Caroline Lawrie stars in the compelling and chilling true story, Fast. A psychological drama, laced with suspense, which follows the cult health professional Linda Hazzard.

Fast is the true story of Linda Hazzard who advocated a fasting cure that gripped the press and divided a nation. Fast is at The Park Theatre 15th October to 9th November 2019.

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You’re starring in Fast at the Park Theatre, what can you tell us about it?

Fast is based on a true story, a woman called herself a doctor and strongly believed in fasting people to cure them of any illness, and indeed to improve their lives. The play focusses on what happened to two English heiresses, who came for the cure, but all did not end as they expected… Set in Olalla, Washington over a hundred years ago, Fast is a compelling and hypnotic story which draws the audience into the slow realisation of ‘Dr’ Linda Hazzard’s capabilities.

Tell us more about your character?

‘Dr’ Linda Hazzard was a woman of great inner strength. She was strident, tough and ambitious. She manipulated people into believing and obeying anything she said or did. No one doubted she was an extraordinarily motivated woman. She wrote books on the subject of fasting and toured to promote them, her sanatorium and her beliefs about good health and how she could cure people of any disease. She equalled herself to Dr Kellogg who ran a huge and successful sanatorium in Michigan during the same time. Linda Hazzard, however, felt she was persecuted for being a woman in a mainly masculine world of medicine.

What’s the biggest challenge for you in playing a real-life figure?

With playing Dr Linda Hazzard who was alive over 100 years ago, sadly there are no voice clips or moving pictures of her but there are many photographs, and most importantly, her published books which you can access on the internet. These give great insight into the kind of person she was.

The biggest challenge with playing Hazzard specifically, is reading her book Fasting For The Cure Of Disease. I find it difficult to understand why people were so compelled and believed in her writing as it is not what I personally, with my knowledge of medicine, can comprehend.

What is it about Kate Barton’s writing that you admire the most?

Although set over one hundred years ago Kate Barton’s play feels very modern because the characters are well fleshed out. Even though she was such a dark and hard character, through Kate’s writing you do feel empathy for Hazzard and a real sense of her vulnerability. Kate Barton’s play has been meticulously researched and each line carefully considered, making her scenes a joy to play.

The storytelling of this fascinating true story means that audiences are gripped and leave the theatre Googling Hazzard, wanting to find out more about her extraordinary story.

Why do you think this play will be so relevant to audiences today?

People are always looking for the quickest, easiest and latest cure today as much as they were 100 years ago. We are all susceptible to hype and media influences, putting our trust in people who purport to have the best and easiest cure for our ailments. This is a warning against making false gods of influential people, and that is why I think Fast is so relevant to audiences today.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Fast?

Intriguing, gripping, chilling and frightening, Fast will have you on the edge of your seat. This thought provoking, unbelievable true story will be an evening at the theatre which you will never forget. ‘Dr’ Linda Hazzard will stay with you…

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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