I’ve been cast in ‘Aalst’ as Cathy – a woman who has massacred her children in a hotel room. Never before have I read through a play and had such a visceral and confused reaction. The main reason being that Aalst is based on a true story.
The facts that are given in the play are disturbing and repulsive; without emotion, dramatisation or hype. ‘Aalst’ is a whisper, it’s not a shout or extroverted in any way, shape or form. It is understated. But that whisper is profoundly horrific and rippled through the very core of me until it was yelling in my brain. I didn’t know a whisper could do that.
I’m preparing for a very strong reaction from audiences in Hull. Doing this in London, Manchester, Edinburgh I think it may be appreciated. In Hull, the John-Godber-only nation, I think that people are going to be disgusted… perhaps that is all the more reason to do it here.
In accepting the casting I’ve been thrown into the most turmoil that I’ve been in since my Masters.
Why? Why has this been written? Why would we perform it? Why is it important? I know that without strong answers and resolve to these questions I won’t be ready to undertake the project. I have even started asking ‘what is theatre for’. Does the fact that a play has thrown up these questions in just one reading not make it an important work?
I’m nervous about research, character exploration, rehearsals and marketing. But it is without doubt an amazing play and work of art. It will be the most challenging thing I’ve ever done as an actress. It makes ‘Pale Horse’ look like a rom-com and Sarah Kane look like a teen drama in my eye.
I’ll be documenting my journey with it on here. Productions dates tbc – but it’s looking like mid-April.