Why would someone write a play about the life of Britney Spears? Py Huss Wallin’s show “Britney” on Turteatern is a glittery celebration with unexpected depth. Radar has spoken to the director about female role models, 52 hour weddings and the story behind an artist who’s survived a crazy industry.
The show Britney, premiered on “Britney day”, November 5th on Turteatern in Stockholm. The director Py Huss Wallin has created a show about women and the pop industry, portrayed by the phenomenon that is Britney Spears. With the help of six actors and a stage, she’s managed to create a pink, glittery world and to make the audience feel every emotion there is in just 1,5 hours.
Why make a play about Britney’s life?
– When Britney broke through, she was groundbreaking for her time. She has become a phenomenon who’s life and career is the basis for the pop-world we know today. All active artists today are somehow affected by Britney. We think that she is old news, but the fascinating thing is that she is only 34 years old and as active today as she was 17 years ago. No matter what the media, fans and pop industry says, she goes her own way. And she does it with style.
Has your image of Britney changed since you began reading about her before doing this play?
– Britney’s life is incredibly fascinating! She has done so much, and the fact that she as a 12 year old basically supported her whole family also says a lot about the United States. When I read up on her life, I was surprised that she didn’t brake down earlier. With the pace she’s kept and the pressure from the media and the industry, it’s a freaking miracle that she’s survived.
What did you think of Britney when you were young?
– It might seem strange for someone who’s done an entire show about her, but I actually wasn’t a big fan as a youngster. During that period, I had quite different idols and heroes in my life. It is only now, as a 30 year old, that I can really see the strength of different kinds of idols, and above all different kinds of female role models. There are big differences between Britney Spears, Gudrun Schyman and Frida Kahlo, but I need them in my life in different ways.
Does she know that there is a Swedish play about her? Do you think she would be pleased if she saw it?
– I don’t think she has a clue. There’s probably thousands of events around the world about or because of her that she doesn’t know or bother about.
– I think she would be curious about the show if she knew about it and that she would be happy if she heard that we didn’t just put up a biography, but tried to create an inspired universe. I have read that she was very provoked by the television version that’s planned to premiere early 2017 (ed. note: US cable network Lifetime is producting two-hour biopic on Britney, without her blessing). She would probably feel excited and uplifted if she saw the show, but I also think it would be quite painful for her. We wanted to cover both the darkness and the light of her life.
Why did you want to have six actors who portrayed her?
– Many of us recognize ourselves in Britney’s life and many female artists have been through similar experiences as her. The modern music industry is filled with different types of women and I’m interested in their collective story of femininity, expectations and pressure. It is not just about Britney, it’s about us.
On her birthday (2/12), one can get married on Turteatern. Do you know if someone will do it? Will you do it?
– I think so, some curious people have asked about it! Who knows, maybe I’ll get married. Maybe for 52 hours, like Britney did in Vegas. Time will tell!
What do you want to convey with this show? What do you hope the audience feel when the show is over?
– Oh, I hope the audience makes its own view of the universe we created. There are both highs and lows, a retraction but also questioning about the feminine and masculine structures. Britney never went under, but she never stood up and screamed fuck you or wrote a feminist manifesto. During her career she has fallen and stood up again and again. She’s trudged on with continous energy and joy of dance, music, kids, cupcakes, flowers and the game that is life.
– I think Britney is very inspiring, but at the same time I’m very glad that other women deliberately raises their voices and fight in other ways. We need both types – all of our struggles matter.
The show is played until 17/12, for more info and tickets visit Turteatern.se