Amanda Wilkin is currently starring in Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde at The Bunker.
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Amanda. Tell me about the piece and your character(s)
La Ronde is in a new adaptation by Max Gill. In the play we see moments between characters of different social status, who are exchanging a moment of intimacy. In the original script by Arthur Schnitzler the audience watched characters like The Whore, The Soldier, The Poet. But in ours the audience will meet The Doctor, The Prostitute, The London Bus Driver, etc. There are ten characters in total, and I can’t tell you who I’ll be playing…because I have no idea! We are a cast of four learning every part and we will find out by way of a roulette which character we’ll be playing before each scene throughout the performance. It effectively means that any character can be played by an actor of any gender or colour.
What was your initial impression of the script?
After reading the play, I was struck by how the play accurately brings loneliness to the surface and the transaction of contact – are we ever really equals when we have sex? What happens when you are desperate to be touched? And to what extent do we wish to be dominated in love, to be destroyed by another in order to feel something? It’s a brilliant script – I was blushing while reading some bits and felt quite miserable in other moments.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the production?
I’m hoping the audience will think about what they consider a ‘normal’ relationship, what we demand from relationships, what boundaries have been formed by what society tells us is acceptable. I hope they will be able to think about what discrimination they have while watching it; do they judge that character more because of their physique, or sexuality? I also hope that the audience will be intrigued by the thought of a different combination of actors playing that scene – would it have changed their mind about the narrative of that moment if they looked different, or their sexuality were different?
Did you have any ideas about what you wanted to bring to the role(s)?
I’ve just been concentrating on making these ten characters so individual and detailed. And embracing my body. This is not a gender or colour blind production. In fact, it’s the opposite. The audience will be acutely aware of my gender and colour. So it’s about not shying away from that.
How does the space lend itself to the piece?
The bunker is a brilliant new space and very intimate with 110 seats, which is perfect for this play because you’ll be able to see us sweat… probably want you want in a production like this!
What would you say to encourage people to buy a ticket?
This could be the most unique show you’ll see because there are six versions of every scene, and therefore thousands of versions of this show. Every performance will be different. If you are looking for plays with more equality and diversity on stage, then come and watch this. We are a cast of four. Two women, two men, two white, two non-white. And we can play any part if the roulette picks us in a performance. Now that’s the kind of show I’d book to see.
Thanks to Amanda for an insightful interview, wishing you every success with the rest of the run.