Directed by Erkan Mustafa, BonQrz is an interactive physical comedy show about how Narin Oz’s disastrous life choices have made her decide to be a budgerigar.
Narin will take the audience on a very surreal journey of human folly, sharing the most embarrassing details of her life and revealing various methods of freeing your mind.
Intrigued, I caught up with Narin to discuss her career so far, her pet budgies and what the cluck crowds can expect from her upcoming third solo show.
Narin, how long have you been performing?
I’ve been performing stand up since I was 19 years old. I was doing the circuit and I got bored with it. Then I discovered the clowning world. It gave me the courage to write my own show. In 2014, I performed Narin Oz ‘Addicted to Love’. That was all about my experience of sex addiction, I was mocking my own darkness. It was interesting as audiences opened up, talked to me about their own experiences of love and sex addiction.
It sounds like you like to provoke audience reaction, then? Do you have a lot of audience participation in your shows?
I try to approach it as if I were an audience member. They want to see a journey. They want to be part of the action, like being on a roller coaster.
Do you not find some people would rather sit passively?
Sure, some people do. I’ll never hassle anyone who isn’t keen to get involved. I love putting a prank element into theatre. My shows are a cross between clown and prank. Some people aren’t sure what’s real/not real and what to make of me. As soon as they walk in, I’m in character. Clowning teaches you how to go with your impulses and be free from your mind. Some women tell me they come out feeling empowered. I love that. One thing I find baffling is that a few guys have left genuinely scared. I did a work in progress show at last year’s Fringe, it was about a woman who was a wild animal unleashed. In the end I was naked on stage, encouraging people to fight. It was a stupid fight, but they don’t always realise I’m in character. There’s no need to be scared, I’m not violent, just unpredictable!
Every show is different because the energy comes from you and the audience. The audience should be enjoying it. I put a lot of myself into the show. The dark characters, they’re an exaggerated version of me. I’ve taken the advice that to be a good clown performer you must study animals and children. So that’s why my latest show is about how to become a budgerigar.
It certainly sounds unusual! Without giving away too much, how will that work?
The show is about how to change your life. How to get out of your mind. I play a shitty guru character. Our ‘monkey mind’ tells us we are not good enough. Budgies don’t think because they haven’t got a brain! I’ve two budgies, Boubi and Boubaloo. They’re very silly creatures. Brilliant pets. At first I had just Boubi and he was quite withdrawn so I got him a girlfriend. She turned out to be really aggressive! When she first entered the cage it took Boubi two hours to realise what she was. After two hours, they were fucking! Budgies are quite sexual creatures. In order to survive they must either fly or fuck.
Wow. That’s quite the mantra to take through life.
[Laughing] Isn’t it! I admire them. All animals are cleverer than humans. We overthink things. We have anxiety. We need money. Animals are instinctual, if they need to go, they just leave.
Is there anything the audience should know or prepare for, before coming to see BonQrs? Also, is there any meaning behind the spelling, is it an acronym?
Nah, I called it ‘BonQrz’ because ‘bonkers’ is a boring spelling. It’s just for my own amusement. This show is interactive, that’s part of the journey. There’s a bit where I teach an audience member how to get rid of negative thoughts. It turns outrageous. There should probably be a trigger warning on this show about addiction – and sexual content. It can be disturbing for people, and it’s certainly not a family show.
You have been warned. Catch Narin perform previews in London this month before she heads to the Edinburgh Fringe in August.
From The Forest Theatre & Arts Festival – Leyton Technical, 265 High Rd Leyton, London E10 5QN. 28th June @ 19:30 29th June @ 19:30 Tickets: £5 http://www.ftffestival.com/tickets/bonqrz/
N16 Theatre Double Bill: BonQrz & Ali Brice’s Lemonade Stand 9th July, 10th July 8:15pm Theatre N16, London https://www.theatren16.co.uk/
Free Festival Edinburgh Fringe. 2nd-26th August 2018. Venue: The Laughing Horse The Mockingbird 72-74 Newington Rd, Edinburgh EH9 1QN Time: 14:45 Tickets: Pay What You Want