#fringebuzz with Fiona Ross of Is That How Clowns Have Sex?

by Caleigh Crow

How old were you when you took your last sex ed class? Most likely the number ends in “-teen”, but it’s probable that since then your education has continued, maybe in the form of experiences, maybe through bits and pieces gleaned with conversations with friends – it’s even possible your education has continued (perhaps unwittingly) through movies and television. Whatever the case, Fiona Ross wants you to know: you still aren’t a sexpert.

But fear not, for there’s no such thing. “We all have this facade of knowing everything, even in conversations with friends you can still have that attitude, but you don’t know everything.” Fiona continues, “I don’t know everything, no one knows everything. It’s about having that human connection. we’re all in this together and we’re all trying to figure it out.”

Enter Ms. Beatrice Haven, Fiona’s clown character, who will be the one guiding audience through this one-woman queer sex-ed show. Fiona saw her first clown show a few years ago and has had Ms. Beatrice in her head ever since. Eventually, she realized that she can take her clown idea and weave it in with her experiences as a sex educator. “Clown is so about vulnerability, and in many ways, sex is about the same. I think they go well together and having those moments of vulnerability – of having something [going] wrong. Not understanding something is hard for people to admit, especially if you’re there naked in the moment, and you don’t know what to do,” remarks Fiona.

Each night the audience will see the world through Ms. Bea Haven’s eyes, and she’ll do her best to accommodate audiences with specific questions. “It’s not particularly improv based but we’ve found ways to incorporate their questions every single night so that everyone gets a tailored experience,” Fiona says. “Education is all about the learner.”

The Montreal St Ambroise FRINGE Festival is an excellent breeding ground for these concepts and Fiona is no stranger to the festival, winning the Spirit of the Fringe Frankie award back-to-back, which takes some of the pressure off. “It’s a lot of firsts for me: first clown show, first solo show. Knowing what I’m getting into with FRINGE is helpful and I love having that backbone of support and love,” Fiona says.

The show is a celebration of not-knowing as a precursor to knowing, and the tension between expectations (sexpectations?) and the reality of forging intimacy with another human being just as complicated and vulnerable as you are. “We’re focusing around those moments of contention between what we’re taught and what we have conversations with our friend’s about or what we learn from TV and what happens when trying to have sex with other people,” Fiona says.

She continues, “It’s also a hilarious thing, a clown sex ed show.”

Is That How Clowns Have Sex? A One-Woman, Queer Clown Sex-Ed Show Is playing at MainLine Theatre from June 8 – 17 as part of the St Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. To purchase tickets, click here. For all our QDF #FRINGEBUZZ articles, click here.