which makes a change to some of the darker characters I’ve played on stage and screen. I’m glad my mum can finally watch me in something without having to cover her eyes!
What’s the most challenging thing about performing in Dominoes?
Being up on stage on my lonesome! It’s both challenging and exhilarating, but in a way, it also helps me to make a stronger connection with the audience. I treat the audience like my confidants and invite them into what is quite a sacred moment in someone’s life. I think looking at it in that way really helps and I hope it makes for a more intimate piece of storytelling for the people I’m talking to.
How does it feel to be at Assembly Rooms – Studio Five?
When I heard back from the programmers at Assembly to say they wanted to bring the show to Studio Five, I think I squealed a little bit. It feels so exciting to be following in the footsteps of people like Natasha Marshall, whose show Half- Breed sold out Assembly’s Box venue in 2017. Assembly’s reputation proceeds it and I know I’ll be in great company there this year. I will basically be taking up residence there, coming straight off stage and heading into any nearby Assembly venue to watch their other shows.
Why should people come see Dominoes?
Because it is at once funny, eye-opening and moving and tells a story that anyone – black, white, mixed or other – can relate to. It’s for anyone who has ever asked themselves the question, “Who am I?” The conflict for the main character is huge so I think audiences will be absorbed by how she rationalises things and how she navigates her dilemma. I hope the story will resonate with their own ideas about identity and what it means to be different, as well as the trials and tribulations of wedding planning, which I’m sure lots of people can empathise with!
Dominoes is at the Assembly Rooms – Studio Five from 1st – 27th August (not 8th, 13th, 20th)