SAMEENA ZEHRA: TEA WITH TERRORISTS
If you prefer being tickled with funny stories than Tim Vine gagathons then Sameena Zehra’s Fringe show Tea With Terrorists may be right up your street. She’ll be sharing experiences she’s gained from a life straddling two very diverse cultures; covering even more diverse topics ranging from having tea with terrorists in Kashmir to planning the perfect murder. As you can imagine her tales are just as shocking as they are funny.
She was happy to answer a few questions as we discovered terrorists can in fact be a real hoot.
Describe your Edinburgh show with three adjectives and explain why.
Unique, because it explores a world that not many people have experienced; a world of piss poor terrorists, sheep that stalk you, the perfect murder, and magnificently vicious old ladies.
Funny in an absurdist sort of way. Some of the situations are bizarre and inexplicable, but you have to laugh because if you didn’t, life would be depressing and pointless!
‘Terrific‘, (not sure that adjective has made it to the OED!) according to Rip it up, Adelaide- I guess because some of it is terrifying to think of, but hilarious at the same time.
What is it that makes it so special to perform at the Fringe?
The Fringe is part trade show, part smorgasbord of every sort of artistic performance, all in one place, in a human scale city where everything is within walking distance. Where else can you watch shows every hour of the day, without shelling out hundreds of pounds; where you can mix the sublime with the ridiculous, the professional with the amateur, the experimental with the truly bizarre? It’s wonderful to perform, surrounded by the buzzing artistic creativity and the anticipation and excitement of a population of locals and tourists who have traveled from all over the world to come and join in. It’s fabulous. There’s really nothing else like it in the world.
What has been your best moment there?
It’s difficult to pin point a single moment. I’m relatively new to the Fringe- last year was my first time there, so everything was new and exciting. I guess the best moment for me was seeing Josie Long, Mark Thomas and Daniel Kitson on the same bill during a charity gig for Palestine. Three of my favourite performers in one place; just great. bumping into Rich Hall and chatting for 5 minutes, leaving and realising i had been calling him ‘Reg’ the whole time. He didn’t correct me, but it sort of explains why he looked in a hurry to get away, although he was nothing less than polite and charming.
What was your worst experience there?
Losing an hour of my life watching a show, which will remain nameless, when i could have been watching something good. However, it was free, and that’s part of the democracy of the free festival. I suppose I could have left after the first 10 excruciating minutes, but I was one of only 6 people there and I couldn’t bring myself to make the performer cry.
Have your preview shows gone to plan?
Pretty much. I did them as double bills with other comics and met some fab people, who I would definitely go see again. Trevor Lock, Damien Kingsley, Daphna Baram, Ali Shahrukhi. I recommend catching their shows if you are up there.
Have you had to change much of the material since your preview shows?
Not really. It seems to have gone down really well. I am a comedy storyteller, so I’m not delivering punchlines every thirty seconds. It’s a more gentle sort of comedy that creeps up on you while the story is being told. It’s pretty much set the way it is. I’m comfortable with it, I’m enjoying it and the audience seems to be loving it; thank goodness for that!
What will be the first thing you do when you get to Edinburgh?
Boringly, I will be doing banal things like checking into my flat, buying groceries and settling in. Then I will go for a walk and take in the city. It’s such a beautiful place and I really love the architecture.
Which acts will you be catching there?
I’ve got tickets already to see Daniel Kitson, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that, I will suck it and see. Part of the fun is wandering along and discovering things spontaneously, sometimes from recommendations received from people I meet in cafes or in the street. It’s the kind of thing that happens in Edinburgh!
What is the first thing you will do as soon as the festival is over?
Drive home and then sleep for 3 days, probably!
Why should people go and see your show?
It’s funny, unique, and full of surprises and crazy characters. If you like a good story, you’ll love it. If you like shock comedy full of cock jokes, best stay away!
Tea With Terrorists will run from 2-18 of August at Captain Taylor’s Coffee House, 18 South Bridge at 6.45 pm.
You can follow Sameena on her website www.sameenazehra.com