Bette & Joan – A Tale Of Two Icons

Director Jessica Osorio and her cast introduce us to their show Bette and Joan which runs next week September 13-17, with Bette Davis played by Jenny McLaughlin and Joan Crawford by Lily Ann Green.

bette-and-joan-2Tell us about the setting of the play.

It’s 1962. After 3 decades of intense rivalry, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, two iconic Hollywood stars, have been brought together to star in the psychological thriller What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? The play is set in their dressing rooms in the run up to and the aftermath of one of the legendary on-set incidents that defined their feud.

Why was there such bitter rivalry between these two actors?

The world of Hollywood was hard for all actors but particularly, as today, for women getting older who had to compete for fewer good parts – although both Crawford and Davis were only in their 50s when they made Baby Jane. They were very different people and had clashed over roles, films and men throughout the years, but they also had experiences in common. Their skirmishes and insults masked their insecurities and jealousy – each had what the other wanted; Bette had the talent and Joan had the beauty.

bette-and-joan-3What are the challenges of directing this play?

We’ve worked hard to make the characterisation and performances an interpretation rather than impersonation of two of the Twentieth Century’s most recognisable stars. It’s been an intimidating but rewarding task! We also want to give the audience the opportunity we have had to get to know them better – to see their less public, vulnerable sides.

What do you hope the audience will enjoy in the play?

It’s a play that brings insight into the world of the Hollywood star system, the pressure of fame and the contrast between image and reality. It explores the reality of ageing and how that affects women – issues that are relevant to women today, both in Hollywood and in the ‘real world’! But it’s also a recreation of a key moment in cinematic history and a warm, funny, moving and witty exploration of the lives of two extraordinary women.

Photos © RubyLdn

Bette and Joan plays in the Upper Hall Tuesday, September 13 – Saturday, September 17 at 8pm. Tickets are available here.