Interview with clown Julia Masli

"I started doing comedy by mistake! I wanted to be a tragic actor in a big theatre. Make people cry. Comedy stages were more accessible to foreigners like me so I started doing tragedy there."

Interview with clown Julia Masli

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I’m Julia! Pronounced Yulia / Yulya ! Hello! I’m a London based clown from Estonia who is bringing her debut solo clown show “CHOOSH!” to Edinburgh Fringe 2022!

“CHOOSH!” means “BULLSHIT!”

You might have heard about my previous show Legs! Yes, an hour show about Legs! My legs were in Legs! Now it’s time for CHOOSH! - don’t worry…… No need to panic! Legs will feature in CHOOSH! a lot! They are the main part! LEGS! 

How would you describe your show?

Beautiful bullshit wrapped in joy and performed by a big child-like idiot who is actually a woman. A story of migration as a fantastic idiot adventure, at times frightening and funny until it hurts. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

Because I heard that people like to have enormous fun there and are looking for special experiences that could happen inside of shows made by idiots from Estonia ! 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

It’s in the most beautiful city in the world 

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I started doing comedy by mistake! I wanted to be a tragic actor in a big theatre. Make people cry. Comedy stages were more accessible to foreigners like me so I started doing tragedy there. For example, I dressed up as a Blade of Grass and delivered a tragic monologue: “Don’t step on me, Don’t step on me!” and people laughed. So now I do comedy but really, I am a fantastic tragic actor and if you are a Director of Shakespeare’s Globe please please cast me to be Antigone. PLEASE! here is my spotlight: 

https://www.spotlight.com/3418-9088-7368=
My inspirations are legs, logs, Pina Bausch, rocks, Marina Abramovic, Slava Polunin, Kusturica, Jodorowsky, toilet lids, Rothko, Basquiat, Duncan Brothers, Tolstoy, Shostakovich and enormous trousers.

And of course my master clown teacher Philippe Gaulier who told me I will never be a clown because people from my country are deeply boring, which made me want to be one because I am stubborn.

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career? 

My Dad always encouraged me when I put tights on my head and wanted to leave the house like that. He would encourage me when I did outrageous things in public as a child to make people laugh. Mum was the head of the family so it made me believe that women could do anything (even comedy!). 

Also, I moved to the UK and couldn’t really speak the language, so I had to mime a lot to be understood. Maybe that’s why the physical comedy path?

What is your earliest childhood art memory? 

I drew grey squares with legs and called them “Brick people”. I wanted Brick people to occupy the world. 

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I would work for a tights or trousers company so I can be surrounded by legs in some way.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now? 

YES! I got Arts Council funding to develop my show during Covid. It meant I could pay people for their work, people who otherwise I couldn’t afford to work with. I got to work with a fantastic dramaturg Annie Siddons. 

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

logs, maltesers, legs, suitcase, chooooooosh

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’? 

I’m a clown and don’t know anything but if you want to subscribe you can subscribe to my YouTube Channel! 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrXXlNrg2xRApqDy13vYDRw

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

I would work with the great composer Bach! Imagine if he made a musical score to my stupid toilet seat clown routine!? Something so beautiful and so stupid together would save the world! Baaaaach! Please please come back from the dead for this collaboration! 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

DO IT

When and where can people see your show?

  • 25th July at The Bill Murray 9pm
  • 27th July at Komedia, Bath 7:30pm

EDINBURGH FRINGE! 

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

@juliamasli (instagram, Facebook & Twitter) 

www.juliamasli.com


See Julia Masli: CHOOSH! at the Assembly Roxy during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 3-28 August. For more information and tickets visit www.edfringe.com or www.assemblyfestival.com

Header Image Credit: Andy Hollingworth

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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