A dream of mine is coming true. I’m taking Breaking Up With Jesus to the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland this August!
It is both obvious and unreal to see this actually happening. But, here it is, actually on the Fringe website.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is this awesome celebration of arts and culture that runs for three weeks every August. Artists and performers from around the globe take to hundreds of stages all over the city of Edinburgh to present shows including theatre, comedy, dance, opera, spoken word poetry and more. It’s an incredible festival where big names in the world of entertainment and unknown artists looking to build their careers (like me!) get the chance to showcase their creative energy for an international audience.
The show I’m taking to Fringe is titled Breaking Up With Jesus. And it’s really what it sounds like from the title. It started as a terrible punchline I told at a local open mic in North Carolina. Thanks to the mentorship and direction of Joseph Megel the truth embodied in that punchline came into focus. And so a single punchline became an hour-long show.
For most of my youth, into my early adulthood, I was what could best be described as an “evangelical Christian.” I mean, technically I was Southern Baptist, but my undiagnosed anxiety and autism and search for meaning meant I leapt full bodied into what promised to be the comfort of a heavenly father and son and holy spirit. The problem with leaping full body though is that the god I wanted didn’t want my full body. Breaking Up With Jesus is about my realization that in order to be my full self, I had to end what wound up being a toxic relationship. The show blends stand-up comedy and first-person dramatic storytelling as I realize the ways in which Christianity betrayed my relationships with my family, friends, loved ones, and myself. It’s not an easy story to tell, but it is mine and I find a bit of personal and communal healing every time I share it.
Breaking Up With Jesus (BUWJ) debuted at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA in December 2020. Thanks to the loving support of Kira Jones (who I’m like married to now and stuff, woah) and encouragement from Joseph Megel, I’m taking the show to Edinburgh in August. I’m so grateful and excited.
At this point, two realities coexist and oppose one another. In one reality, let’s call it Festival Specifics World, getting to Edinburgh Fringe is costly. One must purchase plane tickets and rent housing and a venue and pay a music license and print flyers and secure liability insurance and, oh yeah, nibble on a bit of food while in Scotland. In the other reality, which somehow coexists and threatens the very existence of the other, I am a graduate student who makes about $14/hr for nine months of the year. In this reality, let’s call it Financially Strapped World, there is little to no university or foundational funding for graduate student international performances, which just happens to be my exact niche.
So really, this post has two purposes. The first is to share the news that I am a few months away from a huge dream of mine happening, and to thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me over the years along my journey to this moment.
For those of you who know me well, you know I hate asking for stuff. I always like to pretend I can do everything on my own, but that is not even remotely true. I would not have even gotten to the point where I could create, perform, and share a show like this without a lifetime of silly ass friends, mentors, and family who love and support me unconditionally.
Thanks to Kira, I have a crowdfunding website where you can learn more about me, the show, the Fringe, and donate to help me get this thing fully funded by June 2023!