Review Fix chats with performer and playwright Tiasa Ferme, who discusses her recent run of “Wild Child in the City” at the Secret Theater in New York City. Breaking down everything from her origin in theatre to her goals as a performer, Ferme lets us know exactly why we should keep an eye on her.
For more information on Ferme, click here.
Wild Child in the City is an absurdist comedy chronicling Tjasa Ferme’s quest to find a livable apartment in New York City. Directed by the immersive theater expert Ana Margineanu (NYITA-winning The Window; LES: Broken City), the show is structured to invite interaction with the audience and transform viewers into active participants. The piece combines the writer-performer’s European sensibility and Kafkaesque sense of irony with down-to-earth toughness of a New York single girl who’s seen it all. It is a story so unbelievable, twisted, and smelly that it must be true. The writer-performer recalls top 10 experiences that occurred in her roughly twenty-five different rented apartments in New York.
Review Fix: What was the inspiration for this production?
Tjasa Ferme: The actual bizarre apartment stories from real life. This news link roughly shows what happened to me: the truth is way more complex of course! A guy broke into my apartment and introduced himself to my roommates as my boyfriend. He ensued to chat with one of my roomies and went through my documents. Wild experience. While telling it to all my friends, I realized two things: 1. That it resonates. 2. That I have even crazier stories that that. This incident literally opened up Pandora’s box and material just poured out of me.
Review Fix: What theater professionals or personalities have influenced you the most? Why?
Ferme: Grotowski (training), severe mental and body discipline. I really think that reading Lisa Kron’s “Well” changed the way I think about plays. Recent “The Untitled feminist project” by Young Jean Lee, I adore and that was barely any speaking but the structure was so complex and satisfying. Marina Abramovic with her performance art and the show where she invited people to “give her pain or pleasure” is just so evocative, I think I’ve always wanted to taste what that is like. Lobster Shop by the Need Company, just blew my mind. I have to say mostly European theatre.
Review Fix: How did your childhood play a role in your career in theater?
Ferme: I was first dragged into a school play in 3rd grade. The moment I gave it the first read in front of others I felt such a high, flow and connectedness I never wanted to do anything else. I called it “the gods frequency” which god knows where I got from because I was raised completely secularly.
I kind of have to mention that my dad was a rock star when I was a child (and he is now again he just returned from a south American tour, woohoo, go dad!) and I think the stage as an entity, thundering over bad rehearsals and talking about shows subconsciously made a huge impact on me.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this production?
Ferme: To challenge the real time- play relationship. To convince the audience who are actually participants all the way through (without making them ever feel on the spot) this is happening in real time right now. The show starts in the lobby, I run in late “because the cops and detectives in my apartment wouldn’t me let me leave” due to the investigation. Then I tell the story of what happened. The next obstacle is that we’re having some technical problems and the show doesn’t quite start yet so some participants help me prepare and the rest of the show is “improvised” instead of the actual intended performance.
Review Fix: What do you think makes you special?
Ferme: I always look for new ways to challenge my limits and fears. In every production, I’m aiming to surpass a different limitation, fear. I challenge myself. That’s what makes me dangerous and exciting and ultimately I hope inspires others to do the same. I want to question the given norms and parameters we are used to and don’t question.
Review Fix: Bottom Line, why should someone check out this production?
Ferme: Because its raw, hilarious, (identifying) absurd and provokes a guttural and emotional reaction. It takes you on a journey and challenges your comfort zones. If you’re a New Yorker, or have lived here for even a minute you will find resemblances and humor in it, but I must say that also European audiences enjoyed the New York tales. To throw in some Shakespeare: “All’s well that ends well.”
Review Fix: What’s next?
Ferme: A couple of feature films, I’m really excited! And I’m getting ready to produce my new one-woman show about Marlene Dietrich.