Heroine, directed by Susan Worsfold and written and performed by Mary Jane Wells is on at Rainy Hall, Assembly venues from August 3 - 26.

  • What is your Fringe show about?

There are two abbreviations you might want to know about first. 

MST: Mst is short for Military Sexual Trauma. Some people think that this is when rape is used as a weapon of war. MST is when a soldier rapes another soldier on the same peacekeeping force. Today, there is a sexual assault in the Military every 35 minutes. 

DADT: Don’t ask Don’t tell was Clinton era legislation that made it illegal to be gay in the Army.  It created a culture of toxic shame, repression, and crucially blackmail. Outing a gay soldier would ruin their entire career. 

Heroine is a one woman show based on the true story of Danna Davis, who is a personal friend. She served as a lesbian soldier in the US army for ten years during Don’t Ask Don’t tell. The only woman in her entire company, she is also a survivor of MST. She worked her way up to be a squad leader and one of her assailants was placed in her squad. 

When she led a dangerous mission into a combat zone in the Middle east, both he and Danna were practically the only ones to survive it, because she carried him home on her back. 

It is an incredible true story that explores who you have to become to heal and move on with your life, and what you have to give up to forgive. With grit, lyricism and necessary black humourheroine asks, is peace possible?

  • How many times/many years have you appeared at the Fringe?

20 years ago straight out of drama school I was in "The Woman who Cooked her Husband" by Debbie Isitt at Theatre Workshop. I did a version of Great Expectations during my training at RCS too.

  • What’s your most memorable moment from the Fringe?

I think the time I slept on a bench at Waverley Station in a balldress, and woke up with a homeless guy about to bite into me as if I was a cornish pasty. That's not the weirdest part of the story.

I had come through from Glasgow as a punter and arranged to stay with a my pal Tim who was doing a run with Lookout Theatre. It was a somewhat last minute arrangement - I had come through for some really fancy party and wanted to stay late, and I didn't want to get the train back wearing a balldress: I'd realised too late it was a bit extra. Anyway, Tim gave me the address of the house he was sharing with about 20 other people and said, "there is a sofa in the lounge with your name on it, but I've no idea what time I'll get back - just let yourself in." He was a big fan of a show called "late 'n live", that I casually renamed "wet 'n wild" because I was a student and thought I was hilarious.

At about midnight I knocked on the door for a minute or two before realising I probably shouldn't make too much noise in case someone had a early show. I let myself in, fumbled around for a lightswitch - unsuccessful - and eventually found the lounge and a sofa in the dark, with someone's clean washing on it. I tried to sleep for about a minute before feeling that this was a bit too weird if Tim wasn't about. So I tiptoed about the house on both floors whispering "Tiiiimmmm?" fruitlessly before leaving. I did not make the last train to Glasgow as you know.

I told Tim what happened. But it was much, much later that I realised I had been to the wrong address.

I do wonder what they thought when they found their smalls folded.

  • What’s the worst thing about the Fringe?

Its prohibitively expensive to bring a show there as in the main its funded by performers, and discourages a lot of talent from coming.

  • If you were not a performer what would you be doing?

I'm interested in finding creative, fast, effective solutions for rehousing refugees quickly and safely without compromise to their dignity. Starting a vegan dessert company where not everything tastes of dates. Finding a hands-on way to support research into PTSD and the healing component of Nadine George Voice Work. Sounds a bit worthy but its true.

  • How do you prepare for a performance?

A mixture of Nadine George Voice Work to anchor the flow and authenticity of a performance and the work of Diana Castle from the Imagined Life which is based on empathy and asks you to really steep in the feelings, details, context and all the clues the writer has laid out for you, without substituting experience from your own life. They are both routes to the same thing, but Nadine's work is very embodied, which helps me be braver with my work. Her work if closely linked to PTSD as the roots of it lie with Alfred Wolfson, see www.heroinetheplay.com/about-the-play

At Arthur's seat you can be next to ye olde bronze age settlements, and yet be right in the middle of a vibrant capital city hosting the biggest arts festival in the world.

  • What’s the most Scottish thing you’ve ever done?

In the US people thought I was Scottish all the time. So I would try to convince them that the Scottish word for an umbrella is "a ruffalo" or some such. I took a pic of my dad touching a table laid for twenty at a National Trust castle once and sent it to all my friends in LA saying we had dinner guests coming, and convinced one that he was a laird. That sort of cheek is a Scottish thing to do I reckon.

  • Favourite Scottish food/drink?

I had the best fish 'n chips ever in Lerwick.

  • Sum up your show in three words.

Heroine's lighting designer, George, says it has "heart and heft".

Show summary

World premiere and programmed for Made in Scotland 2018 – heroine is based on the true story of Danna Davis and her 10 years in the US Army. A survivor of military sexual trauma, hers is a human story exploring healing, forgiveness and what speaking your truth really means – with grit, lyricism and necessary black humour. 

Heroine, directed by Susan Worsfold and written and performed by Mary Jane Wells is on at Rainy Hall, Assembly venues from 3 - 26 August (not 8, 21) at 12.00 (13:05). Suitabl for ages 16 and over. 

For tickets, pleas visit www.edfringe.com

You can follow heroine on Twitter via @heroinetheplay and visit the website at www.heroinetheplay.com