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Listen: How Phoebe Waller-Bridge Shocked Herself With ‘Fleabag’

Both onstage and onscreen, the title character in “Fleabag” says things that are pretty outrageous — even to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the woman who created her.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

Known to television audiences as the creator of Amazon’s “Fleabag” as well as BBC America’s “Killing Eve,” Waller-Bridge is making her New York stage debut in the 2013 solo show that inspired “Fleabag” the TV series. “When we did rehearsals and I opened the script again, I read it and I was really shocked by it!” she recalled on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast. “I was going, ‘I don’t want to say this! This is revolting!'”

But that raw, explicit honesty was part of what made the show’s depiction of female sexuality so head-turning six years ago — and why it still resonates today, too. “It felt so unsaid when I did it the first time — totally said between me and my friends, and how we would talk to each other privately, but not, literally, on a stage,” she said. “That’s what felt so dangerous about it then. Whereas now it’s a different kind of fierceness I want to attack it with, because now I’m like, ‘Yes, now it’s articulating something that is being talked about already,’ whereas before the ambition was to articulate something that hadn’t been. I still feel powerful saying those things.”

Waller-Bridge’s sold-out run of “Fleabag” plays Off Broadway just as the second season of “Killing Eve” hits BBC America and IFC next month, with the second season of “Fleabag” arriving on Amazon Prime in May. She’s thinking of this stage stint as a farewell to the character — at least for now.

“I don’t think I’ll do the play again, and I don’t think I’ll do a Season 3 [of ‘Fleabag’] before I’m 50,” she said. “It takes so much out of me, and at the same time, it gives me so much energy, this character, that I feel like I’ve got to go and do some more stuff before I find out where she gets to next.”

New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on iTunesStitcher, or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

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