Emily Carding in Interview with Laura Caparrotti
1. In brief: how did you work on the adaptation?
Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir, a very talented Icelandic director that I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with a number of times, came up with the concept. She edited a rough version of the script which came to about two hours worth of material, focusing purely on Richard's journey through the text and giving him some lines from other characters when it proved necessary for clarity or to move the action along. We then had a two week residency at a theatre called Tjarnarbio in Reykjavik where we worked together on honing the material, cutting away at it and adding new stuff in, until it was down to an hour, and also a lot of very in depth character work. Kolbrun works a lot with Stanislavski's methods and viewpoints and this helped create a very strong foundation for the character of Richard, enabling me to respond spontaneously to whatever the audience brought to the show. It was an open studio process, so we had various people drop in to be audience members and help us work out the mechanics of the show. At the end of that two weeks we had a work-in- progress performance in the theatre which was packed out and very successful. We knew then we'd found something that could work really well and was very innovative. That was tremendously exciting and continues to be so.
2. Is this show still changing from performance to performance?
The show is by its nature slightly different each time because at the very least the energy of the audience shifts things, even if they don't do much. Of course the space and time of day affects it too, but it's so much about the audience. Lady Anne is a key role, and though there's no requirement for people to speak, I have had people do some very exciting and sometimes just plain odd things! For instance I had one Lady Anne who heckled in character throughout (I had to kill her early) and one who sat on my lap.
3. Did you get different reaction from different audiences?
Each audience has its own group energy that is very distinctive and difficult to explain. The space can make a big difference... people tend to be well behaved in a church or chapel for instance and feel much more free to play around, laugh and have fun in a pub theatre. Even within the same space though you can have a very quiet but attentive audience one night and a boisterous audience the next, and very different shows as a result. We'll see how Alpha Omega dance works out.
4. Why bringing the show at the Fringe in NY? What are you looking for?
We're very excited to bring the show to NY because some of our most engaged audience members have been from the States and many people have asked us to bring it across the pond. I think it's such a good fit for this festival. I love NYC so to play there is going to be an amazing adventure!
5. what the NY audience should expect to see
I think they should expect to see Shakespeare in a fresh light, to feel part of the story and to have fun. It's a truly immersive and intense experience. To be moved, as well, by Richard's descent. We all tell the story together and it's a strong bonding experience, after all we're mostly family, friends and even lovers for that hour! Often people like to hug me afterwards. Hugs are great, by the way. I'm open to all the hugs!