I’m ensconced in our upstate New York hideaway, reconnecting with my husband’s family. Days are sunny, long and lazy. But I’m a-fizz. That’s because there’s little over two weeks before the protagonist I’ve loved writing about this past year is let loose. Her name is Alba Fresu and she is a fierce pianist living her story in 1970s Rome, a city she has fled to in defiance of her father’s wishes after learning the piano in secret. Her story is passionate and complicated and I loved every second of writing about her. Here’s the trailer for the story that has resonated in my (Sardinian) soul and which I’m thrilled to share. The Last Concerto is out August 22nd in the UK and I hope that the story and its characters seduces readers as much as it has me.
Our run has blasted on to Ovalhouse’s South London stage with passion, honesty and fun filled audiences who have shared with us as much as we with them. I’ve been forced to perfect the great art of laying low, my day times are pretty much horizontal in prep for our performance.
We’ve had wonderful feedback so far (4* The Guardian!) and it’s been incredibly special to be able to talk with our audiences afterwards during our second half, becoming active listeners, no longer performers.
It is not always the case that actors are invited to participate and collaborate in projects that are entirely in line with issues that are so meaningful for them. This project is one such for me. It has stimulated very interesting, free and curious conversations with all my family, it’s broken down a lot of stigma and silence cloying on to our ideas of female sexuality, shame free sensuality and the importance of living a life led by joy and passion rather than fear and a craving for external approval.
If the adrenaline of performing the fiercest, most hilarious and physical role I’ve had to date (Clitoris / Appetite) wasn’t enough, I’ve also just received a nomination for an Offie, from OffWestEnd.com for Best Female In A Supporting Role in a Play for this show. I’ve never been nominated for an award to date - unless you count Most Likely To Play Parts Audible Only To Dogs (Drama School) or Least Likely To Work in Radio (High School). It is a delicious feeling. And it wouldn’t be happening if the All About You team, writer/actor Bella Heesom and Dramaturg/Director Donnacadh O’Briain hadn’t taken a punt on this five foot something Sardinian-Brit three years ago when I was in their first show as an anarchic piano playing assistant.
Week two has now begun in earnest. Only a few days remain of this bonkers, bold and beautiful play. Catch it while you can here! x
A rehearsal room somewhere in sunny South London. Light (and draught) floats in through the huge glass skylight above. Bella Heesom, Donnacadh O’Briain and I glance over the muscular writing she has been working on since we last played together in February for her play, Rejoicing at her Wondrous Vulva the Young Woman Applauded Herself which we will be performing next month at Ovalhouse, London.
This time the room is full of an entire team of creatives thanks to Arts Council funding. Surrounding us are chairs filled with fabulous women (beside our two male colleagues) who will be sailing this ship toward new, unchartered and eagerly anticipated waters.
After our initial stagger through (me feeling like I’m jumping off a cliff without a rope or bungee or net) I feel my body alight with curiosity and energy. The piece is brutally honest, bonkers and truly the most moving piece I’ve ever worked on in theatre. Female sexuality remains a taboo. Plays like this, devoted to its exploration, are needed more than ever.
Our next few weeks is all about our female gaze, answering questions without hurry, staying open, experimental and enjoying the lush feeling of working with colleagues who are friends and who you trust implicitly.
Time for Magick……!
My third novel is currently keeping the desks of my publishers warm, so in the meantime I’m relishing a little time to stop and smell the flowers (in december?!), catch up with friends, indulge in as many exhibitions and shows as I can.
In the New Year, I will attend to those red marks from the editors, after which, I will roll up my sleeves for a period of research and development with the wonderful duo that is actress-writer Bella Heesom and award winning director Donnacadh O’Briain as we revisit Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself with a full production scheduled for May at The Ovalhouse.
Playing a clitoris to Bella’s brain is a personal revolution and the most delicious role I’ve inhabited to date.