FEATURE KARIS J AGGER
Karis Jagger: lies avoldetl the ilelloi-styietl existence of the typical celebrity child
Daughter of a legendary
rock icon and a 603 super babe, KARIS JAGGER makes her directorial debut at this year’s Edinburgh Festival with Joy. Bethan Cole talks to her about the ins and outs of her own persona.
aris Jagger has a family background ingrained on the popular conscious- ness. A tale incorporating the 605, sex, glamour and one of the biggest rock bands of all time, her life story is indelibly marked with the mythical status of Mick and Marsha’s infamous liaison. A life predicated on such notoriety offers beneﬁts of instant recognition but untold drawbacks of self-determination and individual identity. When your parents’ lives have the media largesse of Marsha Hunt and Mick Jagger, what is the benchmark for achievement in your own right?
At 24-years-old, Karis has managed to avoid the outré. Hello.’-styled existence of the typical celebrity child. After an English boarding school education she decamped to the US, reading history at Yale. Post-uni, she has been making documentaries and leading a fairly low- key life in Berkeley, California.
This year’s Festival sees Karis Jagger making
overseeing her mother Marsha’s performance in the stage adaptation of her first novel Joy. ‘1 think it’s going to be a really exciting experi- ence,’ she says. speaking on the phone from her
mother’s house. one-and-a-half hours north of
Paris. ‘We’ve been rehearsing non-stop. Luckily my mother’s house is in a really remote place so we don’t have too many interruptions.’
Jay the novel. named after the central charac— ter, glamorous disco-diva Joy Bang. is a story concerned with fame and the realities that undercut it. Recounted through the eyes of Baby Palatine, Joy’s spiritual mother, the tale unfurls the hidden secrets and ultimate tragedy of one celebrity’s life. ‘My mother and 1 adapted the book painstakingly,’ says Karis. ‘lt’s quite a long book to condense into I 1() minutes.’ The novel’s natural style and narrative construction helped enormously with its translation into script format: ‘Baby Palatine tells the whole story in the book, she’s like a talking head anyway. What we‘ve done is to hone and dramatise her person- ality further. Create a dialect for her. Essentially
the book is literary rather than theatrical.’ The (lwzouement of Joy involves the exposition of certain secrets about her life and a surprising outburst of violence. ‘lt’s funny. at the time that Mum wrote the end of the book. she was starring in ()tlzello every night. I think all that blood and catharsis must have taken its toll. We’ve actually toned the ending down, it‘s not as melodramatic now. less wild.’
Directorially. Karis and Marsha have been inﬂuenced by TV drama and stand~up comedy as well as more classic concepts of dramatic soliloquy. The warm. engaging dialogue of the novel has been sharpened into an ironic charac- ter portrait of Baby as well as the objectiﬁed tale of Joy’s life. ‘lt was Alan Bennet’s Talking Heads thing that inspired my Mother to do a one-woman show. so obviously that’s an inﬂuence. Whoopi Goldberg’s stand-up was another thing we wanted to draw upon. She does these comic sketches of individual characters. I don’t know if they’ve been on TV in Britain, they‘re really funny.’
Lher directorial debut and this time she’ll be
16 The List 12—18 August I994