Just a week to go before performances start for the European premiere of Audrey Cefaly’s The Gulf, starring Louisa Lytton and Anna Actor at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre. Entertainment Views’ Helen McWilliams caught up with director Matthew Gould to find out how he’s approached the job. Got your tickets yet?
When you’re working on a two-hander, how does your directional approach differ to working with a larger cast?
I think my approach becomes less focused you have fewer balls in the air. When I say less focused, I don’t mean on the script, but with two actors it can be about exploration and tangents and trying ideas because you have the time. With a larger cast, you still encourage and have all of the above, but you have less time to really look at them.
How does the space lend itself to the piece?
The Tristan Bates Theatre is very intimate and is usually played end on. Having said that, the current artistic team is encouraging companies to try different things. When we decided to do The Gulf in the round, the idea was enthusiastically welcomed by the theatre. In the round itself can be an intimate experience for all involved. In certain therapeutic circles, during training, the practice of ‘The Gold Fish Bowl’ is used: a ‘client’ sits on a seat and the trainee therapists sit in a circle round the room listening to the session. This creates the idea of eavesdropping on a moment in time. This is what the audience are doing as they watch The Gulf.
What do you feel the strengths of the script are?
The strength of the script is that it shows you the ordinariness of Betty and Kendra’s life and the struggles that life brings to them as a couple and as individuals.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the play?
I believe the audience will see a lot of their own relationships in the conversation, and that whatever the sex is of two people in a relationship, the life choices and difficulties we all make are very similar to those of Betty and Kendra.
Why should everybody come and see it?
Primarily, people should come because seeing two women in a play with no one else on stage is rare. It’s not a combination that is very common in theatre. It is a play that finds humour in the everyday, humour in the suffering and sadness in the ordinary.
THE GULF runs at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre from 17 April to 5 May 2018, with performances (90 minutes) Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, Saturday matinees at 2.30pm, Sunday matinees at 3pm and a special Friday matinee on 4 May at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced £17.50, concessions £15. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!