Bunny by Jack Thorne will be opening at the White Bear Theatre from Tuesday 7th March until Saturday 25th March 2017, starring Catherine Lamb.
What attracted you to Bunny as a play?
As an actress, Bunny was very attractive because Katie is a brilliantly honest character, very entertaining and she relates to so many. It’s a very clever and funny play with a fantastic heart and, without being patronising, has a very profound message. That, with some dialogue and empathy, there is an understanding that can and must be reached between different groups of people. We shouldn’t be threatened by one another, we should embrace what is different because those differences make us stronger. That is what made me want to produce the show and get it on now. I felt it was quite urgent because the themes in it and what it examines are so important. The struggles and, frankly, the erratic and unbelievable nature of the world we now find ourselves in, should be being discussed and particularly with the young people that will grow up with consequences.
Bunny is a story about women feeling powerless and inadequate; how do you get yourself into a mental state to perform that kind of role?
I think the most important thing to remember is that she doesn’t recognise the fact that she is so powerless. She can’t figure out how she gets herself into these situations and she doesn’t really know why she is doing what she is doing. It’s as though the option of saying ‘no’ isn’t even available to her. That is what is so important. That is the key thing that causes her to end up in these places with these people, because she is simply too embarrassed to say no. I think anyone can relate to that, especially when they are growing up. When preparing for the role you just have to take yourself back to that heightened sense of awareness and almost paranoia that you just are not interesting or good enough.
When you first read the script, how did it make you feel?
Well, I first saw the play at the Soho Theatre when I was about 19 and it was the first play I had seen where I felt as though it was almost made for me. I was obsessed with it – bought the script and read it again and again and again. I found it so funny, probably because I was laughing at myself and the ridiculous nature of how insecure and how scrutinised we all feel. We put ourselves under so much pressure, we are obsessed with being liked and accepted. It really inspired me; I thought it was so cool that someone had written a play that so perfectly articulated all my fears and desires as a teenager.
What’s good about performing at The White Bear Theatre?
It’s a great space, run by a very generous and supportive team. The space, as you know, is brand new and has a fantastic bar downstairs, which is always good. It feels like it’s a really exciting time to be involved with The White Bear and I believe it has a very bright future.
Why was it important to you that it was produced for audiences to see?
Well! I think most of us can agree that now, more than ever, we need to be producing theatre that examines the state of our world now and all the new and ever changing challenges we are facing. The most important aspect to me is the clashing of cultures that Jack Thorne examines in this piece. How can young people from all different backgrounds be expected to grow up alongside each other as compassionate and inclusive people when we are surrounded by such hateful and divisive speech. I really want to get as many people down to the theatre to watch this as possible, make them laugh and make them think about how silly and unnecessary the divisions in our society are. We shouldn’t feel threatened by one another but instead embrace and support one another.
You’ve done a real mix of theatre and TV roles, which do you prefer and why?
I love both but I think I would have to say theatre because of the rehearsal process, the feeling of being part of a company and most importantly the live audiences. They are never the same and the show can grow and surprise you every night. It can also go wrong, which is terrifying but the audiences love it!
What has the rest of 2017 got in store for you?
Well, as I am also producing this show and it is my first time doing so, I think I may need a very long sleep when this is all over! Loving every second of it though and learning so much. I have a series coming out later in the year and also going to Edinburgh with a show. The fringe is such a special event and I can’t wait to be part of it again.