Entertainment Views Interview: Kate Terence ~ Star of ‘The Sword of Alex’

In the clash between the political and the personal, The Sword of Alex by award-winning playwright Rib Davis examines how identity fares in the struggle, coming to the White Bear Theatre in Autumn 2018, starring Kate Terence, Georgia Winters, Patrick Regis and DK Ugonna.
You’d never defeat me in politics, not in the politics of left and right. But it’s a hell of a lot easier to get people to fight over identity than it is over ideas. Isn’t that right?
A country on the verge of civil war as a region attempts to break away from the state. Two versions of nationalism clash head-on. Two leaders and their nations pitted against each other. Each must destroy the others’ version of history. But families are no less tribal than nations. As the great games are played out at a national level, so too are domestic power struggles. This is a play that brings together national destiny, gender politics and the very ideas of identity and belonging.
Come back in ten years. Or twenty. Or when you’re dead. That’s always a good time to be forgiven. I think it’s called a pardon.

Rib Davis began his writing career in documentary theatre at The Living Archive Project. He has now worked in oral history-based theatre for over 30 years. He has worked extensively in radio (his many plays include Corridor and A Few Kind Words, and series include Unwritten Law) as well writing for television (including for The Bill). His non-documentary stage play No Further Cause for Concern, about a prison riot, won an Edinburgh Fringe First award before he went on to adapt it for television. His best-selling book Writing Dialogue for Scripts is now in its 4th edition. Rib Davis is currently holder of the Goodison Fellowship at the British Library.
Kate Terence has performed with the RSC and the Globe, and appeared on screens in Bad Girls and The Kindness of Strangers. Georgia Winters is a member of the Actors Ensemble theatre company and appeared in the film Jupiter Ascending. Patrick Regis received the Best Newcomer Award at the Screen Nations Awards, and has since appeared in Hard Sun for the BBC, and will be appearing in the second season of Snatch. DK Ugonna originated the role Vartan Sarafian in a new play Paradise Road (Tales Retold) at the Sheffield Library Theatre this year, played Othello (Lights of London) at the Moor’s Bar Theatre in Crouch End in 2017.
One of the stars of ‘The Sword Of Alex’, Kate Terence, chatted to Entertainment Views about the production and threw in some tips for budding actors too! 
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Kate. Tell me about the production and your character. 
The production is one of the more exciting challenges that I have taken on in a long time.  I am among a cast of four; they are all excellent actors, so the bar has been raised for me.  My character, Calantha has all the qualities of a strong but complex female character, so I am enjoying the challenge of trying to reach all aspects of her in rehearsal.
What was your initial impression of the script?
My initial impression of the script was it’s immediacy and it’s relevance to our current world.  It has a classical, timeless quality to it, but if you were to equate it with music, it is more like extremely precisely written jazz structured in a classical form.  I wanted to be part of it straight away.
What are the challenges of the piece?
The challenges are in the fact that there is the macro-view of the characters but there is also the micro view of their personal worlds, so making that have a flow that serves the play to its best is a stimulating challenge.  And there are plenty of lines to learn, but I’m not complaining!
How do you feel the space will lend itself to the production? 
The space is very intimate so the audience will receive it very clearly.  There is no room for error, which can be exposing to an actor, but is also massively exciting.  They will see something that they may well recognise and have a chance to reflect upon it more instantly.
What do you hope the reactions from the audience will be? 
I hope they are stimulated and provoked by it, that they come out at the end and find themselves talking about it’s content, relating it to their lives and the world’s politics.
Why should everybody buy a ticket to come and see it?
It is not often that a brilliantly written play comes out, with four excellent actors and a superb director.  That is why it is worth buying a ticket.
Finally, any advice for budding actors and what’s your preferred medium, stage or screen?
Advice for budding actors: stick at it, persist, develop the skin of a rhinoceros but maintain the soul of a baby.  Be choosy in what you do and challenge yourself: if you are scared of it, it’s often a reason to do it.  Always believe in yourself, but have the humility to believe you can also improve and become even better.
In terms of preferences, I love both the stage and screen.  They are two completely different mediums and over the years I’ve discovered that I enjoy both equally for differing reasons.
Thanks to Kate for an insightful interview. Book tickets to see ‘The Sword of Alex’ here: https://www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk/WhatsOn/The-Sword-of-Alex/book?p=1359

Spotlight On… Star of Bunny, Catherine Lamb

Bunny is at White Bear Theatre from 7 – 25 March 2017, to book tickets follow this link: White Bear Theatre Box Office

Bunny by Jack Thorne 

White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DJ Tuesday 7th – Saturday 25th March 2017 Press Night: Thursday 9th March, 7pm 

I think life can be basically divided into two things: suspense and surprise.  I prefer surprise to suspense.  But that’s basically because I feel suspense all the time.

A summer of love.  A fight.  A car chase.  A siege.  When Katie’s boyfriend is attacked on the streets of Luton, she is propelled outside her borders to the frontier of council estates and concrete jungles.  Amidst the sweltering heat, the baying for blood and longing for love, Katie is forced to decide her future.

A vital tale for our times by multi-award winning playwright Jack Thorne, Bunny is an interrogation into the mind of one young girl struggling to find her place within a modern world lacking intimacy and connection.  This compelling and thought-provoking show explores a powerful youth voice in Britain.

Bunny is a play with a young white woman at its centre – one who loses her underwear in a car on the outskirts of an estate to a bloke she knows nothing about. She doesn’t understand that she needs to escape, that she’s been sucked in.  Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories where women are made to feel powerless, inadequate and submissive.  Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories that help us to identify with the state of our nation.
Catherine Lamb, Lucy Curtis and Sophia Nicholson are a trio of up-and-coming female theatre makers seeking to present an unflinching, honest, intimate, vibrant and relatable story of our times.  It is a compelling insight into what it is to be growing up today and the inevitable struggles, pressures and pitfalls of vulnerable young people.

Lucy Curtis comments: Bunny is about the state of our nation now – we are faced with youth unemployment, problematic political campaigns, factory closures and racial tensions in our communities. We are seeing the re-emergence of 20th century mentalities that, it turns out, were never completely left behind. They have stayed with us, and festered, and have now erupted across Britain, America and the rest of world. We see this through the eyes of Katie: a white, middle-class eighteen year old who wants to be anything but white, middle-class and eighteen. Bunny is about dialogue and about the understanding that can be reached between different people – through empathy.

Here’s an exclusive interview with Catherine Lamb…

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about Bunny and your character? 

Bunny is the story of Katie, a young girl struggling to find where she ‘fits’ into the world.  In her own words she is the ‘unfit fitter’.  We follow Katie through one extraordinary evening when her boyfriend is attacked on the street. Circumstances unravel beyond her control and she quickly finds herself on the wrong side of Luton. It is a funny yet challenging piece of theatre which explores the challenges of growing up in a world so full of hatred and divisions.  It is really a story about fear, fear of not being interesting enough or attractive enough amongst your peers and fear of those in society who we don’t understand.  Bunny explores the understanding that can be reached between people on different sides of the street using empathy and simple dialogue.

What was your initial impression of the script?

My initial impression was that it is a bold play with a corrosive humour.  It is a brave piece of work which perfectly captures the youth in Britain today.  It effortlessly captures the fears and desires of a young girl in a way I have not seen before.  I first saw the play when I was 19 and I was bold over by it.  I read it again and again.  It was the first time I had been to the theatre and had that connection with a play.  I just got it.  I understood it and I saw myself and my friends in it.

Have you found it easy to translate from page to stage?

Bunny is a high energy and fast paced piece and has a very specific rhythm to it.  This really informs you as an actor how to take on the piece and shows you what it is supposed to be like.  The writing is so good that it does a lot of the work for you.  Katie is such a relatable character and a real joy to play.

Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role?

Katie is not perfect. She is an infinitely flawed character, however, it is vital she is relatable and likeable.  She is very funny and quick witted and hugely entertaining for an audience.  She is bold and outrageous whilst at the same time painfully self-aware and self-deprecating.  She is a complex character and a very real character. For me, the most important thing is that any young girl coming to the theatre will be able to see an aspect, however small, of themselves in her, just like I did when I first saw it.

How does the space lend itself to the piece?

The space is perfect for this type of show because it is so intimate as the piece itself is very intimate.  The audience are invited into Katie’s internal monologue and stream of consciousness so it is very important for it to feel like a private and safe space which Katie shares with the audience.

What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?

I think this is a great opportunity to see some of Jack Thorne’s early work. He is now one of our most successful writers and seeing something from the beginning of his career is always fascinating.  The thing about this show is that it can relate to everyone because we have all been young and everyone can remember the excruciating anguish of those teenage years when you are struggling to find your place in the world.  The play also examines and challenges the divisions within our society and sadly this has never been more relevant or relatable as it is to us all today.

Thanks to Catherine for a great interview, break a leg!

Photo credit: Romana Patton

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