WHAT'S GOING ON?
About The Play
First produced by the Library Theatre Company, Manchester in 1987, it then transfered to London and was performed at Offstage Downstairs and also at the National with my mum ( Brigit Forsyth) as Dr Kovacs and Paula Tilbrook as Effie. Nearly 25 years later we decide to put it on but this time I would be playing Dr Kovacs and my mum would play Effie..
'..Effie, who has lived in mental institutions since the age of thirteen, has been admitted to hospital with severe burns. Treating her is Dr Kovacs, who finds Effie's extraordinary story of injustice the key to her own suppressed anger and power.
- Taut and powerful, tender and funny,' Effie's Burning' is an emotional switchback of a play, with a searing anger at its heart..'
We had been looking for projects to do together for a while and, as is often the case, the idea to do 'Effies Burning' came out of a completely unrelated conversation one day and rather knocked us both sideways- 'WHY didn't we think of it before?!'
Although the subject matter may appear to be rather heavy weather; a story of forgotten abuse and being lost within the care system..Valerie's writing makes it feel full of lighter moments, delicious black humour and the type of sudden yet accidental communications that happen between people in real life all the time... It's that relationship that's at the core of the play for me and what was particularly fascinating for both of us I think- How two people talking at complete cross purposes, pretty much on different planets- can suddenly have these moments of absolute clarity together and what a massive effect that then has on both their lives.
Privately we did a few readings and were both wildly excited and utterly terrified at the thought of putting it on together, as the play is both brilliant and technically very challenging for actors as the story jumps back and forth quite a lot...Aside from anything else if you lose concentration even for a minute you can jump to the end rather quickly, as we discovered in one particularly giggly rehearsal?!
On top of this my mum and I , while always having had a fantastic relationship and I'm happy to say we are best friends, had never actually worked together before- so we were both rather nervous to find out if our professional attitudes and styles would suit each other at all..( ..not to mention the pressure I felt in playing a part that my mum had already done brilliantly so many years before- TERRIFYING!)
Fortunately, being of a similar slightly kamikaze disposition,we decided we just had to go for it- Valerie granted us the rights to perform it, Antony Eden graciously agreed to direct us and suddenly the Soho had a gap- so we seized the day and commited to do it before it started to clash with other projects- the eternal problem for actors everywhere...
Despite not being able to sell tickets or promote the play beyond word of mouth ,we had a fantastic turnout with each performance nearly full. It made our first professional production together (and not a dress -run in sight...eek:$) even more special- we were really overwhelmed by the response of the audience to this brilliant piece of writing and so here is also a VERY BIG THANKYOU to Valerie Windsor for granting us the rights to perfom the piece...
(...and when she came along on the Tuesday she also, thankfully, thoroughly enjoyed it - PHEW!)
Thanks also to all the lovely staff at the Soho Theatre who made it possible.. The Epic Teaparties after every show in the theatre bar have given birth to several exciting new projects and ideas which we are still developing.
I absolutely loved working with my mum and Anthony, who's sensitive, incisive direction, enthusiaism and support made this production possible. I could rhapsodise for quite some time on the Joy of 'Effie' rehearsals with enormous thanks to Sian Phillips for providing us rehearsal space in what surely must be the most glamourous surroundings in the history of theatre... but I'd best stop gushing and restrain myself to saying simply that; I feel very very privilged indeed to have had the opportunity to work on this and hope to announce further performances in the future...
And possibly the birth of a new theatre company!
SO WATCH THIS SPACE...