A squatter makes her way up to a long-forgotten flat above a shop in the centre of Brighton. A flat full of someone else’s past. A women’s hip bone lies on the side, amongst diaries, letters and clutter. In a tale of addiction, sexuality, mortality, choices and enlightenment, she embarks on a journey to discover how one might avoid dying alone, and losing one’s hip bone in the process.
Based around found objects, this semi-autobiographical one woman show starts by introducing you to a flat caught between two timelines and personalities: the home of Anne Clarke during 70s bohemian Brighton, and a squat established by Jolie in 2002.
HIP transports the audience, in this extra-live performance, to a cosy living room with hypnotic OHP, cushions, incense, tequila and nibbles. Jolie’s soothing and passionate storytelling interweaves Annie’s real letters and diaries with vestiges from her own life, to reveal an immediate and clear association.
For writer Jolie Booth – who once got into trouble as a six-year-old for organising a play during a maths lesson at school – the squat she joined 15 years ago became her “Aladdin’s cave”. The flat above a shop in the centre of Brighton had been home to a woman called Anne Clarke and was full of “old hippie stuff” – posters, clothes, diaries, letters and what Jolie thought might be the hip bone that Anne had had replaced.
Further research, including permission from Anne’s daughter to carry on living amongst her possessions, led to HIP, an interactive one-woman show that Jolie will perform at the Greenwich Theatre studio from 24-27 January 2018.
HIP is “extra-live” in that the performer is aware that the audience is there and everyone in the room plays a part in the creation of the show. “It’s not a scary audience participation thing,” said Jolie, “but more like a relaxed atmosphere where no one has to pay heed to the usual rules of theatre etiquette.
James Haddrell, artistic and executive director of Greenwich Theatre, said: “Theatre is a business built on stories and storytelling, but that doesn’t always have to mean fiction. Some of the most touching, enlightening or profound stories are found in real life. HIP does that with a highly personalized view of one woman’s life pieced together from the things she left behind.”