BikeFace at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

BikeFace. Photo credit: Fraser Elsdon

BikeFace. Photo credit: Fraser Elsdon

BikeFace by Natalie Frijia
August 18 – 20, 22, 24, 25, 27 at Venue #10: Acacia Hall


An interview with Natalie Frijia.

Describe your show in one sentence.

BikeFace is a one-woman storytelling adventure about biking across Canada, girl power, and not letting people tell you that you can’t do something.

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description of your show?

BikeFace is a two-wheeled adventure of Canadian proportions, spinning strange-but-true tales from a ride across the country! There are graveyard groundskeepers, wild west proprietors, and wanderers with secrets only fit for strangers. This one-woman storytelling whirlwind retraces a real-life bike ride from Halifax to Vancouver, uphill and against the wind the whole way.

BikeFace is the outcome of a cross-country bicycle trip. What inspired your trip?

Two things inspired this trip. The first – which I talk about in the show – came about when I was beginning to study for my PhD comps. Someone made a joke about me ‘putting down roots’, and all of a sudden I could see my entire life being chained to a single library desk, and I couldn’t breathe. So I put down the PhD for the summer, grabbed my lovely bicycle, and headed for Halifax! And then… I took the long, long way to Vancouver.

The other thing that inspired this was a conversation I had with an old cyclist friend. He had biked in countries all around the world, and when I said I wanted to do something like this, he said, “Yeah, but you’re a girl. You wouldn’t get that far.” A little part of me just snapped and all I could think was, “Fuck yes I would! No one tells me what I can or can’t do!”

So, one part escapism, one part stubbornness. A whole lot of thirst for adventure!

Your press release mentions a study that found girls are four times more likely than boys to be warned about the dangers inherent in adventure and exploration. What do you hope BikeFace will show women and girls about adventure?

I really hope this show encourages people – women and girls especially – to go for all those adventures they dream about. When I told people I wanted to bike across Canada, friends and family had massive lists of reasons why I shouldn’t – everything from “there are hills though!” to “you’ll need to eat and drink a LOT” to “what if ____ happens to you? It’s dangerous!” But if you let all of those fears tell you that you can’t do it, well then… what else is there. I hope BikeFace shows people that while there may be scary things out there, there are also wonderful things as well, and stories that are well-worth the risk. So if adventure is what you want, then what are you waiting for.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

Let’s go on an adventure!

The 36th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 17 – 27. Get your tickets at tickets.fringetheatre.ca .

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