Actress Catherine Lamb stars in and makes her producing debut with a revival of Jack Thorne’s one-woman play Bunny, which opens next week at London’s White Bear Theatre. She explains why she had to found a theatre company and make this production happen…
I first saw Bunny when I was 19 years old. It spoke to me in a way no other play had managed to up until that point. It perfectly articulated my secret thoughts as a teenager. I was pretty certain that I wanted to be an actress then and did wish that one day I could be part of a similar production. Then one day a few months ago, I picked the script up and read it again. I decided that it was so painfully relevant to the climate we currently find ourselves in that I was going to make it happen.
I had always wanted to start my own theatre company and this felt like the perfect first production. Having never produced anything before, I started my theatre company, Fabricate Theatre, and decided that I was going to learn. I joined forces with my co-producer, Sophia Nicholson, and we set about making it a reality. I can’t quite believe we have managed it, to be honest, but I am very proud that we have and delighted that we are the ones to revive such a wonderful piece of writing.
Jack Thorne’s play is the story of Katie, a young girl struggling to find where she ‘fits’ into the world. In her own words, she is the ‘unfit fitter’. We follow Katie through one extraordinary evening when her boyfriend is attacked on the street. Circumstances unravel beyond her control and she quickly finds herself on the wrong side of Luton. It is a funny yet challenging piece of theatre which explores the challenges of growing up in a world so full of hatred and divisions. The thing about this play is that it can relate to everyone because we have all been young and everyone can remember the excruciating anguish of those teenage years when you are struggling to find your place in the world.
It is really a story about fear. Fear of not being interesting enough or attractive enough amongst your peers and fear of those in society who we don’t understand. Bunny explores the understanding that can be reached between people on different sides of the street using empathy and simple dialogue.
It is this idea of fear versus empathy that really made us feel the piece is particularly relevant now. We are at the moment surrounded by hateful and decisive speech at every turn. Rather than empathising with what unites us as people, we seem to be afraid of one another. We seem to be creating even more borders and barriers within our communities, plastering labels on groups of people and abandoning our responsibilities to those in need of our help.
With this show, we have also wanted to champion every aspect of production. In the same way that an actor is championed and can play on stage, we want to showcase innovative and playful production values. We have wonderful compositions from our sound designer Lex Kosanke, an unusual and playful lighting design from Samuel Miller and a fun and intimate design from Lucy Weller.
The brilliant Lucy Curtis is directing and Angela Gasparetto is movement director. They have created a fun and intimate space that Katie and the audience share for an hour. The audience are welcomed into Katie’s private world, they are tested, challenged and entertained.
Bunny runs at London’s White Bear Theatre from 7 to 25 March 2017, then transfers to the Tristan Bates Theatre from 13 to 16 April as part of the First Festival. Follow @MyTheatreMates on Twitter for details on our competition to win a pair of tickets to the show.