EdFringe Talk: Assume People Like You

“Unfortunately I can’t say that Edinburgh will be the world premier. I could perhaps say that it is the premier of the definitive version of Assume People Like You, as the previous showing featured a section of the show that I didn’t like, so it’s been improved.”

WHO: Melon the Human

WHAT: “A robot, an alien and a human… what could go wrong? Remember when you could become friends from making eye contact on the playground? Well, this is the circus show that represents the struggles of modern connections. What happens when a lonely human wants to be liked but doesn’t know how to make friends? Can a robot be liked or can an alien be a friend? With skills from a former Cirque du Soleil performer and the humour of Michael Scott (the Office), perhaps it’s easier to swipe right and just Assume People Like You.”

WHERE: Assembly Roxy – Upstairs (Venue 139) 

WHEN: 14:30 (60 min)

MORE: Click Here!

Is this your first time to Edinburgh?

My favourite part of this question is the “expand on your answer” mentioned in the brackets. Purely because this gives the implication that in the past, someone has responded with a yes/no answer, and having heard how there is a battle for PR with a lot of losers at the Edinburgh Fringe… it sounds like some people in the past have wasted this amazing opportunity. But not I!!!

This will be my third Edinburgh Fringe having attended in 2017, 2018 and soon, 2022. When I first came to the Ed Fringe in 2017, I was a fresh faced street performer who just wanted to experience the magic of this huge event and I was blown away. I got to see 28 shows, perform 31 street shows, I saw shows that shaped my creativity in ways I never thought possible, made a best friend and a few normal friends and just had an overall amazing time. The plan for 2018, try and get spotted by someone, just anyone… Well! It turned out I had already been spotted, at the 2017 Fringe, a video of my cube spinning act fell into the hands of Cirque du Soleil and midway through the Fringe, I was selected to join them in three months time. This is why Edinburgh Fringe will always be special to me, every time I’ve attended, I’ve been given an opportunity to further my career. I wish I could say I’m the type of artist who actively chases opportunity, but I’m not, which is fine because it seems that Edinburgh Fringe is an amazing melting pot of artists, producers and audiences looking for that special thing, hopefully in 2022, it’s me.

As for the difference between being a punter vs being a producer. As a punter, I turn up with a budget, go through the Ed Fringe guide like a shopping list of the shows I want to see and I go and check them out. I’m there to be entertained and inspired. As a producer, I’ve already spent thousands of dollars on the hope that someone comes to watch me show (it’s called Assume People Like You), and I lie awake at night thinking of the all of the worst case scenarios like: no one buys a ticket, I forget how to do circus, I forget my passport, I get Covid, an ATM steals my bank card, I sleep in, my show is universally hated or worst of all, one of my favourite artists watched my show but leaves midway. Being a punter is much more fun.

What are the big things you’ve learned since 2019 and have you absorbed any of the lessons yet?

Well 2019 was the greatest year! That was the year I toured with Cirque du Soleil around Europe, created my first solo show and was all set for a 2020 tour of South East Asia. Then Covid. I’m not really a “life lesson” type of person. For me it’s more “oh this is happening now, guess I’ll adapt,” and adapt I did. I have learnt things over the age of covid, but they’re just not that exciting: the perfect omelette, new circus tricks, I’m not too bad at high school teaching but I could be better, online teaching is hard, investing is easy, investing is hard, making a one man show is hard etc etc

Tell us about your show.

The show is called Assume People Like You (or APLY for short) and it is the circus interpretation of that feeling when you go to a party where you don’t know anyone so you mentally plan how you will approach the friend making process but this only makes you a little more anxious. The main circus skills within the show are cube manipulation, broom juggling, flexibility and the robot. To break up the action, I also do a lot of awkward comedy. Note that I do awkward comedy in the professional way, and not the amateur comedian way – please reference this review as evidence. https://www.theatretravels.org/post/review-robot-dance-circus-at-arcana

I wrote the show, and the primary challenge was merging the feeling of awkwardness at a party with nifty circus skills – “oh I’m feeling awkward, better do some juggling.”

APLY is being produced by Cluster Arts and I sometimes feel like my version of our partnership is skewed, but here’s my interpretation of how we came together. I was performing my old show and I invited Cluster to come and see, with the hidden intention of working with them. Cluster Arts thoroughly enjoyed the show but couldn’t understand why my face was on all of the props and why Skrillex was featured so prominently, but my skills and performance style was at a high enough level that they saw something sparkle deep within. So we joined forces, but I had to make a new show with no Skrillex and no face on my props.

The company is Melon the Human and it features one person. I am Melon the Human.

Unfortunately I can’t say that Edinburgh will be the world premier. I could perhaps say that it is the premier of the definitive version of Assume People Like You, as the previous showing featured a section of the show that I didn’t like, so it’s been improved.

What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?

I love this question however I feel my expertise should only focus on the world of circus and the absurd, so here we go.

If you loved APLY:
Blink by Joz Norris: everything he does is unpredictable and hilarious. This show reaches a level of absurdity I could only dream of.
Play 3.0 by Sirqus Alfon: lot’s of fun with great characters, music and vibes. Their shows always feel like a party and also reach a level of randomness I could only dream of.

if you’ve got kids:
Chores and A Bee Story. I’ll put these two in the same recommendation because they’ve got a strong similarity that I love. They feature the level of humour you would want for a kids show, but the skill levels of these performers are incredible and break any stereotypes of naff children’s shows.

A fun night out:
Briefs: I mean, it’s Briefs. Briefs. Surely you’ve heard of them.

Feeling cool:
Collision: Circus is hard to make cool, but collision does it. The combination of street dance and circus was just waiting to be explored in a full show and they’ve done it and it’s a joy to watch the elements crossover.