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Our editor recently spoke with the formidable writer, director, actor and composer Mella Faye, the Artistic Director of Pecho Mama.

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader.

Hello, I’m Mella Faye, Artistic Director of Pecho Mama. We make radical gig theatre, that celebrates the female perspective. I’m a writer, director, actor and composer. 

How would you describe your show? 

Oedipus Electronica is a raw and challenging contemporary adaptation of the Greek myth, told from Jocasta’s perspective. It’s about creativity and motherhood and grief. 

What encouraged to take on this script & are there any parallels to you personally? 

I love the bombastic nature of the Greek myths. They tackle the taboos unapologetically. I don’t see any parallels for me in the original. But by re-writing it, I worked it from my own experiences. I haven’t lost a child, but I have experienced the grind of grief and longing. I wanted to express the messy subconscious of the human experience, the primal, feral nature that exists behind our careful self-presentation, and also the power of story to transform that deep subconscious into something we can begin to understand and release. 

The show is inspired by true events, can you tell us a bit more on how you prepared for it mentally, physically & emotionally? 

The emotional/mental load was really in the writing process. Once that was done, I was released from the weight of it. The acting feels like pure joy, despite the content and themes. It’s a catharsis.

What do you want audiences to take / learn from the show?

We spend a lot of our lives living in fiction – our mind is constantly offering it up to us. That there is incredible power in allowing ourselves to ride the wave of our own fiction. And that creativity and imagination can help us process reality. 

What differentiates it from any other show you have done?

It’s just so bloody massive! The craft of lights, sound, musicianship, text; all triggered on millisecond timecode. It was a labour of 3 years to pull it off. 

What first motivated and inspired you to enter the industry? 

Music was always a part of my life. But theatre – there was a defining moment. I was about 13 and my dad took us to see Kneehigh’s outdoor performance of The Red Shoes. In the rain. And I was blown away. The commitment and aesthetic and language and storytelling. It was so powerful. I just wanted to be a part of that. 

What are your thoughts on the state of the world & how does your work contribute to a better world!

Whenever we set out to create a story from the female or non binary perspective I think we’re actively making a positive change.

We’ve had about 10,000 years of patriarchy, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that long. But it’s long enough for us to have thoroughly absorbed the patriarchal gaze.

Until about 60 years ago, all of our stories were told from this cultural perspective. 

Without a template to work from, we (women) are now feeling our way into the public arena with our stories. 

These stories mostly don’t look, feel or sound anything like the hero journey that we have been sold.  In my experience the heroine’s journey is about a search for wholeness rather than treasure or power. 

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

I think probably psychology. Theatre writing and directing is psychology but with loads more fun. So maybe psychology plus professional mischief maker. 

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?

I’ve got it. 

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

The people I’m working with now. I know that sounds trite, but I really think that very human being is a bloody miracle. And these are the human beings I’ve got in front of me, and I’m deeply grateful for them. 

Describe the last year in 3 words?

Wow. Wow. Wow. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring actor, who is inspired by your work? 

It’s called ‘play’ for a reason. Let it be play. Play like you’re a 7 year old but with all these extra grown up perks. Live in the present. Dream big. Be fearless. Let’s hang out. 

Following a hugely successful 2022 Edinburgh festival fringe run, the electrifying reimagining of one of the best-known myths, Pecho Mama’s Oedipus Electronica, is now showing in Brixton House until 9 March.

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