Binge Fringe Magazine

INTERVIEW: A Digital Pint with… Bibiana Nesvadbova & Annie Jirouskova, Telling Us ‘Why I Won’t Miss My Mother’ at Prague Fringe 2024

This interview forms part of our Prague Fringe 2024 Preview Series. Tickets and Listings for Shows will be available soon on the Prague Fringe Box Office Website.

A pair of Czech high school friends who bonded over their love of theatre, Bibiana Nesvadbova and Annie Jirouskova, will be headed to Prague Fringe at the end of May this year. They’re looking to tell a story of grief and sacrifice linked to being or having a mother.

In this exclusive preview interview ahead of the Prague Fringe Programme Launch, we caught up with the pair over a Pixelated Pilsner to hear the story of the central character Amy, a woman whose life is lived in her Mother’s shadow and who is haunted by her childhood dollhouse.

Join us for our first Digital Pint of the Prague Fringe 2024 season, as we find out more about Why I Won’t Miss My Mother.

Jake: Hi Bibiana and Annie! Your show is a tale of grief and sacrifice surrounding Motherhood – tell us what inspired you to create the story.

Bibiana: I’ve heard many tales of mothers sacrificing their entire lives for their child or children. And yet, they never seem to regret it. But it almost makes it seem as though sacrifice is inherently tied to motherhood. I’m sure it isn’t this way for some mothers, but I see a lot of people question just how much their mothers have sacrificed and if they wouldn’t have been happier had they never become mothers. It is a deeply personal topic that I think should be analyzed more in media. I also like to feature more stories about older women, it oftentimes seems as though a woman completely stops existing in the public eye the moment she turns 50, which I think is, for lack of a better word, dumb.

Annie: What really drew me in was the fact that the topics are so everpresent, they have, to a certain extent, touched everyone. My favorite art is the type that offers a blank canvas to the audience member, who can then paint what they wish to see, or feel the most. The play, while offering a very personal story, still lets people project their own emotions and experiences onto the story, it allows them to reflect on their lives.

Jake: You say the show is tied to being or having a mother – tell us about the process of creating the show and what place motherhood has had in the process.

Bibiana: I actually started writing the show at a time when I dearly missed my mother, which might come as a shock given the themes that the show presents. But missing her came quite naturally to me, she’s done such a wonderful job at raising me while also constantly working to make sure that my grandmother and I could live our lives comfortably. 

When I first got the idea for the show, I was in a completely foreign city and I knew absolutely no one, it was very isolating, so I decided to write my way out of it. And so the character of Amy was born. The process of writing it after that became quite simple, I like getting feedback quite early on in the writing process, so every time I finished a scene, I’d give it over to either my partner or my friends to read over. They have been an incredible support and I’m deeply thankful for their insights and inputs.

I also believe that motherhood, or even having a mother is such a complex experience, so it’s been a joy to get to explore it in such an intimate medium that is a one-woman show.

Annie: For me, motherhood means a multitude of things, not just someone literally being a mother. Even if somebody does not have a mother, they might still have some sort of a motherly figure in their lives.

We got to explore the subtext of what motherhood means to Amy specifically and even though her mother is a character in the play, it is more so about Amy’s perception of her. The audience only really learns about certain parts of their relationship, but they never learn them from the mother herself, but rather from Amy’s retelling.

Jake: The show is told in the form of therapy sessions – what motivated this creative choice and what are you hoping the audience takes away from this element of the show?

Bibiana: Therapy sessions are such a personal way of telling a story. I’ve always adored confessional literature and I think to a certain extent, I feel very drawn to writing about deeply intimate stories. The stories that people wouldn’t even write down in their diary. 

I grew up around psychiatrists, both of my grandparents worked in that field, so oftentimes family dinner would feel like a therapy session. Being able to truly listen and perhaps even inspire some personal reflection is such a hard skill to master, and yet it is a skill that feels so innately human.

Annie: I absolutely adore that it’s in the form of therapy sessions. Literally putting the audience in the therapist’s seat allows the audience to be in a place where they can do nothing but listen. Our main goal is to make each person in the audience feel as though Amy is speaking directly to them, distancing them from the others in the theatre.

Jake: Tell us about your relationship with Prague and the Fringe – have you been before and how are you feeling about it all now it’s approaching?

Bibiana: I grew up in Prague and the city has quite literally raised me. I remember which bar I had my first drink in, the park where I had my first kiss, and the little spot by the river where I would always go if I was sad, or stressed, or happy. I’m quite a nostalgic person, so even though I still live in Prague, I find myself missing it quite often.

The Prague Fringe is an incredible festival that has put on so many amazing shows performed by extremely talented people. There is a great lineup this year and I am so grateful that I get to perform next to these extraordinary artists. I’m still nervous, of course. But I find myself being far more grateful than nervous.

Annie: I’ve been attending the Prague Fringe for multiple years, I love that it gives a platform to otherwise possibly unrecognized artists. It also brings theatre to the public in a very accessible way.

Prague is and has always been my home and now that we have been given a chance to participate in a Fringe festival, it makes me incredibly happy that we can do so at the Prague Fringe.

As for how I’m feeling, I would say it’s both nervosity and excitement. This is by far the biggest opportunity in our careers, and we see it as a massive privilege that we get to share our work with so many wonderful people.

Jake: Given the themes of Binge Fringe, if your show was a beverage of any kind (alcoholic, non-alcoholic – be as creative as you like!), what would it be and why?

Annie: The first sip of water after a long night of drinking. Amy’s story takes us on a tough and toxic journey and despite the play still having traces of alcohol in its bloodstream, we get presented with refreshing clarity.

Tickets and Listings for Shows will be available soon on the Prague Fringe Box Office Website.

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together novel-length reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2023), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them