We interview director Colleen Batson about her SLT debut and her play in our 2017 Season, Forget-Me-Not Lane by Peter Nichols which opens next week on Tuesday June 13 at Stanley Halls.
What made you decide to direct this play?
I’ve directed a Peter Nichols play before, So Long Life, and it had stayed with me. When I was looking for my first play at SLT, I was very happy to hear that he was a well-regarded playwright.
What are the themes of the play?
Family conflict – how each generation tries to be different and ends up being the same. It explores the reality of dealing with the transition from youth to maturity, and what it takes to become a rounded adult. It shows also how in times of stress, it’s difficult to be both pure in heart, and pure in action.
I’ve had to remember that the play was written in 1971, the near past, and that we live in a different time with different attitudes, especially in use of language, which is reflected in both how people communicate with each other in the play, and the impact each character has on one another. It’s always tough to honour what’s written, whilst trying to impose my own interpretation
What do you think the audience will enjoy about the play?
I think seeing glimpses of themselves or other family members, plus how Peter Nichols has inserted the actual practice of theatre in a play about a family who think they are ordinary.
The cast has really come on board with my method of directing; I believe in getting underneath the character, and it was really enjoyable to share our perceptions on why a character might behave as they do in the play. What was also great was their willingness to share experiences to truly inform the characters.
The cast members cover a wide age range and level of experience, some are new whilst others have performed with SLT for a long time, but they have willingly ‘travelled’ together to produce a great show which I hope the audience will really enjoy.
Forget-me-not Lane opens at Stanley Halls on Tuesday 13 June for 5 nights. Tickets can be bought in advance here.
Rehearsal photographs by Bryon Fear