Arts, Venue

Wertenbaker season: Interviewing the cast

All about The Love of the Nightingale, and the Break of Day, from the cast members themselves.

Jess Lester, who plays Procne in The Love of the Nightingale and also works on set construction would describe the play’s key themes as ‘family, love and revenge.’ She says that: ‘The Love of Nightingale is based around these two sisters, and Procne is sent away in the form of an arranged marriage by her family.’ Summing up her character, Jess tells us that Procne is a very ‘internal character’.  Jess explains that Procne is ‘thrown into this whole new world and finds herself within that. She discovers bits of herself that she didn’t know existed and handles herself mostly extremely well.’  When watching, Jess hopes the audience will go away asking questions, a theme of Wertenbaker’s writing, and describes her work as ‘a conversation on stage through theatre.’

Erin Clancy plays Tess in the Break of Day and is also on the sound design and production team. Erin role involves works closely with composers, as The Love of the Nightingale has lots of live music. Erin says, ‘For the Break of day, the team have been working on soundscapes because it is quite a naturalistic play, so we’ve been working on soundscapes to try and immerse the audience as much as possible.’ Erin says that ‘The Break of Day follows two women. They decide that they want a child and it follows them and their journey looking for that.’ She explains, ‘It is set in the nineties, and my character is going through IVF. The story follows women dealing with what it means to be in the midst of a midlife crisis and motherhood. It has some really interesting female characters.’ When asked to describe The Break of Day in 3 words, Erin says ‘motherhood, sisterhood and outsiders’. Erin explains that she ‘loves Tess’ because ‘she is so independent and learns how to fend for herself. She is so strong willed throughout the play, and I admire her strength.’

When asked who their favourite characters were, besides Tess and Procne, Jess chose her character’s sister, Philomele, who is a ‘very inspiring character that goes through so much and still comes out of it strong. She is an inspiration for any women to watch the play and we see the world through her eyes, so it is hard not to like her.’ Erin chooses April as her favourite character because ‘she has a different perspective to the other two women.’ Erin tells us April has a very interesting line: ‘motherhood is not the only purpose of a woman’s life’ and Erin describes April as standing alone, and different than her sisters. ‘She stands alone with dignity because she wants to. That is nice to see on the stage for once.’

Jess and Erin say that ‘both plays are centred around women and women’s stories’ and that when Wertenbaker came in to watch a run of both plays, ‘she really enjoyed them’. The plays question ‘what it means to be a woman’ and Jess describes a theme in both plays of ‘women trying to navigate their way through a man’s world.’

You can catch The Love of the Nightingale on the 3rd  and 6th of December at 7:30 pm, and the 4th and 7th at 2:00 pm. The Break of Day will be showing on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of December at 7:30 pm and the 8th at 2:00 pm.



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Leia Butler

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January 2022
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