S.E. Grummett is the performer and creator of Something in the Water, playing at Summerhall for this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
Stunning video projections, puppetry and physical comedy combine in this absurd exploration of identity, gender and growing up ‘normal’.
Inspired by performer/creator S.E. Grummett’s experience coming out as transgender, Something in the Water parodies the masculine and feminine and shows how absurd our rigid gender binaries can be. As a giant squid, Grumms can playfully demonstrate what it’s like trying to pass as either male or female or find the freedom to exist as something else entirely.
Something in the Water, performed and created by S.E. Grummett is at Summerhall Wednesday 3rd – Sunday 28th August 2022 (not 15th, 22nd) at 20:00
You’re bringing Something in the Water to Summerhall this Edinburgh Fringe, what can you tell us about the show?
In Something in the Water, I turn into a giant squid monster as a metaphor for my experience coming out as transgender. Then Squidie has to disguise itself as a normal human woman to hide from an angry mob with tiny pitchforks. The show combines live feed video, puppets and comedy to explore gender, comic books and growing up normal.
What inspired you to write Something in the Water?
I wanted to explore my gender journey in a really absurd and silly way. Something in the Water examines how I felt like a monster when I was first transitioning. And how the world often portrays us trans folks as monsters. When I was first coming out, I thought “does this make me a monster? does this make me evil?”
Was it difficult to translate a personal experience into an absurdist physical comedy?
Not at all. If anything, it’s easier for me. I think there’s many of us who turn to comedy as a way of processing our experiences and those tougher feelings.
And I think it creates a more enjoyable experience for my audience too: we can all laugh at how ridiculous it is that my squid monster has to dress itself up in high heels and a dress to get into the women’s washroom. If I can make you laugh, then I’m one step closer at having you see from my perspective.
Tell us a little more about the combination of physical comedy, video projections and puppetry in the show?
The show uses live feed video projection and DIY paper puppets, so it’s kinda like a comic book come to life.
Multi-media performance, like Something in the Water, also tests you as a theatre maker: one minute I’m designing video edits, the next I’m sewing miniature squid tentacles. But I love it and it’s why I love doing Fringe.
You’ll also be performing in Something in the Water, how does it feel to be performing your own work?
I find it incredibly empowering to make my own work. When I first graduated from acting school, I was frustrated that there weren’t more opportunities for queer and trans folks like myself. So I started writing and performing my own things. Self-creation was, and continues to be, a way out: a way of being myself and my gender onstage.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see Something in the Water?
It’s a funny show – even for the most conservative audience member. And you’ll walk away feeling a little lighter, a little smarter and a lot more kind.