Jess Osorio introduces Bombshells, the second in our season of one act plays
What drew you to directing this play?
I was looking for a play that worked for the times we are living in, but principally one with strong and interesting female characters who felt real and who the cast and audience could engage and empathise with. I read several plays and, despite not knowing Bombshells previously, I was instantly attracted to it. The characters show their vulnerabilities and their strengths, allowing us to see their humanity and honesty and therefore coming over as real.
Tell us a bit about your cast and the women they portray?
I have cast four women, two of whom I have directed previously: Fiona and Siobhan. Katrina has been in several performances at SLT but never in a lead role, and Saoirse is a new member who was cast in Iron but was a casualty of Lockdown and Coronavirus; I hope we will see her on stage again at SLT.
We selected four of the six monologues, the two that contain music and singing, then the other two actors selected the two characters they bonded with and felt more able to empathise with. I like different qualities in all of the six women portrayed, which made it a difficult choice, and I would love for the audience to have the opportunity to see them all, and for the actors to perform those we are unable to stage on this occasion due to time constraints. Mary and Zoe are the singers, while both Tiggy and Meryl tell us what they love or loved about the men in their lives, but also allow us to see those men’s flaws and failings without our ever meeting them. I believe each woman has a quality that we are aware of in ourselves, allowing us to bond with them and care about them and the situation in which they find themselves.
What’s been the biggest challenge of directing a play during a pandemic?
The biggest challenge is perhaps the uncertainty of the situation and whether the show can go ahead. Directing in a socially distanced way has been tough but was alleviated somewhat by staging monologues. I have had one cast member, Saoirse, who has had to socially isolate due to contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus, resulting in some anxiety and uncertainty as to whether we would all have to isolate if she tested positive, but fortunately this was not necessary. I have also done some rehearsals on zoom with Saoirse, as a result, which threw up some challenges but was less difficult than I expected. It is always important as a director to respect everyone’s anxieties and concerns, but even more so at this time.
What do you hope the audience will take away from this play?
I think everyone will get something different from it, but I just want to give them an enjoyable and entertaining evening with some laughter. I hope they will care about the characters as much as we have come to.
Bombshells runs October 27 – November 1 at the Old Fire Station including a live-streamed performance on Thursday and closing with a Sunday matinee at 2.30. Buy tickets here
Rehearsal images by Jess and Cast