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Monday, 16 March 2015 10:30

Becoming Mrs Vicar

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Susan, 'Bed Among the Lentils'Susan, 'Bed Among the Lentils'

My part of The Really Small Reminiscences is the monologue of Susan, or Bed Among the Lentils. I am very fond of Susan: on the outside, she is a drab little mouse of a vicar’s wife, who apparently does and has done little to take charge of her own life. Behind the “cut-out-for-God” surface, however, Susan has the knack of spotting and describing in a piercingly-sharp fashion the idiosyncrasies and downright ludicrousness of people – most unusually, herself included. And as we will discover as her story unfolds, her verbal rebellion grows into her daring to break away from various roles that have confined her, and becoming the subject rather than the object of her own life.

On the surface level, it might appear that I don’t share a great deal with Susan. However, my firm belief is that we all carry within us every human possibility, and so, to create a character, one needs to dig deep inside oneself to— where the given character’s qualities reside. A hard enough task, to be sure, but just between me and you, gentle Reader: I haven’t had to dig all that deep to discover my personal Susan. Now, it’s more of a case of bringing her out, shaping her, making her live and breathe – of becoming Mrs. Vicar. This is where the real work lies…

After seventeen years of stagework, this is my first experience of doing a monologue play. It is also my first time onstage with RStC, but not with the gang involved in the production. Most notably, my history with Joan (directing) goes back sixteen years, when she directed me in my second-ever production, in the role of a young lad in Edward Bond’s The Sea. Since those ancient days of yore, all of us involved in this production have worked together many times and in different combinations. The long-term friendships and mutual trust are really the prerequisites for taking on a huge challenge such as doing justice to Bennett’s wonderful, witty, wistful script. I’m loving getting my teeth into this.

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