Interview: The Collector

So Katherine, what made you choose to put on The Collector? Katherine: Mathilde and I had wanted to work together since the Freshers’ Plays; we were talking, and she told […]

So Katherine, what made you choose to put on The Collector?

Katherine: Mathilde and I had wanted to work together since the Freshers’ Plays; we were talking, and she told me about a play she’d seen in Copenhagen and had fallen in love with. She lent it to me, I joined her in the pit of love, and we ran with it. Mathilde has a thing for creepy plays (Caligula, Medea), she adores me and really liked how I had directed my Freshers’ Play, so we decided to join forces. 

I hear it’s a two-hander – has it been intense?

Peter: Handling the dark and sinister content has been the most intense part of the play – even more so than learning all those lines! I think Katherine and Mathilde have done an incredible job at getting Cara and I to stay focused whilst also not becoming overwhelmed with the range of emotions. You’re much more exposed when there are only two of you on stage, which I find both thrilling and terrifying. Luckily, those emotions are what we’re aiming for with this play! 

Cara:  It’s inevitable that a two person play is going to be intense, due to the sheer number of lines alongside the fact that there are only two of you. The content of the script itself however, is especially intense, as the plot follows a stalker and his imprisoned stalkee. Luckily for us though, Katherine has been careful to try and balance this intensity with having fun along the way.

Cara, you have also been cast as Eleanor of Aquitaine in Lion in Winter, (a production going up in late November). Do you think there are any similarities between the roles (apart from the fact that they are both held captive and literally imprisoned by the men in their lives)?

Cara: Aside from the fact that they are both imprisoned by their male counterparts, they are strong women, who undeniably hold an implicit power over their respective men. They both effortlessly dominate the space and the people around them: Eleanor (Lion) with ease and grace, and Miranda (Collector) with charm. Neither are particularly ‘nice’ characters, and without doubt share the ability of manipulation: Eleanor with her scheming, and Miranda with her sexuality. Aside from these similarities, Eleanor is a woman who warrants respect, while Miranda is simply a girl who knows how to play people, especially men. Both, however, have the knack of wit and sarcasm, something I enjoy far too much.

Are you using a particular adaptation? And have you seen the film, how do you think your production will compare?

Mathilde: The story is so powerful in its own right that we didn’t really feel the need to do a an extensive adaptation – that would just take away focus from the raw emotion we are trying to convey. One thing we have done, though, is to make the audience feel like it is something which could (and does) happen right around the corner, for example by putting up missing posters around town (have you tried calling the number yet?). The movie adaptation is brilliant, but also perhaps a bit too ‘pretty’ in modern terms – this is a kind of twisted love story, but we do not want to leave the audience considering Miranda and Clegg a ‘romantic couple’. 

How different is it from the novel, will fans of John Fowles be shocked and appalled?

Peter: If we’ve done our job correctly, people should be shocked and appalled regardless of whether they have read the novel! We’re not holding back in this play; it’s going to be intense.

Mathilde: The play stays quite true to the novel, but the format has of course been adapted to fit the stage. Hopefully, also John Fowles fans will be pleased with our production. Just like the book, it offers the ‘two sides to every story’; very rarely in the real world do we gain any insight into what drives people like Clegg – they are portrayed as monsters, as non-human in the general news. But exploring the dark sides of humanity, reflecting on them and making us recognize bits of them in ourselves is exactly what theatre does so well. Good theatre draws us in, without the barrier of a TV screen or a page in a book; the people are right there in front of us, without any filter.

And why ultimately should we collect (sorry!) some tickets for the show – what does your production of The Collector have to offer?

Katherine: An awkward kiss scene, French croissants and the pleasure of looking over your shoulder every so often on your way home…

The Collector goes up at the Barron on November 15th and 16th at 7.30pm. Tickets can be bought outside the University Library on Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-2pm, reserved via [email protected] as well as bought on the door.

Or, try winning a free ticket!