Our brand new show ‘Naming The View’ is inspired by ‘TheTaming Of The Shrew’, or at least the rather tricky (nowadays anyway) final speech of Kate.
For anyone unfamiliar with the speech to which I refer, here’s a snippet: “Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, thy head, thy sovereign; one that cares for thee, And for thy maintenance; commits his body to painful labour both by sea and land, to watch the night in storms, the day in cold, whilst thou liest warm at home, secure and safe; and craves no other tribute at thy hands but love, fair looks, and true obedience…….” Ahem! You see the difficulty any 21st century actor faces in delivering this, and particularly now we are in the age of #MeToo. So rather cleverly, not to say beautifully, the one and only Richard Curnow has written a re-imagining of Katherine (Kate), after 30 years of marriage to Petruchio (Pete). Or perhaps I should say 30 years of walking on eggshells because Pete is, unsurprisingly really when you read that speech in full, the perpetrator of #coercivecontrol.
Last week, Richard (writer and performer), Bryn Holding (Director) and me (performer) spent four days rehearsing and developing ‘Naming The View’. It’s a powerful, moving and thought-provoking script with a good sprinkling of humour too.
As well as the characters of Kate and Pete, there is a third, Horton (Hortensio if you are a ‘Shrew’ aficionado) who has also ‘suffered’ 30 years of a pretty miserable marriage. Both Kate and Horton sit on a bench at the top of Cleeve Hill just outside Cheltenham, gazing at the awesome view and slowly reveal their disappointments, hopes and dreams. #coercivecontrol features quite heavily in the piece and I’ve found one book in particular is essential research – ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ by Helen Walmsley Johnson – this is an uncomfortable read, but not nearly as uncomfortable as Helen’s real life of course. It’s frank, honest and very brave writing. There are a lot of extremely courageous people out there – men as well as women – willing to tell their stories, some of whom have opened up to me personally. I am immensely grateful to you all and feel bound to do my utmost to ensure I portray elements of each of your stories accurately.
‘Naming The View’ is a co-production with the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham and will be opening on Wed 6 June and running until Saturday 9 June. We are bringing it back to The Pound in the autumn but we are currently looking for more tour dates for Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019. All suggestions, recommendations and, needless to say, requests for more information gratefully received!
We’re back in rehearsals in the last week of May before the show opens in the first week of June. So now there’s the small matter of learning the lines, gathering props, sound effects and coming up with a lighting design – thankfully being a mere actor, I can leave most of that to the Director and Writer! The next ten weeks are going to be daunting and exciting in turns (also busy, as there are a couple of Shakespeare Project Weeks thrown into the mix too) but it’s going to be wonderful as well. Wonderful to put on my actor’s hat again (the chance to hone the skills I teach as a drama practitioner), wonderful to perform with my best friend, and wonderful to work with a seriously talented young, upcoming director.
Please come along to Cheltenham if it’s within striking distance of you. I can promise you a very fulfilling evening. One warning though – bring a tissue!