As the 2022-23 Fringe Theatre Season continues on, we’re excited to start the year with an adaptation of the 2003 young adult novel by acclaimed writer Joyce Carol Oates, Freaky Green Eyes.
Franky Pierson knows something has begun. A shift in the air and a new family schedule. Stapled on smiles—until her mother vanishes. Adrift, Franky must piece together the facts to discover the truth of the situation, guided by her inner voice—Freaky Green Eyes. This coming-of-age story will raise questions about social taboo, teen anxiety, and the relationship between silence and truth.
Q&A With Emma Houghton
We sat down with Freaky Green Eyes producer and lead, Emma Houghton, to discuss how this project came to be almost four years ago.
Why are you telling this story now?
Emma (E): I mean, in many ways the stars aligned for me to tell this story now. I started working on this project in the Summer of 2019, and it’s only through lots of help from other Artists, funding bodies, and friends, that it’s found its way on stage now. It’s probably good when starting a project that you never think it’s going to take as long as it does!
This play deals a lot with the theme of isolation and how things can be hidden when people are isolated. I think that we all have a better understanding of what isolation truly means and how it affects us, since we’ve come out of the worst of the pandemic. So, in retrospect, I actually think this play benefits from being told now versus a couple years ago.
How did this story come to be?
E: I read Joyce’s book Freaky Green Eyes when I was around 12 years old, and it struck a huge chord with me. More than a decade later, sometimes I would pick up the book and do a reread in one sitting. It’s definitely one of those ‘pick it up and can’t put it down’ books.
I had never written a play before, but was interested in trying it, so my friend suggested that I try an adaptation, and I immediately thought of Freaky Green Eyes.
What do you hope your audience takes away?
E: One of my favourite things about theatre is that no one is experiencing the same show. No matter what, people will experience things differently, and I always love to hear contrasting thoughts from people afterwards. So, I won’t give a takeaway per se, but for myself, this show gives me a deeper understanding of the importance of trusting your gut, and an increased awareness of and responsibility for the vulnerability of children.
If you could go back to your younger self, what advice would you give?
E: I would tell her to trust in her wackiness a little sooner. And to believe that she is powerful.
Freaky Green Eyes (Jan 10-21)
Franky Pierson knows something has begun. A shift in the air and a new family schedule. Stapled on smiles—until her mother vanishes. Adrift, Franky must piece together the facts to discover the truth of the situation, guided by her inner voice—Freaky Green Eyes. Part coming of age story, part mystery, Freaky Green Eyes asks questions about domestic abuse and the lengths we will go to avoid seeing what is right in front of us.
This world premiere runs January 10-21, 2023, in the Backstage Theatre. Performances on January 10, 11, and 12 are preview performances.
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreted Shows: January 11 and 17 at 8PM, or January 14 at 2PM.
Relaxed Performances: January 11 & 17 at 8PM.
Each season show will also include a minimum of two ASL-interpreted performances and two relaxed performances. Offer What You Will tickets are available for every performance. Learn more about Offer What You Will and Relaxed performances by clicking the links below.
Get your tickets to Freaky Green Eyes!
Freaky Green Eyes is produced by Emma Houghton in association with Punctuate! Theatre as part of the Fringe Theatre Season.