Bathsheba Piepe stars in the world première of Lisa Langseth’s The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree, directed by Emily Louizou.
The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree is the UK writing debut of Swedish writer Lisa Langseth. Fusing original music with live sound and movement, this new play inspired by the Daphne myth is a timely tale about isolation, identity, and destructive obsession with the opinions of others.
The UK version was first commissioned and presented in October 2021 as part of New Nordics Festival by Cut the Cord Theatre – a week-long festival of new Nordic plays which works with emerging UK based theatre-makers to explore what Nordic theatre is and how it can enrich UK theatre.
The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree is at Omnibus Theatre, opening on 6 April, with previews from 4 April, and running until 22 April.
You’re starring in The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree at Omnibus Theatre, what can you tell us about the show?
It is written by Swedish writer/director Lisa Langseth. It is a modern fable about the hazards of disconnection, about the danger of building your life around the superficiality of other people’s opinions of you.
What was it about Lisa Langseth’s script that made you want to be a part of this production?
It was the combination of Lisa’s incredible writing and the chance to work again with the amazing director Emily Louizou. Lisa is an uncompromisingly brave writer, and I believe with this script she has really got to the heart of our world’s obsession with performed perfection, and with the inherent war raging within all of us between truth and the ‘truth’ we want to present to the world. It is an honour to be performing in the world-premiere of this incredible play.
What do you enjoy about playing Daphne, especially in this retelling of the myth?
The character of Daphne is fantastically complex, and throughout the play, she is stripped of her artifice layer by layer. I was so excited to explore the tensions and contradictions within the character, within the play itself. And of course, the challenge of such an extensive role appealed to me.
It’s an all-female creative team, how do you think that has influenced the production?
It is such a pleasure to work with an all-female creative team, and so unusual in an industry dominated by men. It feels like a gift. I think it is particularly resonant given the themes of the play, given that it centres on a woman’s voice, and her journey to connect with her true self, away from the gaze of others.
As a director, Emily is so exciting to create work with. And she is such a supportive, intuitive, creative director. It feels like a true collaboration. And the wonderful Ioli Filippakopoulou is providing dynamism and energy with her movement direction. It is a real treat to have the three of us in a rehearsal room together – sparks fly.
And what do you think will be the biggest challenge for you with this production?
The production will require a level of mental agility, and physical stamina from me that I have never had to reach before. I am so excited for the challenge of performing this role – I think I may become addicted to the adrenaline.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see The Woman Who Turned Into a Tree?
I would say, watch Lisa Lagseth’s ‘Love and Anarchy’ on Netflix and if you love her writing as I’m sure you will do, come to the Omnibus and see the world-premiere of her play.