Interviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams
So, Tracey – tell us about ‘God of Carnage’
God of Carnage is 80 minutes of I think superbly written, very funny drama and comedy. I think Yasmina Reza is a really clever writer; there are echoes of this play with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf which I’m sure you’ll see. She takes a very simple premise and then just runs with it logically and illogically to a very glorious ending. Do you know the play, have you seen it?
We’ve read the synopsis but I haven’t seen it, although we have seen ‘Life X 3’(also by Yasmina Reza)
The play started because somebody at her child’s school had been injured by another child and had to have some surgery on his tooth and she’d gone up to the mother a couple of days later and said ‘how’s your child?’ and the mother replied “fine, but do you know the parent of the other child who had done the damage didn’t even contact me”. She suddenly realised that in trying to sort out problems with your children, you sometimes end up becoming infantile yourself and you can say what you like about your own children but nobody else is allowed to attack them.
Your character’s got a French name?
We’re all French, it’s set in France and we have to be French – it’s interesting because in America they’ve changed it to Americans. I don’t think this play would work in England with English people because we’re all a bit polite and repressed and actually the French are more volatile and a little more Latin I think it’s very important that you keep it set in France. Our director Patrick Sandford is bi-lingual and worked with the French and English translations in rehearsals, Christopher Hampton’s translation is superb.
That leads us onto another question, we’ve noticed that you’re particularly adept at acting with accents, are there any that you struggle to do?
Geordie, Northern Irish and I am rubbish at a midlands accent. In my experience you can either do a good Liverpool accent or a good midlands accent, and I can do Liverpool.
How did you learn to do all of these accents?
I just pick them up easily, if something is very specific then I will get a voice coach and really work at it to every last syllable. I love playing characters that have different accents, although I’m delighted that this one is not in a French accent because I think that would get quite irritating although quite funny.
As you are concentrating on producing at the moment, what coaxed you back to performing?
I never say never, so I’m never going to say that’s it I’m never acting again – I adore acting of course I do, but what’s difficult is long runs because I’m concentrating on the producing. However, if its short and I can fit it in, I’m your woman.
Is there any part, actor or indeed director that would tempt you back to acting again?
Oh, I’m sure there would be lots, there’s a very long list of people I would love to co-star with or work with, but actually I never thought I would find anything I loved as much as acting. So, having made a success of Haunting Julia (Tracey’s first touring play in her role of Producer (read our review here or our previous interview with Tracey here)) I need to be cashing in on that, now.
As God of Carnage is a short run, are there any plans to extend it or transfer to another theatre?
I think they would like it to, I’m not sure if it will be possible because it couldn’t immediately due to people’s availability – there are all sorts of connotations.
We’ve seen the trailers for Broadchurch (Tracey plays a part in Broadchurch and produces, too) – how will it differ from the other detective based programmes?
I think it will differ quite a lot, actually because it’s not really focussing on how the crime is solved, but what’s different is that it’s about the murder of a child in a very small community and it’s far more about how it pulls the town apart than the who-dunnit aspect. It’s filmed in the most beautiful location in Dorset and the writer Chris Chibnall (who wrote ‘Born and Bred’ which Tracey starred in) decided to write a serial set in his home town. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen David Tennant take second billing, on the front page of the newspaper it said “New TV Series Stars ‘West Bay’… and David Tennant”.
What else can we expect to see from you this year?
You can expect more of ‘Klein’ on ‘Doctor Who’ audio, acting is going on the back burner unless someone offers me a nice job and I can do it, then I say “thank you very much!”. Hall and Childs are currently setting up a project that I can’t tell you anything about, because it’s not signed and sealed and also a tour for 2014.
We would like to thank Tracey for allowing us the time to interview her as we appreciate that she is a very busy lady. ‘God of Carnage’ runs at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton until Saturday 23rd February and as you will gather from Helen’s review (read here) – we highly recommend it!
First published 19.02.13