Viss Elliot Safavi stars in the world premiere of Isley Lynn’s The Swell at The Orange Tree Theatre.
Hannah Hauer-King directs Jessica Clark, Ruby Crepin-Glyne, Viss Elliot Safavi, Saroja-Lily Ratnavel, Shuna Snow, and Sophie Ward.
This OT co-production with Damsel Productions and The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is a thrilling romantic drama, featuring a live vocal score, spanning decades of love, sacrifice, and betrayal, and opens at Orange Tree Theatre on 29 June, with previews from the 24 June and runs until 29 July.
You’re appearing in The Swell at Orange Tree Theatre, what can you tell us about the play?
It’s ultimately a tender but also thrilling new piece of writing about three queer women, Annie, Bel and Flo, and their respective relationships. We meet them as Annie and Bel are on the brink of getting married, before a messy love triangle unfolds. We then encounter the three women 28 years later and see the impact of the time that’s passed and how their lives have changed. The play has a live vocal score, that punctuates scenes and creates the atmosphere of the surrounding landscape.
What was it about Isley Lynn’s script that appealed to you the most?
A lot of things appealed! There is real intimacy in her writing: laugh out loud funny bits, women really talking to each other. It’s an incredibly ‘active’ script for an actress to work with.
And is there any part of it you think will be challenging?
I feel that with the script there is nowhere for you to hide as a performer. It requires you to be present – in the moment – and listening. Thankfully the rest of the cast are so brilliant – it makes it easier!
What are you looking forward to most about working at The Orange Tree?
It’s my first time working at the Orange Tree – it’s been on my theatre wish list for ages – and I’m really looking forward to working in that space. The challenges it throws up, being in the round, but how that proximity with the audience can be thrilling.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking to see The Swell?
Other than BOOK, I would say that it’s not only a fun evening out, but also incredibly moving and full of surprises. It’s one of those shows that will have people debating fiercely in the bar after. Definitely worth the train ride to Richmond.